Item 76 - Letter from Fr Patrick Bracken SJ to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man

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IE IJA MSSN/IOM/76

Title

Letter from Fr Patrick Bracken SJ to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man

Date(s)

  • 6 November 1836 (Creation)

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(14 March 1795-30 January 1867)

Biographical history

Born: 14 March 1795, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1811, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: c 1826, Fribourg, Switzerland
Professed: 15 August 1831, Rome, Italy
Died 30 January 1867, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare

Vice-Provincial of the Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus: 1836-1841

in Clongowes 1817
Vice Provincial 1836
not in 1840 Cat

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Much prized by Father Betagh, was distinguished in Classics at Stonyhurst, and Theology in Switzerland.
Father Plowden predicted that he would be the “limen et ornamentum” of the Society in Ireland.
Taught Humanities, Philosophy and Theology at Clongowes and was Rector of Tullabeg.
1636-1641 Vice Provincial
He was held in great esteem by the clergy on account of his “extensive and almost universal erudition”.
He left a great number of MSS on various subjects, among them, “Memoirs of the Irish Jesuits during the Suppression”.
Loose leaf note in CatChrn : Entitled “Left Stonyhurst for Castle Brown” : 03 Sep 1815

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at a Dominican Primary School - which had produced many remarkable Priests. He showed himself to be very able there. He was in contact with Thomas Betagh, who was stationed at SS Michael and John, and since he had the old Jesuit Fund available to him, he sent Patrick to Stonyhurst to continue his education. At Stonyhurst he showed himself very able, and was ahead of most in his class. Aged 16 he declared that he wished to become a Jesuit, and so Ent at Hodder 07/09/1811.
The Novice Master at Hodder Father Charles Plowden predicted that he would be the “limen et ornamentum” of the Society in Ireland. After First Vows, he studied Philosophy at Stonyhurst.
1816 He was sent to Clongowes, then a very new school, and there he taught a very large Grammar class. He was not very successful, for though he paid attention to the level of each pupil, he was too strict and punished very severely, so none of the boys liked him. At that time the Professor of Theology was an exiled Pole (Casimir Hlasko), and some Irish and English Scholastics were his students. Patrick joined them, and apparently displayed great ability. He was very subtle in argument, and spoke Latin beautifully.
1823 he was sent to Fribug, Switzerland for his final year of Theology.
He then returned to Clongowes teaching general classes, and Philosophy for a year. Later he was sent to Rome for Tertianship, and he pronounced Final Vows in front of General Roothaan in Rome, at the altar of St Ignatius.
He then taught Theology to Ours (where? - possibly in Rome?)
1836 He was appointed Vice-Provincial, an office he held for five years.
1843 He was appointed Rector of Tullabeg and was very successful. there was a lot of sickness and poverty in the country at that time, and though the number of pupils diminished, he managed the finances very well.
1850 He was sent again to Clongowes, devoting his remaining years to study and prayer. Towards the end he suffered greatly from dropsy, but was ever patient and resigned. He died peacefully in 30 January 1867 at Clongowes, and had been in the Society 56 years. He left a name that will be spoken of with great praise.

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From Fr Patrick Bracken SJ, writing from Tullabeg, County Offaly to Fr Gahan in the Isle of Man. Reports on some members of the community in Tullabeg, including Fr Robert Haly and Fr Aylmer, and adds that Fr Esmonde is on his way to Rome. Refers to Fr Gahan’s problems in the Isle of Man in relation to the provision of Mass for Catholics in Douglas, and the question of whether the Bishop would permit this. Asks him to defer the sale of the chapel in Castletown until he (Fr. Bracken) receives a reply from the Fr. General.

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2006

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