Rathfarnham Castle



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Rathfarnham Castle

Rathfarnham Castle

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  • UF Caisleán Ráth Fearnáin

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Woods, Brendan, 1924-2014, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/848
  • Person
  • 03 October 1924-28 May 2014

Born: 03 October 1924, Armagh, County Armagh
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 28 May 2014, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1973 at New York NY, USA (NEB) studying

◆ Interfuse No 157 : Autumn 2014 & ◆ The Clongownian, 2015


Fr Brendan Woods (1924-2014)

3 October 1924: Born in Keady, Co. Armagh.
Early education in CBS, Armagh and St. Patrick's College, Armagh
7 September 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1952: Clongowes – Teacher
1952 - 1953: Mungret College - Teacher
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1972: Clongowes – Teacher
1972 - 1973: New York - Pastoral Studies
1973 - 1989: Milltown Park; Promoting “Marriage Encounter”; Teaching at Gonzaga; Teaching at Belvedere
5 November 1977: Final Vows
1985 - 1989: Director SpExx; Assistant Librarian
1989 - 1995: Campion House - Director SpExx; Assistant Librarian Milltown Park and Manresa
1995 - 1996: Leeson Street - Librarian, Assistant Librarian at Milltown Park; Director SpExx
1996 - 2002: Milltown Park - Assistant Librarian Milltown Park & Manresa
2002 - 2010: Manresa House - Assistant Librarian Milltown Park and Assistant Comm.
2011 - 2014: Milltown Park - Assistant Comm. Librarian; Director SpExx
2011: Resident in Cherryfield Lodge. Praying for the Church and the Society

Brendan settled well into Cherryfield and appeared happy and content. His condition has been deteriorating for some time. He died peacefully on 28th May 2014. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.

Brendan Woods was an Ulsterman, who spent his Jesuit life in the South; he was a man attracted to solitude, but he entered an apostolic religious order, and thereby guaranteed himself the constant presence of others for nearly seventy-two years. Brendan's Northern accent was not strong, but his upbringing in Northern Ireland, under triumphant and intolerant Unionism, left a deep impression. Very occasionally, Brendan spoke about “What we had to put up with” and he had no sympathy with some Jesuits when, towards the end of the Troubles, they empathised with the fears of Unionists, of whom Brendan said: “They had it all their own way for a long time; they won't anymore; they'll have to get used to it”.

Brendan did not talk about his family, and it was almost by accident that some of us discovered that his sister is a Carmelite nun. He had three brothers, one of whom died the day before Brendan's own death. His friendships were many, including one with a laicised priest working in Dublin as the caretaker of a block of flats. Brendan offered friendship and moral support to a number of 'lost souls', but he never spoke about them; he really did 'do good by stealth.

Community life was never easy for Brendan, and he could seem remote, but in reality, he was warm, witty and quietly supportive. Being so intensely private, he was comfortable expressing his feelings through humour, rather than directly. He could be very perceptive. When Brendan said, of a particular Jesuit, that “He goes around giving retreats to well bred nuns”, he spoke in the light of a major shift in his own life, one that took place after he left teaching at Clongowes in 1972; he had lost interest in any apostolate to the privileged and preferred to work with those who had less money and less security.

Brendan gave many guided retreats at Manresa House, but his greatest satisfaction came from the weeks of guided prayer, usually given as part of a team in many outlying parishes in Dublin. Brendan never learned to drive, so those guided prayer weeks meant long bus journeys, and waits for buses, in all weathers. The effort meant little to him in the light of the reaction of so many ordinary people, as they had their first experience of praying with Scripture and asked “Why did nobody tell us about this before now?” This invigorated and encouraged him, but Brendan, not always a patient man, had no patience at all with one aspect of post-Conciliar religious life: the emphasis on self-improvement. He was impatient with techniques, had no time for the Myers-Briggs Table and regarded the Enneagram as pernicious, being convinced that it was Sufism diluted for Western consumption.

Brendan set very high standards for himself, and never felt that he had met them. He was an excellent teacher at Clongowes and a hardworking assistant librarian at Milltown Park. In neither job did he accept praise, nor feel that he had done well. In even the coldest weather, with only a small radiator for comfort, Brendan worked on the top floor of the Milltown Jesuit Library, cataloguing the collection of books about Ireland, discovering rare pamphlets and taking a special interest in Irish Catholic printers. Being over-cautious, he kept duplicate and even triplicate copies of books, which packed the shelves.

Having had some experiences of book theft, Brendan was a bit paranoid about library security. His love of books, however, meant that even the most tedious library work never seemed to be a chore. When a Jesuit house closed and its library was being cleared, Brendan had a remarkable ability to notice precisely what was lacking in Milltown.

With his a deep appreciation of what it meant to be both Irish and Catholic, Brendan concentrated on the essentials. He had no interest in the disputes about clothes that were so common in Irish Jesuit life in the 1960s and 1970s. Brendan was quick to abandon clerical clothing, and it is doubtful if, latterly, he even owned a Roman collar, but, somehow, there was an indefinable quality about him, so he always looked priestly. Being blessed with a fine head of white hair, Brendan cut a striking figure.

Brendan was quick to appreciate other countries and cultures. He read a vast number of travel books and had a balanced, even sardonic, appreciation of the United States. American crime fiction (to which Americans themselves give the more euphemistic title 'Mystery') was his secret passion and he read many authors long before their fame spread west across the Atlantic.

Marriage Encounter gave him, for thirteen years, a strong link with the United States and had him working closely with Bill White SJ, who was as committed to the work, but was utterly unlike him. Brendan was the organizer, Bill was the inspirer; as in many unexpected pairings, they were a very successful team. Some years before the onset of his own prolonged final illness. Brendan gave up attending Jesuit funerals, because the homily had been replaced by a eulogy, so he had difficulty reconciling what was being said with the reality of the man he had known. His feelings, whether positive or negative, about everything and everybody were strong, but his shyness often made him seem remote or indifferent and was a barrier for many who might have become closer to him. Those who persevered, or who worked with him regularly, discovered his warmth and his compassion.

Brendan's stories were many. Some were based on experience in retreat direction: “If a person on a retreat says that they'd like to meet you after the retreat, for further spiritual direction, you can be assured that you'll never hear from them again!”, in parish supply work, such as the Italian-American parish in New York, where terrified black teenagers returned the chalices stolen on the previous day, because their fence told them that the silverware bore the names of local Mafia families. But was there really an English Jesuit who, in his own retreat talks, used to refer, in his examples for edification, to “a humble Irish lay sister”?

Brendan rose early and prayed often. One year, his entire annual retreat was centered on the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”). Any hints about his own prayer were revealed inadvertently.

As Brendan's memory began to weaken, his brow settled into a permanent frown, which was very distressing for his friends. Everything seemed to worry him, but he was able to sustain a conversation by focusing on the person speaking to him, never on himself. He was not aware that he had celebrated yet another Jubilee in the Society, which was just as well, because he would have striven, with all his might, to avoid it!

Brendan has earned his rest.

Woda, Francis, 1926-2016, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/525
  • Person
  • 28 February 1926 - 19 December 2016

Born: 28 February 1926 in Mokrzyska, Poland
Entered: 4 February 1950 in Santuaria di Galloro, Arricia, Rome, Italy (Pol Mi)
Ordained: 29 July 1965 in Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland
Final Vows: 5 November 1977 in Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 19 December 2016 at John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia

Apostolic Life
1956-1957, Katondwe, Kasisi, teaching, regency
1960-1962, Dublin, Belvedere, teaching
1966-1967, Karenda/Mumbwa, pastoral work
1967- Chelston, pastoral work
1968-1974, Kabwe, Mpima Minor Seminary, teaching sciences
1974-2001, Chikuni, Canisius, teaching sciences
1988-2000, school bursar
2002-2004, Choma, Mukasa, teaching, translating archive documents
2004-2005, Dublin, Poland, recovering health.
2005-2009. Choma, Mukasa, teaching science
2009-2010, Dublin, taking care of health, sabbatical
2010-2013, Chikuni, Canisius, teaching science
2013-2014, Dublin, Gardiner St., taking care of health, sabbatical
2014-2016, Lusaka, Chula House, assisting in archives, praying for Church and Society

by 1958 came to Rathfarnham (HIB) studying 1957-1961
by 1962 came to Belvedere (HIB) for Regency 1961-1963
by 1964 came to Milltown (HIB) studying 1963-1966

Father Francis Woda (Lesser Polish Province) was born on February 28th. 1926, in Mokrzyska, Krakow, Poland. He is a son of Mr and Mrs Francis Woda. In 1950 he entered the Society and after noviceship and philosophy he spent two years on the Polish Mission in Zambia. Later he came to Ireland where he graduated in Science in UCD. Before coming to Milltown Park for his theology he taught for two years at Belvedere College.

Winder, Percy J, 1931-2003, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/619
  • Person
  • 29 March 1931-23 May 2003

Born: 29 March 1931, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1949, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 23 May 2003, Saint Brigid's Hospice, The Curragh, County Kildare

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

Older Brother of Adrian B Winder - Ent 07/09/1953; LEFT 19/09/1964

by 1985 at Rome, Italy (DIR) Sabbatical Biblical Inst
by 1991 at Frankley Beeches, Birmingham, England (BRI) working
by 1994 at Worcester England (BRI) working

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Fr Perrcy Winder (1931-2003)

29th March 1931: Born in Dublin
Early education at Muckross Convent, CBS Westland Row and Belvedere College
7th Sept. 1949: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1951: First Vows at Emo
1951 - 1954: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1954 - 1957: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1957 - 1960: Mungret College - Regency (Teacher)
1960 - 1964: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1963: Ordained at Milltown Park
1964 - 1965: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1965 - 1990: Clongowes -
1965 - 1976: Teacher; Spiritual Father
1976 - 1984: Teacher; Prefect
1984 - 1985: Sabbatical Year
1985 - 1990: Teacher;Prefect; Spiritual Father
1990 - 1993: Birmingham - Parish Curate.
1993 - 1998: Besford Court, Worcs. - Hospital & School Chaplain; Ministry to elderly, bereaved, mentally ill and housebound people
1998 - 2000: Birmingham - Parish Curate
2000 - 2003: Clongowes - Minister; Guestmaster; Ministered in People's Church
23rd May 2003: Died at St. Brigid's Hospice Unit, Curragh, Co Kildare.

Percy was in remission from prostate cancer for the past seven years, in early January his condition deteriorated. He accepted news of his terminal illness with great faith and kept saying that he wanted to “fly like a butterfly as he was tired of walking like a caterpillar”. His condition deteriorated seriously after Easter, culminating in his transfer to St. Brigid's, where he received 24 hour care for his last two weeks and died peacefully on the evening of Friday 23rd May 2003

Frank Doyle writes:
That Rhetoric 1 (6th Year) class of 1949 in Belvedere was probably unusual even for those days. Out of it came five Jesuits, two Opus Dei priests and a candidate for Clonliffe. The Clonliffe seminarian opted for the married life and the responsibilities of the family business. He was Peter Dunn, younger brother of the later to be famous Fr Joe. Of the Opus Dei priests, one has left us and the other is a nephew of the late Gen. Richard Mulcahy. Of the five Jesuits, four entered together on the same day – Harry Brennan, Frank Doyle, Denis Flannery and Percy Winder. The fifth – Donal Doyle – stayed in Belvedere for the Seventh Year and then, if I am not mistaken, did a year of pre-med before going to Emo. In the course of time, Harry also felt called to be a different kind of father.

I had known Percy, however, all during my secondary school days in Belvedere. I would not say we were very close in those days. Outside of class, our extracurricular interests were somewhat different. Percy, like his older brother Frank before him, was a great supporter of the school's Field Club. I, together with Denis, gravitated to Fr Charlie Scantlebury's Camera Club. I ended up in the school opera; Percy never made any claims to any musical talent.

Percy, Denis, Harry and myself all arrived in Emo on 7th September, 1949. As fellow-novices, Percy and I were thrown more together and got to know each other better. When Percy was made the last Beadle of our second year, I was his Sub beadle. Our term of office coincided with Major Villa, and, with the Novice Master away, there were some (perfectly harmless, I hasten to add) high jinks which Fr Donal was not pleased with when they were brought to his notice on his return. We thought they were great fun - and they were. (If only Denis Flannery were still around to remind us of the details!)

It would have been difficult not to have some fun when Percy was around. His conversation was peppered with a never ending chuckle. I never saw him depressed but that is not to say life always went smoothly. He was afflicted with a particularly distressing migraine, which came on at regular intervals. Then he would have to retire to his room and remain in darkness until it eased off. But he never complained or felt sorry for himself.

After Emo, we were in Rathfarnham together for three years though not doing the same subjects. That was the time when I was probably closest to him. Many is the time we walked together around the “track” in deep conversation. Along one side of the track there was a wire fence. Behind this was a row of evergreen trees and behind them part of the golf course. Percy regularly kept an eye out for golf balls that had been driven into the trees where it was difficult for the player to retrieve them. These Percy picked up and passed on to Fr Dick Ingram, who was a keen golfer, and who, as a result, never had to buy a golf ball.

Both in Rathfarnham and Tullabeg, Percy kept up his interest in nature, particularly in birds and butterflies. There were a lot more butterflies to be seen in those days.) At the end of philosophy, our ways parted and we seldom met during the ensuing years. He went to regency and I went to Hong Kong. We were together for one more year in Milltown for theology, and then I left to continue in the Philippines.

It must be for others to describe Percy's long and fruitful time in Clongowes. During that time he was Lower Line Prefect for 8 years before taking a sabbatical in the Holy Land. After many years as chaplain to the students, he felt it was time for a career change. I understand he had been going to Birmingham for many years to do a summer supply. It was obvious that a more permanent form of service would have been more than welcomed by the bishop, whom he knew well. Obviously, it was a great way to spend his “troisieme age”.

On one of my furloughs back from Asia (in 1990), I went to St. Beuno's in North Wales to do the “3M” course as part of a sabbatical. During the three months, there was a break when we could get away for about a week. Percy invited me to join him in Birmingham, where I was able to see first hand some of the work he was doing. He was mainly acting as chaplain to a number of institutions for the sick and elderly and also helping out in the local parish. In fact, due to the tragic death of the parish priest about that time, Percy was acting pastor. One could see how marvellously he related with the parishioners, especially the ladies, and how much they loved him. It was not surprising; he was an extremely lovable person. I suppose because he gave out so much enthusiastic love himself.

I believe that it was while in Birmingham that he got the first warnings of cancer. This eventually led him to return to his beloved Clongowes and the less strenuous responsibility of the People's Church. Here again his gift of winning friends and influencing people shone out and made a wonderful conclusion to a life of bringing hope and cheer into people's lives. He was also minister to the community.

Perhaps this very inadequate memoir is best concluded by some words from the homily given by his superior, Michael Sheil, at the funeral Mass. Michael had accompanied Percy on his final journey and was with him when he finally slipped away. Percy had written his own eulogy in touching letters he wrote to friends when he learnt that his condition was terminal and Michael quoted from these.

"Strangely”, Percy wrote, “the news didn't upset me at all. There comes a time - especially when God has given us the gift of deep and strong faith – when it is easy and exciting to accept the Good News that our destined life journey from God to God is coming to a close and that soon we'll be home. At Mass every day before Communion we ask God to keep us in peace “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ”. Why ever should we dread the destiny for which God so lovingly created us? I feel so happy as I look back on such a happy life walking with friends and trying my best to be helpful - happy to be close at last to even greater and more unimaginable love. God is Love - and I value His embrace. As journey's end appears over the horizon, I'm happy and excited to be going home. I've no fears and no regrets - just hoping to have the strength, to using my remaining time, sharing my happiness with those I love. For the moment, I'm content to take and enjoy each day as it comes.

God does not make mistakes – nor does He make junk. We are NOT mistakes - God is moulding us into His masterpiece, delighting in His creation. So, no tears for me please -- only a song of thanksgiving that at last God is putting the final touches to that masterpiece. As St Paul says: 'We are God's work of art!

If you choose to pray for me, ask that I may have a reasonably comfortable dying and that I won't be too much of a burden. Of course, I've no more idea than you as to what heavenly life might be like. I'm content to wait and see. For me, what St Paul says is good enough: “What eye has not seen nor ear heard - these are the things that God has prepared for those who love Him”. So this is not a final Good-bye - far from it!”

Au revoir, Percy. It is not easy to say Good-bye to Percy. Two days ago someone asked me for some information and I was about to say: Well, I'll ask Percy about that! He was so much part of our lives for the past three years – he was the Homemaker of the Community -- that my reflexes had not yet attuned to the fact that he was no longer of this world. His metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly is well known by now - and I think that he would approve of St Paul's image that “when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us .... in the heavens”.

When we received Percy's Remains back home here in Clongowes on Saturday evening, I shared with you the – still fresh - memory of one of the very privileged moments of my life, as I sat at his bedside the previous evening at exactly 18.18. I was the intimate witness of two realities – one, the loss of a dear Companion in the Lord and the other, the fulfilment of Percy's dream-in-faith that God would be faithful to His promise that where I am, you also may be.

I summed up the past 5 months as Percy's living the dream - when his failing health seemed only to serve to strengthen his faith. On Friday evening as I sat beside his sick, frail, stricken and diseased body, I could only reflect on and marvel at the spirit enclosed therein, as he sank slowly and without resistance towards the destiny of us all. No struggle, no stress, simply low regular breathing......, until I had occasionally to check to ensure that he was still alive - before that unforgettable moment when I realized that, without a sound, just like his butterfly taking off, his spirit slipped away from the prison of corruptible mortality to enter into the glory of an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.

It is not easy to try to do justice to the person Percy was in the few short lines of a homily. But I am fortunate in having in my possession two letters of his from some months ago - when he was informed that his illness was terminal – letters in which he wrote to his friends of how he felt. This, surely, is Percy's act of faith - his legacy as he speaks to us this morning - the proclamation to all the world that God is faithful and near to him. So this is not a final Good-bye - far from it! For Percy's heart was not troubled – for he believed in Jesus' promise: I am going to prepare a place for you -- and I shall return to take you with Me so that where I am you may be too.....

Percy was a very active, apostolic Jesuit and priest, who, while in good health, brought God's love into the lives of many. And in the lengthening twilight of his terminal illness, God continued to use him to bring about yet another miracle of His love, as He drew from those who looked after him in the Hospice service a quite extraordinary concern for someone in need of so much medical care. Their lives have been graced by the generosity of their giving - and on behalf of us all I want to say how much their loving care for him meant to us, to whom Percy meant so much himself.

How we would have liked him to be cured and remain on with us. We made a novena in honour of Fr John Sullivan. Percy was too ill to start it off for us – but he came down on the last morning to thank us for our efforts on his behalf. At that time he said he was willing to hang around for a while longer (If it will give Fr John a leg-up!, he said) - but he had just received good news and would be quite happy to go. Perhaps to-day, he is in a better position to give the most distinguished of his predecessors, as Spiritual Father and Minister of the People's Church, that leg-up towards canonization!

Our thanks to Percy, too, for the legacy of his life of love – and of his written testament of faith. We thank God for His gifts to him - and for the gift of him to us. In his own words - This is not a final Good-bye ....... far from it. So often in life we say Good-bye ........... it comes from the ancient wish or prayer: May God be with you [Dominus vobiscum) ........... and to-day we say it to Percy at this, his last Mass.

And so we pray:
May Christ enfold you in His love - and bring you to eternal life. May God and Mary be with you. We will pray for you, Percy - may you also pray for us.

◆ The Clongownian, 2003


Father Percy Winder SJ

Fr Percy Winder, who died at St Brigid's Hospice Unit, Curragh, Co Kildare on 23rd May 2003, was in remission from prostate cancer for the past seven years. In early January his condition deteriorated. He accepted the news of his terminal illness with great faith and kept saying that he wanted to “fly like a butterfly as he was tired of walking like a caterpillar”. His condition deteriorated seriously after Easter, culminating in his transfer to St Brigid's, where he died.

The Rhetoric class of 1949 in Belvedere was probably unusual even for those days. Out of it came five Jesuits, two Opus Dei priests and a candidate for Clonliffe. Of the five Jesuits, four entered together on the same day - Harry Brennan, Frank Doyle, Denis Flannery and Percy Winder. The fifth, Donal Doyle stayed in Belvedere for the Seventh Year before going to Emo. Percy, Denis, Harry and myself all arrived in Emo on 7th September 1949. As fellow-novices, Percy and I were thrown more together and got to know each other better. When Percy was made the last Beadle of our second year, I was his Sub-beadle. Our term of office coincided with Major Villa, and, with the Novice Master away, there were some high jinks, which Fr Donal was not pleased with when they were brought to his notice on his return.

It would have been difficult not to have some fun when Percy was around. His conversation was peppered with a never-ending chuckle. I never saw him depressed but that is not to say life always went smoothly. He was afflicted with a particularly distressing migraine, which came on at regular intervals. Then he would have to retire to his room and remain in darkness until it eased off. But he never complained or felt sorry for himself.

After Emo, we were in Rathfarnham together for three years though not doing the same subjects, That was the time when I was probably closest to him. Many is the time we walked together around the track in deep conversation. Along one side of the track there was a wire fence. Behind this was a row of evergreen trees and behind them part of the golf course. Percy regularly kept an eye out for golf balls that had been driven into the trees where it was difficult for the player to retrieve them. These Percy picked up and passed on to Fr Dick Ingram, who was a keen golfer, and who, as a result, never had to buy a golf ball.

Both in Rathfarnham and Tullabeg, Percy kept up his interest in nature, particularly in birds and butterflies. (There were a lot more butterflies to be seen in those days.) At the end of philosophy, our ways patted and we seldom met during the ensuing years. He went to regency and I went to Hong Kong. We were together for one more year in Milltown for theology, and then I left to continue in the Philippines. Percy spent a long and fruitful time in Clongowes during which time he was Lower Line Prefect for eight years before taking a sabbatical in The Holy Land.

After many years as chaplain to the students, he felt it was time for a career change. He had been going to Birmingham for many years to do a summer supply. It was obvious that the bishop, whom he knew well, would have more than welcomed a more permanent form of service. It was a great way to spend his “troisieme age”. On one of my furloughs back from Asia (in 1990), I went to St. Beuno's in North Wales to do the '3M' course as part of a sabbatical. During the three months, there was a break when we could get away for about a week. Percy invited me to join him in Birmingham, where I was able to see first hand some of the work he was doing. He was mainly acting as chaplain to a number of institutions for the sick and elderly and also helping out in the local parish. In fact, due to the tragic death of the parish priest about that time, Percy was acting pastor. One could see how marvelously he related with the parishioners, especially the ladies, and how much they loved him. It was not surprising; he was an extremely lovable person. I suppose because he gave out so much enthusiastic love himself.

It seems that it was while in Birmingham he got the first warnings of cancer. This eventually led him to return to his beloved Clongowes and the less strenuous responsibility of the People's Church. Here again his gift of winning friends and influencing people shone out and made a wonderful conclusion to a life of bringing hope and cheer into people's lives. He was also minister to the community.

Williams, John, 1906-1981, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2264
  • Person
  • 21 October 1906-21 May 1981

Born: 21 October 1906, Birr, County Offaly
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1944
Died: 21 May 1981, St Louis School, Claremont, Perth, Australia- Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Williams had a sad childhood. His Irish mother and Welsh father died leaving five small children, three boys and two girls. He was looked after by a relative of his, Father Patrick McCurtin, and was a boarder at Mungret.
Williams entered the Society at Tullabeg, 1 September 1928, did his university studies in Ireland, and priestly studies at Louvain, arriving in Australia in 1942, two years after his ordination. He taught at Riverview and Campion Hall, Point Piper, Sydney In 1949 he went to Perth as prefect of studies at St Louis School where he remained for the rest of his life.
For fifteen years he was prefect of studies, and completed his tasks with the greatest exactitude and precision. He was a severe disciplinarian, keeping his distance from his students, which he regretted in his latter days. However, he was a good educator, teaching religion, history and economics. The public examination results of his students were most respectable. He gave himself completely to his tasks. He stayed on in Perth even when St Louis ceased to be a Jesuit school, helping with confessions of the junior students. He symbolised the long-standing Jesuit view that education was worth the discipline and effort of achievement.
He was a fastidious man, elegant in dress, and correct in style and presentation of his person. He was complex and cultivated, at heart a very simple priest, at home with academics as well as ordinary people. He had an irreverent sense of humour that balanced a deep loyalty to the Pope and to the Church. He was a man of tradition. In later life he was courteous and gentle. At the same time he was a prayerful man, with special concern for the Holy Souls, and devotion to Our Lady.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 56th Year No 4 1981


Fr John Williams (1906-1928-1981) (Australia)

Many of us, who knew Fr John Williams well and held vivid memories of him, were shocked by his sudden death (21st May 1981). We were contemporaries or near-contemporaries of his in the juniorate (1930-34) here in Rathfarnham.
John was the eldest of twenty-one novices who arrived in Tullabeg on 1st September 1928. At 22 he was above the normal school-leaving age. He appeared to be delicate and highly- strung, yet he was a model of hard work, both academic and physical. One of the strictest religious observance, in all things he was a perfectionist. Games were not in his line, but he found an outlet for his energy in pushing the lawn- mower. The condition in which he maintained the grounds all around the lake was surpassed only by the immaculate condition of his bicycle, his script - the acme of neatness — and the order of his academic work. As a novice he was very severe on himself, but was good-humoured and a delightful companion at recreation.
John Williams received his early Jesuit training at Mungret Apostolic School, now long closed. Fr Patrick McCurtin, rector of the Crescent, Limerick, had a special interest in John, and invited him to stay over the summer in the Crescent and assist Br James Priest in the Sacred Heart church. It was from Br Priest that he learned the art of decorating altars, John had flair for sacristy work, and on “doubles of the first class” used to transform the altar of the old domestic chapel in Tullabeg. (That chapel now forms the ground and middle floors of the retreat house wing).
John was a slogger: slow but sure, and afraid of nothing. He did a year in the “home juniorate”, but it was in theology, especially moral, that he blossomed. There was not a definition in the two volumes of Génicot that he had not at the tip of his tongue. With the thoroughness characteristic of him, he knew those twelve hundred pages literally inside out. He could moreover apply them: well had he learned from Fr Cyril Power to ask “What's the principle?” - and find it. John was gentle in character and generous in nature. May he rest in peace.
J A MacSeumais

Here follow some extracts from the homily given at Fr John’s requiem Mass. The speaker was Fr Daven Day SJ, himself a past student under Fr Williams at St Louis, Claremontm Perth. WA (Source: Jesuit Life circulated in the Australian Province).
To understand Fr John Williams you need to know that he was partly Irish and partly Welsh, and as he used to say after nearly forty years in Australia, he was also largely Australian. Tragically, his Irish mother Margaret and his Welsh father George died young and left five small children, three boys and two girls.
John had a sad childhood which in later years he often spoke about. It was fortunate that a relative of his, Fr P McCurtin, was teaching at Mungret, where John was sent to board. Fr McCurtin took him under his wing and for this John remembered him with life long affection.
After studies in Ireland and Louvain, two years after his ordination, John arrived in Australia in 1942, and in his first seven years taught in Riverview and Campion Hall, Point Piper. Then in 1949 he came to Perth as Prefect of Studies at St Louis, and here he has been ever since.
For fifteen years Fr Williams was Prefect of Studies at St Louis, and it is probably in this role of priest-educator that he is best remembered. Along with Frs Austin Kelly and Tom Perrott, the founders of St Louis, Fr John Williams formed a trio.
Fr Williams was by training and temperament an educator. Increasingly the institution meant less to him and the boys more. It was a privilege to see him move from being the formator to being the guide, then to the new stage of being a listener. He gave himself completely to the school, but it showed the calibre of the man that he was able to face up to the possible death of the school with equanimity, When the Jesuits were being posted elsewhere at the end of 1972, he asked to stay, and was appointed superior of the small Jesuit community which remained.
A man of God, he had a deep prayer life, an unaffected love of our Lady and a special devotion to the Holy Souls. All his priestly life he was involved in giving retreats and spiritual direction of sisters.

Fr Day mentioned that “Right up to his last weekend he was at Karrakatta (cemetery) on his weekly round of blessing the graves”. It is there that he lies buried, along with Fr Tom Perrott and three other Jesuits. Here are some extracts from a tribute paid by another former student, John K Overman, a school principal:
My first contact with Fr Williams came, as it did for so many of the boys at St Louis, Claremont, at the end of a strap. He had a marvellous facility for appearing on the scene of schoolboys’ evil-doing. To my horror, he appeared at the door of the classroom just as I was enjoying a run across some desk tops!
To the boys at St Louis through the Fifties, “Bill” was all but synonymous with Jesuit education. We never learnt his christian name, but we knew it began with because his signature appeared so much. Parents' notes excusing failure to do homework had to be presented to him and the small white card given in return and signed by Fr Williams in his neat, regular, meticulous hand.
The office of the Prefect of Studies was a tiny cell of a room and boys lined up, sweaty of hand and palpitating of heart, waiting their turn. Fr Williams was a tall, elegant man with light, wavy, brushed back hair that was impressive for its grooming and rhythmic evenness. His speech was clear, accurate and beautifully articulated. He smoked a cigarette in a very long holder and he would care fully lodge it in the slots of his ashtray as a boy came in and waited.
His severity was reserved for us boys. Years later when my wife and I were married in the St Louis chapel, Fr Williams prepared the altar for us, and we considered it a great honour that he should bother. He was a charming man who loved cultivated conversation, spiked with incisive comments and humour. His memory for historical and economic information and for the quotation of phrases from the Latin and English classics was encyclopaedic.
During the last few years Fr Williams’ health deteriorated but he remained optimistic and courteous. Last year he began a letter to me: “It was very kind of you to write ...” He lived the Jesuit motto, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. I will thank God all my days that He permitted me to know and be influenced by: this remarkable Jesuit. May he rest in peace.

Williams, Andrew, 1935-1992, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/543
  • Person
  • 15 June 1935-10 August 1992

Born: 15 June 1935, Crumlin, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 15 January 1956, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Professed: 15 august 1966, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 10 August 1992, Milltown Park, Dublin

Interfuse No 82 : September 1995

Br Andrew (Andy) Williams (1935-1992)

15th June 1935; Born, Dublin
Early Education; Christian Brothers Schools, Crumlin
Pre-entry: He studied crafts and was an assistant mechanic
15th Jan. 1956: Entered the Society at Emo
1958 - 1966: Emo
1966 - 1969: Tullabeg
1969 - 1970: Crescent College, Limerick
1970 - 1985: Rathfarnham, held various posts: Sub Min.; Praef fam.,Adj dir Dom Exerc., and Minister
1985 - 1989: Tabor House, Minister, Bursar
1986 1990 : Caretaker of Villa House in Rocky Valley
1989 - 1992: Milltown Park
10th Aug. 1992: Died in grounds of Milltown Park

Ni aitheantas go haontigheas it is said - if you want to know me come and live with me. As far as I can make out I never lived with Andy Williams unless it was for a year in Emo 1962-3, but still I believe I knew him quite well. Listening to Fergus O'Donoghue's homily at his funeral the pietas - or devotion - of the man came flooding back to me. Andy was a real Jesuit.

I remember his prowess as a nippy soccer forward but especially I remember his qualities as a golfer. Like all true golfers he had an abiding optimism which he shared notably with Tony Mc Shera. No matter how today's round went - and Andy had many a good round - the next round was going to approach perfection. At every outing of Saint Mary's Andy was present not only as a successful competitor also as captain for several years and unfailingly the man, along with Mattie Meade, who checked the score cards of all participants with an eagle eye. As a marathon runner he competed at home and abroad and ran a marathon in Finland not long before his death - a Jesuit first?

But there was far more to Andy than the football player, the golfer, the runner. He was a committed, available Jesuit, whether as a tailor, as a valued member of the Rathfarnham Retreat House team and in his later years in Tabor Retreat House. He was also in charge of Rocky Valley for a number of years. When Rathfarnham Castle came to be disposed of in the mid 80's I appreciated Andy's worth. The dismantling of the house, and the preparation of the contents for auction was no small feat and Andy was the man responsible for this as he lived there alone in its final year.

He knew how to handle crises without fuss, he was no fool and knew when unfair demands were being made on him by lay person or Jesuit. Above everything else, Andy was utterly reliable. The Gospel speaks of faithfulness. That was he.

In 1992 an expedition set out one May day to visit Youghal, Dominic Collins' hometown, and Andy was with us, but when the beatification journey to Rome took place in September Andy had exchanged a close-up seat at the ceremony for something far better. He had run the good race.

Frank Sammon

White, Esmonde, 1875-1957, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/442
  • Person
  • 15 March 1875-28 April 1957

Born: 15 March 1875, Madras, India
Entered: 07 September 1892, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1908, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1910, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 28 April 1957, Our Lady’s Hospice, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1896 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
Came to Australia for Regency, 1898
by 1909 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Though born in India, Esmonde White was educated in Ireland. For regency he went to Riverview .There he stayed a relatively brief time, teaching and being assistant prefect of discipline, before departing in the autumn of 1901 for the same position at Xavier until 1905, when he returned to Ireland. From 1909 he was involved in the school ministry in Ireland.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 32nd Year No 3 1957
Obituary :
Fr Esmonde White (1875-1957)
Within a period of twelve months, Rathfarnham has lost four of its older men. Perhaps none of them has left so big a gap as “the quiet man”, Fr. White. Yet so it is; for, shrouded though he was in an almost fantastic silence, Fr. White was always there. Religious duties, meals, recreation, from none of these did he ever absent himself. He could be called bi-lingual inasmuch as his chief contribution to recreation was the statement, in Irish or English, “No doubt at all about it?” Perhaps he was on more familiar terms with the birds, whose calls, especially that of the cuckoo, he could faithfully reproduce. Certain it is that he never said an unkind word. No one who knew Fr. White would infer that this was merely the negative virtue of a very silent man. In the first place, it is certain that he had not always been so silent. In his student days at Valkenburg he had acquired so good a mastery of the language as to merit, in later years, the emphatic comment of a German Jesuit : “That man speaks German well”. Moreover his genial charity showed itself very positively in action, for he loved to see people happy. One who was with him in the colleges remarked: “He was always doing odd jobs for others and made so little compliment about them that, in Belvedere for example, if anyone wanted something in Woolworths, he had only to ask Fr. White, and off he went!”
Fr. White was born on 15th March, 1875 in Madras, India. Educated in Clongowes, he gained his place in the three-quarters on the Senior Cup team, played a useful game of Soccer, and bowled on the Cricket eleven. To the end of his life he bowled, left-arm, silently, at invisible wickets - one of his most characteristic gestures. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1892, studied philosophy at Valkenburg, and spent the seven following years in Australia, teaching at Xavier and at Riverview. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1908, did his Tertianship at Tronchienues and spent the remainder of his long life in the class room. All told, he taught for thirty-eight years. He taught at the Crescent from 1910 to 1914, being Prefect of Studies for the two latter years, He was at Belvedere 1915-19, and again from 1923 to 1937, having been in the meantime Minister and Socius at Tullabeg and Prefect of Studies at Galway. Then after a year at Emo and two years at Rathfarnham, as Spiritual Father, he went back to Belvedere, 1941-47, as Sub-Minister. After one year at Milltown Park he came in 1948 to Rathfarnham, where he remained until his death.
With the drawbridge of his interior castle perpetually up, he seemed very happy within, as he tunefully hummed and whistled, to the edification of the brethren without. He loved Belvedere College and when, after a stay of two years in Rathfarnham, he saw his name again on the Belvedere status, he literally danced with joy, at the sober age of sixty-five! While Prefect of Studies in Belvedere Junior House, he combined gentleness with severity in such perfect measure that a past pupil recalls: “He hit very hard with the pandy bat but obviously felt every bit as miserable about it as the unfortunate victim!” The same pupil added, and none of us could deny the tribute: “He was one of Nature's gentlemen!” Those of us who lived with him would suggest that Grace played a bigger part than Nature in making Fr. White one of the kindest of men.
His last illness was short. Some six weeks after leaving Rathfarnham for the Nursing Home, his condition suddenly worsened and he died in the Hospice on 28th April, Before leaving Rathfarnham, he made an interrogation of unusual length: “Two questions are puzzling me”, he said to the indefatigable infirmarian. “First of all, who are you?” When Brother Keogh had identified himself, Fr. White went on: “Secondly, who am I?” With sincerity and truth we can all answer the second question : “One white man!” May he rest in peace!

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Esmonde White SJ 1875-1957
To those who lived in community with him, Fr Esmonde White seemed to be almost shrouded in an fantastic silence. He certainly was a perfect man, according to St James, for he never offended with the tongue, his remarks being confined to “No doubt at all about it”, said either in English or Irish.

Born in Madras, India, in 1975, he was educated at Clongowes, where he acquired a reputation as a left-hand bowler, whence, no doubt, he developed a gesture common with him to the end of his life, bowling left-handed at invisible wickets.

His life as a Jesuit was spent mainly in the Colleges and the classroom, a ministry of 40 years at least. He was mathematical in his observance, never absent from a duty, ever easy to oblige others, the quintessence of kindness, A model of motivated observance, close to God always, he yielded up his spotless soul to God on April 27th 1957. In the words of his obituary “He was a white man”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1957


Father Esmonde White SJ

Fr White was born on 15th March, 1875, in Madras, India. Educated in Clongowes, he gained his place as a three-quarter on the Senior Cup team, played a useful game of Soccer, and bowled on the cricket eleven. And anyone who knew him or was taught by him will know that to the very end of his life he was to be seen as he walked along, occasionally bowling, left-arm, an invisible ball at an invisible wicket.

He entered the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg in 1892, studied Philosophy at Valkenburg, and spent the seven following years in Australia. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1908, He taught at the Crescent, Limerick, from 1910 to 1914, being Prefect of Studies for the two latter years. He was. at Belvedere 1915-1919, and again from 1923 to 1937, having been in the meantime Minister and Assistant to the Master of Novices at Tullabeg and Prefect of Studies at St Ignatius College, Galway, Then, after a year at Emo and two years at Rathfarnham as Spiritual Father, he went back to Belvedere from 1941–1947. From then until his death he was at Rathfarnham.

He loved Belvedere and when after a stay at Rathfarnham, he once again was changed to Belvedere we are told that he literally danced for joy, and that at the very sober age of sixty-five! He was Prefect of Studies in the Preparatory School for a period and for all his perpetually good humour knew well how to wield his sceptre of office. His most outstanding characteristic was his fantastic power of silence; he wasted no words. But it was a good-humoured silence, which missed little enough of what was going on and certain it is that his thoughts were always kindly since he never said an unkind word. Those of us who lived with him would suggest that Grace played a bigger part than Nature in making Fr White one of the kindest of men.

◆ The Clongownian, 1957


Father Esmonde White SJ

Father Esmonde White was born in Madras, India, eighty-two years ago. Having left Clongowes, he joined the Novitiate at Tullabeg in 1892. He studied philosophy at Valkenburg in Holland and was then sent to the Australian Mission where he was Prefect and Master for six years, first in Kew College, Melbourne, and then at Riverview, Sydney.

He returned to Ireland in 1905 and completed his theological studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained in 1908. He also studied at Tronchiennes, Belgium. He was Master and Prefect of Studies at the Sacred Heart College, Limerick, from 1910 to 1914, and at Belvedere College, Dublin, from 1915 until 1919, when he was appointed Minister and Assistant Master of Novices at Tullabeg.

He was later in charge of studies at St Ignatius' College, Galway. In 1923 he returned to Belvedere, and remained there until 1937, when he was transferred to Rathfarnham Castle. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Esmonde White (1875-1957)

Born at Madras, India and educated at Clongowes, entered the Society in 1892. He pursued his higher studies in Valkenburg, Milltown Park and Belgium. He was ordained in 1908. Father White was a member of the Crescent community from 1909 to 1914 during which time he was prefect of studies. Most of his teaching career was spent at Belvedere College.

Ward, Séamus, 1935-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/799
  • Person
  • 31 May 1935-22 February 2011

Born: 31 May 1935, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1953, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 10 July 1968, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1975, St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street
Died: 22 February 2011, St Mary Star of the Sea, Key West, Florida, USA

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

Nephew of Eugene - RIP 1976

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1971 at USF San Francisco, USA (CAL) studying
by 1972 at St Michael’s Bronx NY, USA (NEB) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/seamus-ward-rip/

Seamus Ward RIP
Seamus Ward SJ passed away in Florida yesterday, 22 February. He was staying at St. Mary, Star of The Sea Church, Florida. Earlier, he had had a fall away from the house on 18th February and broken his femur. He was badly shaken and was hospitalised. The doctors advised that he was unlikely to recover. He needed a breathing machine. Fr Conall O’Cuinn, Rector of Milltown Park, and Eoghan, a nephew of Seamus, travelled to the USA on Tuesday 22nd and were met at the airport and taken straight to the hospital. They were waiting for them before removing the breathing machine. There was time for prayers and singing Ag Criost an Siol and Soul of My Saviour. Seamus died very quietly and peacefully about 15 minutes later. May he rest in Christ’s Peace!


Burying Seamie
There was something astonishing about the obsequies of Fr Seamus Ward, whose death was reported in the last AMDG Express. Within the Irish Province he had a low profile,
partly because of his wretched health. He had taught in Bolton Street DIT, and served the Jesuit Refugee Service in Africa. Fr Tom Layden wrote of his “pioneering spirit, inquiring mind and independence of outlook”: a kind man, with an attitude of welcome and encouragement for those around him. He worked out of weakness, a real pastoral asset with which people could identify. His two funerals, one in Florida where he served a parish, the other in Gonzaga chapel, were memorable events, crowded with his kith and kin and friends who loved him and grieved deeply. In death as in life Seamus could spring a surprise.

◆ Interfuse No 145 : Summer 2011 & ◆ The Clongownian, 2011


Fr Séamus (Seamie) Ward (1935-2011)

31st May 1935: Born in Dublin
Early education at Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1953: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1955: First Vows at Emo
1955 - 1958: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1958 - 1961: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1961 - 1964: Belvedere College - Teacher
1964 - 1968: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
10th July 1968: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1968 - 1969: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1969 - 1970: Rathfarnham - Chaplain in DIT Bolton Street
1970 - 1972: Fordham, USA-Studied Sociology; Assisted in Holy Family Parish, NY
1972 - 1974: Rathfarnham - Chaplain in DIT Bolton Street
1974 - 1978: John Austin House - Chaplain in DIT Bolton Street
2nd February 1975: Final Vows
1978 - 1979: Campion House - Chaplain in DIT
1979 - 1982: Rathfarnham - Curate in Wicklow parish
1982 - 1985: Dolphin's Barn - Parish Curate
1985 - 1986: Clongowes - Sabbatical year
1986 - 1988: Clongowes - Assistant Librarian
1988 - 1989: Ethiopia - Jesuit Refugee Service
1989 - 1991: Belvedere College - Refugee work: Cairo, JRS Rome and Ethiopia
1991 - 1992: Working with refugees in Sierra Leone and Somalila
1992 - 1994: Working with refugees in Mali
1994 - 2005: Belvedere College - Pastoral care of refugees.
2005 - 2011: Milltown Park - Parish Chaplaincy, USA
22nd February 2011: Died in Florida USA

Fr Seamus was at St. Mary, Star of The Sea Church, Florida. He had a fall away from the house on 18th February and broke his femur. He was badly shaken and was hospitalised. The doctors advised that he was unlikely to recover. He needed a breathing machine. Fr Conall O Cuinn, Rector of Milltown Park, and a nephew of Seamus’, Eoghan, travelled to the USA on Tuesday 22nd and were met at the airport and taken straight to the hospital. They were waiting for them before removing the breathing machine. There was time for prayers and singing Ag Críost an Siol and Soul of My Saviour. Seamus died very quietly and peacefully about 15 minutes later. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.

Obituary by Brendan Duddy and Noel Barber
Seamie Ward was one of 8 children. He had 5 brothers and 2 sisters who were at the heart of his life. He had a marvellous relationship with his siblings and with their children. I got to know him during our time in UCD. When I arrived in Rathfarnham, he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. The regime was tight and he found the rules of the house somewhat oppressive but he did not take them too seriously. We all felt that we did not have enough time for study; most of us accepted this state of affairs but he did not. He would put his umbrella over his bedside lamp and read through Troilus and Cressida into the night. Serious would have been his fate had he been caught. While others dutifully made off on bikes on special free days, he usually had other ideas, bringing me on one occasion to the Shelbourne Hotel where his father awaited us and ordered toast in a magnificent silver bowl and coffee laced with brandy.

In days when it was presumed that one had to avoid any reading of material that was not 'wholesome', he had the nerve to borrow Joyce's Ulysses in the ritual brown paper bag which the kind librarian passed surreptitiously under the counter, On more regular lines he introduced me to O'Casey's plays and to Swinburne's Atalanta in Calydon. He took a good degree in English, enjoyed the literary delights that were on offer and ignored what was not to his taste. There was an iconoclastic side to him which to some looked as if he saw all authority as authoritarian. There was a shyness which he concealed with a brusqueness that could be disconcerting but he was true gold as a friend. Philosophy in Tullabeg followed where the isolated life did not entirely suit him and literature rather than philosophy captured his interest but doing what was necessary he got through without much effort albeit with little joy but used his time to indulge his literary tastes and to make many excursions, licit and illicit. I then went to Zambia and he to Belvedere where an observer noted that he showed remarkable administrative talents as an assistant to the Prefect of Studies, the formidable Jack Leonard, whose approval and fulsome praise he won. He proved to be a severe disciplinarian and an exacting task master who exercised his authority with a firm hand. However, he won the admiration of the pupils if not their lasting affection. It was noticeable that a number of middle aged men turned up to his funeral – his former pupils from his Belvedere days; they remembered him with something approaching reverence.

His years in Theology were not entirely happy and a contemporary of his considered that his attitude towards authority hardened and he ended up asking to have his ordination postponed to the end of his fourth year. Following his Tertianship in 1968-69 he spent one year in the Dublin Institute of Theology, Bolton Street, before going to Fordham where he took an MA in Sociology. He then returned to Bolton Street where he remained until 1979. I worked with him there and once again he was my mentor and guide. He introduced me to all sorts of people: porters, sweepers, electricians, cooks, his friends in Sean Mc Dermot Street where I became life-long friends with his friends. With these people he was Newman's Perfect Gentleman at ease with all and generous with his time and energy to a fault. He took particular care of foreign students helping them to find their feet. He then spent 3 years (1979-82) as a curate in Wicklow. There he was wonderful with the children, the old folks and with pre-marriage couples. For recreation he took to the joys of sailing, most often with his brother. He moved to Dolphin's Barn in 1982 where he had three not very happy years. He became somewhat restless and spent a few years in Clongowes during which he was unfocused and dispirited.

Then he opened up a new life for himself with the Jesuit Refugee Service from 1988 to 1994. He served in Cairo, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Mali. A person who knew him well in his JRS days commented on his remarkable ability to live in the most austere circumstances, and to accept the hardship and isolation of his assignments without complaint, his great love and devotion to the poor and the weak and the excessive physical demands he made on himself. On the other hand it was noted that for one of his ability and sterling work he lacked self-confidence to a surprising degree and showed that below the surface there could be strong anger which would occasionally flare.

In 1994 he returned to live in Belvedere as a sick man in the grip of severe emphysema but he found a modus vivendi. To avoid the wet, cold Irish winter he began to do supply parish work in California and then Florida where he flourished as he did in Wicklow years before. He devoted himself to the poor and the weak; he gave of his time and people took the chance to pour out their hearts to him and he listened, gave sound advice and became the wise old man.

In the midst of his successful apostolate, he had a fall, went into hospital where, because of his underlying condition, an operation was out of the question. Inevitably he took a bad turn and died quietly and peacefully. As a Jesuit, he was not prominent and was never well known in the Province but despite his difficult middle years and the poor health of his later years he achieved a great deal at the frontiers.

Ward, Kieran J, 1893-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/274
  • Person
  • 02 September 1893-12 June 1972

Born: 02 September 1893, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 07 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 2 February 1929. Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 12 June 1972, Galway Regional Hospital, Galway

Part of the Coláiste Iognáid, Galway community at the time of death

by 1917 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1928 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 47th Year No 3 1972

St Ignatius College, Galway
News has just come of Father Ward's death, after a very short illness, in the Regional Hospital, on the morning of June 12th. He was on the threshold of celebrating his 60th year in the Society.
The Concelebrated Requiem Mass on 14th June was in Irish. Fr O'Shea (nephew) was the First Concelebrant, assisted by Fr Provincial and Fr Rector, Fourteen priests took part in the Concelebrated Mass, many of them old friends of Fr Ward from other houses. Ar láimh dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Obituary :
Fr Ciarán Mac an Bháird SJ (1893-1972)
Fr Ward died in Galway Regional Hospital after a brief illness on Monday, the 12th June, in his 79th year.
His father, Timothy, was a Galway man, but Fr Ward was born in Belfast, where he attended St. Patrick's Christian Brothers School. He completed his secondary education at Belvedere College, Dublin, and entered the Noviceship in Rahan, Tullamore, just sixty years ago in the 7th September, 1912.
After his studies in Rathfarnham he went to Jersey for Philosophy. Owing to the war and danger of conscription he was transferred to Milltown Park to complete the last year of Philosophy, after which he taught in Clongowes from 1919 to 1923. He then returned to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained in 1926. He finished his studies in St Beuno's College, North Wales, and then returned to Clongowes to teach there for three years.
In 1931 he was transferred to the Sacred Heart College, Limerick. He proved himself a very efficient teacher especially in Irish, French and Latin. In addition to this he was Assistant Prefect of Studies, Master of Ceremonies and Minister. As Master of Ceremonies he had charge of the Mass Servers whom he trained with very special care and attention. Many of the congregation commented on the devotion and reverence of the boys under his care.
He was also keenly interested in Drama and produced operettas each year in Irish for Prize Day. He had a special gift of being able to communicate his own personal talent as an actor to the boys he chose for his plays. In addition to all this work he organised each summer groups of boys to spend Irish-speaking holidays in the Kerry Gaeltacht at Ballyferriter and Baile na nGall. In all these activities Fr E Andrews was his ever faithful associate as later in Galway where they again combined energies.
He came to Galway in September 1941 and for 21 years, in addition to full teaching work, he was Adj Pref Studies and Master of Ceremonies in the Church. In this latter work he maintained the high standard of training of Mass Servers which he had reached in the Crescent.
He also continued his former interest in Musical Drama and produced Operettas in Irish each year for prize day. His Drama Groups won many first places at the Féile Drámaíochta in the Taibhdhearc. Many of those dramas he translated from French into Irish.
He carried on Fr Ó Brolcháin's work of training the boys in Irish dancing and his groups won prizes for their four-hand reels,
He was marked down in the Catalogue as “Doc an. 48” and all these years he was completely dedicated to this work. With his great gifts he was a man of singular reserve and self-effacement.
His special interest in promoting the use of Irish as a spoken language in the College had remarkable results and an Inspector from the Department commented on this as a remarkable achievement.
Fr Ward, despite the reserve alluded to, was a very pleasant companion and excellent Community man; a ripe sense of humour enabled him to enter into the cajolery of recreation and with such company as Fr C Perrott, Fr A O'Reilly, Fr Fitzgibbon and Fr Cashman the time passed regularly in even an hilarious fashion. This same bonhomie entered into his dealings with the boys, pupils and altar-servers. He gained their confidence and would recount on occasions quiz-questions and stories he had picked up in their company. He was devoted to his work and could not suffer it to be scamped but even then he would have a laughable encounter to tell about, something he had wormed out of an uncommunicative culprit who was awed by the mock-severity of his teacher's approach.
During the last few years of his life he suffered much from arthritis, but he bore it all in heroic fashion without complaint. Such was his devotion to his work that he won the admiration of parents and boys, who will remember for many years his unselfish devotion to their interests.
The Mayor and Corporation of Galway sent a letter of sympathy to Fr Rector and Community on his death. Ar dheis Dé go raibh & anam.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1972


Father Kyran Ward SJ :

The death occured in Galway in mid-June of Father Kyran Ward, S.J., after a short illness,

Father Ward, who was 78, had been a member of the teaching staff of Coláiste Iognáid since 1941 and had continued to teach there right up to his last illness. He was a talented and devoted teacher of Latin and French. In all, he had been teaching for 48 years, at Clongowes Wood College, Cresent College, Limerick, and Galway,

In Limerick and Galway he produced many school operattas and plays. His drama groups carried off many prizes at the Féile Dramaíochta at the Taibhdhearc in Galway. Several plays had been translated into Irish from the French by himself.

Fr Ward had been in Belfast, where he attended St Patrick's Christian Brother School. The family having moved to Dublin, he came to Belvedere, finishing here in 1912. In September of that year he entered the Jesuits at St Stanislaus' College, Rahan, He studies at Rathfarnham Castle from 1914 till 1916 before travelling to Jersey to study philosophy. On completing his course of philosophy at Milltown Park, he taught at Clongowes from 1919 till 1923. He then returned to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained there in 1926. Fr Ward finished his studies at St Beuno's College, North Wales.

He returned to Clongowes to teach there for three years before being appointed in 1931 to Crescent College, Limerick, where he was Vice-Rector. He remained at the Crescent for ten years before his final appointment to Galway

To his sister, Mrs J B O'Shea; his neice, Mrs Tony Byrne; and his nephew, Fr Maurice O'Shea CC, Artane, Dublin, we offer our sincere sympathy.

Ward, Eugene A, 1906-1976, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/437
  • Person
  • 15 November 1906-20 January 1976

Born: 15 November 1906, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 15 November 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 20 January 1976, Our Lady of Victories, Floral Park, New York NY, USA

Unlce of Séamus - RIP 2011

Early education at O’Connell’s School, Dublin and completed 1st Arts in Commerce at UCD before entry

by 1933 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1973 at Hoylake MA, USA (NEN) working
by 1976 at Floral Park NY, USA (NEB) working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Eugene Ward, S.J.

Who taught in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, in the early 1930s, died recently in the U.S.A., aged 69. Even after four decades, some elderly gentlemen will remember the energy and personal interest with which he overwhelmed them long ago.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 13 February 1976

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 2 1976

Obituary :

Fr Eugene Ward (1906-1976)

Eugene Ward will always be remembered by his contemporaries and friends as a man of tremendous energy and of boundless zeal for souls. He was a born organiser. He was one of the group of scholastics who were the last to study Philosophy in Milltown Park before the transfer of the Philosophate to Tullabeg in 1930. During that year in Milltown Eugene was treasurer of the Ricci Mission Unit founded a year or so before by Frs C Daly, N Roche and Dick Harris. Needless to say the Unit proved a marvellous springboard for Eugene's organising activities. When our coming departure for Tullabeg was officially announced, the problem of transposing the Ricci Mission Unit and its effects arose. Eugene, of course, had a master plan. I, the secretary, was sent into Gardiner Street to see Fr Provincial to ask leave to go by car (a most unusual and unheard of thing in those days), in two stages, first to Roscrea monastery on Saturday; stop the night there and proceed to Tullabeg on Sunday, I remember well Fr Fahy’s beetling eyebrows moving up and down as he said to me, “You may go, but only on one condition - that you do not stop there”.
Then followed two happy years in the Bog (Tullabeg). Grim according to modern standards but happy, with our sketches on Feast Days and plays at Christmas; great villa days on Thursdays, out in the boats on the canal and rivers, to Pollagh, Three Rivers, Shannon Harbour and further.
At the conclusion of the Philosophical Course, Eugene put his zeal into practice and departed to our foreign mission in Hong Kong, where he had full outlet for his missionary spirit but for reasons of health (he was plagued all his life with stomach trouble though physically of great vigour), he never returned to the mission after his tertianship in Rathfarnham, For the rest of his hard-working life he was assigned to pastoral work, Retreats and Missions. His spell in Rathfarnham as Director of Retreats easily compared with that of Fr Barrett, the founder. He built up into a very effective organisation the Knights of Loyola, a lay group dedicated to help the Retreat House.
For five years he was operarius in St. Francis Xavier’s, Gardiner Street, where he lived up to his reputation for work and drive as preacher, confessor and director of Sodalities. His talents as Retreat House Director were again called upon in Manresa Retreat House, where he refurbished the old stables and made them into rooms, and thereby increased the accommodation for Retreatants. After Manresa he spent the rest of his life on the Retreat Staff, with special attention to the Apostleship of Prayer, Our Lady's Sodality and the Blessed Sacrament Crusade, the latter which he worked up very effectively in colleges, schools and institutions throughout the country. During these years of ceaseless work, he had at various times serious illnesses sometimes involving surgery, but they never seemed to sap his energy, though in appearance he grew rather gaunt and emaciated. Finally, in 1971 he went to the United States to fill a need of the diocese of Springfield, Mass. He served at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, Long Island, and also teaching Philosophy at the College of Our Lady of the Elms, Holyoke, Mass. Before Christmas he grew mortally ill and died on January 20th, 1976. He was 50 years in the Society and 37 years a priest.
Eugene was first, last and foremost an apostolic priest who spent his life working for souls. It is no mere pious cliché to say of him that he passed to his Maker, a Jesuit full of merit leaving behind him in Ireland, England, Hong Kong and the States very very many who thank God for his help and ministrations.
“Euge, euge, serve bone et fidelis, intra in gaudium Domini tui”.

Walsh, Patrick J, 1911-1975, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/436
  • Person
  • 17 February 1911-02 May 1975

Born: 17 February 1911, Rosmuc, County Galway
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1946, Broken Hill, Southern Rhodesia
Died: 02 May 1975, Vatican Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Early education at Mungret College SJ; Tertianship at Rathfarnham

by 1937 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1939 at St Aloysius, Sydney, Australia - health
by 1940 in Hong Kong - Regency
by 1946 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - First Zambian Missioners with Patrick JT O’Brien
by 1947 at Brokenhill, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working
by 1962 at Loyola, Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Sec to Bishop of Lusaka

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
In 1926 and 1927, a team of three boys from Mungret College at Feis Luimnighe (Limerick Festival) swept away the first prizes for Irish conversation and debate. The three boys were native Irish speakers. They were Seamus Thornton from Spiddal who became a Jesuit in California and later suffered imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese communists, Tadhg Manning who became Archbishop of Los Angeles and Paddy Walsh from Rosmuc who joined the Irish Province Jesuits in 1928.

Fr Paddy was born in the heart of Connemara, an Irish speaking part of Ireland and grew up in that Irish traditional way of life, a nationalist, whose house often welcomed Padraic Pearse, the Irish nationalist who gave his life in the final struggle for Irish independence. Fr Paddy came to Northern Rhodesia in 1946 and felt an immediate sympathy with the aspirations of the younger and more educated African nationalists.

For regency, he went to Hong Kong, China, but a spot on his lung sent him to Australia where he recovered in the good climate of the Blue Mountains. Back in Ireland for theology and ordination in 1943, he once again volunteered for the missions, this time to Northern Rhodesia where he came in 1946.

His first assignment was Kabwe as superior and education secretary. Chikuni saw him for two years, 1950 and 1951, and then he went north to Kabwata, Lusaka as parish priest where he constructed its first church. From 1958 to 1969 he was parish priest at Kabwata, secretary to Archbishop Adam, chaplain to the African hospital and part-time secretary to the Papal Nuncio. He became involved in the problems of race relations, an obvious source of prejudice, and he had a hand in setting up an inter-racial club in Lusaka where the rising generation of both Africans and Whites could meet on an equal footing. His own nationalist background led him to participate in their struggle which he embraced with enthusiasm. When many of the leaders were arrested and sent to prison, Fr Paddy was a constant source of strength and encouragement, especially for their bereft families. He administered funds for their support which in large part came from the Labour Party in England. He was a friend of Kenneth Kaunda and looked after his family and drove his wife to Salisbury to visit Kaunda in prison. Within six weeks of Independence, Fr Paddy had his Zambian citizenship and at the first annual awards and decorations, the new President Kaunda conferred on him Officer of the Companion Order of Freedom.

In 1969 Fr Paddy had a heart attack and it was decided that he return to Ireland. As a mark of respect and appreciation, the President and some of the ministers carried the stretcher onto the plane.

Fr Paddy recovered somewhat and returned to Roma parish in 1970 but his health did not improve and it was felt that a lower altitude might improve things, so he went back to Ireland and Gibraltar to work there. The Papal Nuncio in South Africa, Archbishop Polodrini who had been in Lusaka, invited Fr Paddy to be his secretary in Pretoria. He accepted the offer in 1973. 0n 2 May 1975 Fr Paddy died in Pretoria of a heart attack and was buried there, a far cry from Rosmuc.

Fr Paddy was completely dedicated to whatever he did, especially in the African hospital where he ministered and he bitterly complained to the colonial powers about the conditions there. He had a great sense of loyalty to people, to a cause, to the Lusaka mission, to the Archbishop himself and to the welfare of the Zambian people and the country.

At the funeral Mass in Lusaka, attended by President Kaunda and his wife, the Secretary General, the Prime Minister and some Cabinet Ministers, Kaunda spoke movingly of his friend Fr Paddy. He said that he had had a long letter from Fr Paddy saying ‘he was disappointed with me, the Party, Government and people of Zambia because we were allowing classes to spring up within our society. Please, Fr Walsh, trust me as you know me, I will not allow the rich to grow richer and the strong to grow stronger’.

Archbishop Adam wrote about Fr Paddy who had worked as his secretary for eleven years: ‘It was not very easy to know and to understand Fr Walsh well. Only gradually I think I succeeded – sometimes in quite a painful way. But the more I knew him the greater was my affection for him, and the respect for his character and qualities. Apart from his total dedication, I admired his total disregard for himself, his feeling for the underprivileged and his deep feeling for justice’.

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

Note from Bob Thompson Entry
With Fr Paddy Walsh he became friends with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other leaders at the Interracial Club. This was all during Federation days.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :


A hundred years ago, Paddy Walsh was born in Rosmuc to an Irish-speaking family that frequently welcomed Padraic Pearse as a visitor. Paddy was the first Irish Jesuit missionary to “Northern Rhodesia”. He felt a natural sympathy with the leaders of the struggle for independence. When Kenneth Kaunda (pictured here) was imprisoned by the Colonials, Paddy drove his wife and family 300 miles to visit him in Salisbury gaol. As a citizen of the new Zambia, Paddy was trusted by Kaunda. He upbraided the President for permitting abortion, and for doing too little for the poor. Kaunda revered him, insisted on personally carrying the stretcher when Paddy had to fly to Dublin for a heart operation, and wept as he eulogised Paddy after his death: “This was the one man who would always tell me the truth without fear or favour.”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. O'Brien and Walsh left Dublin on January 4th on their long journey to North Rhodesia (Brokenhill Mission of the Polish Province Minor). They hope to leave by the "Empress of Scotland" for Durban very soon.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

From Rhodesia.
Frs. O'Brien and Walsh reached Rhodesia on February 21st. They were given a great welcome by Mgr. Wolnik. He has his residence at Lusaka and is alone except for one priest, Fr. Stefaniszyn who did his theology at Milltown Park. Lusaka is the capital of Northern Rhodesia and is a small town of the size of Roundwood or Enniskerry.
Fr. O'Brien goes to Chikuni, which is a mission station with a training school for native teachers. Fr. Walsh is appointed to Broken Hill. where he will work with another father. ADDRESSES : Fr. Walsh, P.O. Box 87, Broken Hill, N. Rhodesia; Fr. O'Brien, Chikuni P.O., Chisekesi Siding. N. Rhodesia

Fr. Walsh, Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia, 16-2-46 :
Fr. O'Brien and I arrived in Durban on February 6th, having come via Port Said and the Suez Canal. The voyage was a tiresome one, as the ship was overcrowded - in our cabin, a two-berth one in normal times, we had thirteen, so you can imagine what it was like coming down through the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa. We had a large contingent of British soldiers as far as Port Said. They got off there to go to Palestine. We had also about six hundred civilians, demobilised service-men, their wives and children. We had ten Christian Brothers, two Salesian priests, two military chaplains (both White Fathers), six Franciscan Missionary Sisters going to a leper colony quite near Bioken Hill, four Assumption Sisters, and two Holy Family Sisters, so we had quite a big Religious community.
Our first stop was Port Said where we got ashore for a few hours. We moved on from there to Suez and anchored in the Bitter Lakes for a day and a half. There we took on three thousand African (native) troops, most of them Basutos. The Basuto soldiers were most edifying. There were several hundred of them at Mass every morning, very many of whom came to Holy Comnunion. They took a very active part in the Mass too - recited the Creed and many other prayers in common, and sang hymns in their native language, and all this on their own initiative. They are certainly a credit to whatever Missionaries brought them the Faith.
Our next stop was Mombasa, Kenya, then on to Durban. The rainy season was in and it rained all the time we were there. We arrived in Joannesburg on Saturday night, February 9th. We broke our journey there, because we were very tired, I had a heavy cold, and there was no chance of saying Mass on the train on Sunday. We were very hospitably received by the Oblate Fathers, as we had been also in Durban. I could not praise their hospitality and kindness to us too highly. Many of them are Irish, some American and South African. We remained in Jo'burg until Monday evening and went on from there to Bulawayo. We had a few hours delay there and went to the Dominican Convent where we were again most kindly received - the Mother Prioress was a Claddagh woman. We were unable to see any of the English Province Jesuits. Salisbury, where Fr. Beisly resides, would have been three hundred miles out of our way. Here at Livingstone we visited the Irish Capuchians. We were both very tired, so we decided to have a few days' rest. We have visited Victoria Falls - they are truly wonderful. The Capuchians have been most kind to us and have brought us around to see all the sights. It is wonderful to see giraffes, zebras and monkeys roaming around. Recently one of the Brothers in our mission was taken off by a lion. We expect to come to Broken Hill on Wednesday night. Most of our luggage has gone on before us in bond. We were able to say Mass nearly every day on the boat, except for a few days when I was laid up with flu. I think we are destined for the ‘Bush’ and not for the towns on the railway. It is very hot here, but a different heat from Hong Kong, very dry and not so oppressive. On the way up here we could have been travelling anywhere in Ireland, but they all say ‘wait till the rainy season is over’.”

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Rhodesia :
Fr. P. Walsh, P.O. Box 87, Broken Hill, N. Rhodesia, 15-8-46 :
“On the day of my final vows I ought to try to find time to send you a few lines. My heart missed a few boats while I glanced down the Status to see if there was anyone for Rhodesia. Fr. O'Brien and I are very well and both very happy. I met Fr. O'Brien twice since I came out, once when he came to Broken Hill, and again last month when I went to Chikuni to give a retreat to the Notre Dame Sisters who are attached to our mission there. Chikuni is a beautiful mission. The school buildings there are a monument to the hard work done by our lay brothers. The brothers whom I have met out here have struck me immensely. They can do anything, and are ready to do any work. Yet they are wonderfully humble men and all deeply religious. I am well settled in to my work now, You may have heard that I have been appointed Superior of Broken Hill. I am blessed in the small number of my subjects. My main work continues to be parish work among the white population. As well as that I am Principal of a boarding school situated about eight miles outside Broken Hill. We follow the ordinary school curriculum for African schools, and we also have a training-school for vernacular teachers. Most of the work is done by native teachers. I go there about three times a week and teach Religion, English and History One lay-brother lives permanently at the school. He is seventy two years of age but still works on the farm all day. The farm is supposed to produce enough food to support the boys in the school (and sometimes their wives), The hot season is just starting now. It has been very cold for the last month. L. have worn as much clothes here in July and August as ever I wore in the depth of winter at home. Although we do not get any rain during the cold season, still the cold is very penetrating. It will be hot from now till November or December, when the rains come. We were to have Fr. Brown of the English Province here as a Visitor. (He was formerly Mgr. Brown of S. Rhodesia). He had visited a few of our missions and was on his way to Broken Hill when he got a stroke of some kind. He is at present in hospital. One leg is paralysed completely and the other partially. He is 69 years of age, so he will hardly make much of a recovery. It is difficult to find time for letter writing. I seem to be kept going all day, and when night-time comes there is not much energy left”.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 50th Year No 2 1975

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Walsh (1911-1975)

In 1926 and 1927 a team of three boys representing Mungret at Feis Luimnighe swept away first prizes for Irish conversation and debate. Small wonder, since they were all native speakers. All three of them became missionary priests. Séamus Thornton, SJ suffered imprisonment at the hands of Chinese communists; Tadhg Manning is now Archbishop of Los Angeles, and Paddy Walsh was one of the six boys three “lay” and three “apostolic” - who joined the Irish Province from Mungret on the 1st of September, 1928.
The transfer of the novitiate from Tullabeg to Emo took place about a month before his first vows, Juniorate at Rathfarnham and UCD, and Philosophy in Tullabeg followed the normal pattern, but for regency Paddy went to Hong Kong. Before long, a spot was discovered on his lung and he was sent to the Blue Mountains in Australia, where he felt his isolation from the Society, but where he was cured. Ordination in Milltown (1943) and Tertianship in Rathfarnham completed his course and then, in 1945, an urgent cry for help came from the Polish Province Mission to Northern Rhodesia. Paddy O'Brien and Paddy Walsh were the first two Irish Jesuits to answer. There are about seventy three languages and dialects in that country, so they had to learn the one used by the Tonga people who inhabit the southerly region in which Canisius College, Chikuni, is situated. It was, however, after his transfer to the capital, Lusaka, that the main work of his life began. It entailed learning another language, Nyanja, and plunged him into pastoral work. As Parish Priest of Regiment Church, so called because it lay near a military barracks, and Chaplain to the hospital, he laboured untiringly for the spiritual and temporal well-being of his flock, with whom he identified himself. They were poor, sick and sometimes leprous. Father Paddy’s letters to the Press, exposing their misery and calling for action, made him unpopular with some of the Colonial administrators, but enthroned him in the hearts of his African people.
Their aspiration to political freedom found a ready sympathiser in one whose boyhood home in Rosmuc had frequently received Padraic Pearse as a welcome visitor: Leaders of the Nationalist movement, Harry Nkumbula, Simon Kapapwe and Kenneth Kaunda, were emerging: They trusted Paddy and he stood by them in face of opposition from Colonials. When they were imprisoned, Paddy administered the fund - largely subscribed by the British Labour Party - for the support of their wives and children. It was Paddy who drove Kenneth Kaunda’s wife and family the three hundred miles to visit him in Salisbury gaol.
When independence was won in 1964, Paddy took citizenship in the new Republic of Zambia (named after the Zambezi River) and its first President Kenneth Kaunda conferred the highest civil honour upon him, Commander of the Order of Companions of Freedom. With the destiny of their country in their own hands now, the new rulers of Zambia faced the enormous problems of mass illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty. Using their wealth of copper to enlist aid from abroad and finance huge development plans, they have made gigantic progress.
Paddy continued his priestly work in Lusaka until a heart attack struck him down in 1969. Though the air-journey would be risky, it was necessary to send him home for surgery. President Kaunda and Cabinet Ministers carried the stretcher that bore him to the aeroplane. BOAC had heart specialists ready at Heathrow Airport, who authorised the last stage of the journey to Dublin, Paddy FitzGerald inserted a plastic valve in the heart, with such success that Father Paddy's recovery seemed almost miraculous.
He returned to Zambia, but felt that more could be done for his beloved poor. He was very disappointed, too, by the passing of a law permitting abortion. Maybe, he had a dream of a Zambian utopia, and could not bear to think that it had not been realised. He returned to Ireland; worked for a very short time in Gibraltar, and, finally, went to Pretoria as Secretary to the Papal Nuncio in 1973. There he died suddenly on the 2nd of May, 1975.
It was as impossible for Paddy to dissemble or compromise as it was to spare himself in the pursuit of his ideal. The driving force of his life and of his work for Zambia was his love of Christ. In the retreat that Fr John Sullivan gave us before our first vows in Emo, he said: “Any friend of the poor is a friend of Christ. It is the nature of the case”. Paddy both learned and lived that lesson. An dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Irish Province News 51st Year No 3 1976

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Walsh (1928-1975)

“Fr Paddy Walsh was amazingly and touchingly honoured by the nation when President Kaunda preached a eulogy of him at a funeral Mass on 13th May 1975. The huge Christian love that ‘KK’ displayed in his talk was wonderful to hear. There were few dry eyes in the Church”. (So runs a letter from Fr Lou Haven, S.J., Zambia.)
A Zambian newspaper article (by Times reporter') featuring the event says:
President Kaunda has vowed that he would fight tooth and nail to ensure that the rich did not grow richer and the strong stronger in Zambia. Dr Kaunda broke down and wept when he made the pledge before more than 400 people who packed Lusaka’s Roma cathedral to pay their last respects to missionary Fr Patrick Walsh who died in South Africa. He revealed that Fr Walsh, an old friend of his, had decided to leave Zambia because “we had failed in our efforts to build a classless society”. In an emotion-charged voice, Dr Kaunda told the hushed congregation: “Fr Walsh revealed to me in a long letter that he was disappointed with me, the Party, Government and people of Zambia. He had gone in protest because we were allowing classes to spring up in our society”.
The President, who several times lapsed into long silences, said: “Please, Fr Walsh, trust me as you know me. I will not allow the rich to grow richer and the strong to grow stronger”.
To the Kaundas, Fr Walsh meant “something”. He came to help when the President was in trouble because of his political beliefs. “Fr Walsh looked after my family when I was away from home for long periods due to the nature of my work ... What can I say about such a man? He drove Mrs Kaunda to Salisbury to see mę while I was in prison ... What can I say about such a man?” ... he asked, In 1966, Dr Kaunda decorated him with the rank of Officer of the Companion Order of Freedom. He was a Zambian citizen.
Fr Lou Haven adds: “Paddy had been the support of the President's family when many of his friends deserted him during the struggle for independence. Dr Kaunda often had to be away from his family for long stretches during that time, rousing the people hundreds of miles away to a desire for independence, and sitting in jail, Fr Walsh was father to his whole family for years.'

Fr Walsh arrived in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in 1946, as one of the first two Irish Jesuits sent out here, the second being Fr PJT O'Brien.
An ardent Irishman, deeply steeped in Irish history and culture, he nevertheless wholeheartedly answered the Lord's call to leave his beloved Ireland and to go to the ends of the earth’ to serve his less fortunate brethren. First, as a scholastic, he was sent to China, but because of his poor health there seemed to be little hope of him every becoming a missionary. He was sent to Australia to recuperate his health, then back to Ireland. There he heard the appeal for help in Zambia, where the mission confided to the Polish Jesuits was in great difficulties as a result of the war and then of the post-war situation in Poland. He offered himself immediately, and was accepted. Arriving here in February, 1946, he gave his all to his newly-found mission, firstly in what was the apostolic prefecture, then the vicariate, and finally the archdiocese of Lusaka. He was appointed superior, first in Kabwe (then Broken Hill), then, after four years, in Chikuni. Finally, he was transferred to Lusaka as parish priest in St Francis Xavier's (“Regiment”, today St Charles Lwanga) church, where he re-roofed the old church and built the first parish-house. In 1958 he became my secretary, acting at the same time as chaplain to what was then called the African hospital, and as parish priest in Kabwata, where he built the first church.
It was not very easy to know and to understand Fr Walsh well. Only gradually I think that I succeeded sometimes in quite a painful way. But the more I knew him, the greater was my affection for him, and the respect for his character and qualities. Apart from his total dedication and the efficiency with which he applied himself to whatever duties were imposed on him, I admired his total disregard for himself. This became so evident to me when I had to supply for him in the hospital during his absence. Only when trying to do what he was doing day after day, week after week, did I realise what a hard task he took on himself as a “part time” occupation. For years he used to get up shortly after 4 a.m. to bring our Lord to the sick and to comfort the suffering. Every evening, once again he used to go to the hospital, to find out new cases and to hear confessions. He took particular care in baptising every child in danger of death.
The second quality which I admired so much in him was his feeling for the underprivileged. On seeing one who was poor or downtrodden, he automatically stood by him, and would not only show his sympathy openly, but would do everything in his power to assist him. It was not just sentiment that made him take such a stand, but a deep feeling for justice, on which he was absolutely uncompromising. I know of one case when, in spite of his sympathy towards the “liberation movements”, he completely broke off relations with one of them: he was convinced that they had committed an act of grave injustice against those whom they were fighting
I think that St Ignatius, who had such a great sense of loyalty, found a worthy son in Fr Walsh. Once he had given his loyalty to people or to a cause, he remained 100 per cent loyal. He gave his loyalty to Zambia and her people: he was absolutely, 100 per cent, loyal to them: some might have reason to say 105 per cent. I think this was typically Irish, in the best sense of the word. He gave his loyalty to the Lusaka mission - he remained absolutely loyal to it. On a more personal level, he gave his loyalty to me as his archbishop, and he was 100 per cent loyal - probably 105 per cent. I must mention yet another of his loyalties: he came here to help the Polish Jesuits in their need, and he was and remained absolutely loyal to them. Being a Polish Jesuit, I can never forget this.
I came to bid farewell to him before his departure from Zambia in 1973. I could not stay until his actual departure from the airport, because it was a Saturday, and I had to be back to say Mass in Mumbwa. He accompanied me to my car, then suddenly took me by the hand. All he could say was a whisper: “Pray for me"...and he nearly ran back to his room.
God called him since to Himself, I lost a loyal friend, and Zambia lost a very loyal son,

  • Adam Kozlowiecki, SJ, Chingombe, written on the first anniversary of Paddy's death

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1951

A Letter from Northern Rhodesia

Father Paddy Walsh SJ

My Dear Boys,

As I write these lines, my thoughts go back to my last year in Mungret when I first thought of devoting my life to the work of the African Missions. That was in 1928. But my wish to become a missionary in Africa was not fulfilled for many years afterwards and it was only in February, 1946, that I finally arrived in N Rhodesia. Eighteen years was a long time to have to wait, but I found on my arrival that there was plenty of work still to be done, and that even if God spared me for twenty or thirty years of missionary work, there would still be a lot to be done by those who came after me.

Northern Rhodesia is very much part of the “Dark Continent”. Comparatively few of its one and a half million people are Christians. Our mission covers an area of 65,000 square miles, or twice the size of Ireland. It extends from the great Zambesi river in the south to the borders of the Belgian Congo in the North. The African population numbers about 400,000 souls, and of these scarcely 6 per cent. have neen washed by the cleansing waters of Baptism.

The people of Northern Rhodesia are of the Bantu race, but while they may be classified as one race, they are divided into many distinct tribes, and each tribe has a distinct language of its own. There is, for example, the great Bemba tribe in the North; the language of the Bemba is Ci-Bemba. Then in the south there in the Tonga tribe who speak Ci-Tonga. The diversity of tribes and consequently of languages adds to the Northern Rhodesian Missionaries' difficulties. When he arrives on the mission for the first time he may find himself posted to a mission station among the Bemba, and so he sets himself to learn to the Bemba language. After a few years he may find him self transferred to another district - perhaps among the Tonga people, so once again he has to start to acquire another language,

The Tonga are a large tribe in the Southern Province of N Rhodesia, and it is among them that I am at present working. They are an agricultural people, racy of the soil, attached to their homes, and, unlike many other tribes, they like to remain in their villages, cultivate a littie plot of maize, and rear their cattle. The Ba-Tonga number about 125,000 and of these there are about 12,000 catholics. To preach the Gospel to this number of people, to attend to our 12,000 Christians, to travel over this large extent of country, we have only twelve priests! True it is that here as in most mission fields; “the harvest is great but the labourers are few”.

A large part of our missionary work is done through our village schools. These are staffed by African teachers who are trained at our own Teacher Training School. They teach the children the catechism and prepare them for baptism. When the missionary finds a group of children whom he considers sufficiently instructed, he brings them in to his mission-station and there gives them a few weeks final preparation for the sacrament of baptism. Then comes the inevitable examination, and each child has to be examined separately. We wish to baptise only those who show good promise of persevering as good solid Christians and who will be the foundation of the Catholic Church in N Rhodesia. So there are bound to be some who fail to pass the test, and it requires a hard heart to turn them away and tell them they must come again in a year's time. Many of these boys and girls may have walked a distance of forty miles to come to the mission for instruction and baptism. But I am glad to say that the numbers we have to send away unbaptised are few; the great majority are well instructed by their teachers, and to them we owe a great debt of gratitude for the part they play in helping us to do our missionary work.

The last group we had in here for baptims numbered about three hundred and the majority of them returned to their distant villages as children of God and heirs to the kingdom of heaven. When those children return to their villages they have to try to live a Christian life in the midst of pagan surroundings, live in the same house with fathers and mothers who are pagans, play with children who are pagans, and they are deprived of many of the helps and graces that are the heritage of every Irish boy and girl. For the greater part, in spite of such difficulties they persevere and remain true to their faith, The hope of the future Church of N. Rhodesia lies with them.

Next week I expect a group of boys and girls to come in for instruction and Baptism. They will come from the Zambesi valley, and will be the first group for Baptism from this area . . ... and so the work goes on-founding little Christian groups throughout the part of God's mission field entrusted to us.

Dear Boys, pray that these little groups will grow and flourish, so that before long the whole of this Pagan country may become part of the great Kingdom of Christ.

My special regards to all old Mungret men, and especially to those of the years 1924 1928.

I remain

Yours sincerely in Our Lord,


Wallace, Martin, 1912-1973, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2215
  • Person
  • 12 November 1912-29 March 1973

Born: 12 November 1912, Carraroe, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Mary's Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 29 March 1973, St Ignatius College, Athelstone, Adelaide, Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Martin Wallace was educated at local schools until he was sixteen, and was a teacher of Irish before entering the Society at St Mary's, Emo Park, 7 September 1938. He studied philosophy at Tullabeg, 1940-43, and did regency at Galway, 1943-44. Theology was at Milltown Park, 1944-48, and tertianship at Rathfarnham, 1948-49. He taught Irish, English, mathematics and religion at Galway, 1949-61, and was assistant prefect of studies for the preparatory school, 1954-60.
It is not clear why he came to Australia, but he taught religion, English, and history at St Ignatius' College, Norwood, 1962-66, and then moved to the new school at Athelstone in 1967. He had been offered job in Ireland to teach Irish, but he wanted to remain in Australia. In his earlier days in Australia he was well liked as a warm, cultured and sensitive man with a love of theology, history and the classics. He was a gifted conversationalist.
But he was also a conservative man, fearful of changes in the post~Vatican II Church and Society He was sensitive in personal relationships and not very tolerant of opinions differing from his own. However, the younger boys that he taught appreciated him, affectionately calling him “Skippy”. He had a lively wit, and was kind to his students. He suffered from insomnia for many years and would pass long nights reading the latest theological journals. He rarely left the community grounds, spending his spare time in the garden constructing an extraordinary series of rock gardens, paths and bridges along the creek that bordered the school property at Athelstone. He was at home with nature where he found peace and serenity.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 48th Year No 2 1973
Obituary :
An tAthair Máirtín de Bhailís (Martin Wallace)
Fadó, fadó, as the old tales tell, a young boy served Mass in his home parish of Cillín, An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara. He was one of the best and most reliable servers, so efficient was he, indeed, and so much at home at the altar that many of the local people predicted that he would one day be a priest. That boy was Máirtín de Bhailís or, as he was known to the neighbours, Máirtín Bheartla Tom Rua. In some parts of Ireland where there are many families of the same surname it is customary to identify an individual by adding to his own name the names of his father and grandfather.
Máirtín, was born on November 12th, 1912 and death deprived him of a mother's care at a very early age. His good father brought up the family on very slender resources and Máirtín had an abiding sense of gratitude to him for his fortitude and devotion to duty. His teacher in the primary school, Micheál Ó Nualláin, considered Máirtín to be one of the brightest lads he had ever had in his school. Educational facilities beyond the primary level were non-existent in An Cheathrú Rua at that time; how he would have benefited from the magnificent post-primary schools there today! Máirtin went into Galway to do a commercial course at the Technical School there. He became secretary of the city branch of Conradh na Gaeilge. Fr Andy O’Farrell, who had known Máirtín from the many vacations which he spent in the Gaeltacht, was President of the branch. He invited Máirtín to become a member of the teaching staff of Coláiste Ignaád. It was a wise and fortunate choice, for he proved to be a born teacher. All who were his pupils have nothing but the highest praise for him. A great friend of Máirtín in those days and for the rest of his life was Mgr. Eric Mac Fhinn, still happily with us.
When Máirtín began to think of the priesthood, An tAth, Eric coached him in Latin for Matriculation. Before he entered the Noviceship at Emo on September 7th, 1938, this good friend took him with him on a trip to Rome. This was one of the great joys of his life. After his noviceship, Máirtín went to Tullabeg for Philosophy in 1940. The 1943 Status posted him back to Coláiste lognáid where he taught for one more year before going on to Milltown for Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 30th, 1947 and said his first Mass at St Andrew’s, Westland Row. On the hill tops round his home parish bonfires blazed a welcome for An t-Ath Máirtín, who was the first priest from the parish within living memory. It was a memorable experience for him and for his family. After Tertianship in Rathfarnham, he was once more posted to Galway as Doc. There he was to remain for over a dozen years until he set sail for Australia.
It was during these years that Máirtín began the work at which he particularly excelled and which gave him immense pleasure translating into Irish selections of the writings of the Fathers. He was a perfectionist and a most painstaking worker in this field. This was well illustrated in a book of his, “Moladh na Maighdine”, which was published by FÁS in 1961 and which proved to be a best seller; it is long since out of print. The work is divided into two main sections. The first, entitled “Moladh na Naomh”, is described by the author as “Tiontú ar na startha is taitneamhaí san Breviarium Romanum i dtaobhi Mháthair Dé”. The second section is called “Moladh Sinsear”, and the author says of this, “Chuir mó a raibh soláimhsithe dtár bprós agus dár bhfilíocht féin i dtaobh Mháthair Dé i dtaca an aistriúcháin”. By doing this, he wished to show how our ancestors thoughts on Our Lady corresponded to those of the saints and theologians of the universal church, Máirtín was working on a translation of the Confessions of St Augustine and had completed a good deal of it when bo found that An tAth Pádraig Ó Fiannachta of Maynooth was doing a similar work. He very generously loaned his version to An tAth Pádraig. The latter states in the foreword of his book, “Mise Agaistin”' that Máirtín's version as of great help to him.
Those who were privileged to know Máirtín de Bhailís will remember him as a man of immense good humour and warm humanity, an excellent companion. It was a delight to hear him speak in the lovely Irish of Cois Fharraige. One felt regret that he had not been assigned to University studies, for he had a great talent for scholarship and would undoubtedly have distnguished himself in this field. It was a great loss to the Province when, in 1961, he set sail for far-off Australia. Due to the onset of a form of arthritis, his medical adviser urged him to seek a drier climate where the condition could be arrested.
For information of Fr Máirtin’s years down under' we are indebted to his Rector at St Ignatius College, Athelstone. Adelaide, Fr P D Hosking. From his arrival in Australia in 1962 until 1966, Máirtín taught at Norwood, Adelaide, and then moved to Athelstone when St Ignatius College transferred its senior school there. He taught at St Ignatius from that time until his death which occurred in an interval between classes on the morning of March 29th. About a year previously he had had a very serious illness and this, no doubt, had taken its toll on the heart. One feels that, had it been left to his own choice, this how he would have wished to go to God-in harness, so to speak.
In the course of a very moving panegyric at the Requiem Mass for Fr Máirtín, The Rector had this to say: “He was essentially a simple man and a gentle man, but with a roguish Irish humour. It is because of such qualities that he won universal love and affection. When he was very ill last year many of the boys showed great concern and frequently asked about his health, There would be few, if any, of his past pupils who would not remember his quick wit, his deep human understanding and his genuine concern for their well-being. He was a man who had won the undivided loyalty and respect of the young
As a simple man he had a great love for nature, and especially for his garden along the banks of the creek at Athelstone. But at the same time he was widely read, and had delved into numerous books on Spirituality, on history and on literature. He revealed this depth of learning by the scope of his conversation. There were few topics about which he could not rightly claim to have genuine knowledge though he did always say that he was no mathematician!
Above all else he was a priest, a spiritual man, a man who loved God deeply and showed this by every aspect of his life. He He had particular devotion to Our Blessed Lady, he wrote one book about her in his native Gaelic, and translated another one .... We pray for Fr Martin today, that God may receive this gentle soul gently and mercifully. We are grateful for the example and for the memory of such a man who meant so much in our lives at St Ignatius College. The whole school family says goodbye to him today with heavy hearts, but knowing that our part of the world is a better place for his having been in it and lived with us”
Solas na bhFlaitheas dá anam uasal!

Wafer, Frank, 1934-2021, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/570
  • Person
  • 09 April 1934-17 September 2021

Born: 09 April 1934, Dalkey, County Dublin
Entered: 14 September 1951, St Mary’s Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1965, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, St Ignatius, Stamford Hill, London, England
Died: 17 September 2021, Coptic Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia - Southern Africa Province (SAP)

Part of the Chula House, Lusaka community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM, 03 December 1969

1951-1953 St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
1953-195 Rathfarnham Castle - Studying
1956-1959 St Stanislaus College Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1959-1962 Chivuna, Moinze - Regency studying language, then teaching at Canisius College, Chikuni
1962-1963 Innsbruck, Austria - studying Theology
1963-1966 Milltown Park - studying Theology
1966-1967 Rathfarnham Castle - Tertianship
1967-1971 St Ignatius College London - studying Education, then studying Music
1971-1980 Charles Lwanga, Monze, Zambia - teaching Music
1980-1991 Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze, Zambia
1991-2017 Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
2017-201 Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia


Padraig Swan, Director of Faith and Service Programmes in Belvedere College, reflects on the life of Frank Wafer SJ, who worked with the Tonga people in Zambia to preserve their language and music.

This year, Frank Wafer SJ marks his 70th anniversary in the Society of Jesus, an incredible achievement and celebration of a lifelong vocation.

Frank was born in 1934 in Dublin and attended Christian Brothers’ schools in Dun Laoghaire and Monkstown. He joined the Jesuits in 1951 when he was just 17. He completed his Bachelors’ Degree in UCD before going to Tullybeg for Philosophy. He first went to Zambia in 1959 for his Regency, and spent the next two years in Chivuna and Chikuni. In 1961 he went to study theology in Innsbruck, Austria and he completed this part of his Jesuit education in Milltown, Dublin, where he was ordained in 1965.

He completed his Tertianship in 1966, obtaining an MA from the London University School of Oriental and African Studies. That year he also went back to Zambia as a missionary, following in the footsteps of many Irish Jesuits. It was the beginning of many years living and working in rural Chikuni in the diocese of Monze in Southern Zambia.

Preservation of Tonga Culture

Andrew Lesniara SJ, who worked with him in Chikuni spoke of his love of music and of the Tonga culture and described his work to preserve the heritage of the people who lived there.

“At the very beginning of his work in Zambia Fr Frank Wafer recognised the importance of music and dance in the life of the Tonga people. He was one of the first missionaries of inculturation that was not being talked about or addressed. He drove on his motorbike and recorded traditional music. Based on these tunes, he worked with a team of people who composed Catholic hymns in native Tonga for use at Mass and other occasions.

These became very popular and from them sprang activities of local composers who were given the green light to break tradition of singing Latin hymns and translating lyrics into Tonga. The music was recorded on reel-to-reel tape recorders and these recordings were used to teach hymns and songs to others in their native language. The collection is currently being digitised to preserve them, otherwise the unique and large collection will be lost. These audio archives will eventually be available online for researchers and cultural enthusiasts.”

In addition to writing and recording liturgical music – which is still in use today – Frank spent much of his priestly life writing dictionaries. He created the only Tonga-English dictionary available in the world. He also established the Mukanzubo Institute and Museum in Chikuni for the promotion of Tonga culture, music and dance for the next generation.

The One Who Sings

Frank is known as maembo in the Tonga language, meaning ‘the one who sings’. He recognised the importance of holding on to the traditions for the younger generations, and in particular the music. In June 2019, I travelled with a radio producer and professional photographer to Chikuni to start the work of preserving the many recordings made by Frank. In all there are 343 ‘reel to reel’ tapes and 201 cassette tapes of recordings. I had been visiting Chikuni and Mukanzubo for many years and responded to an ongoing request to help preserve the recordings that were stored in a metal filing cabinet and in danger of deteriorating giving a sense of urgency to the project.

The process of preserving the recordings was to first create a catalogue of what recordings were there and to index them with details such as numbering each tape, describing the box, writing a note of the description on the box, the condition of the tape, the size etc. Each tape and associated notes were also photographed. This process took several days and was facilitated by Yvonne Ndala and Mabel Chombe from the Mukanzubo Institute. The final result is most likely the only comprehensive record of all the recordings made by Frank.

Retirement in Lusaka

Since his retirement from Mukanzubo and Chikuni Frank has spent his time in John Chula House in Lusaka where he is cared for by the Jesuits and a medical team. We were delighted to see him look so well and to be able to share with him the news that work had begun on preserving the large archives of recordings he made, when we visited him in 2019. The news that his recordings would be kept for posterity brought him great joy.
As he marks his 70th anniversary in the Jesuits it is without doubt that he has already left a great legacy – to the Zambia Jesuit Province, to his own personal vocation as a missionary, and to the Tonga people. He has indeed served his mission for the Greater Glory of God. AMDG.

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) mourns the loss of Fr Francis Wafer SJ.

After several years of declining health he passed away peacefully this afternoon, Friday 17 September 2021, the Feast of St Robert Bellarmine, at the Coptic Hospital in Lusaka. Fr Wafer will be remembered for his deep care for the Tonga people in Chikuni Mission, where he founded and directed the Mukanzubo Kalinda Institute.

We commend Fr Wafer to the Lord, knowing that he is now at peace.


Fr Francis Wafer was born on 9 April 1934 in Dalkey, Ireland to William and Kathleen Wafer. After completing his schooling with the Christian Brothers in Monkstown, he entered the Novitiate of the Society on 14 September 1951 in Emo Park. He completed his Juniorate at Rathfarnham from 1953-1956 and then went on to do his Philosophy studies at Tullabeg (1956-1959). In 1960-1961 he was missioned to complete his Regency at Canisius Secondary School in Chikuni, Zambia. He did his Theology at Innsbruck and Milltown between 1962-1966, and was ordained 29 July 1965 in Dublin. He was soon sent on Tertianship at Rathfarnham between 1966-1967 and took Final Vows on 2 February 1968. He read for an MA at the University of London' School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), graduating in 1969, before moving to Zambia where he became a Lecturer at St Charles Lwanga College in Chikuni from 1970-1978. Some stints of pastoral work followed, in Kasiya in 1979, and Nakambala in 1980. He then returned to Chikuni and was Parish Priest at St Mary’s, Monze from 1981-1989 but fell ill. Between 1989-1990 he returned to Dublin to recover. He then returned to Chiknui and started the Mukanzubo Kalinda Institute from 1990-2007 where he worked as Director. He stepped down as Director but remained working there from 2007-2014, and from 2014-2015, with his failing health, he took a step back, only assisting when he could, but finally retired to Chula House in Lusaka in 2015 where he stayed until his death on the Feast of St Robert Bellarmine, 17 September 2021. He will be remembered for his formidable contributions in learning and conserving Tonga Culture and for his deep respect for and love of the local people.

Veale, Joseph, 1921-2002, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/584
  • Person
  • 07 March 1921-11 October 2002

Born: 07 March 1921, Drumcondra, Dublin / Ranelagh, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 01 December 1977, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 11 October 2002, St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, County Dublin

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

by 1963 at Fordham NY, USA (NEB) studying

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Veale, Joseph (‘Joe’)
by Bobby McDonagh

Veale, Joseph (‘Joe’) (1921–2002), Jesuit priest and teacher, was born 7 March 1921 in Dublin, younger of two children and only son of William J. Veale, civil servant, and Mary Veale (née Mullholland), both of Dublin. After primary education at St Patrick's national school, Drumcondra, Dublin, and secondary education at CBS Synge St., Dublin, he entered the Society of Jesus 7 September 1938. He studied arts at UCD (1940–43), philosophy at Tullabeg (1943–6), and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin (1949–53), where he was ordained as a Jesuit priest on 31 July 1952, spending his tertianship at Rathfarnham (1953–4).

Veale taught at Belvedere College, Dublin (1946–9), and at Gonzaga College, Dublin (1954–72). As a teacher of English and religion, he was central to the conception and development of Gonzaga College as a school with exceptional academic standards, in which the emphasis, in practice as well as theory, was on education and expression rather than on examinations. He was the founder and inspiration of the school debating society, An Comhdháil. While working as a teacher, Joe Veale wrote several influential articles about education which were published in Studies, as well as a number of articles in the Irish Monthly including a number on literary criticism. His article ‘Men speechless’ (Studies, xlvi (autumn 1957)), which set out his philosophy and vision of education, was widely influential. During his years as a teacher he also made an important contribution to the recasting of the national English curriculum for secondary schools. However, his principal contribution as a teacher, and probably his most enduring significance, was where he would have wished it to be – in the classroom itself. A teacher of exceptional insight, ability, and dedication, he inspired in a generation of pupils a capacity for independent thought. His rare understanding of language, and his skill in using it, equipped a great many of his pupils with a greater ability than they could otherwise have had to analyse the spoken and written word, to evaluate ideas, and to express their thoughts effectively.

From 1972 to 2002 he was based at Milltown Park, where his activities included study, research, lecturing, and spiritual direction. He became an authority on the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius, which he directed in Ireland, Britain, and the United States. He lectured on spirituality at the Milltown Institute, gave retreats and conferences in many countries, and was widely regarded as an exceptional spiritual director. From 1976 to 1985, and again from 1986 to 1988, he was director of Jesuits in their tertianship. He spent extensive periods every year at Boston College in the United States.

While based at Milltown Park, he wrote extensively about Ignatian spirituality, including Saint Ignatius speaks about ‘Ignatian prayer’ (St Louis, 1996; published as part of Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits); contributions to three books on the subject; and numerous articles in The Way, Studies, Milltown Studies, Religious Life Review, and The Furrow. In an article (Catholic Herald, 24 Jan. 2003) Anthony Symondson wrote that Joe Veale ‘had a profound understanding of the exercises, went below the surface, and extracted the spirituality from a specific historical interpretation. He emancipated it from an encrusted tradition buried in the nineteenth century and allowed St Ignatius to re-emerge. He strongly resisted the tyranny of ideology.’

Joe Veale also wrote several articles for Interfuse, including ‘Eros’ (no. 102, summer/autumn 1999), and the penetrating and timely article ‘Meditations on abuse . . . ’ (Doctrine and Life (May/June 2000)). He died at Loughlinstown hospital, Co. Dublin, 11 October 2002. Joe Veale's integrity and commitment to seeking the truth in all its paradox and complexity obliged him to have an open mind and encouraged a similar aspiration in very many of those who knew him.

Sunday Independent, 10 Nov. 2002; information from Fr Noel Barber, SJ, rector of Milltown Park, Dublin; personal knowledge

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Fr Joseph (Joe) Veale (1921-2002)

7th March 1921: Born in Dublin
Early education in St. Patrick's, Drumcondra. and CBS Synge Street, Dublin
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 - 1949: Belvedere - Teacher (Regency)
1949 - 1953: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
31" July 1952: Ordained at Milltown Park
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1962: Gonzaga College - Teacher
1962 - 1963: Sabbatical year
1963 - 1972: Gonzaga - Teacher
1972 - 2002: Milltown Park
1972 - 1973: Assistant Director of Retreat House
1973 - 1976: Study / Research on Spiritual Exercises; Lecturer at Milltown Institute
1976 - 1985: Study / Research on Spiritual Exercises; giving Spiritual Exercises; Lecturer at Milltown; Tertian Instructor
1985 - 1986: Sabbatical - work in US and Africa
1986 - 1988: Tertianship Director
1988 - 2002: Writer; Visiting Lecturer in Milltown; Directed Spiritual Exercises in Ireland, Britain and the USA
11th October 2002: Died at St. Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin

Whilst visiting a friend in Brittas, Co. Wicklow on 27th August, Fr. Joe developed severe abdominal pains. He was brought to hospital, where he underwent an operation to remove adhesions.

He made slow progress after the operation. A week before his death, he suffered a stroke from which he did not recover.

Two reflections on the life of Joe have already appeared in Interfuse (Christmas 2002 and Easter 2003). The following is the homily preached at his Funeral Mass by Noel Barber.

Joe was born in Dublin 81 years ago. He was the younger of two children with a sister who predeceased him. He was brought up in Drumcondra and then in Ranelagh - prophetically, just outside the back gate of what was to become Gonzaga College. He had a lovely memory of his parents: of never seeming to have wanted anything for themselves, of never being elsewhere.

The family were devout, daily Mass-goers and attended the Lenten Sermons in this Church every year. He went to the Christian Brothers' School, Synge Street. He was happy there, performed well, made life long friends, and left with a high regard for the Brothers and for their teaching.

He entered the Jesuit novitiate in September 1938. When he spoke of his years as a Jesuit student, it was clear that they were not particularly happy. He was an introvert, shy, extremely sensitive and did not relish the rough and tumble of community life. He was never the easiest person to live or work with in the community. Be that as it may, throughout his life he obtained his social sustenance not from unselected colleagues but from his chosen friends. Academically, he was excellent. While some may have been superior in intellectual sharpness, in high seriousness he was without equal.

He taught in Belvedere from 1946 to 1949 and was a magnificent teacher. Even eleven year olds sensed something special about him. Those of us whom he then taught can now see that he was not just a teacher doing his task competently and diligently. It was important for him that we should write well, enjoy poetry, grapple with the demands of English grammar: for him these were not mere tasks for 11 year olds, they were the foundations of a humane life. The impact he made on us in those distant days is shown by the number that still kept contact with him. We all carry something of him with us. I still am unable to use the word “very” without a tremor of guilt and without hearing him say, “Very does not strengthen, it weakens the proposition”.

After his Ordination, he was sent to Gonzaga in 1954 where he taught for 18 years. The school was then considered by many, but not by Gonzaga itself, as Belvedere on the south side. It was young, small, perhaps, a little precious. It was a pioneering venture in Irish education, being relatively free from the exam system. As teacher of English and Religion, he honed his pedagogical skills, sharpened his vision and developed his philosophy of education. His commitment to excellence in thought and expression, his insistence on the highest standards, and the breadth and depth of his intellectual interests made him more than a memorable teacher; he was a profound educator. In those years he won many life-long admirers and friends. In the interest of honesty it must be said that his style alienated a few, and he left a casualty or two on the sideline. I had the good fortune to teach under him for three years. I deeply appreciate what he taught me, and have been ever grateful for his encouragement.

He founded and was in charge of the Gonzaga debating Society. The standard of debating was remarkably high. Participation in the society was an education in itself. On one occasion, I attended a debate against Belvedere on the right to join or not to join a trade union. The Gonzaga team was superb; the Belvedere team, unfortunately, did not approach the debate with Veale-like seriousness and was poor. However from the house there rose a young man who made a witty, irreverent and debunking speech that dragged the debate down to a Belvederian level and swung it in Belvedere's favour. Next morning I asked the great man himself what he thought of the debate. A pained look conveyed that my question was inappropriate. Then he said that the brat who had ruined the debate was going to become a Jesuit. The brat, Bruce Bradley, is concelebrating this Mass.

He exercised a national influence on the teaching of English and was largely responsible for reshaping the English curriculum in Secondary Schools. His widely influential article in Studies in 1957, Men Speechless was a masterpiece in which he made the moral case for Rhetoric and distilled his philosophy and vision of education.

In 1972 he left teaching to study Spirituality, seemingly trading agnostic-leaning adolescents for devout religious. He applied his ability, commitment and seriousness to spirituality as he applied them to his teaching. He became an authority on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Igantius, on the Constitutions of the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality. He was a highly successful director of Jesuits in their Tertianship, gave conferences and retreats all over the world, was a treasured spiritual director and all the while producing learned articles, all beautifully written. He was a master wordsmith. On Friday, a French review landed on my desk containing a translation of one of his articles.

As a director and counsellor he so cultivated his talent for listening that, it became, with his teaching, his defining characteristic. Many found that listening enormously helpful. I received this letter from a Religious on the day of his death. “Fr. Veale's contribution to the Apostolate of the Spiritual Exercises within my own congregation was immense. His many articles and presentations to audiences around the world bear witness to his wisdom and insight. I am more than grateful than I can state for his friendship, perception, wisdom and encouragement over many years. His interest in the development of my own work in spirituality and theology was a great support. His belief in the work of the Spirit of God within was always life giving". I could quote similar tributes for a long time.

At 81 he was robust and active in writing and directing. I can think of at least two significant recent articles. His room bears witness to work in progress. A small thing, he was making out a new address book. The care that he took with this book was an indication of how much his friends meant to him; I always knew that he meant much to them but in the last weeks the manifestation of this has been overwhelming. The sense of loss expressed by so many underlines the depth of his friendships.

Six weeks ago he walked the strand at Brittas Bay on a beautiful morning with a friend from his Belvedere days, Gerry Donnelly. There is a photo of him taken about an hour before he collapsed. He looks splendid, so young for his years, no sign of the approaching attack. After his operation, there were times when a recovery seemed possible. On several occasions when I visited him, he assured me that he was completely at peace and asked for my blessing. Then came the stroke that swept him away in two days but not without a furious struggle. This was most distressing to observe on that final evening, but how much more distressing it must have been to experience. As so often, the end of life was not splendid, not at all consoling to contemplate. There was the enfeebled body, the confused agitation. These are brute facts but we have to place these facts in the light of Christ's death and resurrection. We believe that when Christ was weakest, most helpless and humiliated, he was at the point of entry into glory. So with Joe Veale; he has moved from his broken state into that place of peace and happiness that was prepared for him from before the foundation of the world. May the good Lord, whom he served so well and at some cost, bless him abundantly.

Interfuse No 114 : Summer 2002


Ross Geoghegan

Ross Geoghegan is Professor of Mathematics at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Author's Note:
I knew Joe Veale and had regular contact with him from the time I was eleven, when he first walked into my classroom in 1954, until shortly before his death in 2002. I also knew his parents slightly as neighbours. In the latter years he would visit my home in Upstate New York - each year for a long weekend. The 2002 visit was to have begun on October 18. I wrote these impressions on the day he died, 11 October 2002. A much shorter version appeared as an appreciation in the Irish Times on November 4, 2002.

In a sense Joe Veale only arrived in the world at the age of 33. Son of a quiet civil servant and a strong mother, he had finished school at Synge Street, and had entered the Jesuits at seventeen. His degree at UCD was in English - he was a contemporary of Benedict Kiely - but as a clerical student in those days his contact with such young literati must have been limited. He taught for three years in the junior school at Belvedere and followed the usual Jesuit studies.

Joe's first assignment was to teach English and Religious Knowledge at Gonzaga, then a new school where the oldest boys were fourteen (a class was being added each year at the bottom as these "big boys" grew up.) Gonzaga was being touted as an experiment in education. It was to follow a modern version of the old Jesuit ratio studiorum. The school would emphasize Latin and Greek over science, and the boys would take the UCD matriculation in their Fifth Year, thus freeing them for more liberal studies in their Sixth. They would not sit for the Leaving Certificate. These were the general ideas of its very little in the way of an educational philosophy behind the plan. It fell largely to him to fill the vacuum.

In his view the main purpose of education was to make people think and ask questions, even dangerous questions, about why things are as they are, how things might be made better, who benefits from the present set-up and who does not. And along with this was the need to be articulate, so that education was also about learning to speak well and write well. Gonzaga was a relatively expensive school and many of the boys came from well-to-do families. While he did not usually challenge the culture and complacency of upper middle class Dublin explicitly, his encouragement of formal and informal debate challenged the boys to think about their own privileged place in society, He was in fact trying to instil broader ambitions than successful entry into professional clubby Dublin life. He wanted these boys to make a difference, to become leaders who would create a better and more just society. Thus he was seen by critics as a slightly subversive teacher. Not all parents liked what he was doing, especially when a few impressionable boys took his ideas overboard. And indeed not all boys liked it. But in that period Joe acquired a cadre of friends among the boys who would remain his friends for life.

Joe always claimed that he saw little difference between English class and Religious Knowledge class. The latter was interpreted broadly: besides the entirely orthodox official curriculum, he introduced sociology and philosophy at a level which was a challenge to teenagers. Since there were no textbooks for this he wrote his own on densely typed foolscap handouts. In English, he was stern, sometimes almost harsh, in his criticisms of the boys' school essays. He supplemented the official curriculum with authors he admired. In the late fifties he was introducing the older boys to Chaucer, Hopkins and T S Eliot, had them read Cardinal Newman on education, V S Pritchett and F R Leavis on style. At the onset of the Lemass period he believed that economics was THE subject to study. J. period he believed that economics was THE subject to study, J. K. Galbraith's The Affluent Society, had just come out and Joe was recommending it to any boys with the stamina to read it.

This had lasting effect in certain cases.

In those formative years Joe made only one foray into public life. An article entitled "Men Speechless" which he published in Studies in 1957 was influential in educational circles. Later he became a leading figure in the Association of English Teachers and he played a role in the reform of the Department of Education's English curriculum, but that was near the end of his teaching career.

By the early seventies he had burned out, and wanted to leave teaching. The system of university entrance was being changed and there would be no room for the liberal Sixth Year at Gonzaga any more. He moved to Milltown Park and found a new kind of work within the Jesuits as a serious student, eventually a scholar, of Ignatian spirituality. His admiration for what was called the caritas discreta of Ignatius was boundless. I remember him using that phrase in a conversation in 1964; it was clear his serious study of Ignatius had already begun by then. Within the specialized world of people - mostly clerics – willing and able to follow the Spiritual Exercises in their full thirty-day form Joe became a famous director. His articles on Ignatian thought were widely read in those circles, and he was in demand for direction, retreat-giving and panel participation in Britain, Africa and North America. For the rest of his life he was abroad for about half of each year. Indeed, in his last ten years Boston College became his second home and the place where he seemed happiest.

Many of those whose spiritual lives he directed were nuns, and he developed an acute sympathy, even anger, for the way these women had been treated by the Church. Eventually, this anger extended to the treatment of male religious as well. In the awful scandals of child-abusing priests Joe saw one silver lining: he hoped for the collapse of what he called the "Cardinal Cullen Church" (though he did not wish the collapse to be confined to Ireland). He longed for a different kind of Church - communities of faith rooted in the gospels, caring and alive, respectful of all. He wrote a passionate article in Doctrine and Life two years ago about what the experience of religious life was often like: bleak and loveless. He felt this might explain things which could not be excused, but he blamed the hierarchical, narrow-minded and philistine culture of the Church's leadership, both in Ireland and worldwide, for creating this religious hell. He wrote about “private pain ... loneliness ... isolation ... the desert in the heart ... self-hatred ... rage ... having no say in the disposition of one's own life ... the longing for human contact ... touch ... the ache for tenderness and gentleness”. It puzzled him that this article was received in near total silence - even by most of his fellow Jesuits.

At the core of Joe's later thinking was the importance of reflecting on one's own experience. To a layman this seems obvious but in a different time Joe had to find his way there. He often said that the spiritual training he received as a young man was focused on dogma and method; drawing lessons from one's own experience was considered spiritually dangerous and inadmissible in a man of prayer.

Joe's Catholicism appears to have been wholly centered on Christ and the Mass. Whatever his private prayer life may have been, I cannot remember his ever admitting to any "devotion" - not to a saint, not to the Virgin Mary. (His admiration for Ignatius was not a devotion in that pious sense.) Indeed, as Joe got older he became interested in meditation and spirituality, wherever they were to be found, outside as well as inside Christianity. He held Islam in high regard, especially admiring its public prayer. At a conference in America on the relationship between Christian and Buddhist meditation he argued the (unpopular?) view that the gulf between the West and the East was such that “we do not know whether what they are doing and what we are doing are the same or different”. But to Joe the fundamental divide in the world was between those who pray and those who do not. He gleefully described meeting an African Moslem at a party in New Delhi who somehow recognized Joe as another member of that tiny minority who pray - perhaps the only other one in the room.

In his later years Joe enjoyed the little luxuries of food and wine. He invented two cocktails - the Westminster Cathedral and the Westminster Abbey, the second a watered down version of the first. He once told this to Cardinal Hume who appeared either bemused or not amused. For Joe this reaction added to the fun of telling the story.

Joe Veale died at 81, but he never seemed old to his friends. There was always a new idea, a new discovery, a new journey, a new experience. There was so much more he wanted to do.

This was not in the original article but, since I am writing for Joe's fellow Irish Jesuits, I have decided to include it. It's an extract from a letter I wrote to another of Joe's close friends - a contemporary of mine - in September 2000. I'll quote my letter precisely as I wrote it then:

An interesting and enjoyable weekend visit from Joe Veale. He's in great form and excellent health for a man who will be EIGHTY in early March. He was a little more forthcoming, though not much, about a memoir he is writing on what it was like to be a celibate cleric in Ireland :in the thirties and the forties and the fifties and the sixties and the sixties and the sixties and the seventies and the eighties and the nineties” (stet - that's exactly how he put it). Whether the world will get to see this memoir I don't know. He says he'll leave a copy with his Provincial when he dies. The P. can do with it what he likes. I think certain others may get a copy - perhaps one other... Last year I asked him if he would show it to me and was told most certainly not. This year he showed me a two-page extract. Everything with Joe is a bit breathless, and as you can imagine the extract wasn't as shocking as the billing had led me to expect. It was an interesting few paragraphs, not on celibacy itself but on the feeling of self-worthlessness that he experienced as a young man as a result of receiving no praise from his superiors for his efforts as a teacher. I'm talking about his Belvedere days. He admits he developed self-confidence during the years we were taught by him. His written description of what this was like is dignified but rather sad for what it said about the monstrously unloving male institutions of the time. It starts, “I have been asked what could be meant by ‘By the year 1954 when I was assigned to teach in Gonzaga College my feeling of unworth was almost complete’”.

Interfuse No 115 : Easter 2003


Anthony Symnondson

Anthony is a member of the British Province. He wrote this article originally for the Catholic Herald, January 24, 2003. It is reprinted here with permission.

Four of the happiest years of my life were spent in Dublin in 1991-5. I was sent to study at the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Ranelagh and lived in the Jesuit community. Ireland was an entirely new and captivating experience. I regarded myself as a foreigner living overseas in a strange, unfamiliar land and made a resolution never to discuss politics, or jump to simplistic conclusions, and see as much of Ireland as possible.

This is a solipsistic start to a tribute to a valued friend, but Fr Joseph Veale SJ, would have appreciated a context and he did much to make me feel welcome. We occupied rooms on the same corridor and although he was shy and retiring and was rarely to be found sparkling at a haustus, we quickly came to know each other. He was insecure in large groups and sometimes found community life trying. Joe's hallmarks were an attractive and unforced holiness, discipline, humanity, and wide culture. He embodied the spirit of St Ignatius at its best and most authentic.

Joe came from a generation that usually entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus through Jesuit schools. He was born in Dublin in 1921 and was educated at the Christian Brothers' School in Synge Street. He joined the Society at the age of seventeen in 1938. When he taught as a scholastic at Belvedere College his pupils noticed how much kinder and more approachable he was than some others who had come through the system. This was a characteristic that never left him resulted in vocations.

Joe was an inspired schoolmaster and spent eighteen years teaching at Gonzaga College on the South Side of Dublin. He believed that expression was more important than exams, and approached his pupils with high seriousness ameliorated by an interest in the individual. Fr Noel Barber, the Rector of Milltown, who had himself been taught by him at Belvedere, said at his funeral: “As a teacher of English and Religion, he honed his pedagogical skills, sharpened his vision, and developed his philosophy of education. His commitment to excellence in thought and expression, his insistence on the highest standards, , and the breadth and depth of his intellectual interests made him more than a memorable teacher; he was a profound educator”.

Joe believed that the demands of English grammar were not mere tasks but the foundation of a humane life. He contributed to the reform of the Irish Department of Education's English curriculum. I owe him an unexpected debt. Although I had written for years, I was never much good at it. I had composed a dense article for the Irish Arts Review and, after it had been censored by Fr Fergus O'Donoghue, he suggested I showed it to Joe. When it was returned it was transformed, covered in corrections in red ink with helpful notes in the margin, and two pages of analysis showing where I had gone wrong and how it could be improved. It was turned from a tedious slab of detail into prose. I don't know how the spell worked, but from then onwards I realised that I had been taught to write.

In 1972 Joe moved to research and writing in the Spiritual Exercises and the Jesuit Constitutions and he lectured in spirituality at the Milltown Institute. This was not merely an academic exercise but came to embody some of the most valuable work of his life. Joe was a realist and would not undertake tasks that were beyond his powers. If he discovered that he had done so, his professionalism led him to put them aside. He had a profound understanding of the Exercises, went below the surface, and extracted the spirituality from a specific historical interpretation. He emancipated it from an encrusted tradition buried in the nineteenth century and allowed St Ignatius to re-emerge. He strongly resisted the tyranny of ideology. It is planned to found a lectureship in spirituality in the Institute and publish two volumes of selected works in spirituality and culture. They deserve a wide circulation.

Joe was much sought as a friend, confessor, spiritual director and retreat conductor, and he gave the Exercises all over the world. He was an encourager and had the rare gift of investing others with a sense of personal value. But he had few illusions, and wrote and directed with unusual honesty. In a penetrating article published in Doctrine and Life at the height of the abuse scandals in the Irish Church, he controversially lifted the curtain on some diminishing characteristics of the religious life that he had perceived and experienced in his own life and that of others. “Can we imagine, just imagine, what private pain may have been rooted in a complex of loneliness, of isolation, of having no human being to relate to, the desert in the heart, the language of self-denial that twisted into self abasement, the self-hatred, the conviction of worthlessness, the unattended guilt, the rage at being done to, the having no say in the disposition of one's own life, the indignities of impersonal rule, the comfort of dependency that could suddenly reverse into angry rebellion, the living environment that was Spartan, the lack of amenity, the walls denuded of beauty, the 'spiritual' assumptions that dehumanised? And the longing for human contact for touch, for talk, for being listened to, the unavailability of spiritual direction, the ache for tenderness or gentleness?” Only a man open to God could make such admissions. Joe's holiness was forged by the cross. It gave him empathy with others similarly afflicted, and offered hope.

None of this struggle showed outwardly. He enjoyed the theatre and the cinema and could draw metaphysical themes from the unlikeliest sources. He was a delightful companion on expeditions. He looked forward to his annual visits to Boston College where he was eagerly expected. At the end of his life he discovered Africa and India, and was, hopefully, inspired by their vigorous Catholic life. Joe did not grow old. Christ shone through him, and his influence is lasting.

Van Proöyen, Thomas, 1905-1955, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2202
  • Person
  • 05 March 1905-08 May 1955

Born: 05 March 1905, Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 17 March 1924, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained 24 August 1939, Leuven, Belgium
Final vows: 02 February 1924
Died: 08 May 1955, Mount Saint Evin’s Hospital, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death
Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931
by 1930 in Vals France (TOLO) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Thomas Van Prooyen was educated at St Ignatius', Richmond, and CBC Parade, Melbourne, before he entered the Society at Loyola College, Greenwich, 17 March 1924. He was a junior at Rathfarnham, gaining a BA, 1926-29, and then studying philosophy at Vals, 1929-32. He was a regent and second prefect at Xavier College, 1932-36, and studied theology at Louvain, and Milltown Park, 1936-40. Tertianship was at Rathfarnham, 1940-41.
He returned to Australia and Xavier College, 1942-46, and was first prefect, 1943-45. Then he taught at St Patrick's College, 1947-52, and was also prefect of discipline, sports master, and an officer of cadets. He is remembered for his boundless energy and unflagging interest in the welfare of the boys, his loud booming voice and at times severe looking and aggressive mien. His final appointment was at Riverview, 1952-55, teaching Latin and history, and coaching athletics, rugby and cricket, as well as being involved in cadets.
Van Prooyen was actually a very pleasant person to be with, but some imagined him a somewhat bearish person in his younger years. He was a very hard worker, full of life and energy, and he had good success as second division prefect, even though he was thought of as over-severe in first division at Xavier College. He died from a very painful cancer that lasted some years. He gave much edification by his patience and courageous good humor. He went to Melbourne for his final illness, dying at St Evin's, and was buried from Xavier College.

Tyrrell, Michael, 1928-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/618
  • Person
  • 27 May 1928-28 June 2001

Born: 27 May 1928, Cabra, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1947, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1961, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 28 June 2001, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB : 1978

by 1956 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1970 at Bristol University (ANG) working
by 1971 at Glasgow, Scotland (ANG) working
by 1972 at London University, England (ANG) working
by 1984 at Berkeley CA, USA (CAL) Sabbatical

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Michael Tyrrell was a Dublin man and before entering the Jesuits in 1947 he worked for a short time for Guinness’ Brewery, becoming proficient at barrel rolling! After philosophy in Tullabeg, he came to Zambia, Africa, first as a scholastic in 1955 for three years and then again in 1964 when he came back as a priest. The first time, he learnt the language and taught in Canisius Secondary School. He returned to Ireland for theology and for ordination which took place in Milltown Park in 1961. Before returning to Zambia in 1964, he obtained his Master of Arts in History. When he came back he hoped to get into the newly opened university in Lusaka to lecture in history but unfortunately this was not to be. He was in Canisius again teaching the A-level course and he also got interested in sports. With Br Aungier and scholastic P Quinn, he helped train the Canisius athletic team which won the National Inter High School Sports at Matero Stadium in Lusaka (July 13 1966) at which a few records were broken. It was a proud day for the school.

He liked to walk and he liked to talk; he would laugh at jokes among the brethren even those against himself at times, with the oft repeated expletive 'James' Street'. Being a walker, he organized a walk from Chikuni to Chivuna, a journey of over 30 miles. When the walkers arrived, weary and footsore, they saw a large notice put up by the Sisters, “Blessed are the feet of those …..”

Michael was quite disappointed in not getting into the university even though he was a successful teacher at Canisius. He moved into parish ministry in the Monze diocese, at Kasiya and Civuna parishes.

His health deteriorated, a condition which was not helped by a failure by others to appreciate that he was genuinely ill and not just suffering from imagination. While on home leave, a doctor friend put him straight into hospital for surgery for a rather rare stomach condition which had not been previously detected. A second operation was deemed necessary, the doctor warning the family that Mick might not survive the night. However he did survive and was advised not to return to Zambia.

When he recovered, he entered the university chaplaincy in the British Province. As Mick had always hankered after the academic life, the twelve years spent in London University were perhaps the most fulfilling and satisfying period in his life. His specialty seems to have been working with post-graduate students, with whom he relished hours of discussion and stimulating conversation for which he was amply qualified.

In 1983 he went to Berkeley USA for a sabbatical year. On returning to Ireland he gave retreats and directed the Spiritual Exercises. In 1987 he was posted to Gardiner Street where he remained until his death in 2001. While there he was chaplain to Temple Street Hospital, assisted in Gardiner Street Church and was Province Archivist for three years.

Michael was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 17 October 1998 with an unusual degenerative condition of the brain. He had a problem of mobility and in the last six months or so he was confined to a wheelchair. His condition was treated with. medication. In the last few weeks his condition deteriorated rapidly, and he died peacefully at 9.30 a.m. on 28 June 2001, surrounded by his family and Jesuit colleagues’.

Note from Jean Indeku Entry
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.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002

Fr Michael Tyrrell (1928-2001)

27th May 1928: Born in Dublin
Early education in St. Vincent's CBS School, Glasnevin and Mungret College.
Before entering, he worked for Guinness
6th Sept. 1947: Entered the Society at Emo Park
8th Sept. 1949: First Vows at Emo
1949 - 1952: Rathfarnham - studying Arts in UCD
1952 - 1955: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1955 - 1958: Zambia - language studies; teaching in Chikuni College
1958 - 1962: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1961: Ordained at Milltown Park
1962 - 1963: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
2nd Feb, 1964: Final Vows at Milltown Park
1963 - 1964: Milltown Park - Special studies
1964 - 1970: Zambia, Chikuni College - Teacher
1970 - 1971: Glasgow - University Chaplain
1971 - 1983: London - University Chaplain
1983 - 1984: Berkeley, USA - Sabbatical year
1984 - 1985: Austin House - Retreat Staff
1985 - 1987: University Hall - Chaplain, Pax Christi; Directs Spiritual Exercises
1987 - 2001: Gardiner Street
1987 - 1991: Chaplain Temple Street Hospital and Pax Christi
1991 - 1994: Province Archivist
1994 - 1995: Assisting in the Church; Chaplain in Temple Street Hospital
1995 - 1998: Assisting in the Church
1998 - 2001: Praying for the Church and the Society

Michael was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 17th October 1998 with an unusual degenerative condition of the brain. He had a problem with mobility and in the last six months or so he was confined to a wheelchair. His condition was treated with medication. In the last few weeks his condition deteriorated rapidly, and he died peacefully at 9.30 a.m. on 28th June, 2001, surrounded by his family and Jesuit colleagues

Frank Keenan writes...
In November 2001, the London University Chaplaincy in Gower Street, London, organised a memorial mass for Michael Tyrrell. The students to whom he ministered there have long since moved on to take up their professions, get married, begin families. It was a tremendous tribute to Michael's work among them to see the packed chapel to which so many returned that morning to express their appreciation and gratitude for what he had been for them in their student days. From those who could not be at the mass there were written tributes, including some from well-known names such as Baroness Helena Kennedy Q.C.

Listening to his former co-chaplains at the memorial Mass, it was striking how much he had been appreciated by them, not only for the services he offered the students, but also for the companionship and wit he had contributed to the community in Gower Street. There were those present also who had been touched by the wide-ranging retreat apostolate that Michael had developed in England. The Irish Province was represented by Jack Donovan, Parish Priest of Custom House London for the past twenty years, and myself from St. Beuno's in Wales.

Michael had always hankered after the academic life. After tertianship, he asked for and was given the opportunity to do an MA in the subject that was always his first love - History. On his return to Zambia he hoped he might find a place lecturing in the University, but this was not to be. He had had a successful record as a classroom teacher in Canisius College, Chikuni, but was not enthusiastic about resuming this career, possibly as a reaction to his disappointment at not getting the University appointment. He ventured into parish ministry in Monze Diocese, which was not really his charism, and so followed some rather unfulfilling years in Kasiya and Civuna parishes.

His health deteriorated, a condition which was not helped by a failure by others to appreciate that he was genuinely ill, and not just suffering from imagination. Providence came to his aid on the eve of his return to Zambia from home leave. A doctor friend was unhappy with Michael's state of health and asked him to visit his surgery the following day. As a result of this visit he put Michael straight into hospital for surgery for a rather rare stomach condition, which understandably had not been detected by the limited resources of the Zambian medical services. A second operation was found necessary, with a sobering warning - without this second operation Michael would die, since his digestive system had ceased to function; but, given that it would be a second operation so soon after the first, he would only have a fifty per cent chance of survival. Michael recalled lying in a coma after surgery and hearing the doctors advising members of his family to prepare for the worst, as the patient might not survive the night.

Michael was advised not to return to Zambia, where the medical facilities might not be available, should he have a recurrence of the problem. He entered the university chaplaincy service in the British Province, and there he seemed to have found his true niche. From what I observed when visiting him in London on my way to and from Zambia, he savoured at last being in the academic world. His speciality seems to have been working with post-graduate students, with whom he relished hours of discussion and stimulating conversation for which he was amply qualified.

I often wondered at the wisdom of his returning to Ireland, where he did not seem to have really been able to find the sort of satisfying and effective apostolate, which he had been enjoying in London. During the years when he was chaplain to Temple Street Childrens' Hospital he made himself totally available at all hours, although he must have found dealing with children much less rewarding than his post-graduates. Eventually he found the work too draining and accepted that he had to retire. The illness, which was to be final, must have begun to effect him at this time.

The deterioration in Michael's condition, which left him, finally, barely able to speak, had been going on over a number of years. At this period he struggled to master the computer under my, at times, less than sympathetic tutelage. It was only much later that I realised that when he said he could not remember the most basic instructions, this was a symptom of the illness that was causing deterioration in his brain cells. Michael tended to make light of the symptoms, and, consequently, was somewhat misunderstood during this period even by his friends.

There was a basic simplicity and a certain innocence about Michael which he never lost till the end. In Cherryfield, he would still respond to the old jokes, and although he could not contribute to the banter, he clearly enjoyed it as always. He once recounted an example of this simplicity, which revealed a similar unsuspected spirit of simplicity in the rather forbidding figure of J R McMahon, Rector of Milltown, Provincial and distinguished legalist. J R was provincial when Michael was being interviewed for entry to the Novitiate. On impulse, Michael invited J R to tea with his family, to which the latter agreed promptly. In due course J R turned up on his antique bicycle, joined the family for tea and charmed them all. We would cite this to Michael as an example of his trying to advance his career in the Society from an early age, which never failed to amuse him, since he always retained a freedom of spirit, which was the antithesis of any tendency to curry favour with the establishment for his own advantage. For me one of Michael's most endearing characteristics was his clear interest in and love for his family. He spoke to me often of his admiration for, and gratitude to, his parents in particular,

Among several photographs on display at the Memorial Mass was one of the young Michael walking in the Wicklow Mountains in the 1940s. He continued this passion right up to the time when he no longer had the capacity, even achieving his ambition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. A walking companion has written the following poem in memory of the enjoyment Michael derived from showing others his beloved Wicklow Mountains.

In Memory (of Michael Tyrrell SJ)

Mullacor and Mullaghcleevaun,
Tonelegee and Lugnaquila,
These Wicklow Hills evoke memories of you:
I see you striding with ease across the heather,
Side-stepping the squelchy spagnum moss and feathery bog
To disappear into the mists that swirl around their summits:
Or resting by the shores of mountain tarns,
Lough Ouler, Lough Tay, Lough Dan,
Art's Lake, where with Dunstan, we sipped cool wine
And wearied the sun with our talk:
Lough Bray, where you camped and prayed
Fighting the demon midgets with burning, smoking heather
Your great spirit lives on in these hills
And hovers over the still, dark waters of these lakes.
There is freedom from dis-ease here.
Rest peacefully, Michael.

Elizabeth Mooney SHC), July 2001

Turner, Seán, 1909-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/468
  • Person
  • 17 May 1909-21 December 1971

Born: 17 May 1909, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1945, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 21 December 1971, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Hong Kong Province (HK)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

by 1936 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1958 at Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency studying language

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Turner

Father John Turner, S.J., scholar and poet, died suddenly on Tuesday, 21 December 1971, at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, aged 62.

Father Turner first came to Hong Kong in 1935, already a ripe classical scholar. From the time of his arrival here he took the study of Chinese language and literature as his main task in life. Apart from two periods in Ireland, a couple of years as professor of English at Chung San University, Canton, and about a year in Taiwan, the last thirty-six years of his life were spent in Hong Kong. In recent years, bad health, crippling arthritis, and, most of all, ever-increasing immersion in Chinese studies cut him off from easy contact with the general public. Outside his own community, he was known chiefly to fellow poets and fellow Sinologues.

He will, nevertheless, be grievously missed by many who are neither Sinologues nor poets, including the editor of this paper.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 24 December 1971

Note from Alan Birmingham Entry
After returning to Hong Kong in February 1948, he was sent for some months to Canton (Guangzhou) where a Jesuit colleague, Father John Turner, was lecturing at Chung Shan University.

Note from Joe Shields Entry
How he had assisted in sorting Father Turner’s manuscript on Tang Dynasty poetry

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814

Note from Joseph Howatson Entry
He came to Hong Kong as Regent with Seán Turner who was a different personality and whose whole world was words and ideas. Travelling with them was Fr Cooney who was bringing the Markee telescope

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 47th Year No 1 1972

Obituary :

Fr Seán Turner SJ (1909-1971)

We are largely indebted to Fr. Alan Birmingham for the following appreciation:
“Your only chance of being remembered in a hundred years is that you may be mentioned in a footnote of Seán Turner”. That remark was made some years ago by a perceptive European Jesuit to a startled Superior of what was then the Mission of Hong Kong.
When Father John Turner - “Seán” to everyone - died suddenly on 21 December he had achieved no fame outside a small circle of students of Chinese; but he left a vast disarray of paper. Many expect that it will be possible to extract from these disordered literary remains at least one volume that will be treasured a century from now. For about two decades he had been translating Chinese poetry into English poetry. Only a few of his translations have appeared in print, but many of his friends have read large numbers of them in manuscript. Those who could judge them only as English poetry have been uniformly enthusiastic about them as English poetry; but a Chinese savant has told me that to him they are remarkable chiefly on account of their wonderful accuracy as translations. Every character, he said, is translated with scrupulous fidelity; the Chinese original has never been sacrificed to the exigencies of English prosody.
Seán was born in Dublin on 17 May, 1909. My own memories of him go back to Belvedere in the mid-1920s. He was a couple of years ahead of me and I did not know him, but there was an air of vitality about him that caught attention, and no one could ignore his mop of black curls with a startling white plume in the middle of them. Scholastic eminence was no way to fame in those days, but even his juniors knew that Seán Turner and his close friend Denis Devlin had won what glory there was to be won, including, I think, the first and second places in French and English in the Leaving Certificate.
While still young he enjoyed the friendship of Jack Yeats, probably the best painter in Ireland. Yeats recognised Seán's talent and stimulated his artistic energies. To the end of his life Seán regarded and spoke of this friendship as a cherished memory. His decision to offer himself for the Society probably bemused some of his teachers and still more his school friends, most of whom would have considered that his enthusiasms could hardly abide the disciplines of the religious life for long; they did abide it and at no time could it be asserted that he felt restless “under the yoke”; a delicate sense of humour, ever at hand, enabled him to triumph over the most trying contretemps.
He left the noviciate for Rathfarnham as I entered Tullabeg as a novice; during the next two years the tradition of Seán's passages formed part of the themes of the lighter side of life; streams he had fallen into, places he had been when he should have been elsewhere, his efforts to have riding breeches accepted as conventional noviceship wear; they seem trivial but indicate the humorous independence that accompanied him through life.
In Rathfarnham he devoted himself to his studies - no difficulty for him - with a like bonhomie; his cartoons in Broken Delf under the editorship of Terry Sheridan, illustrated critical situations with point. We suppose Fr Rector, Fr John Keane, had an occasional peep, though without external reaction.
He merited an extra year in the Castle which concluded with an honours MA degree in Classics.
The pattern of life at Rathfarnham was repeated at Philosophy; he did not always work to schedule.
Study went on perpetually, though there were changes of subject. For his first two and a half years of Philosophy, Irish was his passion, Then a few months before his De Universa Philosophia examination, he became a violent Suarezian and made a valiant but unsuccessful effort to convert Father E Coyne, professor of cosmology, to his new enthusiasm.
In 1935 he went to Hong Kong and his remaining 36 years were given to Chinese studies - the language itself, written and spoken, Chinese literature, a brief flirtation with Mandarin followed by dexterous advocacy of Cantonese as a fully developed medium for thought and expression, work on the preparation of a dictionary of Cantonese, and above all translation of major Chinese poems into English.
Constant application of his great gifts made him a savant, much admired by many of his fellow savants. He was for some years a member of a government examination board on Chinese studies. For several years he was in communication with the Oxford University Press about the publication of a representative anthology of his translations; but he could never be persuaded to hand in a complete manuscript; there was always some fine point to be added, always something to be polished. In the end the publisher broke off negotiations. With all his work, he had published little. Those who knew him best decided years ago that posthumous publication was all that could be hoped for. He himself would have been quite content: he valued the good opinion of the few whose judgment he respected, but he had little interest in public fame and seemed to believe that all that really mattered was to do first-class work and communicate it to the few that could appreciate it. To superiors who wanted to see him put his great talent to good use, this scholar's detachment was at times frustrating, though they usually showed understanding or resignation when faced with a man whom they themselves, or at least others whose judgement they could not ignore, recognised as a genius.
People did apply the word “genius” to Seán. I have never known it applied seriously to any other man I have met, Jesuit or non Jesuit. Genius does not always make life easy for the man who possesses it, or for those he lives with. It did not always make life easy for Seán. He seemed capable of attaining everything, except mediocracy. He could succeed gloriously or fail hideously, Mediocrity was out of his reach, yet a great deal of the ordinary enjoyment of life demands mediocrity. Seán could be the most brilliant and most entertaining of talkers; in his pedantic moods, he could be a crashing bore. Desultory conversation about nothing in particular makes up the greater part of most human talk, and often the most enjoyable part: Sean was incapable of it. He seemed conscious of this lack, and occasionally tried to overcome it. These attempts were embarrassing failures and would end in an outburst of strained dialectics or a lecture on some obscure point of esoteric learning, or a baffled departure for his room.
A few days after his death an unprejudiced questioner asked me if Seán had had any close friends. The answer was a decided Yes. Perhaps because of his knowledge that there were many who could not offer him easy friendship, he treasured those who could. He could exude pleasure on seeing one of them, and without a word of welcome make them conscious of being welcome. His friends were a motley group, including every variety of intelligence, social position, education and interests.
Though primarily a man of study, he carried on a direct apostolate that, like everything else about him, was highly characteristic. He had very little power of dealing with the ordinary men and women to whom any priest could minister, and his habit of forgetting all about time made him unsuitable for ordinary supplies and sermons. But with those with whom the ordinary priest was completely ineffective - the self-centred eccentric, the self-conscious intellectual, the drunken failed artist, the man with an obscure grievance, and the like - he had the touch that was needed. Both in Ireland and in Hong Kong, he brought the vision of the faith to many such people who would have laughed off more humdrum approaches.
In recent years, poor health and in particular the agonies of rheumatoid arthritis had hampered his contact with the outside world and even his most trivial movements; but he never allowed such inconveniences to damp his zest for knowledge and for life. Not long before his death I visited him in hospital. He was partly drugged and his talk was lethargic till he began to speak about the nurses and wardsmaids. He promptly threw off the effects of the drugs and was all animation as he explained that he was at least learning true Cantonese. Till then it had all been either scholar's Cantonese or labourer's Cantonese: at last he was learning how ordinary people spoke.
He died suddenly one night, without any preliminary period of exceptionally bad health. The striking diversity of the mourners at his funeral was a tribute to the scope of his friendship. The most noticeable figure was a rather leftish intellectual in Hong Kong - piously kneeling for perhaps the first time in his life. Seán would have been glad to know that this man would attend, but he would probably have cared more for the presence of some of the utterly undistinguished old ladies whose grief would have touched him deeply.
It may be that posthumous fame will come to him. It may be that in a mood of perfectionism he destroyed all his papers and was preparing to begin again. Time will tell. Meanwhile, there are many whose lament for his passing forms a tribute that he would have valued above anything that fame could have offered. RIP

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1939

The Past

Lastly, we have decided to fulfil a promise made last year and enable our readers to see for themselves how Seán Turner SJ, has evolved what appears to be a new aspect of a very old art. The four pictures we print will be unfamiliar, but grow upon the taste. They require, however, some study and knowledge to grasp, and we have no hesitation in printing the explanations of the scrolls which he vouchsafed to: send us in reply to a request for enlightenment

Dear Father Editor,

In the February of last year I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Lo Chan Waan, a distinguished artist from Canton, These four scrolls are the best of a series of studies which I did under his direction during the few months before I left China. The style of painting I learnt from him is that of the virile northern school under the Sung dynasty.

They are not entirely original. One, which show & boat being carried down-stream in a misty gorge at morning, is almost a copy of a scroll by Mr Lo. The others are, like musical exercises, elaborations of a slight theme. The picture of two litterati seated under willow trees is almost altogether my own, the theme being just a pair of willow-trees, and, unlike the rest, was uncorrected by Mr Lo.

To some these pictures may not seem characteristically Chineso. Yet my chief aim was to ape the Chinese manner, though how far I achieved it I cannot say. Incidentally, I wished to test by experiment my suspicion that “East is East, etc” is untrue in art as in other matters. Having examined the conventions of Chinese painting and wearied my teachers with questions on its underlying principles, I found that the latter are indeed not different from those of Western art, that often what I had taken for conventions were not such at all, but true representation of local phenomena, and that the most of the real conventions were determined by materials used. The tops of mountains clearer than their bases, dark specks for foliage on the summits, are strange until one begins to observe that mountains in China actually do look so. Lines more or less conventionalised, and shapes rather hinted at than portrayed, suggest affectation or indolence on the part of the painter, until by experience he learns that the very method of painting - with lamp-black ink on silk or porous paper spread flat - makes quick work imperative, ordinarily precludes painting from nature, and so compels one to draw from memory and to seize on what is essential. Other peculiarities, such as the zig-zag shading for mountain hollows and patterned opalescent rocks, are instances of a selection (of forms indeed discernible in nature) which is prompted by the aesthetic exigencies of Chinese brush-work,

This brush-work proves a stumbling block to strangers. For in China painting is a sister - or rather a daughter - art to calligraphy. The same materials, the same brush and ink handled in the same manner, are employed in each. It would be impossible to describe in brief the graces of Chinese writing. But the Chinese people appraise them keenly. Hence the inter-play of curving, angular, knobbed and rounded strokes is integral to their painting: and colouring, though long tradition has furnished an array of most harmonious pigments, tends to be subsidiary. For my part, if I had not already dabbled in Chinese brush-writing I would never have attempted painting.

Skill in brush-work and much more, the vivid expression of idea, or inspiration, or intelligence, by whatever name one may call that indefinable which the Chinese denoted by the phrase “spirit-rhythm-life movement”, these are the excellencies chiefly sought for. Because memory and speedy execution count for so much, the Chinese artists will be disposed to grapple with the soul or spirit (as they will tell you) of a subject. Therefore, apart from the calligraphic bias, I would say that they differ from the European, if at all, in their being more artistic, more spiritual. They discard the irrelevant and accidental and are intolerant of the yoke of actuality, and so will regard attention to such things as linear perspective as a pedantic foible, So, too, odd dispositions of light and shadow are infrequent in their work (they will hardly paint a reflexion in water unless to illustrate a story).

And yet by their well-worn traditional methods, provided that the demon inspiration is not too far away, they will often bring about a suggestion of reality more vivid than accurate imitation could create.

There is another quality, especially in the older tradition, a certain noble hardness or ruggedness in design, which the Chinese designate by the one word “strength”. There is nothing like it, I believe, in European painting, except in that of Spain, although Cubism might be called a travesty of it. It corresponds to the objectivity (stark and cynical, some would say) of Chinese classical poetry.

Springing from a Wordsworthian recollection and spurning what is material, being normally suffused with that light that never was on sea or land, naturally Chinese painting is poetical, or pointed with fine emotion. This is the sense of the old saying that a painter must travel ten thousand miles and read ten thousand books - not as though he should be of encyclopædic knowledge, but for the sake of range of choice and refinement of feeling. So usually a painter is also a poet and every scroll is capped by a line or two of verse.

I am ashamed to return now to my poor daubs. As you see, I have balked at the poetic lines Even if I could find some appropriate tag, I should fear to mar an indifferent picture with execrable brush character. Even in the simpler art of painting, easy control of the brush would be too much to expect. I think, however, that the subjects are in the right Chinese spirit. The gentleman swaying on the bridge might be a poet returning from a tavern. I was thinking of Lei Paak, the Shakespeare of China, who was drowned, so they say, as he tried to embrace the moon's reflection, his mind being “thunder-struck with wine”. Chinese love of contrast and of unity resulting from opposing stresses I tried to embody in the two men gossiping, the squat dogmatic and the thin supercilious, both alike complacent and pedantic, with the trees and mountains not minding at all. The picture of the old man and boy with the tall gnarled tree and the low green one, although ornamental, also shows a contrast and if it were well done, should make one reflect wistfully that beauty fades; it would improved if the boy were glancing at a kingfisher hurrying by.

Some obvious errors have been corrected by Mr Lo. Thus the picture of the jolly poet is touched up considerably. My pine tree on the left-hand side was much too geometrical, and was parallel to a tree on the other side. So both were blotted into respectability with rocks and foliage, which made the ravine look less perilous. The water swirling in the picture of the high-walled pass was too informal, so part of it was obscured and a new pattern completed with brushes. And of course there are other quite evident mistakes.

Seán Turner SJ

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1972


Father Seán Turner SJ (’26)

After leaving Belvedere in 1926, Fr Turner entered the Society and went through the ordinary training until 1935 when he was assigned to the Hong Kong Mission. From then on most of his life was spent in the Far East. There was an interlude when he returned to Ireland for theology and had to prolong his stay until World War II came to an end.

Highly gifted intellectually and artistically Fr Seán was fascinated by the language, literature and culture of China and became proficient in Chinese calligraphy and painting. When editor of the Belvederian he reproduced in the magazine some very attractive examples of his art. But his main interest was the Chinese language on which he was an acknowledged expert. His circle of intellectual and literary friends was almost entirely Chinese and with them the constant subject of discussion was the translation and interpretation of the language.

Unfortunately he was mentally undisciplined and left behind him little written work. He blamed this on the Oxford University Press for whom he was for a long time engaged in producing a book of translations of Chinese poems which in the end they rejected.

Things were never dull in a community when Fr Seán was about. He loved to take up an impossible position and defend it against all comers, witness his translation of the word Gaedhealachas as boorishness to the intense indignation of Irish scholars.

For many years before his death he suffered from crippling arthritis which he bore in silence. The end came unexpectedly during his sleep on the morning of December 21st 1971. May he rest in peace.

Tuohy, David G, 1950-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/860
  • Person
  • 10 February 1950-31 January 2020

Born: 10 February 1950, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1967, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 27 June 1981, Jesuit church, Sea Road, Galway
Final Vows: 03 December 1994, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 31 January 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Raised Newcastle, County Galway
by 1981 at Fordham NY, USA (NYK) studying
by 1990 at St Joseph’s,Philadelphia PA, USA (MAR) teaching 1 semseter
by 1991 at Austin TX, USA (NOR) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/an-authentic-jesuit-academic/

An authentic Jesuit academic
Gonzaga chapel was packed for the funeral Mass of David Tuohy SJ, which took place at 11 am on Monday 3 February 2020. David died peacefully, after a short illness, on the morning of Friday 31 January, just over a week before his 70th birthday. It was an occasion marked by hearty laughter, profound sadness, and deep prayer. David’s family, fellow Jesuits and many friends were joined by members of the Church of Ireland community including Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Reverend Anne Lodge. David had indicated some wishes for his funeral. He chose the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus as the gospel reading and his long-time Jesuit friend David Coghlan SJ as the main celebrant and homilist.
It was not the first time that David had asked his Jesuit friend to preach on the Emmaus gospel as David Coghlan explained. “In 1994 when he was taking his Final Vows as a Jesuit David asked me to preach on this gospel and what he wanted me to emphasise was how Jesus, by explaining what he was about, transformed the misguided vision of the two –“Our own hope had been”... In his work with educational leaders, he engaged with them very seriously on what their vision was, what their values were and how they would be actualized in their trust or school structures and educational processes.”
In his opening remarks of welcome, David Coghlan said that during the six months of his illness David spoke constantly in terms of an image from St Luke’s gospel, where the friends of a sick man climb on to a roof of a house and taking off the tiles, lower their friend, who is on a stretcher, down through the ceiling to place him in front of Jesus to be healed. “As David received cards, messages, and reports of love and prayers, he spoke of how he understood that those who were praying for him were holding the ropes and lowering him down to Jesus,” said David. “He was very moved by the prayers and support he was receiving from all over the world. Sometimes he’d apologise for being in bad form, especially when was feeling sick, and in my helplessness, I’d say that there was no need to apologise as I was merely holding the ropes.”
And anyone who spoke at both David’s removal and funeral, including the Jesuit Provincial Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, also attested to the fact that the prayers or presence of his fellow Jesuits, from at home or abroad, throughout his illness was a true source of comfort and support for David – in particular, his Jesuit contemporaries and the Leeson St community. Mary Rickard, Rachel O’Neill and all the staff of Cherryfield nursing home and St James’ hospital were also acknowledged for the wonderful care they gave him in his last months.
David Tuohy was a native of Galway and was schooled in Coláiste Iognáid SJ. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1967 at the age of 17 and was ordained in Galway in 1981. He did his primary degree in botany at UCD under Professor Johnny Moore SJ. He became a teacher, the first of many careers, and taught in Coláiste Iognáid and Belvedere College. He completed his doctorate in NUI Galway in 1993 and took a post lecturing in UCD, before moving to NUI Galway in 2000. He resigned from that post several years later and became an educational consultant. According to David Coghlan in his homily », David’s time in these universities was foundational and shaped the work he would subsequently go on to do with teachers, school principals, educationalists, and doctoral students.
“His energy and output were enormous,” said David, referencing “the consultancy work with individual schools, boards of management, religious congregations, educational trusts, of which his pioneering work with Le Chéile stands out, research for the Dept of Education, work in Africa with the Loreto sisters, with the Church of Ireland, The Marino Institute, school of nursing... The list is extensive.”

At the end of the Mass, Leonard Moloney SJ also mentioned David’s expertise at board meetings where he as Provincial needed support when complex issues would arise. “David had to give me the odd kick under the table at some of those meetings,” he quipped. David was also the author of numerous books, articles, and ground-breaking research and reports. His book on Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published in 2013, was widely acclaimed. His work as an educationalist spanned the continents of Africa, Australia, America, and Europe. He was “an authentic Jesuit academic in the Jesuit intellectual tradition of education in his heart and in his practice,” according to David Coghlan, who added that the central theme of David’s whole apostolic enterprise was “values, leadership, and Catholic education.” In later years, around 2011 David began working with the Church of Ireland on a number of substantial projects that have borne fruit in the form of key initiatives for giving vigour to Church life in Ireland. He developed a deep friendship with Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Reverend Dr. Anne Lodge. On 1 October 2017, he was made an ecumenical canon in the Church of Ireland.

David Coghlan in his homily told a story that underlined the importance of this ecumenical work for his friend David. “Last week in his dying days when he was telling me again what he wanted me to say at this Mass, and from an apparent sleeping state, he opened his eyes, stretched out his arm and grabbed me to remind me to be sure to mention his ecumenical work.” In his address at the end of the Mass, Archbishop Michael Jackson certainly did not forget to do just that. In 2015 David was asked by Archbishop Jackson to take part in his Come&C project (“come and see”). This involved facilitating parishioners in Dublin and Glendalough who had taken part in a survey on mission, commissioned by the Archbishop. Over 80% of these parishioners had responded to the survey. They then came together to reflect on it and to plan for the future in terms of a commitment to discipleship in their local parishes, inspired by the gospel vision. David subsequently co-authored Growing in the Image and Likeness of God, with Maria Feeny which grew out of this work. The book explored discipleship and the five ‘marks of mission’ within the Anglican communion. Archbishop Michael Jackson spoke about this project in his address at the end of the funeral Mass. “We in the Church of Ireland dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough have so much for which to be thankful on this day of thanksgiving for the life of David Tuohy,” he said. “Because David transformed. He transformed our rather insufficient and inert understanding of our Anglican identity, in which we slumbered somewhat, by taking the five marks of mission of the Anglican communion and bedding them in our psyche and in our spirit.”

Noting that the power to simplify complex concepts was one of David’s key gifts he added, “Forevermore we in Dublin and Glendalough will remember the five marks of mission as the five ‘T’s, that came ready- made from the pen of Dr. Tuohy: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, Treasure. And so will the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom he presented them!”
There was of course more to David than his impressive academic career, As David Coghlan pointed out, he had a wonderful, quirky sense of humour. He often accepted the offer of a gin and tonic by remarking, “I feel a bout of malaria coming on so I need the quinine!” He could turn his hand to anything, according to David, and that included cooking, writing biblical meditations, co-producing musicals, coaching rugby, rowing and show jumping. “And who remembers how he trained to be a soccer referee and was certified by the FAI and had the referees’ black outfit, whistle and notebook?”, David asked adding wisely, “As a player, I wouldn’t have dared give him any backchat!” David’s entire life was underpinned by a deep connection to his family, his sister Ann, his brother Paul and all the many nieces and nephews around the world with whom he made contact. Paul pointed out in his address at the end of the service that David had probably married or baptised all of the family gathered for his funeral Mass. Archbishop Michael Jackson finished his tribute to David by saying, “I will miss him terribly, and I have no doubt that many others will also,” a sentiment echoed in the closing words of David Coghlan’s homily. “When the pain and awfulness of today has transformed into the warm and lovely memory of someone beloved, then we may be hopeful, be appreciative of who David is for us and we may let into our hearts the transformative love that God offers us. But that may not happen easily today.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.


Discipleship in ‘the great cathedral of creation’
David Tuohy SJ was the invited preacher at the ordination of four Church of Ireland Deacons, on Sunday 18 September, in Christ Church Cathedral. Archbishop Michael Jackson presided at the ordination of Deacons, Tom O’Brien (St Mary’s, Howth), Rebecca Guildea (Zion Parish, Rathgar), Stuart Moles (St. Patrick’s, Greystones) and Anne Lodge (Raheny Parish). David had conducted a two day retreat for the Deacons in September, in Manresa Jesuit Centre for Spirituality in Clontarf, Dublin, and is involved in ongoing accompaniment of participants in the Anglican Church’s Mission programme, Come and See.
In his homily, he said that the four ordinations challenged everyone present to reflect on their own call to discipleship and the journey it entails. “The first dimension of our journey is inwards, to the depth of our own being, to let God touch and transform our human weakness.” Referencing the first reading in the liturgy – the call of the prophet Isaiah – he continued, “Isaiah saw God in the glory of His heavenly kingdom. We see him in the great cathedral of His creation. Our familiarity with the word of scripture directs us to the drama of God’s presence in our world and our lives. Our discipleship seeks the wisdom that goes beyond the superficial to the drama of God loving and caring for us. We let God open up a sense of wonder that captures our minds and our hearts.”
We are never alone on the journey of discipleship and sharing with a community of believers, all with their differing gifts, marks the second dimension of discipleship, he continued. But this part of the journey can be fraught, with individualism and eogism threatening the harmony of unity. “Our world is characterised by different tyrannies,” he said. “The tyranny of majorities who demand conformity from others in order to preserve their own privilege; the tyranny of minorities who demand special treatment in a way that undermines others. We are flooded with media images that portray irreconcilable differences between communities and individuals caught up in a selfish pursuit of excess privilege,” he said. This being the case, true discipleship, following the example of Christ, “requires a language that speaks of hope, reconciliation, mutual understanding and community in a new and creative way.”
For the follower of Jesus, this language also entails action. And the action, as modelled by Jesus, is of compassionate service. As well as looking after the needs of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the prisoner, David said the disciple of Jesus is also called to challenge a life strangling and pervasive fundamentalism.”To-day, there is a need to engage with the fundamentalism of science, and to let the religious imagination engage with new discoveries in cosmology, medicine and the social sciences, where it will find a creative and loving God. There is the need to engage with the fundamentalism that values the human person only as an economic unit of production, giving rise to the exclusion of certain groups from sharing in a society’s wealth. There is a political fundamentalism that seeks to exclude all aspects of religion from public debate. The call of service is to open people’s minds to the way some philosophies and structures can oppress, impoverish and dis-empower both those who hold these philosophies and their victims, as well as reaching out and ministering to those victims.”
He concluded by acknowledging how the ordination of the four deacons was an encouragement to all present. “As they take on a new role of journeying with and serving the community, we are invited to pray for them. Above all, we are invited to give thanks for their generous response to God, and to give glory to the God who continues to call all of us to work with Him in building up his Kingdom.”
All four Deacons had taken part in the the Mission programme that David is involved in leading. Participants reflect on the Anglican Church’s five marks of Mission and seeing how they apply concretely today in the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Those marks are: Tell (Preach), Teach (Nurture friends and newcomers), Tend (Look after with loving care), Transform (the unjust structures), and Treasure (enable and look after God’s creation).
David says that as a Jesuit, being part of this journey with people exploring Mission in the Church of Ireland, has given him a new insight into different ways of organising Church and engaging with Church. “And I’ve found the female clergy and female lay participation with Synods very affirming of the faith of all the people and their lives in a Christian community.”


A Galway farewell
The Month’s Mind Mass for David Tuohy SJ took place in St Ignatius Church, Sea Road Galway (see photo) on Sunday 29 February 2020. David was a native of Galway who lectured for a time in Galway University, and a large crowd, including some of his fellow Jesuits from Dublin, came to mark his passing on Friday 31 January this year. After Mass, all were invited to the Jesuit Community house for tea and sandwiches. The celebrant and homilist was Martin Curry SJ, also from Galway and a life-long friend of David’s. He told the congregation that it was precisely in the neighbourhood in which they were gathered, right beside Coláiste Iognáid, that David realised he was called to be a Jesuit, and that he was ordained in that very church in June 1981.”Whatever thoughts David had when he joined about what he might do as a Jesuit,” said Fr Martin, “he certainly never imagined the fantastic achievements that he completed in his 53 years.”
Read the full homily below.
The Trumpet Shall Sound
It is very fitting that the Gospel today for Saturday of 1st week in Lent is the call of St Matthew by Jesus. Because it was in this neighbourhood of Coláiste Iognáid and Galway that David recognised his own call to become a Jesuit. He joined the novitiate in 1967, just after school. And he was in fact ordained in this Church by Bishop Eamonn Casey in June 1981.
Matthew was a tax collector for the Romans and as such was an enemy of the Jewish people of his time. David was an ordinary student at the Jes and took part in lots of activities in the school. He spent a lot of his life working in schools and became an expert in the management of schools and educational theory.
We remember his great work with very many groups in the country and in Africa, his time lecturing both in UCD and in NUIG, but perhaps one of his greatest achievements was the setting up of the Le Chéile Trust, where he brought together 11 congregations at first, later 14, and formed them into a legal trust to preserve their ethos and identity as the number of religious diminished to near zero. The patience and expertise needed to bring all those groups together was enormous. Recently David was trying to set up a similar trust for the Jesuit schools in Ireland, but he was taken from us before that could be finished. Whatever thoughts David had when he joined about what he might do as a Jesuit, he certainly never imagined the fantastic achievements that he completed in his 53 years. I won’t repeat his history – that was very adequately done by Fr. Coghlan at the funeral. I would like to remember the motivation underlying David’s work throughout his life. He was really in touch with God, particularly through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. He didn’t talk about it too much, but hearing him expound on his ideas and reflecting on his more recent work with the Church of Ireland you could begin to see the lively faith-base from which he worked. God was with him, and while we sometimes didn’t recognise it, we knew that David’s thinking and energy was coming from a really deep source, which was God’s friendship and grace. This was very eloquently recognised by Archbishop Michael Jackson in his words at David’s funeral. David’s incredible understanding of difficult concepts, whether in education, spirituality, legal issues, financial issues, or lots of other things, left most of his fellow Jesuits swimming in his wake. Sometimes he couldn’t understand why we were so slow, and it brought out a bit of his impatience, but that didn’t interfere with his friendship and his ability to continue to reach out.

He faced the prognosis of terminal cancer with great courage. They were words nobody wants to hear said to themselves by the consultant, but he didn’t avoid them. He looked the issues squarely in the face – although that was very very difficult – and he decided how to manage the time he had left. A few days before he died, I was with him and we talked about his funeral and the arrangements he wanted. I was reminded of an incident that happened here in the Jesuit community about March 1975. It was Saturday afternoon, and there was nothing major happening, as we were both in our rooms next door to each other on the top floor of the house. I had found a trumpet in Fr. Sean Mallin’s room and I spent about an hour trying to get a sound out of it. Suddenly, I got a clear blast from it, and there was a huge crash from next door! My door flew open and an amazed David stood there, having just fallen out of bed, laughingly asking what the hell was going on. I reminded him of that just before he died, and we said that now another trumpet was blowing – calling him to the next life. He smiled even through the pain of it all, but he didn’t try to avoid what was going to happen. It is a month now since his funeral, and the immediate sadness has diminished somewhat. David spent his life telling people about God and his goodness, and the promises he made to each of us – that we would reach eternal happiness with him when the time came. David’s time had come, and we now pray that the happiness promised him will be fulfilled.

We often hear people say that when they die, they hope that they leave the world a better place than it was when they came into it. We can certainly say that about David – we are all better for having known and having shared life with him. And so are thousands of other people as well. We pray that his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed will rest in the peace and joy of Christ forever.
Martin Curry SJ


Exploring Jesuit Humanism
Conscience, competence, compassion and commitment, not solely as conventionally understood, are the key characteristics of a Jesuit humanism for today, according to Jesuit educationalist Dr David Tuohy SJ.
David Tuohy was the keynote speaker at an education conference in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin, on Thursday 22 January. It was organised by the Irish Jesuit 1814-2014 Restoration Committee as part of their ongoing activities marking the 200th anniversary of the Jesuit Restoration.
The event was chaired by historian and broadcaster Dr John Bowman. David’s talk, entitled ‘Learning to Love the World as God Loves It: Jesuit Humanism In Education’, was responded to by Dr Anne Lodge of the Church of Ireland College of Education, and Mr Gerard Foley, Headmaster of Belvedere College SJ. All of their talks feature in this podcast.
In his lecture and Powerpoint presentation, David explored the Renaissance foundations of Jesuit humanism, the impact of the enlightenment, suppression and restoration of the Jesuits, and the present modern-day challenges to this Jesuit humanism which underpins Jesuit education.
The lecture unfolded the richness and depth of a Jesuit humanism rooted in the Ignatian vision of each human being as created by God and invited to co-create the world with him. This entails an inward developing of the gifts and talents of the individual (the student) as well as an outward orientation of sharing the fruits of the flourishing talents in the love and service of God and others.
This vision has ramifications for the role of the teacher which cannot simply be that of imparting knowledge to a vacant vessel. Rather and analogous to a good Spiritual Director, the teacher shares knowledge and fosters the assimilation of that knowledge in each individual as food for their intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth and development. The teacher is a ‘compass’ for rather than a ‘dispenser to’ the student.
The historical vicissitudes of half a millennium exact their own pressures on any such vision. David explored this impact on the evolution of the vision right up to the present age. Geo-political alliances today are based almost entirely on economic considerations and the experience of authority has been well and truly superseded by the individual’s authority of experience. These challenges notwithstanding, Jesuit schools and colleges are thriving today. The Jesuit humanism based on Ignatius vision of God’s love for the world and its peoples is as necessary today as at any other time in its challenging history.
In her response Dr Anne Lodge, of the Church of Ireland College of Education, highlighted the importance of the way a Jesuit education really fostered the talents, worth and uniqueness of every single student. In terms of a philosophy of education this student-centred approach which values the goodness of each person was not always the dominant vision. She said that when the Jesuits were counter-cultural they were at their best and she noted that today’s culture often put a skewed emphasis on measurable outcomes for students simply summed up as points in the leaving. The counter cultural vision of Jesuit education was therefore much needed.
Gerard Foley, Headmaster of Belvedere College SJ, outlined some of the ways Belvedere students exemplified in practice the theory being talked about. He spoke about the students’ engagement with homeless people in the annual sleepout. He cited the story of one young student who was teaching English to a migrant as part of a joint project with the Jesuit Refugee Service. After a number of weeks he said he’d changed his whole perspective on economic migrants. Mr Foley told the story of the teacher who was sowing a roof-garden on top of the college. “Without ever mentioning God, he’s been teaching the students about the care of the earth, the power of the seed, the beauty of creation”.
In conclusion he referred to Jim Culliton SJ, a former deputy headmaster of Belvedere who used to stand in the corridor and say to the parents he met, “Celebrate the child you have, not the child you hoped to have”.

David Tuohy, SJ

David Gerard Tuohy was born in Dublin on 10th February 1950 to Matt Tuohy and Peg Power. He grew up in Galway and attended Colaiste Iognaid. He entered the Jesuits novitiate in Emo on 7th September 1967, completed a degree in botany in UCD in 1973 while living in Rathfarnham Castles (the province juniorate), studied philosophy in the Milltown Institute (1973-5), taught in Colaiste Iognaid (1975-77), where he attained the H. Dip. He studied theology in the Milltown Institute (1977-81). He was ordained deacon in the Jesuit church in Galway by the Bishop Eamon Casey, Bishop of Galway on 24th February 1980 and ordained priest, also by Bishop Casey, on 27th June 1981, after which he studied for aeducational administration in Fordham University New York. Over the next few years he taught in Belvedere College (1982-85), worked as a parish chaplain in a parish in Tallaght (1985), taught in Colaiste Iognaid (1985-90), lectured in NUI Galway (UCG as it was then, 1990) and in Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia (1990-1, 1991-2). In between the two periods in Philadelphia, he did his tertianship in Austin, Texas in 1991 under the direction of Joseph Tetlow. He pronounced his final vows on 3rd December 1994 at Loyola, Eglinton Road. Dublin. While a lecturer in UCG (1992-1993) he completed his doctorate in education in 1993 and took a post in UCD (1993-2000), from which he moved to NUI Galway in 2000. He resigned from that post in 2006 and became an educational consultant. During his tenure in UCD he lived in the Milltown Park community (1993-95), and with the foundation of the Dominic Collins community at 129 Morehampton Road in 1995 he was resident there until 2000. After his resignation from NUI Galway he returned to the Dominic Collins community (2006-2017). He spent a sabbatical (2010-11) in Boston College and in Jerusalem. With the immanent suppression of the Dominic Collins community he lived in SFX, Gardiner St (2017-9) and moved to St Ignatius, Leeson St in 2019. He was diagnosed with cancer in August 2019 and after a troubled five months died on 31st January 2020.

While his tenure in the Education Depts of UCD and NUI Galway were relatively short, they were the base from where he shaped generations of teachers and school principals, facilitated school staff days and supervised research dissertations. He taught courses in educational administration and led summer schools for school principals. His book, School Leadership and Strategic Planning (ASTI) went through two editions, the first edition being launched by the then Minister for Education in 1997.

It was after his retirement from his university post to become an educational consultant that he flourished. His energy and output were enormous. He engaged in consultancy work with individual schools, boards of management, religious congregations and educational trusts. His outstanding achievement in this regard was his pioneering work with Le Cheile. A group of small religious congregations each of which had one or two schools wished to form a common trust for their schools. Over several years David facilitated these congregations’ leadership to create a common vision and he led them through the multiple legal complexities of creating the trust as a company, framing a constitution, property ownership, decision making structures and so on. He became company secretary and organised board meetings and AGMs. To date Le Cheile comprises the schools of fifteen religious congregations and fifty-three schools.

He was a prolific writer. His books include, The Inner World of Teaching (Falmer Press, 1999, later translated into Polish), Youth 2K: Threat or promise to a religious culture? (2000, Marino Institute of Education), Leading Life to the Full: Scriptural Reflections on Leadership in Catholic Schools (Veritas, 2005), and his masterpiece, Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published in 2013. He authored numerous commissioned research reports across a wide range of educational topics for: The Department of Education, The Loreto Education Office, The Marino Institute, The Church of Ireland Education Office, The Loreto sisters in Uganda, Alexandra College. The topics of these reports covered: new programmes at second level, of non-curricular school policies in a school development planning context, the applied Leaving Cert, teacher development, boarding schools, parental values, secondment and the provision of education for refugees in northern Uganda,. He published articles in educational journals: Studies, Irish Educational Studies, The Furrow, Educational Management and Administration and Oideas, and book chapters and delivered papers at conferences, in Ireland, UK, Finland and Australia. He reviewed books on education created podcasts.

He was hoping that if his illness was prolonged and not too debilitating, he would return to a book project on art and education on which he had been working. Before his illness he was working on the constitutions of an Irish Jesuit educational trust where he was bringing his knowledge of the philosophy of Jesuit education, framed as Jesuit humanism, and his experience of establishing educational trusts together.

His work with the Church of Ireland Education Office extended into work with the united dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and a friendship with Archbishop Michael Jackson. He led a project on developing discipleship in the diocese and co-authored its outcome, Come & C (Messenger Publications, 2019). He was appointed an ecumenical canon of Christchurch Cathedral and preached at the diaconate ordinations in Christchurch. Archbishop Jackson spoke warmly about David’s work in the archdiocese at David’s funeral and co-presided (with the provincial) at the prayers of commendation.

What of David Tuohy the Jesuit and man?
David was an authentic Jesuit academic in the Jesuit intellectual tradition of education in his heart and in his practice. Jesuit documents describe Jesuit scholars as apostles and that the intellectual life is apostolic even when it appears to be secular. The previous Superior General, Fr Nicolas, emphasised the need for Jesuits in the intellectual apostolate to be men of humility, abnegation and patience, free from desires for personal advancement and of competitive rivalry. He referred specifically to the ‘ministry of research’, which he said that Jesuits who teach in higher education should also be involved. He stated that ‘no field can be excluded a priori from the ministry of research: philosophy and theology, but also the sciences dealing with life, human and social science, physics etc’. It was out of this vision and his internalisation of the Jesuit educational tradition that David lived and worked. The central theme of his whole apostolic enterprise was values, leadership and Catholic education.

Underpinning all his work was an incredibly rapacious mind. His ability in maths and statistics was awesome. In his work with the Le Cheile Trust he grasped the legal complexities and was well able to take on the legal profession. Indeed he could challenge any professional. Woe betide a sloppy builder or workman or even a solicitor!

He could never resist a puzzle - sudoku, crossword, jigsaw. He could turn his hand to anything. He organised and supervised building construction, administered the practical running of communities, kept community accounts, mastered legal and insurance complexities and wrote biblical meditations. He co-produced musicals, coached rugby and rowing. He seemed to understand the complexities of every sport – rugby, soccer, baseball, cricket, gridiron. As a junior he trained to be a soccer referee and was certified by FAI and had the referees’ black outfit, whistle and notebook. He was an accomplished cook and he organised the menus and cooked the dinners at Jesuit gatherings.

As a person he was full of love, fun, making and keeping friends easily. He was deeply attached to his immediate and extended family across the world – being in regular contact, visiting them and officiating at their baptisms, weddings and funerals,. He researched his family’s history and constructed complex family trees. He enjoyed his pleasures: visiting art exhibitions, fishing with his cousin, playing golf, attending symphony concerts and Agatha Christie murder plays.

David’s journey was not always easy. He could get trapped easily into a cycle of anger and pessimism. Some working relationships were fractious, especially with some superiors. He could be very intolerant of what he perceived as incompetence, narrow thinking and people’s inability to understand structures and roles. Some special projects and work did not develop as he had hoped due to this.

The final few months of his life were very difficult as he fluctuated between periods living in the community with reasonable health and being in hospital with infections and in Cherryfield Lodge (the province nursing home). Over his dying few months since his cancer was diagnosed, he spoke constantly in terms of an image from St Luke’s gospel (5: 17-26). In this gospel story, a group of a sick man’s friends wanted Jesus to heal him, but because the house in which Jesus was speaking was so crowded, they climbed onto the roof, took off the tiles and lowered their friend down through the ceiling in front of Jesus. As David received cards, messages and reports of love and prayers for him, he spoke of how he understood that those who were praying for him were holding the ropes and lowering him down to Jesus. He was graced with a strong faith as his treatment stopped and he grew weaker. He died in Cherryfield Lodge 31st January 2020 a week before his 70th birthday.

David Coghlan SJ

Troddyn, Peter M, 1916-1982, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/421
  • Person
  • 23 May 1916-27 November 1982

Born: 23 May 1916, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 19 October 1947, Clonliffe College, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1951, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 27 November 1982, University Hall, Hatch Street Lower, Dublin

Older Brother of Billy Trodden - RIP 1984

by 1939 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

◆ Irish Province News 58th Year No 2 1983 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1984


Fr Peter M Troddyn (1916-1933-1982)

Peter was born in Dublin on 23rd May. 1916. He was the eldest of six children, five boys and one girl. His father, a civil servant, was a native of Maghera in Derry; his mother, née Walsh, was from near Ballina in Mayo. All Peter's uncles, his mother's brothers, were boys at Clongowes in the early years of this century. His initial schooling was under the direction of a Miss Haynes, a devout Church of Ireland teacher, and her two Catholic assistants. This little school was about one hundred yards from Peter's home in Rathgar. There he met, for the first time, one who was to be a fellow-Jesuit and life long friend, the late Fr Dick Ingram.
For a few years after leaving Miss Haynes's Academy Peter continued his education under the Irish Christian Brothers in their schools in Synge street, then a penny tram-ride from his home. In the autumn of 1929 his parents made a decision which was to affect his whole life. Peter and his two brothers, Billy and Gerald, entered Belvedere College.
Athair Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire writes of Peter as a boy at Belvedere:
“While he did not play games, he was a faithful member of the Cycling Club and an enthusiastic, talented photographer. He was active, too, in the Debating Society and in An Cumann Gaelach, of which he was a founding member. One memory of him is abiding: from his arrival in the school, he was an inveterate “asker of questions”. In this the child was father of the man; to the end Peter's keen intellectual curiosity was a noted characteristic: Over the years I myself have frequently witnessed his struggles with abstruse mathematical, Theological and even historical problems. He was all his life a seeker and searcher for truth.
In February 1933, Peter's father died. This proved to be a turning point in Peter's life. It was decided that he should sit for the Civil Service Examinations for Junior Executive Grade and at the same time complete his Leaving Certificate Course at Belvedere. Shortly after his , 17th birthday he passed both examinations with honours. However, during the Summer months which followed, he made up his mind to become a Jesuit and he entered our Novitiate at St Mary's, Emo, on 30th September 1933. He was one of seven Belvederians to do so in that year.
His noviceship came to an end on 1st October, 1935, when he made his first vows. He spent the three following years in the Juniorate at Rathfarnham Castle. He graduated from the National University, receiving his BA (Hons) in Maths/Maths Physics. He was one of three to do so in 1938; the late Fr Dick Ingram and Fr Ted Collins of Hong Kong made up that distinguished trio.
While in the judgement of his contemporaries he would have benefited from further studies at the University, it was decided that he should start his philosophy course at the French House in Jersey. Here he spent one golden year, a year he often spoke of with affectionate appreciation. Everything appealed to him, the stimulating lectures of the Professors, the congenial company of the French scholastics, the climate, the diet and the all-round liberating régime. Here too, was kindled his love for France and things French. In later years he would return to France to carry on, for over twenty years, a hidden apostolate in a Paris suburb.
The outbreak of the Second World War on 3rd September, 1939, brought about the recall of Peter and his four fellow Irish Scholastics to Tullabeg. Philosophy as an academic discipline appealed to him and he excelled in it. And, as in the he played a full and useful part in all the activities of his fellow philosophers', games apart.
For two years, from 1941, he taught mathematics in Belvedere, edited the Belvederian and presided over the Senior Debating Society. He also obtained his Higher Diploma in Education. Then he spent one year at the Crescent teaching and prefecting and refereeing rugby matches for the very young boys! In addition, he was in charge of the new school hall, where his practical knowledge of electricity was a decided asset! In both Colleges he won the hearts of many a youth by his patience and his kindly interest in their boyish affairs.
He arrived in Milltown Park in Autumn of 1944 to commence his studies. Here his health began to deteriorate. He was rushed to hospital and underwent major surgery on 29th July, the eve of the Ordination Day 1947. He recovered slowly and was ordained privately at Clonliffe College by the late Archbishop John C. McQuaid on 19th October, 1947. He offered his first Mass in the Convent Chapel attached to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross.
But illness dogged him. He was unable to complete his Theology and retired to do light work in 35, Lower Leeson Street, and to Clongowes in the summer term of 1949. In the autumn of . that year he began his Tertianship. This final year of formation proved a trial for him, but he persevered until ill health forced him to retire once more, this time to Milltown Park where he took his final examinations successfully just before Christmas 1950.
Fr Peter arrived as a member of the Community attached to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner Street, in January 1951. On 15th August of that year Peter, he made his final profession. During the next eleven years Peter held posts of varying importance. He was for a time Assistant to the Province Treasurer, he preached frequently in the Church and during the Novena of Grace and always to appreciative audiences. Fr Daniel Shields takes up the story: “I was in the St Francis Xavier Community during the years when Fr Peter was in charge of the building of the present St Francis Xavier Hall. He was faced with many problems, not least, the financial problem, How was he to raise the large sums required to meet not only the building costs, but also the cost of installing modern theatre and stage equipment, seating, etc. Fr Peter with the expertise of a Rothschild banker came to the rescue. He devised a system of weekly “draws” which were so attractive and so widely supported, that the money so raised financed the entire undertaking. When the Hall was completed, Fr Peter recruited a group of voluntary helpers. These included skilled carpenters, painters, engineers, light and or sound experts and even a tailor! Fr Peter became the friend and Father of each. They came to him with all their problems, not least their religious problems. It is unbelievable the trouble he took in finding real solutions to a wide variety of such problems.
Fr Peter then turned is attention to providing accommodation for the members of the Pioneer Club, who had formerly been housed in the original Fr Cullen's Pioneer Hall in Sherrard street. He purchased a fine Georgian house on the East side of Mountjoy Square and had the entire building renovated, decorated and equipped to a high standard, The proceeds of his Weekly Draws' helped to finance this project also. The St Francis Xavier Hall and the Pioneer Club - Fr Cullen House - stand today }s monuments to Peter's financial genius, to his foresight and above all to his loyalty to his fellow co-operators and friends.
An tAthair Proinsias 0 Fionnagáin re- calls another activity of Peter's which, as has been mentioned, started in 1951: 'He undertook annually pastoral work at Gonesse, a parish north of Paris. There he won the trust and the approval of the Curé who invited him back year after year down to 1969. For two years he continued his summer pilgrimage, first at Milly-la-Forêt and then in Brittany, whither the Curé, for reasons of health, had retired. For the next three years, Fr Peter was too occupied with editorial problems to undertake any trips abroad. During his own time in France, Fr Frank met some of Peter's former fellow philosophers from his Jersey days. They all spoke of his gifts of mind and heart.
On the Status, 1962, Fr Peter found himself transferred to Clongowes as a teacher of Maths. He was then in his forty-seventh year, had been out of the classroom for seventeen years and was in very indifferent health. It proved to be a mistake. After two years it was my pleasure to welcome him as a member of the Jesuit team then manning the young College of Industrial Relations. He stayed with us until the Spring of 1966 when at the request of his old friend, Fr R Burke-Savage, he joined the Leeson Street Community as “Collaborator in Studies”. Incidentally, his religious Superior was none other than his erst- while companion at Miss Haynes's Academy forty years before - the late Fr Dick Ingram.
An tAthair Proinsias resumes: On his appointment in 1967 to the editorship of Studies - it might have been thought that he had neither sufficient experience nor. qualifications for that important position. His Provincial, Fr Brendan Barry, how ever, judged him to be eminently qualified and how splendidly justified was Fr Barry's judgement!
Peter proved to be an editor to the manor born. His was a fastidious sense of good English. The Autumn issue of Studies, 1968, left no doubt as to the accuracy of his judgement concerning the changes taking place in Ireland in the euphoria of the prosperous 'sixties. “Post-Primary education, now and in the future - A Symposium” - proved a brilliant success. Over 5,000 copies of this issue were sold. On this occasion Fr Peter showed himself to be a peritus among the periti.
For six more years, Studies under Peter's editorship maintained the highest standards of readable scholarship. In deed, the very excellence of succeeding issues concealed the nagging financial problems and worries and the wretched health that continued to affect the conscientious Editor. He continued the unequal struggle until the Spring of 1974, when he felt obliged to lay down his pen and vacate the Editor's chair.
His association with University Hall and with its students, which had begun in the Spring of 1966, now continued, Fr Jack Brennan writes: ‘Peter was happy in the Hall ... Surprisingly, perhaps, in such a private person, he enjoyed time spent with the students. He was extremely patient in listening to them. His advice was sure and often took pragmatic turns that sprang from his wide knowledge of fields in which they were concerned. His tolerance was of a high degree, and, occasionally he would inter cede in a caring way on behalf of a student who was in 'hot water'. For him the faults or failings of another were never the whole story. His sense of loyalty - often involving a considerable amount of work on his part - towards the students as well as towards his family being able to share some of his good and friends was striking. Confidentiality was also a key quality of his.
One very close to him all his life writes: “A thing that always struck me about Peter was his kindness to the domestic staff in the Houses in which he lived. I used to notice this whenever I came to visit him. They would speak of him very appreciatively and tell me about the many good turns he did them”. Fr Shields concurs with this: “The staff of St Francis Xavier's Hall looked on Peter as their friend. And when he left the Hall, they were lonely and upset, Meeting me, they would say, ‘Father, when is Fr Troddyn coming back?’" Such touching appreciation needs no comment. Nor did this characteristic escape Fr Jack Brennan's observation; “The domestic staff at the Hall held Fr Peter in high regard; they were glad to be able to attend to his simple wants with real affection”
There is one virtue which this very private person could not conceal from those few who knew him intimately. Peter was a genuinely humble man - a man who, with St Paul “in labours, in knowledge, in long suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Spirit, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth", showed himself a true Minister of God'. He had to carry the cross of poor health for most of his working life with the humiliations, misunderstandings and frustrations attached to it. His judgements and opinions did not always receive the consideration they deserved. Apart from St Francis Xavier's Hall and Fr Cullen House, his plans and dreams were seldom actualised. These apparent “failures' provided him with opportunities for the practice of humility and consequent self effacement. He was always more ready to blame himself than to question the wisdom of others.
Some final thoughts occur to me. Personal friendships meant a great deal to him, not for what he himself could get abut for the joy he felt at being able to share some of his good his advice or practical knowledge with someone, however lowly, in need. This must have helped him to a more correct appreciation of God's gifts to him self and of his duty as a Christian to help other members of the Body of Christ.
From his many serious illnesses, Peter grew in self knowledge and also in awareness of the care which the sick and convalescent needed. He demanded high standards of care for anyone ill and showed his concern and displeasure if he thought that those who were sick were neglected in even the smallest way. His genuine concern was shown clearly in daily visits, in all weathers, for three and a-half years until her death, to an aged aunt in Our Lady's Hospice. The staff and other patients admired his faithful kindness and concern for her welfare.
If I or other contributors to this obituary have said very little about Peter the Jesuit, it is because we have no reason to stress what was obvious to us all. As has been well said: “Peter was a Jesuit in the authentic lgnatian mould”. Ever an avid reader, he kept in touch with “Jesuitica” and like so many of his generation found it difficult to accept some manifestations of the new “pluralism”.
May the good Lord, who is gentle and lowly in heart, welcome Peter into the new home prepared with exquisite care for all who love and serve his heavenly Father.
Edmond Kent SJ

Tormey, James G, 1903-1981, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/420
  • Person
  • 13 June 1903-16 January 1981

Born: 13 June 1903, Mullagh, County Cavan
Entered: 04 October 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1944, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 16 January 1981, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - National Teacher before entry

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947
Holland :
Fr. J. Tormey sends us the following news of Fr. C. Kock, who did his Theology at Milltown Park from 1938 to 1942 and his Tertianship in Rathfarnham from 1942-1943 :
“Fr. Kock is now finishing his first term at St. Ignatius College, 51 Hobbemakade, Amsterdam, a large school with about 1,000 boys. The country is recovering slowly from the effects of the war. Many things are still very scarce, and one hardly notices improvement, but it is there all the same..... Fr. Kock concludes his letter by asking for Irish stamps of the last two or three years, for which there is great demand in Holland”

Irish Province News 56th Year No 2 1981
Fr James Tormey (1903-1932-1981)

He was born on 13th June 1903 in Mullagh, Co Cavan, and went to National School. Apparently the family moved to Dublin early in his life. He was the youngest of the Tormey Brothers, Auctioneers. In the Society he was known as Jim or James, but to his family he was Gerard. After training in St Patrick's, Drumcondra, he got a BA and taught in Milltown NS. It would seem that he was influenced by Fr Conal Murphy, and went to the novitiate in Emo on 4th October 1932. From there he went straight to Tullabeg for philosophy (1934-37) followed by a single year of regency in Belvedere, where he gained a HDip in Ed, theology in Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1941, and tertianship in Rathfarnham (1942-43). In eleven years he had completed his formation. No doubt it was his degree and teaching experience before entry, together with his age (29 at the outset) which made this period up to five years shorter than that of his contemporaries.
After formation, the theatre of his activity for nearly thirty years (1943-72) was the junior school in the Crescent, Limerick, where as a qualified primary teacher he continued teaching young boys. For most of the time he was in charge of the junior school. When teachers questioned him about marking boys' examination papers, he would always say “Do your best for them”. That was what he himself did - his best. In 1972, when the junior school was nearly phased out (the senior school had already migrated to Dooradoyle and metamorphosed into Crescent Comprehensive) James moved to Manresa, where he did a five-year stint in the bursar's office. Failing health forced him to go easy: he gradually weakened, and finally departed this life on 15th January 1981.

Toner, Patrick, 1910-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/419
  • Person
  • 17 September 1910-21 January 1983

Born: 17 September 1910, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 21 January 1983, Lisheen House, Rathcoole, County Dublin - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

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

Early education at Westland Row CBS Dublin, and Blackrock College, County Dublin

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966
by 1938 at Loyola, Hong Kong - studying
by 1941 at Pymble NSW, Australia - studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Patrick Toner, S.J.

Father Patrick Toner, SJ, former Rector of Wah Yan College, Kowloon, died in Ireland on 21 January 1983, aged 72.

Father Toner was born in Belfast on 3 September 1910. His family was driven out of Belfast by the “pogroms” of the early 1920s and settled in Dublin, but in many ways he himself remained a Belfast-man, tenacious of any opinion or course of action that he had taken up.

In 1930 he interrupted his university studies to enter the Irish Jesuit novitiate, and he adhered firmly throughout his life to the lessons he learned as a novice. His closet friends used say that he arrived in the novitiate with a slight Belfast accent, but as the years passed this accent became stronger and stronger - more tenacity!

He arrived in Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1937. In addition to regulation language study and teaching, he did a considerable amount of work for the refugees who poured into Hong Kong after the fall of Canton to the Japanese in later 1938, even spending a short period in much-troubled Canton.

In 1940 he went to start his theological studies in Australia, and was ordained there in 1943. Having finished his theological studies, he returned to Ireland to do his last year of Jesuit training, and to visit his family, to whom he was deeply devoted.

He returned to Hong Kong in 1946 and took up teaching in the Wah Yan Branch College under the headmastership of Mr. Lim Hoy Lam in Nelson Street, Kowloon.

In 1947, Mr. Lim retired from the administration of the school and Father Toner became headmaster. In 1951 the school moved to its new premises in Waterloo Road, dropping “Branch” from its title and becoming Wah Yan College, Kowloon. Father Toner as Rector and headmaster directed the move, and the great expansion of the school and the formation of its new traditions.

In 1964, having completed his period of rectorship, he transferred to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and taught there until 1976, taking charge also for some time of the Night School and of the Poor Boys Club.

This career of education, administration and pastoral work taught him much about meeting the problems that life presents, but it did not change his character. He arrived in the Jesuit novitiate 51 years ago as a cheerful, uncomplicated, deeply devoted young man. He died last month as a cheerful, uncomplicated, deeply devoted old man. May there be many like him!

As might have been expected, Father Toner did not take kindly to the changes that multiplied in the Church during and after Vatican Council II. This never caused any breach between him and those who eagerly followed new ways; it did lend a special flavour to his confabulation with those who thought like himself. He and his dear friend Father Carmel Orlando, PIME, came closer than ever together as they pondered in company the wisdom of The Wanderer and sighed energetically over the antics of extremists.

In 1976 Father Toner left for Ireland. Soon after his arrival his health began to decline. He retained his mental powers and his cheerful spirit unimpaired, but his bodily strength faded gradually, but inexorably under the strain of arteriosclerosis.

He suffered a stroke on 20 January and died early the following morning.

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated this evening, 4 February, at 6 o’clock in the chapel of Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 4 February 1983

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945

Frs. J. Collins, D. Lawler and P. Toner, of the Hong Kong Mission, who finished theology at Pymble last January, were able to leave for Ireland some time ago, and are expected in Dublin after Easter.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 58th Year No 2 1983


Fr Patrick Toner (1910-1930-1983) (Macau-Hong Kong)

Fr Paddy Toner was born in Belfast, 7th September 1910. The family was forced to leave Belfast during the 1922 pogroms in Northern Ireland. The Toners were publicans. Paddy remembered those times and one incident in particular: One evening on returning from school, he entered their premises to find his father being held at gun-point. There were two men holding revolvers to his head, one each side. Paddy, twelve years old, dashed for the counter and flung a heavy bottle-opener at the raiders. The gunmen tried to get him, but his father managed to escape. This incident gave Paddy, the eldest of four boys, a special place in his father's affection. It also shows the stuff that Paddy Toner, most gentle and lovable of men, was made of.
As a boy at Blackrock College, when the late Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid was President, Paddy made known to his mother his intention to go for the priesthood. We can understand his father being upset and totally opposed to this idea. No, Paddy would never leave him. He discussed the matter with the President of the College and on his advice, on leaving College, Paddy went to UCD - This would enable him to come to a more mature decision. His father hoped he would change his mind.
In one way he did change his mind: having finished First Arts, he applied for admission to the Society of Jesus and went to St Mary's, Emo, to begin his noviciate in 1930. In floods of tears, his brother told me, his father said goodbye to him just saying: “If this is what you want, my boy, you must have it”.
There were fifty of us in the novice ship that year, and I would say that to a man we would all agree that Paddy Toner was the life and soul of this large novitiate during those two years in the wilderness. He was heart and soul in everything we did - works, walks, recreations and, above all, football. When Pat donned his “shooters”, as he called the boots, one might look about for a pair of shin-guards.
He gained a year in Rathfarnham by going into Second Arts. We were together again for two years in “The Bog” and again he was always the bright ray of sunshine in the “L-o-n-el-y Life” that was ours - to use Fr B Byrne's description of it.
Then came the big break: In 1937 Paddy with three others set out for the Hong Kong Mission. For Paddy and for his family this was a traumatic sacrifice, but to China he went and he never looked back. To add to this, World War II broke out, and in 1940, instead of returning to Milltown Park for theology and ordination, he found himself bound for Australia. In 1945 he returned for tertianship in Rathfarnham. By this time Paddy Toner was Hong Kong to the core. Nothing would have held him back from the Mission. His work in Hong Kong will find space in this issue of Province News. His heart was there and remained there even after his retirement in 1977 through ill-health to join our Community at Rathfarnham Castle.
His last six years were a great blessing for us and for his family, but for Paddy they were years of gradual decline and patient suffering. He did not like Rathfarnham. In his failing health, it was too much for him. The small dining room especially was a trial on account of the noise, particularly on occasions when there was an invasion of visitors and people raised their voices - “Ear-bashers” he called them. He spoke little, but when, with a chuckle, he did mutter those few words, audible only to those very close to him, he said more than all the rest with all their shouting. Both in writing and in speaking, he had a most remarkable gift of brevity and crystal clarity.
Fortunately, during this time, he was well enough to be able to divide his time between Rathfarnham and Blackrock where his sister Maud lived. His brother Joe would call for him on Sunday afternoon and deliver him back on Thursday afternoon.. The only attraction Rathfarnham had for him was that he could say Mass there four days of the week.
His final year was spent in hospital, first at Elm Park and then for nine months at Lisheen Nursing Home, Rathcoole. His death occurred on Friday, 21st January. To the last he was peaceful and genuinely most grateful for every kindness. The Matron and staff at Lisheen House really loved him. His funeral Mass at Gardiner street with so many priests concelebrating was a fitting tribute and a source of great consolation to his family.
Paddy hears again from his heavenly Father welcoming him into his true home, the same words which his father said as he gave him to God. “If this is what you want, my son, you must have it”.

When Pat went in 1934 to philosophy, the Ricci Mission Unit was flourishing in Tullabeg and filling bags with used stamps turned Pat's thoughts to Hong Kong. He had not thought earlier of going to China.
He arrived in Hong Kong just after one of the severest typhoons to hit the place. That was in September 1937. A new language school had been opened at Loyola, Taai Lam Chung, in the New Territories and there he started his two years of language study. At that time Canton was taken by the Japanese and Fr Pat spent about a week there at relief work, working with Fr Sandy Cairns, MM, who was afterwards killed by the Japanese. He also visited the refugee centres opened at Fanling to receive the many thousands who fled from occupied China. In 1939 Fr Toner went to Wah Yan. Hong Kong, where in addition to his duties as a teacher, he became an air raid warden. The outbreak of World War Il prevented his return to Ireland, so in 1940 he went to Australia for theology.
He reached Australia in September 1940 and taught until the Theologate opened in January 1941. After three years he was ordained by Archbishop Gilroy of Sydney and during his fourth year of theology he did some parish work and helped in Fr Dunlea's Boys' Town, In February 1945 he left Australia and after a three months' voyage, under war conditions, he arrived in Ireland which he had left nine years earlier. After four months helping in St Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner street, he went to tertianship in Rathfarnham under the old veteran of the Hong Kong Mission, Fr John Neary.
In August 1946 once more he went East. With seven others he embarked on an aircraft carrier, the “SS Patroller” and arrived in Hong Kong on 13th September to begin work in Wah Yan, Kowloon. On 31st July 1947 he became Superior of the College which at that time had 531 students.
Fr Pat’s tasks in Hong Kong besides teaching included being for a time Minister, Rector, Spiritual Father. After completing his time as Rector in Wah Yan, Kowloon, he was changed to Wah Yan, Hong Kong, where in addition to his work as a teacher he was for a time director of the Night School.
Fr Toner was changed from Kowloon Wah Yan to Hong Kong Wah Yan in 1964, where he taught until he returned to Ireland in June 1976.
Fr Toner was always a very exemplary religious, prayerful, charitable, ear nest and very hard-working. He was Superior of Wah Yan, Kowloon, first in Nelson Street and during these early years the small community lived in a private house, 151 Waterloo road, close under Lion Rock. When the new Wah Yan building was opened in 1951, Fr Toner was its first Rector and continued in this position until 1957. In 1964 he was transferred to Wah Yan, Hong Kong, where in addition to his duties as a teacher he took charge for a time of the Boys' Club from 1966 and of the Night School from 1968.

Timoney, Senan P, 1927-2013, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/806
  • Person
  • 01 May 1927-13 February 2013

Born: 01 May 1927, Galway City, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1963, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Died: 13 February 2013, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Peter Faber, Brookvale Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim community at the time of death.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-senan-timoney-rip/

Fr Senan Timoney RIP
Fr Senan Timoney died unexpectedly and quietly on Ash Wednesday. At the age of 85 he could look back on a life in four provinces, having quartered his years neatly between Galway, Limerick, Dublin and the North.
As he had covered Ireland in his residences, he covered many of the Province’s houses and ministries with distinction: formation (Minister of Juniors, Director of Tertians), teaching (of Irish, Maths, French, sociology, religion, rowing), headmastering in Mungret, administering (Rector, Socius to Provincial), spiritual direction, pastoral and retreat work, keeping the accounts for Brian Lennon’s chip shop in Portadown, and accompanying the brethren through it all, a good companion and sought after in every house.
He was a formidable golfer, neat and accurate, with a trim figure which in the last years was wasted to the point of emaciation. On Ash Wednesday five years ago they diagnosed the blood condition which required regular transfusions. He moved from Belfast to Cherryfield, where the staff remember his engagement with life, always interested, ready to talk about the TV programmes he had watched, alert to the sick and the suffering, welcoming his countless friends.
He consciously kept death – and any talk of death – at bay. In the end his family and several Jesuits were round him He was given the ashes, and was alert practically up to the moment when the Lord took him. May God be good to him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 151 : Spring 2013


Fr Senan Timoney (1927-2013)

1 May 1927: Born in Galway.
Early education in National School and St. Ignatius, Galway
7 September 1945: Entered Society at Emo
8 September 1947: First Vows at Emo
1947 - 1950: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - studied Philosophy
1953 - 1956: St. Ignatius College, Galway - Regency
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1959: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1960 - 1961: Rathfarnham: Tertianship
1961 - 1962: St. Ignatius College, Galway - Teacher; H. Dip. In Ed,
1962 - 1963: Emo - Socius to Novice Director; Minister
2 February 1963: Final Vows
1963 - 1967: Rathfarnham - Minister of Juniors
1967 - 1974: Mungret College
1967 - 1968: Prefect of Studies
1968 - 1969: Rector; Prefect of Studies
1969 - 1971: Rector
1971 - 1974: Headmaster
1974 - 1983: Crescent College, Dooradoyle – Vice-Superior; Teacher
1981 - 1987: Province Consultor
1983 - 1988: Loyola House:
1983 - 1987: Executive Socius; Superior
1987 - 1988: Sabbatical
1988 - 1992: Portadown - Superior
1992 - 1994: Manresa:
1992 - 1993: Directs Spiritual Exercises; Assistant to Director
1993 - 1994: Rector

1994-2013: Belfast
1994 - 1998: Superior: Tertian Director (1995: 1997-1998); Directed Spiritual Exercises; Spiritual Director; Pastoral Facilitator; Assistant Vicar for Religious in Diocese
1998 - 2000: Superior; Chair JINI; Directed Spiritual Exercises; Spiritual Director; Pastoral Facilitator, Assistant Vicar for Religious in Diocese
1999 - 2007: Province Consultor
2000 - 2003: Minister; Superior's Admonitor; Spiritual Director (SJ); Treasurer
2003 - 2007: Directed Spiritual Exercises; Pastoral Facilitator; Assistant Vicar for Religious in Diocese
2008 - 2011: Spiritual Director
2011 - 2013: Resident in Cherryfield Lodge

Senan died on Ash Wednesday morning. Around him were Caitriona, his niece, Mary Rickard, the Province Health Delegate and Liam O'Connell, Socius to the Provincial. Liam had said in succession prayers for the sick, for the dying and for the dead. Before he did that, Liam took the ashes and marked Senan's forehead with the sign of the cross. So ended Senan's earthly life; nearly 86 years since his birth in Galway and nearly 68 years since his joining the Society of Jesus in Emo, in September 1945.

Senan could look back on a life in four provinces, having quartered his years neatly between Galway, Limerick, Dublin and the North, As he had covered Ireland in his residences, he had covered many of the Province's houses and ministries with distinction: formation (Minister of Juniors, Director of Tertians), teaching (of Irish, Maths, French, sociology, religion, rowing), headmastering, administering (Rector, Socius to Provincial), spiritual direction and retreat work, keeping the accounts for Brian Lennon's chip shop in Portadown, and accompanying the brethren through it all, a good companion and sought after in every house, including his final assignment in Cherryfield. As a friend remarked: There wasn't a mean bone in his body.

Always trim, he was a formidable golfer, neat and accurate. Back in the forties such an omni-competent scholastic would have been marked out for the missions, especially Hong Kong. But in Senan's first year of noviciate the Lord sent him an unexplained fever, had him isolated briefly in Cork Street, and planted in Fr Tommy Byrne, the Novice-Master (Senan belonged to the year of Whole-Byrne novices), the illusion that here was a delicate young man who would not be able for the missions. This was Ireland's gain: Senan was never sick again until a heart attack in 1999 and red-corpuscle trouble ten years later, which necessitated the infusion of two units of blood every fortnight.

What, you may wonder, could raise the temperature of a man as equable and calm as Senan? He had known the Jesuits as a boy, had learned Mass-serving from Fr John Hyde, had seen the mainly Jesuit staff of Coláiste lognáid at close quarters, so he did not expect to be surprised when he joined up and went to Emo. But surprised he was, you might almost say appalled, by one feature of noviciate life. What was that? The discipline and chain? No. The isolation? No. The long hours of prayer? No. It was the silence that bugged him. People were not allowed to talk. “I could not get over it. It was unreal and made no sense to me”.

Senan had this gift of articulating what should have been obvious but was accepted as traditional. As Minister of Juniors in 1963 ("an awful job, like a ganger") he was baffled to find the fathers in Rathfarnham Castle herded into the large parlour at 1.45 after lunch, and tied there in stiff conversation till a nod from the Rector at 2.15. Senan made a move: “Let us go free at two oclock." The benign Fergal McGrath was appalled at the suggestion of such a break from tradition.

Freedom was an important value for a man so often burdened with administrative jobs. When he took over from Paddy Doyle as co instructor of tertians with Ron Darwen, Senan would not accept candidates who were assigned unwillingly to tertianship; they must want to come. His cordial relations with lay teachers were clouded by their union's (ASTI) refusal to admit Religious on the grounds that they would all vote the same way as their superior dictated. “We are not like that”, insisted Senan. “We can and do differ from one another while remaining friends”. And it was a feature of the Crescent Comprehensive where Senan taught for nine years, that Jesuits would, in good, amicable spirit, take opposing sides on issues of policy, to the astonishment of new teachers. He was active in staff meetings which would be held without the presence of the Headmaster, and would brief delegates to convey their motions to the Headmaster or the Board of Management.

One revealing episode showed the difficulty of maintaining this freedom. When Senan was secretary of the Catholic Headmasters' Association, ASTI were threatening to strike over a promise that the Government had made and reneged on. A meeting of the CHA voted to come out in sympathy with ASTI, and Senan passed this reassuring news back to his lay colleagues in Mungret. But no statement emerged from CHA, and Senan smelt a rat. He gathered the requisite ten signatures for calling an extraordinary general meeting, and demanded from the Chairman, his friend Sean Hughes, why no statement had been published. Sean admitted that after the CHA meeting and vote, he had consulted John Charles McQuaid, then Archbishop of Dublin, on the matter and was persuaded by JC to back off from a public pronouncement. The whole business smelled of the secretive and coercive character of the Irish church at its worst.

It would be wrong to picture Senan as a flag-waving revolutionary. Rather he used the existing structures intelligently to make his point without stirring up animosity. In Tullabeg, while enjoying the community life, he valued the stage shows as a way of voicing the frustrations of the brethren. In Crescent he supported the meetings of the staff to improve the school in dialogue with the Headmaster and the Board. In the CHA he used the mechanism of an extraordinary meeting to drag secretive machinations into daylight.

One of the most stressful periods of his life came from being vowed to secrecy. In November 1971, Senan and Paddy Cusack, then Headmaster and Rector of Mungret, were asked to meet in Nenagh for Sunday lunch with the Provincial, Cecil McGarry. Cecil came straight to the point: he was going to close Mungret. Then he stood the pair a good lunch (appropriate for people condemned to execution), and vowed them to secrecy about the plan. For four months Senan woke heavy-hearted to face this cloud, unable to discuss it with anyone. He had to make irrational decisions about the future: he watched the installation of new showers, knowing that in two years' time there would be nobody to use them. He cancelled the entrance exam for the following year for some invented reason. One day in March 1972, the Provincial summoned the staff at 2 p.m., and the school at 2.15, with the news of the planned closure. Despite the heavy hearts, the last two years of Mungret were good years, and those who graduated from the school then have remained exceptionally loyal to their friends and their old teachers. One striking example of this: among the crowds at Senan's funeral was a man whom he had expelled from Mungret. “Best thing ever happened to me. I preferred horses to Homer and was at the races when I should have been in class. Senan and my parents saw that schooling did not suit me. I've done fine without it”.

Senan remembered his next nine years, teaching in Crescent Comprehensive, with particular happiness. With four other teachers (of English, history, geography and science) he experimented in team teaching of first year classes. The team would focus on Lough Gur for three months, then on Ancient Limerick, then on the Burren and Aran Islands, taking the pupils through the history, geography, folklore, music and attractions of each topic. They were delighted to find pupils in turn taking their own families on guided tours of the places they had been immersed in.

After those productive years in education, it was a revelation to move north, first to Portadown, then to Belfast, though he had some of the North in his blood - his father was from Fermanagh. They were troubled years, the Good Friday Agreement still a long way off. When Senan went to Portadown, he found an open house, with neighbours popping in at all times of the day and night, chuffed that the Jesuits considered Churchill Park worth investing in. There were informal visits from staff of the Dublin Department of Foreign Affairs, anxious to suss out from the Jesuits how things were moving. He was appalled at the mistaken policy of sending in British army troops to police the North - they were trained to fight, not to keep the peace. He was impressed by the impact made there by Wee Paddy (Doyle), uhwhom he followed later to Belfast and as Instructor of Tertians.

That tertianship is still an unwritten piece of Province history, Senan was happy with the location of the tertians in small communities, in Derry, Coleraine, Belfast, and a meeting point in Maghera. A large tertianship house, with its own cook and institutional character, can foster dependence. But these tertians, living with two or three others, managing their own budget and diet, working things out for themselves, had a more realistic preparation for the probable shape of their future life as Jesuits.

So much for where Senan lived and what he did. A harder question: what made him the remarkable man he was? Here is Alan McGuckian's reflection:
I did the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life with Senan a few years ago. I remember when we came to the meditation on the incarnation he said with great seriousness; this changes everything. Our faith that the eternal word of God became flesh in Jesus makes everything different, makes everything new.

Those who have known him over the years remember a certain quality of inner freshness and dynamism. Part of that was a gift of nature. Much of it, I maintain, came from his fascination and engagement with Jesus.

Senan's capacity to form relationships was extraordinary. They could be lifelong friendships that were transformative for people – or very short term encounters. In recent years he spent a lot of time around hospitals. He wouldn't be five minutes on a ward when he knew the names of all the nurses and the porters and the cleaners, where they were from and how many children they had and that their brother's mother in law was the sister of the Bishop of Elphin. (I made that up, but you know what I mean.) He loved to get the news about people because he was genuinely interested in them.
Caitriona said to me that one thing she remembered most vividly was that Senan was open and welcoming to everybody. He didn't distinguish between high and low, rich and poor, virtuous and unvirtuous. He took people as he found them. I think that is a gift of grace more than nature. Though it should be said that there were certain kinds of mean-spirited behaviour that he would describe as “lousy behaviour”. Individuals, specified or unspecified, who were guilty of such behaviour, would be termed “lousers”. To be designated as a “louser” was definitely not a good thing!

Senan clung to life with incredible tenacity - but, let it be said, with great patience and dignity. As I watched this I often asked “why?” What was it, I wondered, that he still had to do? What did he still have to learn? What did Senan still have to do? There is one thing that he did in these final months of suffering that means a lot to me personally and I will share it with you.

Over the past 20 years Senan had become a Belfast man. He was the son of an Ulsterman, so returning to the North was really a coming home to his roots. In Belfast he was utterly committed to the life of the community, and worked closely with people in all the churches. He was very committed to the life of the diocese of Down and Connor. There is now a new initiative of pastoral renewal in Down and Connor called The Living Church project, which I myself have the privilege to be involved in. Senan became so excited about the Living Church that he told me very solemnly one day more than a year ago that he had decided that he would offer up whatever he had to suffer for the Living Church. He announced this at a mass he celebrated when he came back for a one-day visit to Belfast.

Those of us who have watched him slowly decline in recent months know that the gradual, irreversible loss of control which was always fought so resolutely had to be a great suffering. One day a few weeks ago when I visited him in St Vincent's, Senan as always wanted to know the news. “How is everyone in Belfast? What about the work?” I told him that the Living Church project was moving forward slowly but surely. "Ah", he said, "I have had a fair bit of pain lately. When I was experiencing a lot of pain, I said to myself, “I know what that is for?” The only time he ever mentioned pain - and that without a trace of self-pity – was to say that he was offering it up, turning it to good use. That goes some way towards answering my question, “what did he still have to do?”

Perhaps that is why he shied away from any talk of death even in the last months, when his body was wasted to the point of emaciation. He came back from death's door so often that the devoted staff in Cherryfield called him Lazarus. He did not know the ground plan of the heavenly mansions, so he did not want to waste energy speculating about them. Instead he remained engaged in life, in his friends, in all the news, to the very end. He would have been delighted to go to the Lord with the ashes still fresh on his forehead. And happy that his prayer was answered: May I be alive when I die. His fellow-Jesuits feel a huge sense of loss for a man who was so central to our corporate life, and such a dearly loved companion.

Interfuse No 152 : Summer 2013


Dr John Holien

3.3.2013: letter from Dr John Holien and the team in St Vincent's Hospital who looked after Senan Timoney during his last weeks of life; it was addressed to Senan's niece Mrs Hussey

Dear Mrs Hussey,
Firstly let me apologise for the long delay in writing to you to express my sincerest condolences to you and all the family and the Jesuit community on Senan's death. The team and I had become extremely fond of Fr Senan during his time with us, and the dignity, fortitude and patience he displayed right to the end was amazing - he was remarkably brave, determined and single-minded as he battled away, and these no doubt were traits he'd displayed all his life.

The team and I were aware just how hard the last few months had been for you and the members of his community as you all tried to come to terms with what had happened to Fr Senan. Having not had the pleasure of knowing him before he fell ill, I can only imagine what sort of man he was- the glimpses we had in Vincents made us realise we were caring for a person of enormous intellect, a man who'd dedicated his life to the betterment of others, a selfless man who was much loved by all who knew him. We were always struck by how determined he was even when the odds were against him, how hard he worked and never questioned or complained about what happened to him. He seemed to have this amazing gracefulness to just accept it, offer it up and get on with it, like a true Jesuit in every sense.

I can't tell you how sad we are to lose him - people come and go in Vincent's all the time, but Fr Senan was very special to us and we were devastated we could not make him better. The last few weeks in particular were so difficult as the amazing progress he'd made initially began to fade. I'm so sorry his final few days were not spent where we wanted them to be – at home amongst family and friends, reading the Irish Times and talking rugby.

I hope in the weeks and months ahead you can remember him as the man he was before his illness. It was an enormous privilege for us to have looked after him, I'm just so sorry we couldn't do more. I really mean it when I say Fr Senan made a lasting impression on us all, and I'm sure you have many wonderful memories of a very wonderful man to look back on.

With sincerest sympathies,

John Holien and team

Thompson, Robert J, 1918-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/545
  • Person
  • 25 April 1918-09 September 1995

Born: 25 April 1918, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1952, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 09 September 1995, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1952 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fourth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1962 at Loyola, Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
‘He was radical, he had vision and he made things happen. He was single-minded and, not least, he was stubborn as a donkey’. These words were spoken by Mr P J Kirby, chairman of Clane Community Council at the graveside of Fr Thompson on 12 September 1995.

Fr Bob was born in Mallow, Co Cork in 1918, went to school with the Patrician Brothers and then on to Clongowes Wood College. He entered the Society at Emo Park in 1936 and after studies and ordination in 1949 and then tertianship, he straightaway went to Northern Rhodesia where he stayed for 12 years. While there at Chikuni, he was involved in general teaching, in teacher training, scouting and teaching of religion. He moved to Lusaka and was editor of a newspaper "The Leader" which advocated independence, was very pro-UNIP and was critical of the colonial government. With Fr Paddy Walsh he became friends with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other leaders at the Interracial Club. This was all during Federation days. In fact, the then Federal Prime Minister Roy Welensky wrote to Fr Bob's brother who was a doctor in Rhodesia, ‘Tell that Jesuit brother of yours he is causing me a lot of trouble’. At Independence in 1964, Kaunda brought Fr Bob back from Ireland for the occasion.

Fr Bob was very intelligent, had plenty of ideas in a very active mind and would 'take up the cudgels' as it were, for worthy causes. Many did not see eye to eye with him and often it was mutual, yet he got things done and was never shy of speaking out.

When he returned to Ireland in 1963, he was on the Mission circuits for five years, traveling throughout Ireland and then stayed on retreat work at Rathfarnham and Tullabeg for seven years. In 1977, he was transferred to Clongowes Wood College and became assistant curate in the parish of Clane, a nearby village. For ten years he took part in the life of the parish and the local community: primary schools, the restoration of the old Abbey, renovation of Mainham cemetery, projects for tidy towns, negotiation for a site for a new business enterprise centre and a memorial to Fr John Sullivan S.J. ‘He made things happen’. After leaving Clane for Moycullen in Co Galway, he was called back for the unveiling of a plaque at the restored Abbey which read: “This plaque is erected to the tremendous contribution of life in the locality by Rev R Thompson S.J. during the years 1977 to 1987”.

Bob's remark about this tribute was that he was the first Irishman to have a plaque erected to him before he died. A business centre was built and opened in 1996 after Bob's death and is called the Thompson Business and Enterprise Centre.

In 1987 he retired to Moycullen, Co Galway, for the quiet life as assistant curate and a bit of fishing. The word 'retire' does not really apply to him as his active mind soon saw him involved with concern for the environment, the collapse of the sea trout stocks and the rod license dispute, being on the side of the fishermen. He helped in the Church and stayed there for four years up to 1991. He returned to Clongowes and Clane and four years later he died in Dublin on 9 of September 1995.

He was a man of big ideas he had ‘a remarkable ability of having a new idea every day’ yet he never praised himself for his achievements. He was a devoted confessor. There was nothing artificial in his dealings with parishioners and he was always so sympathetic to those going through hard times. He looked after poor people in a sensitive and low key way that protected their dignity. He had an abiding interest in encouraging young people to use their talents and had total confidence in their ability to improve on what the last generation had done. He motivated those around him, especially the young people. Nobody got preferential treatment, least of all those who believed they deserved it!

‘He was single-minded and tireless’.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr Robert (Bob) Thompson (1918-1995)

25th April 1918: Born at Mallow, Co. Cork
Education; Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1936: Entered Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1938: First Vows at Emo
1938 - 1941: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1941 - 1944: Tullabeg, Philosophy
1944 - 1946: Clongowes Wood College, Regency
1946 - 1950; Milltown Park, Theology
31st July 1949; Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1950 - 1951: Tertianship, Rathfarnham
1951 - 1963: Zambia: Learning the language, Teaching in Chikuni Boarding School, Secretary to Bishops Conference, Teacher of Religion, Scouts Trainer, Minor Seminary teacher, Editor, “The Leader” magazine
2nd Feb. 1952: Final Vows, Chikuni College
1964 - 1969: Crescent College, Limerick, Teacher
1969 - 1970; Tullabeg - Missioner Rathfarnham - Assistant Director, Retreat House
1970 - 1976: Tullabeg - Director of Retreat House
1976 - 1977; Tullabeg - Superior
1977 - 1987: Clongowes - Assistant Curate, Clane Parish
1987 - 1991: Galway - Assistant Curate, Moycullen
1991 - 1995: Clongowes - Coordinator EC Leader Programme, Clane Community Council
9th Sept. 1995: Died unexpectedly at St. Vincent's Private Nursing Home

When leaving Clongowes in his last year Bob Thompson proved himself a very good all rounder, academically as well. Seldom if ever did he praise himself, for example, as a member of the Irish Mission staff doing the length and breadth of Ireland. He was never heard to criticise others on a mission or quietly hint that he was really the number one on the team.

In many ways he was lucky in having Fr. Donal O'Sullivan as Rector of Scholastics in Tullabeg. Bob had little time for piffling matters and could take a hard knock when it was just and due. As a Junior at UCD and Philosopher he had a good sense of humour and greatly benefited from a full house of scholastics. Having six men about the home in Mallow had its own advantage in growth points which no doubt was a definite help in his life.

His years as a young priest in Africa gave him a good deal of experience which he used with amazing courage and which sometimes might have benefited with just that touch of a little prudence and patience. He was always proud of Kenneth Kaunda, especially when Zambia came of age. On the occasion when the country was officially opened, Bob received an invitation here in Ireland to the real opening ceremony out in Zambia, so many miles away. It showed an appreciation and gratitude on the part of the New President of the time when Kaunda, his wife and eight children needed and received practical assistance while he waited in the wings in gaol for many a long day.

When Bob was sent to Tullabeg for a few years, he proved to be a man with big ideas, when finances were a serious matter for the running of retreats. He initiated an annual "Field Day" for Co. Offaly on such a gigantic scale, one wonders now at those vast undertakings. He had a huge army of backers, reminding us of things to come in Clane that was beyond ordinary Jesuit reckoning.

The ten years when Bob acted as assistant curate in Clane parish were blessed for him by having local priests who encouraged him and gave him his head. The seeds that started to grow in Africa now came into fruition due to his intellectual capacity. The next three qualities he had, are seldom seen in the one person, he was radical, he had vision and he made things happen. Not everyone grasped the deep compassion in his make up for those in trouble. They certainly saw how he motivated those around him and especially young people. We were all made aware at some stage that nobody got preferential treatment, least of all those who believed they deserved it! He was single-minded and tireless.

Today we see for ourselves the results of his achievements: the modern primary schools with their lovely run in to the village; the restored Abbey; a work of genuine artistic beauty obviously influenced by expert professional advice; the renovation of Mainham Cemetery, the various tidy town and amenity projects, the memorial to Fr. John Sullivan and finally the site for the new Enterprise Centre.

His health deteriorated for a year or so, prior to his sudden death. This was shown in his step slowing down and the energy slackening. He himself very wisely prepared to hand over to others what needed to be continued and often completed. This is a sign of a real leader who can pass on jobs to others that he would normally do himself. We Jesuits who lived with him admired the way the Lord blessed him with a magnificent base speaking voice, clear diction, so natural in delivery. He was a devoted confessor, nothing artificial in his dealings with parishioners and so sympathetic to those going through hard times. He had a big heart.

His sudden death came as a shock to his family, the Jesuits in Clongowes and to the people of Clane and neighbourhood. Seldom have we seen such a fitting farewell to any Jesuit. The last line was said at his graveside by Mr PJ Kirby in a truly wonderful oration. “The best tribute we can pay Fr. Bob is to try to emulate his example and continue the strong tradition of community and voluntary work. I know the people of Clane will not disappoint him!”

Kieran Hanley SJ

Oration at the graveside of Fr. Bob Thompson S.J. Delivered by Mr. P.J. Kirby, Chairman of Clane Community Council 12th September 1995.

Friends and neighbours,

May I thank Fr. Bob's family and the Jesuit community for providing this opportunity to the people of Clane to honour someone we loved.

I know that some of Fr. Bob's friends from Moycullen are also here today and I hope that what we want to say also reflects how the people of Galway felt about Fr Bob.

Today we are celebrating the life of someone who made an immense contribution to Clane as a priest and a community worker. This happened because Fr. Bob had a number of outstanding personal qualities:

  • He had an intellectual capacity second to none
  • He was radical
  • He had vision
  • He made things happen
  • He was compassionate
  • He motivated those around him
  • He was even-handed; nobody got preferential treatment least of all those who believed they deserved it
  • He was single-minded and tireless and, not least,
  • He was stubborn as a donkey!

These qualities enabled Fr. Bob to achieve things that we can see with our own eyes in Clane today:

  • The modern primary schools
  • The restored Abbey
  • The renovation of Mainham Cemetery
  • Various tidy town and amenity projects
  • The memorial to Fr. John Sullivan; (I will refer again to this later)
  • The site for the new Enterprise Centre

These are all tangible examples of the practical contribution Fr. Bob made to Clane. However, he also made other contributions that were less obvious but are probably of more value than we realise:

  1. He looked after poor people (this was done in a sensitive, low-key way that protected the dignity of the people concerned)

  2. He had an abiding interest in encouraging young people to use their talents and he had total confidence in their ability to improve on what the last generation had done.

  3. He left a legacy of committed community workers to carry on the work; the anticipation of his own departure is always the mark of a great leader.

Each of us will have our own special memories of Fr. Bob. On a personal note, he had a profound influence on my continuing adult education - you could not get this type of learning at any school or university. Some of the community projects I mentioned earlier were concocted late at night in Fr. Bob's house here in Clongowes, very often with spiritual help of the liquid kind.

He had particular insights into the creative and positive use of alcohol. For example, he did not agree with people giving up drink for Lent. I discovered this to my cost one day years ago when he took an abrupt turn in his Fiesta into Manzor's pub car park. The fact that I also came from the Blackwater valley in North Cork did not spare me from a stern lecture on the opportunity for doing good through buying a drink for a friend, a neighbour or a stranger.

I mentioned the memorial to Fr. John Sullivan earlier. Many people in Clane genuinely believe that history has repeated itself. It is remarkable, in the space of two generations, two people of the calibre of Fr. John Sullivan and Fr. Bob Thompson should emerge from the Jesuit order and contribute so much to the welfare of the people of Clane and the surrounding districts. It is a class double act that will be very hard to follow.

Now it's time to say farewell. Someone remarked at the week-end that the last time the people of Clane bid farewell to Fr, Bob he came back! Nothing should be ruled out and I'm sure that he is not gone far away.

The best tribute we can pay Fr. Bob is to try to emulate his example and continue the strong tradition of community and voluntary work. I know the people of Clane will not disappoint him.

◆ The Clongownian, 1996


Father Robert Thompson SJ

Bob Thompson was born in Mallow in 1918. After school, he entered the Jesuits at Emo. Having completed his noviceship in 1938, he followed the conventional course of studies - a degree in Arts at UCD, philosophy in Tullabeg and theology in Milltown Park. Bob - spent two years as a scholastic between philosophy and theology - the period known as “regency” - in Clongowes. He was ordained on 31 July 1949 and when he had finished tertianship, back in Rathfarnham Castle, where he had studied for the BA, he was among the first Jesuits to go to what was then Northern Rhodesia in 1951.

Over the next twelve years he studied the language, taught in the boarding school at Chikuni, served as secretary to the Bishops' Conference, taught Religion, trained scouts, taught in the Minor Seminary and edited “The Leader”, a magazine advocating independent statehood for the country. He taught Kenneth Kaunda, later the first president of Zambia, and his influence was something President Kaunda never forgot. Although Bob was by then back in Ireland, the President invited him to attend the celebrations marking Zambian independence.

In 1963, a thorn in the side of the colonial authorities, Bob returned home. After a year in the Crescent as a teacher, he joined the mission staff based at Tullabeg and was responsible for giving parish missions and retreats around the country. He did this for five years.

Then it was back to Rathfarnham Castle once more as Assistant Director of the Retreat House. The following year he returned to Tullabeg to direct the Retreat House there. After six years in this role, and one further memorable year as Superior of the commu nity, he came to Clongowes in 1977.

This marked the beginning of ten very fruitful years, acting as Assistant Curate - and much more! - in Clane Parish. Bob had an enormous impact on the locality, blessed, as Fr Kieran Hanley has written, “by having local priests who encouraged him and gave him his head”. His pressure on the Department of Education to get the new primary schools built is now a matter of legend.

A fuller sense of what Bob achieved in Clane is conveyed by the tribute from Mr P.J. Kirby, printed below.

He took a four year “sabbatical” from Clane and Clongowes from 1987-91, during which he worked in Moycullen, Co. Galway, again as Assistant Curate. A friend, who shared his passion for fishing, wrote of how Bob's enjoyment of this pastime never allowed him to disregard the environment. He worried about the collapse of seatrout stocks in Connemara; “Anyone knowing Fr Bob can be certain that he has already made approaches to St Peter on these serious matters and he would want to know whạt St Peter proposed to do about the situation! Playing the harp would not be his idea of heavenly bliss....”

He returned to Clongowes and resumed his work with the local community, this time promoting the Clane Community Council and coordinating a European Union funded pro gramme in the local area. His death on 9 September 1995 in St Vincent's Hospital, where he had gone for a check-up, came as a complete shock and his dynamic, creative presence is missed by all who knew him.

The boys in Clongowes hardly knew Bob, although they would occasionally have heard his uncompromising sermons at Mass in the People's Church. They were probably surprised at the large numbers who turned out for his funeral and would have been deeply struck - as we all were, not least his Jesuit brethren - by the remarkable tribute paid to him by P.J. Kirby, chairman of the Clane Community.

Taylor, Donal, 1923-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/725
  • Person
  • 06 November 1923-10 October 2006

Born: 06 November 1923, Portumna, County Galway
Entered: 06 September 1941, Emo
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 09 January 1982, Hong Kong
Died: 10 October 2006, Wahroonga, NSW, Australia - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney Australia community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1950 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was a Jesuit for 65 years, joining the Society in Ireland and coming first to Hong Kong in 1957.

His life in Hong Kong was divided into two phases, firstly working at the retreat House in Cheung Chau for seven years, and then as an English teacher for 25 years at Wah Yan College Kowloon. he published many textbooks on English teaching, composition, writing and colloquial English. He showed great interest in drama and stage production for stage plays, and he was very influential in the Hong Kong Speech Festivals. During his teaching years at Wah Yan College Kowloon, he was active every Sunday in parishes as well as leading Catholic students at Wah Yan to develop in Catholic leadership.

He decided to work in Australia as a pastoral priest when he left Wah Yan Kowloon in 1983 as he reached the retiring age of 60. he continued his missionary work in Australia, being actively involved in the parish at Lavender Bay in Sydney and also at Neutral Bay. he also had outreach work with prostitutes' and drug addicts.

His personal life was simple and ordinary. It was said with a smile, that he was very Irish (with a Galway accent), loyal to his country and its customs, always asserting that he was “not British”! He admired the balance and beauty of Chinese culture and its skills in resolving conflicts, and he made every effort to adapt to Chinese ways.

He wrote a Sonnet about himself :
When I am dead think only this of me,
He was a man, take him for all in all,
Awkward and shy, timid in company
Who never thought of himself as ten feet tall.
Dry wit and puckish slant on life he saved
For those foibles lingered o’er his trail
Oft saw the funny side of fold and misbehaved
In what he said, sometimes beyond the pale.
Of years a scorned and chalk-facing in Hong Kong
The classroom’s daily grind long his chore.
Retired in Austral shores, time seemed for long,
had no regrets, his home for evermore.
At the end of the day let this be said
Tough his sins were as scarlet, what he wrote was red.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Donal Taylor, one of five children, desired to become a priest from an early age, and after an earlier education at the Cistercian College, Roscrea, he entered the Society of Jesus at Emo Park, Ireland, 6 September 1941. He graduated in 1946 with a BA from University College, Dublin. Three years of philosophy studies followed at St Stanislaus' College, Tullabeg. He was assigned to the Hong Kong Mission for regency, 1949-52, during which he learned Chinese for two years and taught in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, for a year. In 1950 the communists detained him and two other Jesuit scholastics for two weeks after they accidentally entered Chinese territory from Macau, and were suspected of being spies as they had a camera. He returned to Ireland for theology 1952-56, and tertianship at Rathfarnham before returning to Hong Kong.
He started his teaching career at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, 1957-58, but believing that he needed to improve his Chinese he went back to Xavier House, Cheung Chou, where he not only studied Chinese, but was also given charge of the Retreat House as director and minister. During this time he established a successful parish network of retreat promoters.
Taylor's next assignment for nearly twenty years was teaching in Wah Yan College, Kowloon, from 1963, where he was also spiritual father to the junior boys. During this time he had two short breaks, 1967-68, studying “Teaching of English as a Second Language”, and, 1980-81, studying pastoral ministry.
He was a good teacher, serious in class, demanding attention and a high commitment from himself and his students. This often led to frustration and impatience. As spiritual father he
arranged an exhibition on Jesuits and their vocation for the Diocesan Vocation Exhibition organised by the Serra Club. He obtained material from all over the world, with the result that the Jesuit exhibition was the largest and most attractive.
Taylor loved teaching and his students won prizes each year for recitation, poetry reading and drama in the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival. He produced “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and directed “Pygmalion”, which was well acclaimed. To help his students he produced a series of books called “Living English” for the middle school years. He read widely, loved music and was an interesting companion in conversation. He was good at the Chinese language that made him welcome in Chinese company and especially with past students whom he had taught.
He suffered one setback in 1978 when he found it difficult to keep his balance when walking. He underwent an operation in America for inner ear balance malfunction, but afterward had to learn to walk again. As a result of this, and because he had grown tried of teaching, his heart not being in it, he thought it best to change his career, and went to England for a course in pastoral ministry before applying to the Australian province to work in a parish. He was aged 60. During his time in Hong Kong he was experienced as a faithful and committed Jesuit who served others with great generosity and responsibility.
He arrived in Australia and the Lavender Bay parish in November 1983, and found the contrast with his former life startling. No bells or order of time, his time was largely his own. He soon found that he received better feedback in the parish than in the school, and he enjoyed celebrating the sacraments other than the Mass. He had only celebrated two weddings during his time in Hong Kong, and now he had many more, learning that instruction of adults was different from children. People enjoyed his liturgies, and he prepared his Sunday homily with great care believing that it insulted people to preach without preparation. He tried to make his Mass as devotional and sacred as possible. He drew inner strength and fulfilment from his engagement with the people he met, admiring their faith, unselfishness, holiness and forbearance. A special ministry he undertook was to write to priests in prison convicted of sexual abuse. He believed that they needed to be befriended.
Taylor moved to the parish of St Canice's, Elizabeth Bay, 1990-96, as superior, and then St Joseph's, Neutral Bay, 1997-2001, and finally St Mary's, North Sydney, 2002-06.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007


Fr Donal Taylor (1923-2006) : China Province

26th November 1923: Born at Portumna, Co. Galway.
6th September 1941: Entered the Society at Emo Park.
8th September 1943: First Vows at Emo
1943 - 1946: Rathfarnham - Studies Arts at UCD.
1946 - 1949: Tullabeg - studied philosophy.
1949 - 1951: Chinese Language Studies in Hong Kong.
1951 - 1952: Regency, teaching in Wah Yan, Hong Kong.
1952 - 1956: Milltown Park – studied theology
28th July, 1955: Ordained at Milltown Park
1956 - 1957: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1957 - 1958: Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - teaching.
1958 - 1962: Cheung Chau, H.K., Language Studies, Retreats.
1962 - 1978: Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - teaching
1979 - 1980: Teaching at Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
1980 - 1981: Studies in London, England
1981 - 1983: Teaching in Wah Yan College, Kowloon
1984 - 2006: Australia - Parish ministry
1984 - 1989: St. Francis Xavier's, Lavender Bay, Sydney.
1990 - 1996: St. Canice's, Elizabeth Bay, Sydney.
1997 - 2001: St. Joseph's Neutral Bay, Sydney
2002 - 2006: St. Mary's, North Sydney
September 2006: Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney
October 10th, 2006: Died at Wahroonga, New South Wales

Homily preached October 16", 2006 by Richard Leonard, S.J. at Requiem Mass, St Mary's Church, North Sydney.

For those of us who knew and loved Fr Donal Taylor, it comes as no surprise to discover that he planned his funeral. Donal liked good order, especially good liturgical order, and he was very clear about what he DIDN'T want.

Donal always thought the postmortem double-guessing about readings, hymns and ministers was to be avoided. Preparing this liturgy was one of the ways he wrestled with his own mortality, and one of the ways he wanted to care for us. Some months ago he asked me to preach. My riding instructions were clear: “Eulogize me, don't canonize me”.

The readings he chose revolve around two themes: love and empathy. In the First Letter of John we are reminded that our love of each other is a response to God's initiative in loving us first. The Gospel, like our processional hymn, applies this idea still more clearly. Jesus tells us that the only law worth worrying about is the law of love, from which should flow at home-ness, joy, friendship and a passion for inission - to go out and bear the fruit of what we have been privileged to receive from Christ. And I know that Donal liked the Letter to the Hebrews not just because it focuses on Christ as priest, but because of the nature of the priesthood described therein: empathetic, tested, hospitable and sacrificial. And in the midst of hearing these words, Donal asks us, who grieve his passing, to sing WITH him, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord”.

Donal's life fell into three uneven chapters, each of them bestowing on him a rich legacy. For most of the first thirty years he was in Ireland. Donal's fierce loyalty for those he loved, his wicked and self-deprecating humour, the tendency to see the world as black or white, his deep love of literature and music, and his culinary palate for meat and potatoes, never left him.

Apart from the gentle lilt of his Galway accent, Donal's Irishness came into its own during the Australian republican debate. He was all for it. When I suggested that he should become an Australian citizen so he could vote in the referendum, he told me that he would first have to swear allegiance to the Queen. By whatever title the House of Windsor went in this country, the monarchy was British, and he was Irish, and that was that until an Australian was elected President.

For over twenty years Donal lived and worked in Hong Kong. It was a demanding mission, and apart from the obvious ways in which he was a foreigner, he never settled as easily nor as well as he had hoped. Still, he loved his students, and appreciated the way some of them stayed in contact with him over the years. He admired the balance and beauty of the best of Chinese culture, and also thought that the saving of face was a generous way to resolve conflict. When I visited him last week in hospital, it was no surprise to see that he been listening to a book in Mandarin.

Then, in 1984, he came to Australia. Moving out of teaching into pastoral ministry, for the next 18 years Donal was on “bay watch”, ministering at Lavender Bay, Elizabeth Bay and Neutral Bay, until coming here to North Sydney in 2002.

I first met Donal when, as a novice, I was sent to Lavender Bay. He seemed crotchety to me, and I was far too confident. So it was with mutual trepidation that we came together again at the end of 1992 at St Canice's.

I was a lot little less sure of myself at Kings Cross, and I noticed that Donal had changed too. With Elizabeth Clarke as the pastoral associate and in community with Frank Brennan and Peter Hosking for all of his time there, Donal was more vulnerable. He could be a difficult man to get to know, but, boy, was it worth it!

I was the luckiest pastoral assistant in Sydney because Donal never said “No” to any of my ideas. He would simply say, “I'd be slow on that one”. One Friday before Trinity Sunday I told Donal that I was going to preach that while Father, Son and Holy Spirit were privileged names for God, they did not exhaust the possibilities, and that God could helpfully be styled as our mother. Doubling-over in the chair he said, “I'd be slow on that one”.

At the Vigil Mass, Con, the most famous homeless person in Kings Cross, was in the front pew. During my advocacy for the maternity of God, Con jumped up and expressed what was probably a majority position in the church, “God's not our mother, Mary's our mother, God's our father”. Turning to Donal, he said, “Father Donal, this young bloke hasn't got a clue”. And marched out of the church. I looked at Donal, and then the congregation and said, “In the Name of the Father...” and sat down. And as I did Donal turned to his unteachable deacon and laughed, “I told you to be slow on that one”. Later, over dinner, he told me to give the same homily at the other Masses, “Because, while it's not my cup of tea, there are people who need to hear that Father is not the only name for God”. What a pastor! What a friend!

As we come to commend our dear brother into the arms of God, we will miss so many things: the limericks and the prose that marked our special days. He thus introduced the last verse he wrote:

“An attempt at a sonnet about myself that ends on a wobbly note”

When I am dead, think only this of me,
He was a man, take him for all in all,
Awkward and shy, timid in company,
Who never thought of self as ten feet tall.
Dry wit and puckish slant on life he saved
For those whose foibles lingered o'er his trail.
Oft saw the funny side of folk and misbehaved
In what he said, sometimes beyond the pale.
Of years a score and more chalk-facing in Hong Kong,
The classroom's daily grind for long his chore.
Retired to Austral shores, time seemed not long,
Had no regrets, his home for evermore.
At the end of the day let this be said
Though his sins were as scarlet, what he wrote was read.

We will also miss the elegant turn of phrase and sharp wit in the Province's Fortnightly Report; and the unfussy friendship, but constant encouragement and care, he lavished upon us. Like the Lord he so faithfully served, Donal was loving and empathetic.

Last Tuesday, on the vigil of the feast of St Canice, he heard the Lord speak into his ear, “Do not be afraid I am with you. I have called you by your name, you are mine. I have called you by your name. You are mine”. And with that Donal went rejoicing to the house of Lord. “Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen."

Donal's niece, Mairead, visited him at Easter, 2006. She and her husband, Fintan, came to pay their final respects to him on behalf of his Irish family. Richard extracted a promise from her that she would write something about her uncle. The following, read at the funeral, is taken from her tribute:

Donal was a gentle mannered child and from a young age always wanted to be a priest. well, maybe not always, he thought that he should be a bishop first and was known in the family and by his circle of friends as “the Bishop”, The Taylor's were renowned for the funerals of the family pets, of which there were a number. Donal would not attend these services unless he could be “The Bishop”. These occasions were always a great source of amusement for the neighbours - The Sisters of Mercy! Being a diplomatic individual, Donal would often try to break up a disagreement between his brothers but would invariably come out worse. This was the version that Donal himself would tell but his brother Brendan may tell a different story!! During the month of May Donal would have an altar with candles and it would be his pride and joy, until his older brother John would always blow out the candles and then the prayers were very quickly forgotten,

After 27 years of living and teaching in Hong Kong, Donal decided to retire from teaching and moved to Australia. When asked why he didn't move back to Ireland he simply stated that it was too cold. When his niece was getting married in March of 1996 Donal came home to officiate at the ceremony, but only after he gave his opinion that she should get married in August as it would be warmer!!!

Donal made regular trips to Ireland and England to see his family. He was chief celebrant at his brother John's funeral in 1996 and came home to christen his grandniece Alison in 2001. His most recent trip was in 2005 to celebrate the golden anniversary of his ordination which he celebrated in Milltown with a number of other priests that he had studied with.

Donal was a quiet gentle-spoken man with a good sense of humour and a very loyal friend and relative. He spoke openly about various matters of the church. When he was asked once about the subject of the marital debate for priests his opinion was that it really was not for him as he was very happy to reside at the parochial house but a number of women would not share the same kitchen!!!

Donal was a priest for 51 years, an extremely happy union. He had a very strong faith, which he had grown up with, and, although he never made Bishop, he had a much fulfilled life. He was as happy saying Mass in a crowded church as he was saying it in the dining room of his family home. He was a kind and gentle individual who remembered Birthdays and Christmas and when he came home to Ireland he was great at travelling around and seeing everyone. Donal was a gentle man. It was wonderful to see him at Easter, to see his churches, his home and the chalice that his parents gave him on his ordination. It is truly a beautiful piece with a little bit of Ireland engraved into it. He brought it with him wherever he was based and he told me that it would remain in this church.

He really loved this parish. And let me tell you, why wouldn't he, everyone was so kind to him. But the icing on the cake was that his brother Brendan lived close, although I'm not sure who was looking out for whom. When you remember Donal, remember him with a smile and his gentle voice. For us in Ireland, we will remember him as a brother, brother-in-law, uncle and grand-uncle. Donal is survived by his brother, Brendan, sisters Mary and Eleanor, sister-in-law Eilish, brother-in-law John, niece Mairead, nephew-in law Fintan, grand-niece Alison, and grand-nephews John and Karl.

Tarpey, James, 1924-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/617
  • Person
  • 05 May 1924-21 March 2001

Born: 05 May 1924, Kilkelly, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1960, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 21 March 2001, Mater Hospital, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to HIB : 1976

by 1952 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1980 at Richmond Fellowship London (BRI) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001


Fr James (Jim) Tarpey (1924-2001)

5th May 1924: Born in Kilkelly, Co. Mayo
Early Education at Mungret College
7th Sept 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1948: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1948 - 1951: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1951 - 1954: Hong Kong- 2 years language School / 1 year Wah Yan College
1954 - 1958: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1957: Ordained at Milltown
1958 - 1959: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1959 - 1969: Hong Kong (Wah Yan, Queen's Road; Wah Yan, Waterloo Road; Cheung Chau) - various capacities: Rector, Minister Prefect of the Church, Teaching English
2nd Feb. 1960: Final Vows in Hong Kong
1969 - 1973: Tullabeg - 1 year Mission staff, 3 years Retreat House staff
1973 - 1976: Rathfarnham - Retreat House staff
1976 - 1978: Betagh House, 9 Temple Villas - Superior
1978 - 1979: Rathfarnham - Director Spiritual Exercises
1979 - 1980: London - Studying practical psychology
1980 - 1981: Rathfarnham - Director Spiritual Exercises
1981 - 1984: Tullabeg - Director Spiritual Exercises
1984 - 1986: Manresa - Director Spiritual Exercises
1986 - 1988: Milltown Park - Director Spiritual Exercises; Lay Retreat Association
1988 - 1991: Arrupe, Ballymun - Parish Curate
1991 - 1996: Manresa - Director Spiritual Exercises
1996 - 1997: Milltown Park - Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Director Spiritual Exercises
1997 - 1998: Sandford Lodge - Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Director Spiritual Exercises
1998 - 2001: Milltown Park - Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Director Spiritual Exercises
21st March 2001: Died in Dublin

Some ten years ago, Jim was very seriously ill with a heart condition. He made a remarkable recovery and continued to live a very energetic life, giving retreats and novenas, besides his main job as Co-ordinator of Cherryfield Lodge. He was greatly appreciated for his apostolates, as retreat-giver and homilist. The suddenness of his passing took us all by surprise, since only the day before he died he had said the prayers at the removal of the remains of Fr. Tony Baggot. He was attending a meeting when he collapsed. He was taken to the Mater Hospital, having had a massive heart attack, from which he passed away.

Noel Barber writes....

Jim Tarpey died suddenly at an AA meeting on Wednesday, March 21st. The sudden death left his family and Jesuit community stunned, but it must have been a delightful surprise for Jim. One moment he was attending a meeting on a dank cold March day and then in a blink of an eyelid he was facing the Lord he loved so well and served so faithfully.

He was born 77 years ago in Kilkelly, Co Mayo, He was one of 8 children. All but his sister, Sr. Simeon, survive him. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick where he performed well in studies and games. He excelled at rugby and won a Munster Senior School's Rugby medal. On leaving school he entered the Society and followed the usual course of studies, After seven years the possibility of going on the missions arose. He opted for Zambia, then known as Northern Rhodesia, but was sent to Hong Kong, where he spent two years learning the language and one year teaching in a secondary school. He returned to Ireland in 1954 to study theology and was ordained in 1957 at Milltown Park.

During the years as a student his colleagues appreciated his wisdom, balance, good humour and good judgement. His piety was unobtrusive and dutiful. On the side, he acquired a formidable reputation as quite an outstanding Bridge player. He returned to Hong Kong in 1959 for 10 years. It was there that he developed his talent as a preacher.

On coming back to Ireland in 1969 he devoted the rest of his life to pastoral ministry of all shades and types with an interlude of two years when he was Superior of a Scholasticate. He was an outstanding preacher to priests, nuns, laity, to the young and the old. Father Donal Neary tells that Jim was in constant demand to return to wherever he gave the Novena of Grace. One could multiply such accounts in all sorts of areas.

He was greatly beloved by patients and staff in Cherryfield Lodge, similarly in the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook, where he spent an afternoon every week, having heard that the hospital required volunteers to visit patients. He had a large apostolate within the AA. He travelled the length and breadth of the country giving retreats and missions. He had exceptional gifts as a confessor and spiritual director, as many can testify, not least his Jesuit brothers.

The ingredients that made him so successful in pastoral ministry were many. The card player was dealt a good hand. And like the good Bridge player he was, he exploited that hand to the full, capitalising on his long suits and maximising his short ones. He was a fine speaker and a gifted storyteller. He was amiable, unpretentious, and simple, of sound judgement and eminent common sense. He had the precious ability to learn from experience and convey what he learned to others.

He might well be embarrassed to hear himself described as a theologian. He was, however, a very good one. His theology was not speculative or philosophical. He thought about the Christian message in stories, created or drawn from experience, and he conveyed the message in the same way, simply, concretely and vividly. He was in good company in communicating the message in this way. He shared this style of communication with people we know as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These were important elements in his make-up.

But above all he was a man of prayer. He loved prayer: to love prayer is to love the one to whom one prays and with whom one journeys. One would find him regularly in the early hours of the morning in the little community oratory.

As a card player, he could maximise his short suit, so too in life. He discovered painfully that he suffered from alcoholism. In some ways that was the defining experience in his life. He battled the sickness, at times with little success, but ultimately conquered it. His own family, his Jesuit brothers and his friends are all proud of the way he accepted the sickness, spoke about it, overcame it, and helped so generously so many who suffered in the same way. That illness impressed on him a sense of his own fragility and from that sense so many of his qualities came. It gave him an enormous capacity to help others, to feel for them in their weakness and to accept them as he accepted himself.

Through his sickness he became humble in the true sense of the term. It did not blind him to his strengths, nor did he use it to protest that he was not up to this, that or the other. In fact he was always ready to take on whatever he was asked to do and to volunteer for any pastoral work, quietly confident that he could do successfully whatever he was called to do.

In his account of the last Supper, St. John leaves out the institution of the Eucharist, and where the other evangelists recount that scene, John puts in the washing of the feet. This is, of course, John's commentary on the Eucharist. And, Tarpey like, the evangelist makes his point in a story. He is saying that the Eucharist is pointless unless it leads us to serve others in humble tasks. Someone has said that the sign of a good Christian community would be if after lining up for communion, the congregation then lined up to serve others. Jim Tarpey was always in line, ready to serve others.

Sweetman, Michael J, 1914-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/558
  • Person
  • 20 March 1914-23 October 1996

Born: 20 March 1914, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 12 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 April 1983, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 23 October 1996, Glengara Nursing, Glenageary, County Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ


Sutton, James J, 1933-2010, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/798
  • Person
  • 09 February 1933-26 July 2010

Born: 09 February 1933, 83 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin
Entered: 22 October 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1966, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 26 July 2010, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Gonzaga College, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1959 at Rome, Italy - Sec to President of CC. M.M.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/versatile-jim-2/

Versatile Jim
With the death of Brother Jim Sutton last week, the Irish Jesuits lost a quiet man of multiple talents. Born in Glasnevin, and schooled by the Christian Brothers in Scoil Mhuire,
Marino, he was bright enough to win a scholarship into the ESB. Having trained as an electrician he entered the Society at 22. That was his most familiar role in the Province: he wired, rewired, fixed and constructed and maintained plant in most of our houses, leaving a precious legacy behind him. His other talents were less well known. He ran with Donore Harriers, played brilliant hurling with St Vincent’s Club, and could bring a party to life with his banjo. In this last year he pulled himself back from a life-threatening sickness to brighten the surrounds of Cherryfield with its brilliant flower beds. He is remembered with great affection.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 143 : Autumn 2010


Br Jim Sutton (1926-2009)

9th February 1933: Born in Co. Dublin
Early education in Scoil Mhuire, Marino; Ringsend Technical College;
ESB apprentice; Qualified electrician.
22nd October 1955: Entered the Society at Emo
12th January 1958: First Vows at Emo
1958 - 1959: Curia Rome - Secretary
1959 - 1970: Milltown Park Community - Electrician, Plant maintenance
1965 - 1966: Tullabeg - Tertianship
15th August 1966: Final Vows
1970 - 1983: Manresa House - Electrician, Plant maintenance
1983 - 1997: Gonzaga Community - Consultant Electrician and Painter (Province Communities and Apostolates)
1997 - 2010: Gonzaga Community - Assisting the sick and elderly
14th October 2009: Admitted to Cherryfield Lodge
26th July 2010: Died in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Myles O'Reilly writes:
It was very striking when Jim Sutton died how much he was grieved for, not only by family and friends but by the Cherryfield staff itself. A bright, intelligent, cheerful man, sparkling with life, was gone out of their lives. They had witnessed the ordeal he went through the previous 6 months with one doctor insisting that he continue to be plied with heavy doses of antibiotics to keep his knees from becoming re-infected again; and the other, his heart specialist, equally adamant that his heart and body could sustain no more antibiotics. He was between a rock and a hard place and it was only a matter of time before one would prevail over the other. During those months he was a defiant figure and a comic sight to see in a wheel chair, being pushed by Brendan Hyland and Tom-Tom around the grounds of Cherryfield, giving the orders and they digging holes and planting flowers where he wanted them planted according to his master plan! They grew the flowers from seed in Gonzaga garden and transferred them to Cherryfield when the time was right. When you go into Cherryfield grounds now, you cannot but be struck by the beauty of the flowers which are a tribute to Jim's dream garden.

Jim was born in Gardiner St., but early in his childhood his parents moved to Donnycarney, where he and his 3 elder sisters were raised. He went to Colaiste Scoil Mhuire Marino and Ringsend Tech. In his growing up years he played the banjo and sang with the “Black and White Minstrel Show” a group founded by his uncle. He loved the GAA and played in goal with the St Vincent's hurling team. He was a passionate follower of the Dublin footballers all his life and blamed their demise in recent years to their picking too many players from south of the Liffey! His father was a foreman in the docks, which gave rise to Jim wanting to be a tug-boat pilot guiding ships up the Liffey from the sea. Providentially he did not get the job on health grounds, and came to be one of two who was picked out by ESB from Ringsend Tech to become ESB apprentice electricians. This exposed him to doing a retreat in Rathfarnham Castle which in turn led to his wanting to become a Jesuit brother. He finished his training as an electrician and joined the Jesuits in 1955.

He finished his novitiate late due to a stint in hospital from a hurling injury to his knee which he acquired in the novitiate. After novitiate he was sent to Rome to be a secretary to some sodality - without any Italian, and without having ever put a page in a typewriter! A few American Jesuits there kept him sane for two difficult years. From there he was sent back to Milltown Park to be plant manager and electrician. Over the eleven years he spent there, he and Jimmy Lavin must have painted every corridor and room in the house as well as doing all the necessary electrical work. You could often hear them laughing in their practical world at us students living in our intellectual world of books scurrying to classes, puffing ourselves up with knowledge - but most of us could hardly change a plug! Next Jim was sent to Manresa for 3 years and developed the role of being electrician and painter for the whole province. This meant buying a car and hiring some lay people to do the job with him. He continued in this work throughout his Gonzaga years up to 1997 until he was forced to retire from his bad knees and other health complications.

All through all those years, Jim developed a great love of nature. He could name every tree, flower and bird. Mary Oliver's short poem said it all. “Be Attentive, Be astonished, And tell of it”. He loved to grow flowers from seed and beautify the grounds of Gonzaga and Cherryfield from the full grown flowers.

Through Br Peter Doyle, he got a great interest in fishing. Br Brendan Hyland tells a story how he and Jim went for a weekend to somewhere in the ring of Kerry to fish. They armed themselves with all the latest fishing tackle and lovely new rods, and lay them carefully out on the rocks with their packed lunches to take stock of where to first cast their rods. All of a sudden a big wave came in, swept over them and took all their gear off out to sea. Brendan shocked, looked at Jim for his reaction to their dilemma. To his surprise Jim just sat down and broke his sides laughing! He was never far from seeing the funny side of things.

Jim was inclined to quickly like or dislike people. One person he intensely disliked was Senator Norris. He and Br Hyland took a weekend off once and stayed in a B & B. To his horror, Senator Norris was staying there too. But Senator Norris's charming, witty and intelligent conversation won him over! It showed up another side to Jim; he loved a good intelligent conversation, loved people who were well informed and well-read, which he tended to be himself. Those who spent time with him outside the Society tell me that he never missed daily mass, liked to say the rosary in the car and loved to stop and pray in little well-kept country churches.

Jim loved a good joke. Even in his last 5 years, when life was just one operation after another, he kept his humour and his zest for life. Up to 4 days before he died, he was still planning how to improve the garden in Cherryfield. Most of his last 4 days were spent in a semi coma. There was one brief moment where he came out of the coma. He was awakened by the voice of Linda, the cook from Gonzaga. He opened his eyes and with a big smile gave Linda and Mary McGreer and others who were there a big hug. After that he never regained consciousness and died peacefully 2 days later. May he rest in peace.

Sullivan, Blessed John, 1861-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/415
  • Person
  • 08 May 1861-19 February 1933

Born: 08 May 1861, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1900, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1915, Clongowes, Wood College SJ
Died: 19 February 1933, St Vincent’s Nursing Home, Dublin

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

by 1903 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Sullivan, John
by Conor Harper

Sullivan, John (1861–1933), Jesuit priest, was born 8 May 1861 at 41 Eccles Street, Dublin, the youngest child in a family of four sons and one daughter of Edward Sullivan (qv), barrister, and his wife Elizabeth (Bessie) Josephine (née Baily) of Passage West, Co. Cork. There is an impressive perspective from the doorstep of the old Sullivan home sweeping down to the elegant and noble dimensions of St George's church, Hardwicke Place, where John was baptised into the Church of Ireland on 15 July 1861. Soon after John's birth, the Sullivan family moved to the more fashionable south side of Dublin where they settled at 32 Fitzwilliam Place. This was to be the Sullivan home for more than forty years. John had one sister, Annie, and three brothers, Edward (qv), Robert (who drowned in a boating accident in Killiney Bay), and William, a resident magistrate. According to the tradition of the time the Sullivan boys were brought up in their father's protestant faith and their sister Annie followed her mother and was raised a catholic.

In 1873 John and his brother William were sent to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, as their older brothers had been before them. Portora's reputation had grown considerably under Dr William Steele (qv), an enlightened and progressive headmaster. John's years at Portora were happy. In one of his few published writings he gives an insight into his school life, writing of his first arrival at Portora ‘bathed in tears’, but when, five years later, the time came for him to leave he wept ‘more plentiful tears’. After Portora he became an undergraduate at TCD, where in 1883 he was awarded the gold medal in classics. Having achieved a junior moderatorship in classics, he started to study law. But in 1885 he was devastated by the sudden death of his father, then lord chancellor of Ireland. He subsequently continued his studies at Lincoln's Inn, where he was called to the English bar in 1888. Due to his inheritance, he was financially comfortable, and was noted for his fashionable dress and good looks. He travelled a great deal throughout Europe and was a cycling enthusiast. While in Greece he visited the monastery of Mount Athos and was deeply marked by the experience.

In December 1896, to the utter surprise of his family, he became a catholic and was received into the church at Farm Street Jesuit church in London. His family was ‘shell shocked’ when the news reached Dublin, according to Nedda Davis, granddaughter of his brother William. Not that the members of his family were hostile to his decision. His mother was a devout catholic but John had never shown any particular interest in religion. More surprises were to follow when his manner of life changed sharply. He adopted a simple style of living that was also reflected in his manner of dress. From this time he was a regular visitor to the Hospice for the Dying in Harold's Cross in south Dublin, and helped the poor in many ways. Then in September 1900 he entered the Jesuit noviciate at Rahan, which was known as Tullabeg, near Tullamore, Co. Offaly. In September 1902 he took his vows for life as a member of the Society of Jesus. Having studied philosophy at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, he returned to study theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained on Sunday 28 July 1907. He was then sent to teach in Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare. From that time, with the exception of the period 1919–24, when he was rector of the Jesuit house at Rathfarnham Castle, he was a member of the Clongowes community. Most of the boys whom he taught considered him to be different to other Jesuits. He was regarded as a holy man but, like many a good scholar, was a poor teacher.

His reputation for holiness went far beyond the classroom at Clongowes. He also ministered from the People's Church, which served as a chapel of ease to people who lived in the environs of Clongowes. He was much sought after as a confessor and spiritual guide. The poor and the needy found him to be a reliable friend, and he was a constant visitor of the sick. Stories of his care of the sick are legion, as are claims to have been cured by his prayers (detailed by Fergal McGrath in his biography). His reputation as a healer continues, and his cause for canonisation has been pursued.

Sullivan lived a rugged and ascetic life. His meals were simple, mainly a diet of dry bread, porridge, rice and cold tea. He slept little, spending most of the night in prayer. His room at Clongowes lacked even simple comforts. The fire in winter was lit only when he was expecting a visitor. His life of austerity and prayer reflected the hardship and simplicities of the early Desert Fathers. He wore the worn patched clothing of the very poor. To the time of his death he was in demand as a preacher of retreats to religious communities of men and women, which again provided an experience of holiness rather than eloquence. One interest from the past which he maintained was an interest in cycling. His old-fashioned bicycle was a familiar sight on the roads around Clane, and he was known to have cycled to Dublin on more than one occasion to visit the sick. When not travelling by bicycle, he usually walked, a stooped, shuffling figure.

Nothing is known of his political views at a time of political upheaval in Ireland. He always maintained close contact with his protestant family who reciprocated his warm affection and concern. His brother Sir William (d. 1937) travelled from England to be with him when he was dying.

He enjoyed good health until shortly before his death, maintaining his rigorous round of visits to the sick, giving retreats and working in Clongowes. On the morning of 17 February 1933 he suffered violent internal pain and was brought to St Vincent's nursing home on Leeson Street where he died 19 February 1933. He was buried at Clongowes but his remains were exhumed in 1960 and transferred to the Jesuit church of St Francis Xavier on Gardiner Street. The popular novelist, Ethel Mannin, based her novel Late have I loved thee (1948) on Sullivan's life.

Fergal McGrath, Father John Sullivan (1941); Mathias Bodkin, The port of tears: the life of Father John Sullivan, S. J. (1954); Morgan Costello, The saintly Father John: John Sullivan S. J. (1963); Fergal McGrath, More memories of Father John Sullivan (1976); Peter Costello, Clongowes Wood. A history of Clongowes Wood College 1814–1989 (1989); McRedmond; Conor Harper, ‘Father John Sullivan – a man for others’, The Clongowes Union centenary chronicle (1997)

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/fr-john-sullivan-sj/fr-john-sullivan-sj-portrait/

Fr John Sullivan SJ: A short biography
John Sullivan was born in Dublin on 8 May 1861. His father, the future Lord Chancellor of Ireland Sir Edward Sullivan was a Protestant. His mother, Lady Bessie Josephine Sullivan was a Catholic. John was baptised in St. George’s Protestant Church on 15 June 1861 and brought up in the Protestant tradition of his father. From his earliest years John enjoyed the benefits of a home which radiated warm affection, high culture and sound scholarship.
In 1873 John followed in the footsteps of his brothers and went to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen in Northern Ireland which had the reputation of being the most eminent Protestant school of the day. He spent happy years at Portora and in later years admitted that he went to Portora “bathed in tears” but when the time came to leave he “wept more plentiful tears”.
After Portora, John went to Trinity College Dublin. He distinguished himself in his university studies and in 1885 he was awarded the Gold Medal in Classics. After gaining a Senior Moderatorship in Classics, John started to study law. It was at this time that his father, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland Sir Edward Sullivan, died suddenly. The shock had a devastating effect on John.
The promising young scholar left Ireland and continued his legal studies at Lincoln’s Inn in London where he was called to the Bar in 1888. At this time, due to his inheritance, he was very comfortable in financial terms, noted for his fashionable dress and handsome appearance. He travelled extensively around Europe and was a keen cycling enthusiast. He stayed at the Orthodox monastery of Mount Athos in Greece and was friendly with the monks.
Then, in December 1896 at the age of 35, he made a momentous decision. He was received into the Catholic Church at the Jesuit Church, Farm Street, London. From this time onward a marked changed was noted in his manner of living. On returning to the family home in Dublin, he stripped his room of anything that was superfluous, satisfying himself with the simplest of furniture on a carpetless floor. The young man, who was formerly noted for his fashionable dress, contented himself with the plainest of clothes.
He became a regular visitor to Dublin hospitals and convents where he was a welcome visitor. He had a remarkable gift for putting patients in good humour and showed special sympathy toward the old, bringing them gifts of snuff or packages of tea and reading for them from religious books.
In September 1900 John Sullivan decided to enter the Society of Jesus. The two years of novitiate in St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore, were followed by studies in philosophy at Stonyhurst College in England. From the beginning, he was clearly different to other Jesuits. He gave himself completely to his new way of life. All who lived with him were struck by his dedication to prayer and to religious life. Despite his outstanding gifts, he never paraded his knowledge but was always careful to help others whenever possible.
In 1904 he came to Milltown Park to study theology and he was ordained a priest on 28 July 1907. He was then appointed to the staff in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare where he was to spend the greater part of his life as a Jesuit, apart from the period 1919-1924 when he was Rector of Rathfarnham Castle, the Jesuit House of Studies in Dublin.
Fr. John’s reputation for holiness spread rapidly around Clongowes and the neighbourhood. Despite his brilliant mind and academic achievements it was his holiness that was recognised. Many revered him as a saint. He prayed constantly – he walked with God continually – he listened to Him and he found Him and God worked through him. Many who were in need of spiritual or physical healing flocked to him and asked his prayers – and strange things happened. The power of God seemed to work through him and many were cured.
He was always available to the sick, the poor, anyone in need. The call to serve God in serving those who suffered in any way was a driving force for the rest of his life. He was always caring for others – a source of comfort and peace to anyone in trouble. He brought many to God by pointing out the way that leads to the deepest and ultimate peace. He was always at prayer whenever possible. Every available moment was spent in the chapel.
He walked with God and lived every conscious moment in his nearer presence. At times he hardly seemed to notice the ordinary world around him. He was in constant union with his Maker and cared little for the material things of life. One old lady who lived near Clongowes managed to penetrate the secret of his extraordinary holiness: “Fr. Sullivan is very hard on himself – but he is never hard on others”. He ate the plainest of food and lived a life of severe penance. He left everything in order to follow the call of his Lord and Master and he found the riches of a different order. What a contrast with the rich young man of his earlier years!
Fr John Sullivan died in the old St. Vincent’s Nursing Home in Leeson Street, a short distance from the Sullivan family home on 19 February 1933. Since that time, he has been revered by many as a saint. During his lifetime many flocked to him in times of trouble and anxiety, confident of the power of his prayers – and that confidence continues. He is still loved and remembered.
Servant of God in September 1960; Venerable November 2014; Beatified 13 May 2017


Blessedly funny
Blessed Elect John Sullivan once asked a student what the ladies were like in his Latin class, to which the student replied ‘Rather plain.’ A gleam of amusement came into Father John’s eyes as he exclaimed: “In God’s name, there, I didn’t mean that. What are they like in Latin?”
It is in this light that I look into the personality of probably the holiest Irish Jesuit in tangible memory (1861-1933). So much of our lives are influenced by early days. John came from a blessed childhood in a happy, loving home. He had three brothers and one sister to play with as he grew up in Dublin and his parents invested in his education at Portora Royal School in County Fermanagh.
John won the college gold medal in Classics at Trinity College Dublin and later pursued law. Through a long, slow process of conversion, John’s protestant viewpoint became a Catholic one, and he entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1900. A fellow-novice Mgr. John Morris stated, ‘Were it not for his sense of humour, he might have awed us, as all were conscious that he was very holy.’
He was fast-tracked to the priesthood and sent to Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit boarding school in County Kildare. Schoolboy John Fitzgerald remembered him fondly: “Meeting you on a stone corridor on a bleak cold winter’s evening he would clap those hands and say, ‘Cheer up, cheer up’. Yes, we loved Father John, or Father Johnny O as we used to call him.”
Moreover, Father Sullivan expressed himself through his physical appearance. “His boots were mended and mended again and again until they became a joke, but when people tried to get him a new pair he would have none of it.” For someone who was once dubbed the best dressed man in Dublin, his old friends and family must have been stirred by this drastic change, in line with the ruggedness of St. Francis of Assisi, one of his favourite saints.
Father John was not dependent on external conditions to make him happy. He beamed with the inner joy of faith and tried to guide others along their paths. He once recounted to a fellow-Jesuit, with an appreciative smile, his efforts to get an old man to take the pledge. “Ah Father,” was the reply, “you never saw a jolly party round a pump.”
I am inspired to follow in Father John’s footsteps; it is delightful to see how his wit was compatible with his holiness. Like him, I pledge to embrace the cheerfulness of our Church.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-sullivan-the-last-witness/

Fr Sullivan: the last witness
Fr John Fitzgerald SJ, the last surviving Jesuit to have been taught in Clongowes by Fr John Sullivan, shared some precious memories at the commemorative Mass :

The bones of Fr John Sullivan are your precious possession. They draw his clients from near and far. If John is beatified, St Francis Xavier’s will be a place of pilgrimage like St Thomas a’Becket is at Canterbury, Blessed Pope John XXIII at St Peter’s, Bl. Mother Teresa at Calcutta, and as Cardinal Newman will be at the Oratory in Birmingham. The people in a quiet corner of County Kildare still keep such fond memories of John. They were greatly saddened when his bones were taken away from them for Gardiner Street in 1961. It is a sad separation they will always feel. In fact his grave has been visited ever since.
The relocation of Father’s bones is as good for his cause as it is for you who give them this new home. You have always by your devotion shown how grateful you are to have him. You bring him day by day the stories of your needs – they are always pressing and often sad. John listens – he was always a ready and eager listener to others’ worries.
Coming to St Francis Xavier’s was in a sense a homecoming. John had been baptised in Temple Street (St George’s), and Dublin was his home until he joined the Jesuits. During the years in Clongowes, the City’s hospitals, the Mater included, were within range of his trusty old bicycle.
Sometimes people have asked me what was he really like. Some have a nagging impression that he must have been an ascendancy type, as his father was a baronet and he had passed through Portora Royal School to Trinity College. My own memory of him – clear and vivid – is of a humble, entirely self-effacing person, riveted on the one thing necessary, the commandment of love. He was completely focussed on the needs of others, particularly of the poor and suffering. For him the face of the Lord was there. Gardiner Street would have been an ideal assignment with so much sickness, suffering and poverty all around in the hungry years between the wars.
Clongowes in its rural isolation does not seem an ideal place for one so drawn to the poor and suffering. I knew John in the last three years of his life – my memories are boy’s memories – a child’s impressions – but still so vivid. His appearance so well captured in Sean Keating’s drawing – the sunken cheeks, the fine crop of brown hair, the bowed head, the penetrating eyes – a true man of God. I remember his wrinkled leathery hands. Meeting you on a stone corridor on a bleak cold winter’s evening he would clap those hands and say “Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up”. He well knew the mood of small boys – short of funds, nursing chilblains and facing into two hours’ study. I have a memory of Johnny O shuffling quickly from the sacristy, head bowed, halting at the altar rails – a welcome interruption to the evening rosary. Always he would describe a visit he had made to some sick or dying person. He was no gifted story-teller, no gifted preacher. There were no embellishments; sincerity shone through, telling of his complete devotion to the sick and needy.
John was occupied with the People’s Church and the boys’ spiritual needs with very little teaching. He took the smallest ones for Religion classes. Often we delighted to annoy him by rowdiness and irreverence. This drew the condemnation we intended: “Audacious fellow – pugnacious fellow!” Deep down we revered him, but we played on him.
If some day you visit the Boys’ Chapel, you see at the back on your left Fr John’s Confessional. The “toughs” – the ones never selected as prefects and who won no prizes – were most often there. The smaller boys would crowd into his very bare room after supper. We would come away with rosaries and Agnus Deis which John got from convents he knew. The People’s Church is the easiest place for a visitor to find. There is where John spent long hours and helped so many in times of trial. There he prayed long after the boys were tucked in bed.
Father John was our Spiritual Father. His life and interests revolved round the boys’ spiritual needs. He took no part and had no interest in our games – never appeared at matches, debates, concerts or plays. Free time meant time for prayer or the sick. No use asking Johnny O to pray for victory at Croke Park today, but he will listen to your sorrows, he will pray for your sick and departed ones.
The day of Fr John’s funeral in 1933 comes back clearly. I was in the youngest group and so was up front in the Chapel, and near the coffin. I tried without success to cut off a splinter – as a keepsake, a relic. We had been privileged to know Fr John for three years. Not everyone is so blessed – perhaps only a few have been close to saintliness in one who so well mirrored the Lord Jesus, the Suffering Servant. It is a joy to be here in St Francis Xavier’s and to share your treasure – the Venerable John Sullivan.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 8th Year No 2 1933

Obituary :

Fr John Sullivan

Needless to say the entire Irish Province keenly feels the loss of one of its holiest and most esteemed members, Father John Sullivan. He died at St; Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, Sunday, 19th February, 1933.
The Father Rector of Clongowes has very kindly sent us the following appreciation, written by Father Mulcahy :
It was in Clongowes that Father John spent twenty of the thirty-three years of his religious life. Thirty-three years in the Society is a comparatively short time. but these years were so full that one must truly say that Father Sullivan explevit tempera multa. The impression left on us all is that he has left a blank that bewilders us with its greatness. One does not feel that he is gone from us. One half expects to and him going about his multitudinous spiritual activities as usual. Death, especially in a college full of young life, is usually associated with an uncanny feeling , but, for us in Clongowes for the boys as well as for the community the effect of his death is rather one of triumph, of pride in having possessed such a man of God, of still possessing him but with greater power to help, with a wider sympathy for our weaknesses and our needs, with a truer interest in us in those things that matter.
Last evening two Lower Liners were talking to me about him and the remark came quite simply from one of them, a very ordinary lad in a low class, “Sir, is it not a great thing to be able to say .that you were taught by a saint?, and the funny thing is that we knew it even when we ragged him a bit.” And the other chimed in in the patois of the Line. “Sir, you never hear of a man they knew was a saint while he was dodging about”.
Born in Dublin, 8th May, 1861, the third son of the late Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart., formerly Master of the Rolls and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. he was educated at Portora School. In the Clongowes Museum are three large silver medals won there:; for English Literature in 1877, the Steele Memorial Prize, July, 1879 and another Midsummer 1879 " In Classics." . He graduated at T,C.D., where he won several medals. We. have one 1883, “Literis Humanioribus feliciter excultis. His classical attainments were of a very high order and not of the dry-as-dust kind, for he made several walking tours in Greece, Macedonia and Asia Minor to trace out in stone and dust the lore he loved.
1898 saw him received into the Church and on September 7th, 1900, we find him in Tullabeg. He did Philosophy at Stonyhurst, 1902-04 , Theology at Milltown Park, 1904-07. The rest of his life he spent in Clongowes, except 1913-14 when he was in the Tertianship at Tullabeg, and 1919-24 when he was Rector of Rathfarnham Castle - twenty years of unceasing care for the souls of the boys in the college, which care did not stop when they had left for the bigger world of life. A large sheaf of telegrams and letters received by the Rector expressing sympathy on the news of his death shows how this care was appreciated.
In charge of the public church attached to the college, he came into touch With an ever-growing circle of the faithful. His life, already more than fully occupied, was invaded by those who came long distances to ask his advice, to avail of his ministrations as Confessor, to ask for his blessing on the sick and, as they insisted, to hope for a cure even of cases despaired of by doctors. The poor and the sick and above all the dying were, one is hardly afraid to say, his “joy”. The reverence in which he was held and the confidence in him was shown very simply the morning of his funeral. Father Rector had said Mass at 9 o'clock in the public church, the old boys' chapel. When the Mass was over the congregation moved up quietly to the coffin and all, many kneeling, blessed the coffin repeatedly, placing on it objects of piety, rosaries, crosses prayer-books, etc, Later when the grave, was filled in and bishop and priests and boys had moved away, the people who felt that now his power was greater than ever, came to carry to their homes some of the earth that covered him. “O Grave, where is thy victory”.
So our loss to the eye is a gain to our faith.
"One example, out of many that might be given, of the power of his prayers may be cited : A man was dying in a neighbouring town. He had refused to see a priest though urged to do so by the nurse who was nursing him and by the doctor. Word was sent to Father Sullivan to come to see him. Father Sullivan, however, was not able to go, but sent word that he would say Mass for him at 9 o'clock the following morning. At 9.30 on that morning the man of his own accord asked for a priest and was prepared for death which took place on that day.
Father Sullivan's last illness was very brief. On Monday, 6th February, the doctor ordered him to the infirmary, as, amongst other things, one of his arms was showing nasty signs.
This did not appear to be serious and the arm was practically healed on Thursday the 16th when he was allowed up. He said that he had not felt better for fifty years. About 11am on Friday he complained of very severe pains. The doctor was sent for immediately, and as he was not satisfied sent for a surgeon who declared that an immediate operation was necessary. At 3 p.m Father Sullivan was removed in ambulance to Dublin, and was operated on about 5 pm. This revealed a very serious state of affairs, and the doctors could
hold out no hope of recovery. Father Sullivan lingered on until Sunday night, and died at 10.55. He had been conscious all Friday and Saturday, and had received Holy Communion
on each day. When asked how he felt his invariable answer was “' Wonderfully well, thank God”. After the operation he suffered very little pain.
Father G. Roche has been good enough to send the following extract from a letter :
Although never having met him, I know him well through the boys. I think the way they expressed themselves in their weekly letters home plainly tells what they thought of him. “Father Sullivan (we call him the Saint, Mum) is dying, you will be sorry to hear. By the time this letter arrives he will probably be in heaven. A strange coincidence, the night, Sunday and Monday, Jim (an elder brother who has left school) could not sleep thinking of Father Sullivan and his devotion to the Sodality, and he told me that he felt he must keep on repeating whatever prayers were usual, seeing all the time Father Sullivan. He was shocked when a friend passed him on a paper yesterday and asked : Did you know him?”
Father Roche adds : " Father Sullivan died at 11pm on Sunday, the very night that Jim saw him. A great many requests for relics have come to us.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

The Tribunal for the Informative Process in Fr. John Sullivan's Cause was set up by Dr. McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, on the 24th October, 1947. The first Session was held at Archbishop's House on 30th October ; subsequent Meetings will take place at the Presbytery, Upper Gardiner Street. Fr. Charles O'Conor is Vicepostulator. The following letter was addressed to the Province by Rev. Fr. Provincial on the occasion of the setting up of the Tribunal :

28th October, 1947 :
Reverend and dear Fr. Rector,
PX. In a letter dated 24th October, 1947, His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, writes :
“I have great pleasure in informing you that I have this day instituted the Tribunal for the Ordinary Informative Process in the Cause of the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, John Sullivan, Priest of your Society”.
The first session of the Tribunal, appointed by His Grace, will take place at Archbishop's House next Thursday at 12 noon. It is the first stage in a very long process which we hope and pray may one day have its happy issue in one of our own Province being raised to the honours of the Altar. I commend the Cause, now about to be opened, to the prayers of all ; and I ask each priest to say a Mass (first intention) and those who are not priests to offer Mass, Holy Communion and the Beads once for the success of the Informative Process which begins on Thursday.
May God, who glorifies those who glorify Him, be ever increasingly honoured in the honours given to His servant ; may Ours be more powerfully and effectively incited to strive for that sanctity proper to the Society by considering this new and contemporary example of virtue ; may our Province in its present necessities have in Father John Sullivan a powerful intercessor with God.
Commending myself to Your Reverence's holy Sacrifices and prayers.
I remain,
Yours Sincerely in Xto.,

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949

On 6th November Fr. Daniel O'Connell, of the Viceprovince, who during his stay in Ireland gave evidence in Fr. Sullivan's cause, left Southampton for U.S.A. on 6th November.

Irish Province News 27th Year No 1 1952

As the result of close upon seven years of fairly constant work, official registration of evidence in the two preliminary processes De Fama Sanctitatis et de non-cultu, in connection with Fr. Sullivan's Cause, has now been completed. These processes provide the evidence that must enable the Congregation of Rites to determine whether the matter of the Cause is one deserving of the official sanction of the Church or not.
In all something over fifty witnesses have been examined: roughly about two thirds of whom were from the Province—the rest externs. Except for certain inaugural meetings of the Ecclesiastical Court at which his Grace had to preside (which were held at Archbishop's House) all but one of the meetings for registration of evidence have been held at Gardiner St.
At an early date in the proceedings Fr. Curtin who was acting Notary of the Court was replaced by Fr. Michael Brown, Archbishop's House, and somewhat later the first President of the Court, the late Archdeacon MacMahon, took ill and died. Very Rev. Canon Neary, already a member of the Court, was appointed new President and Dr. O’Halloran of City Quay was added to complete the requisite number of judges. Mgr. Dargan and Fr. Barry of High Street have been all the time attached to the Court. At all times the members of the Court have showed great interest in the Cause and have manifested a graciousness and generosity that has been most striking. They have had more than a hundred sessions involving their presence at Gardiner St. from 11 a.m. till about 4 p.m.
The next stage in the proceedings is to have all the evidence transcribed and collated with the original record after which al will be ready for transmission to Rome.
Great help has been given by many in the Province by the distribution of leaflets and relic cards. A considerable number of records of favours of most varied kinds has also been accumulated. From letters received it is clear too that a great many Masses and prayers are being constantly offered for the success of the Cause.

Irish Province News 28th Year No 2 1953

A further stage in the Cause of Beatification and Canonisation of Fr. John Sullivan was reached in the New Year : edicts concerning his Writings were simultaneously issued by the Archbishop of Dublin and by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in their respective dioceses.

The following is the text of Dr. McQuaid's edict :

To the Clergy and the Faithful of the Diocese of Dublin.
In accordance with the Instructions of the Holy See, which requires that writings (if any) attributed to Servants of God whose Causes of Beatification and Canonization are being canonically investigated should be collected and examined we hereby command the Clergy and Faithful of this City and Diocese who possess any writings of the Servant of God, Father John Sullivan, S.J., such as sermons, letters, diaries, autobiographies, whether written by him in his own hand or by others at his dictation, to present themselves within the space of one month from this date at Archbishop's House, Dublin, for the purpose of handing over such writings or properly authenticated copies thereof. Any person knowing that writings of the above-mentioned Servant of God are held by others is bound to communicate his information to Archbishop's House, Dublin.

John Charles,

Archbishop of Dublin,
Primate of Ireland. Given at Dublin, this 1st day of January, 1953.

Irish Province News 35th Year No 4 1960

The final session of the Ordinary or Informative Process in the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God, Father John Sullivan, S.J., was held at Archbishop's House, Dublin, on 4th July. His Grace the Arch bishop, Index Ordinarius in the Process, presided.
In the lengthy final session, the Acta were read and signed by all present, after they had been formally authenticated by the Archbishop. The evidence of the sanctity and heroicity of virtue of Father John Sullivan, evidence in regard to his writings and non cultus, which had been collected during the course of the Process and transcribed into ten bound volumes, was placed in a specially-made oak container, sealed in eight places, inside and outside, by His Grace in the presence of the Delegate Judge, the Assistant Judges and the Officials of the Process. Six additional seals were then set on the container and it was entrusted, together with a sealed letter of His Grace, to the Vice-Postulator of the Cause, Very Reverend Fr. Charles O'Conor, S.J., Provincial, for personal transmission to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in Rome.
This evidence will be examined by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which will then decide in regard to the holding of a further Process, known as the Apostolic Process, in the Cause.
The authentic copies of all the original documents in the case were then sealed by His Grace the Archbishop and placed in the Archives at Arch bishop's House, until such time as the Holy See may direct that they be reopened.
The case containing the evidence was brought to Rome in August by Mr. Seán Ó hÉideáin, Secretary at the Irish Embassy to the Holy See. It was given diplomatic coverage through the courtesy of the Department of External Affairs.

Irish Province News 36th Year No 1 1961

The exhumation of the remains of the Servant of God, Fr. John Sullivan, S.J., and their transference to St. Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner St., Dublin, took place on 27th-29th September. This step was taken by the Vice-Postulator of the Cause of Fr. Sullivan, Very Rev. Fr. Provincial, on the advice of Fr. Paul Molinari, the Postulator, and with the approval of Very Rev. Fr. General and the Ordinaries of the archdiocese of Dublin and the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, and the permission of the respective public authorities.
The proceedings at Clongowes were presided over by Right Rev. Mgr. James J. Conway, P.P., V.G., appointed Judex Delegatus by His Lordship the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, assisted by Right Rev. William Miller, P.P., V.G., Promotor Fidei. His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin was represented by Rev. Michael Browne, D.D., Notarius. Witnesses to the identity of the grave were Fr. P. Kenny, S.J. (who was Minister of Clongowes at the time of the burial in 1933) and two employees of Clongowes, John Cribben and Frank Smyth. Fr. Molinari, the Postulator, who had come from Rome, remained until a late stage in the exhumation; Fr. Provincial, Fr. B. Barry, Fr. Socius, and Fr. H. Lawton Rector of Clongowes, were present throughout. The doctors charged with the examination of the remains were Dr. Edward T. Freeman, Dublin, and Dr. George O'Reilly, Kilcock, Dr. Brendan O'Donnell, Medical Officer, Co. Kildare, Mr. Joseph Reynolds, Inspector, Public Health Department, Naas, and Mr. Patrick Coen, Chief Health Inspector, Dublin Corporation, represented the public authorities. The actual exhumation was carried out by two gravediggers from Glasnevin Cemetery, under the direction of Mr. John Doyle, Superintendent. Half-a-dozen members of the Garda Siochana, under the direction of Chief Superintendent O'Driscoll, Naas, were on duty to secure complete privacy for the proceedings.
At 10 a.m, on 27th September, the clergy, witnesses to the identity of the grave and gravediggers assembled in the Castle, and took the required oath not to remove anything from the coffin or to place anything in it which might be regarded as a relic. At the graveside all present were warned by the Notarius that the same obligation applied to them under pain of excommunication reserved to the Holy See. The exhumation commenced at 10.30 a.m. The day was fortunately fine, though very cold. At a few minutes before twelve, when the excavation had reached a depth of about four feet six inches, the breastplate of the coffin was found, and just as the Angelus was ringing, the outline of the coffin became visible. It was apparent that the headstone and cross had not been placed exactly over the coffin, so that what now appeared was one side of the coffin, This necessitated further excavation to remove the earth from the other side. It was also apparent that the lid of the coffin had decayed. From now on, the excavation was very slow, trowels only being used for fear of damage to the remains. About an hour later, the feet of the remains were uncovered, the boots being intact, Finally, when the grave had been considerably widened and as much as possible of the earth removed, it was found that the sides and bottom of the coffin were intact, and that thus it could be raised completely from the grave. This was accomplished at 5.40, and the coffin was placed in the hearse - again just as the Angelus was ringing and brought in procession to the People's Church and thence to the adjoining classroom. The two doctors worked from 7.30 to 10.30 p.m, preparing the remains for re-burial. These were laid out on a pallett covered with white silk and then transferred to the inner oak coffin, into which was put a copper cylinder containing the authentication signed by various witnesses, clerical and lay. The leaden coffin surrounding the inner coffin was then closed and soldered and sealed in two places with the seal of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. During this process, Dr. Freeman dictated to the Notarius a full account of the exhumation and the medical findings. Finally, at 1 a.m. the leaden coffin was placed in the outer oak coffin, which was transferred to a catafalque in the People's Church.
Next morning, Fr. Rector celebrated Mass in the presence of the remains, the church being filled with the senior boys and many of the faithful. Immediately after Mass, pilgrims from the surrounding country side and even from distant areas began to arrive in large numbers and continued all day. At 7 p.m. a queue of over a hundred was waiting outside to secure admittance to the church. At 9.30 p.m. the coffin was transferred to the Boys' Chapel. The following morning, 29th September, the stream of pilgrims began again. Their devotion on both days was most edifying, evidencing itself by their kissing the coffin and touching it with beads, prayer-books and other objects of devotion.
At 2 p.m. the Absolution was pronounced by Fr. Rector in the presence of the Community and boys. The funeral procession then proceeded up the avenue, preceded by the entire school and followed by a large crowd of the faithful and some fifty cars. At the front gate, the boys lined each side of the avenue. The procession then proceeded to Dublin. At almost every house and crossroad groups of people had gathered, and knelt as the hearse passed. At Clane and Celbridge, schoolchildren lined the route. At Lucan, two Garda patrol cars joined the procession, going in front to secure an uninterrupted passage. On arrival at the city, a Garda motor cyclist gave warning to the Gardai on duty on the quays, who stopped traffic from the side streets. As a result of this careful organisation, spontaneously arranged by the Garda authorities, the procession reached Gardiner Street punctually at a few minutes to 4 p.m.
It was received on the steps of the church by Most Rev. Dr. McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin. With him were the Bishop of Nara, Most Rev. Dr. Dunne, the Archbishop of Malacca, Singapore, Most Rev. Dr. Olcomendy (who was visiting Dublin), Right Rev. Mgr. Boylan, Right Rev. Mgr. O'Reilly, Right Rev. Mgr. Glennon, Right Rev. Mgr. Deery and Right Rev. Mgr. O'Regan. The members of the Province paid a most worthy tribute to the saintly memory of Fr. Sullivan, some 250 of them being present. Though no publicity had been given to the proceedings, the church was crowded, Much credit is due to Fr. M. Meade, Superior, Fr. D. Mulcahy, Minister, and Fr. J. McAvoy, who acted as marshal, that the ceremony was conducted so smoothly and with such dignity. After the Absolution, the remains were brought to the vault which had been specially built, adjoining the Sacred Heart chapel. The vault was blessed by His Grace the Archbishop, who was assisted by Very Rev. Canon O'Donnell and Very Rev. M. Canon Boylan. The coffin was then deposited on two pillars of limestone, the ornamental grille was closed, and the ceremony concluded with the singing of the Benedictus by the Milltown Park choir. That evening, there was an uninterrupted stream of pilgrims to the vault, and the indications since then are that it has been accepted by the people of Dublin as one of their recognised places of pilgrimage.

The Roman Documents Referring to the Cause of Fr. Sullivan
Beatificationis et Canonizationis
Servi Dei IOANNIS SULLIVAN, Sacerdotis Professi Societatis Iesu.
Instante Rev-mo P. Paulus Molinari, Generalis Postulator Societatis Iesu, Sacra Rituum Congregatio, vigore facultatum sibi a Ss-mo Domino nostro IOANNE PAPA XXTII tributarum, benigne indulget ut processus ordinarius informativus super fama sanctitas, vitae, virtutem et miraculorum in genere Servi Dei Ioannis Sullivan, Sacerdotis professi eiusdem Societatis Iesu, clausus sigillisque munitus in Actis eiusdem Sacrae Rituum Congregationis asservatus, aperire valeat : servatis omnibus de iure, stylo et consuetudine servandis.Contrariis non obstantibus quibuslibet.
Die 16 Septembris 1960.
S.R.C. Praef.

Prot. 956-2/960
Beatificationis et Canonizationis
Servi Dei IOANNIS SULLIVAN, Sacerdotis Professi Societatis Iesu.
Clausus sigillisque munitus invenitur in Actis Sacrae Rituum Con gregationis processus ordinaria potestate in Curia Dublinensi instructus super CULTU NUNQUAM PRAESTITO Servo Dei Joanni Sullivan, Sacerdoti professo Societatis Jesu. Hinc Rev-mus P. Paulus Molinari, Postulator Generalis eiusdem Societatis, a Sanctitate sua humiliter postulavit ut dicti processus aperitionem indulgere benigne dignaretur. Sacro porro eadem Rituum Congregatio, utendo facultatibus sibi ab Ipso Ss-mo Domino nostro JOANNE PAPA XXIII tributis, benigne annuit pro gratia juxta preces: servatis omnibus de jure, stylo et con suetudine servandis.
Contrariis non obstantibus quibuslibet.
Die 16 Septembris 1960.
S.R.C. Praef.

Beatificationis et Canonizationis
Servi Dei IOANNIS SULLIVAN, Sacerdotis Professi Societatis Iesu.
Rev-mus P. Paulus Molinari, Generalis Postulator Societatis Iesu, ad pedes Sanctitatis Suae provolutus, humiliter postulavit ut processus ordinaria auctoritate in Curia Dublinensi constructus super scriptis Servi Dei Ioannis Sullivan, Sacerdotis professi eiusdem Societatis, et in Actis eiusdem Sacrae Rituum Congregationis, clausus sigillisque munitus, asservatus, rite aperiatur. Sacra porro eadem Rituum Congregatio, vigore facultatum sibi a Ss-mo Domino nostro IOANNE PAPA XXTII tributarum, attentis expositis, benigne annuit pro gratia iusta preces: servatis omnibus de iure, stylo et consuetudine servandis,
Contrariis non obstantibus quibuslibet.
Die 16 Septembris 1960.
S.R.C. Praef.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Sullivan SJ 1861-1933
In Eccles Street Dublin, on May 8th 1861, John Sullivan, of Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart. later Attorney-General, Master of the Rolls and finally Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Sir Edward was a Protestant, his wife was a Catholic, and as was common in those days their daughter Annie, the eldest of the family was baptised and reared a Catholic, and the boys as Protestants. So, John Sullivan was baptised into the Protestant Faith in St George’s Church, Temple Street. John was sent to Royal Portora School in 1873 where he remained for six years.

In 1879 he won a classical scholarship to Trinity College, did his law degree at Lincoln’s Inn, London and was called to the English bar in 1888. The followed a period during which he travelled extensively on the Continent. In 1889 he was received into the Catholic Church by Fr Michael Gavin SJ, at Farm Street, London. Three years later he entered our noviceship at Tullabeg, and was ordained at Milltown Park by Archbishop Walsh in 1907.

He spent almost all his life at Clongowes, with an interval as Rector of Rathfarnham, 1919 to 1924. Being in charge of the People’s Church, he devoted himself with intense zeal to the sick and the dying, and acquired a reputation for extraordinary sanctity and the working of miracles.

He died on February 19th 1933, and almost immediately there sprang up, on the part of the people a spontaneous cultus to him. The initial step in his cause for canonisation was taken up in 1947 with the setting up of the Judicial Informative Process. The final step in Ireland was taken in July 1960 when the evidence as to his heroic sanctity was forwarded to Rome in bound volumes.

Meantime it was decided to translate his body from the cemetery in Clongowes to Gardiner Street. On Tuesday September 27th, the body was exhumed in the presence of official witnesses. It was not found incorrupt. On September 29th, encased in a set of coffins, the body was solemnly conveyed to Dublin, and placed in a beautiful new tomb visible to the public. There it lies awaiting the verdict of the Church, the object of veneration daily of hundreds of visitors.


Bob Thompson took an interesting initiative in writing to the senior members of the Province who knew our Servant of God - whether as boys in Clongowes Wood or as fellow members of a Jesuit Community. Here are the ten replies received.

My acquaintance with Fr John Sullivan is limited to the retreat he conducted for my vows for September 2nd, 1930. Emo was only three weeks old when we started that retreat. An Ambulacrum served as a Chapel, but Fr Sullivan spoke to us in the Conference Room. There was an aisle between two rows of tables with a dais in front of one row. Fr Sullivan always came into the room with a quick lively sort of run, and would drop on his two knees on the floor, not the raised edge of the dais.

When he spoke, all the while he held a crucifix in one hand, and stroked his dark greying hair with the other. He seemed to find all he wanted to say on the crucifix.

Three things I remember about that retreat. First, it was a marked contrast to the one I heard the previous year from Fr Michael Browne. Fr Browne was austere, severe and for me awesome . Fr Sullivan seemed to spread around him a warmth and a kindliness.

The second thing is a letter he read to us. He introduced it by saying: “These are not my thoughts, but they are the thoughts of an elderly priest in the Province and I give them for what they are worth”. The letter went something like this:

You are going to give the novices their retreat. Would you please impress on them the importance of the virtue of Charity. I'm an old man in the Province now and I can honestly say that I have experienced very little Charity, but I have met with an awful lot of diplomacy...

The third thing that remains with me is that while he made no effort at eloquence, and often cut short descriptions with an "and all that", he could still be very graphic. I can still see and hear his account of Peter's reaction to John's “It is the Lord” - “SPLASH” and Peter is in the water".

During that retreat I was anything but filled with consolation. I can still remember a glow of happiness when I made my confession to Fr John. I can't recall what I said, or what he said, but I can't forget the joy and peace I felt leaving his room.

One other memory of those days: Fr Lol Kearns - go meadai Dia a ghlóir - made that retreat too. He used to tell this story against himself. He knew Fr John had the reputation of being a saint, and he wanted to be able to say that he had visited the saint in his room, so he concocted a difficulty.

“Father in my class in Mungret I could name eight boys who would have been better suited to be Jesuits than I am. I ask myself why did God call me, rather than one of them?”

“Ah now! Carry on! Carry on! and thank God for his bad taste”.


Fr John Sullivan was Rector of Rathfarnham Castle during my first year there as a junior. One's first impression of him was quite frightening -- the gaunt face, the shabby clothes, greenish but scrupulously clean, the extreme austerity of his meals.

But in short time one became aware of something extra ordinarily attractive about him. It is difficult to put into words, but one came not merely to "make allowances" for him, or just to like him, but genuinely to love him. His one aim in life seemed to be to prevent anyone admiring him. In that he failed miserably.

One of the older Jesuits told me how, at a meeting of the Classical Society of UCD, which Johnny was persuaded to attend, the Juniors who were there were immensely impressed by the deference shown to Johnny by their Professors and several Dons from Trinity College. One got accustomed to being accosted in the avenue by some poor person who had come a long way “to see the priest who works miracles”.

Johnny had a puckish sense of humour which normally was kept strictly hidden. But on one occasion which I heard of it popped out. Paul O'Flanagan, who later became a splendid preacher, was doing Science, and tried by all means to avoid the chore of preaching in the refectory. However, on the last available day Paul was summoned by the Rector. One excuse after another were exposed in their feebleness by the stern Rector. Then Johnny said with what must have been a twinkle in his eye: “In God's name there, aren't you in charge of the seismograph?” “Yes, Father”, said Paul. “Well, wouldn't it be a terrible thing if there was an earthquake and there was nobody there to attend to it? You had better not preach”.

I remember very vividly the satisfaction with which Johnny read out in the Refectory the announcement of the appointment of Fr John Keane as his successor as Rector. It was as if he was muttering to himself “that's one in the eye for you, John Sullivan”.

He was unforgettable. He was a Saint.


I was in Clongowes for two years only - 1931-1933 - as a Scholastic, and during those two years Fr John was resident there.

He was Spiritual Father in the community, and he gave the Customary Domestic exhortations in the Domestic Chapel. As a scholastic, I recollect that we were obliged to visit him from time to time and, if we failed in that duty, I recall that he would come to see us in our rooms and talk to us about any matter that we might like to discuss with him. He was always helpful, kind and friendly.

One small matter concerning him remains vividly in my memory. During lunch-time break when we came to the refectory, he would gently ask us to sit down, and he would come around with the tea pot, pouring the tea for us, saying that we were hard at work and that he had nothing to do. While this caused me personally a little embarrassment it also filled me with admiration for his humility and fraternal charity.

We were aware that he regularly visited the poor, the sick and distressed people in the surrounding district and frequently one would see him moving fast - trotting really - down the avenue from the college in pursuit of that work. It was also well known, of course, that people came regularly to consult him and to seek his advice and direction in their troubles, worries and needs. I think I am also right in saying that during school hours (classes, recreation or otherwise) he was always available in a room in the college for pupils who might wish to visit or consult him.

There is nothing further which I feel that I could add of a personal nature concerning Fr John. Of course, all of us were well aware of his undoubted sanctity and his fully committed
Jesuit way of life.


Reams could be written about Fr John. I knew him and had him for my confessor - 1924-1926. Most patient and kind to all of us, especially his class. He had combined sixth year for RK, a most unruly lot and poor Fr John had no control, but we revered and loved him so he got us to learn something about our religion.

I entered the Noviceship from that class and persevered, Fr John's prayers!? One night during recreation I was in the library - Fr John had forgotten to pull down his blind. He was on his knees praying before a crucifix. I didn't read a word watching him - face transformed, immobile. A man devoted to God - all of us know that. May he be raised to the altar.


The only contact I had with Fr Sullivan was a retreat at Emo Park around 1935. Most of us found it rather dull and boring. It was obvious to all of us that he was a very saintly man. He spent very little time at meals, and piety seemed to 'ooze' from him.

He had a great devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and if you met him in the house, or grounds, he had his rosary beads in his hands.

I never lived in the same community, and so I cannot say much more about him.


A master was out ill. Two classes were put together (usually disastrous). Fr John was teaching them religion. He was going through St Luke's Gospel with great fervour but we were talking all the time - this almost entirely because of the mixture of classes. He would read on and comment as if he didn't notice, then he would stop: “Too much talk, too much talk, Jim E. down there you're not listening, not listening to St Luke the most beautiful book in the whole world, not listening there”. But sometimes when our ignorant and unmannerly talking almost drowned him he would get really angry and give out forcefully, mostly in the same words as above. Then he would perceptibly repent of his anger and end up with a joke and as good a smile as he could manage, always with the words: “Can't get a word in edgeways, trying hard, no hope, no hope”.

There had been snow for days and days. Everyone cooped up. no games. During “shop” one day Fr John came down and offered to take his classes - or perhaps the whole Higher Line - out for a walk. A good many came. We went out the front gate and did a circuit on the road. Many walked abreast with him. I forget what he was talking about. It might have been his travels in Greece. Perhaps half way around he struck for home across the snowy fields. Before us we saw a wide slobbery gap into the next field. Cattle had churned a large area of it into slush. Seeing it he repeated “C'mon, c'mon, c'mon” and started off in a wobbly run. I think his hands were up his sleeves. We all joined in and slushed through the muddy gap. We did the same in the next gap.

He was walking down the Higher Line Gallery, keeping close to the wall and very bowed. I saw his knee through a very loosely half-stitched vent in his trouser. Either the gown or the trouser had a green black shiny look.

I was in the infirmary in a room with two others. Fr John came in and knelt in turn at each bed to hear confession. He said a few encouraging words I think, but I don't remember.

He said the boys' Mass every day. Often he would stop on the way out - and I think sometimes on the way in - near the altar rail and speak rapidly with great sincerity and feeling. You didn't understand all he said, but he made an impact.

The windows of the old chemistry room faced across towards the study building, and faced the window of Fr John's room. One day a boy in the class called us over to the window; through the window of Fr John's room we could see him at his kneeler praying. We were not surprised.

His room was off the study stairs, the Higher Line dormitory opened on to the same stairs. On the way down the Mass in the morning the so-called “toughs” used to line up for confession.


As it was my privilege of living for sixteen years in the same community with Fr John, my most vivid recollections of him are his heroic practice of poverty in his personal life, and his utter dedication to all who were poor, to the sick and needy in a wide area around Clongowes. His names is held in awe to this very day by the relatives of all those people he had helped, both spiritually and physically, and indeed, by the many who never met him or had any connection with him. He is a living presence around Clongowes.

Though there are many accounts of Fr John's powers of healing, I am glad to recall Mrs. Tom Smyth's story to me about herself. Long before my time, she was an invalid, and not able to move around. When the family were out, they would close the door for safety sake. On a certain day there was a loud knock on the door. She didn't answer it. Then there was a second, and so she crawled up with the aid of a chair. When she opened it she recognised Fr John. He said he was looking for the invalid. “Can you help me? I am the invalid Father”. He told her to kneel down. It caused her intense suffering. He nearly drowned her with holy water and prayed over her (her own words). That is the limit of my knowledge. She was happily married to Tom Smyth when cured, and lived a long life.

She died only last year. When I was on retreat in Clongowes, I felt sad to think of other days when we played cards in the farm yard with Tom and his wife,


Although I have never lived with Fr John Sullivan as a member of the Jesuit Community at Clongowes, I did, in fact, live for five schools years, 1928-33, under the same roof as “Johnny-O”, as we boys affectionately called him among ourselves. Nor was I taught by him, save on rare occasions when one of our regular teachers being absent, Fr John might be sent to look after us'. I can only recall one such occasion, when he made his usual hurried entry into our noisy classroom and without ado knelt, with head bowed, to recite the “Hail Mary”, as was the custom among the Jesuit masters in my time. With eyes still downcast, but occasionally glancing at the class, he stood before us and put a question on Geography to the class in general. "Where is Bessarabia, there! Bessarabia, there?", Glancing hopefully from one side of the silent class to the other. As I recollect, only one boy gave a satisfactory answer. Father John went on to tell us of some of his personal experiences in the South-Eastern part of Europe, including his visits to the Orthodox Ministries in Greece.

To the query “did I know him?” my first inclination would be to say, “yes, of course, I knew him”. Didn't everyone at Clongowes know him, and know him for what he undoubtedly was, a very holy Jesuit priest, first and last! Didn't he offer Mass, Monday to Friday, in our presence at 7.30 in the morning? Didn't he often ask our prayers for some sick or dying person; for some old Clongownian or Jesuit what had died? Didn't we see him kneeling outside his Confessional, (the one nearest the entrance on the left-hand side) several nights of the week, as we boys came out of supper? Didn't we know that on Saturday nights, the ‘hardened sinners’ amongst us found refuge in his ‘box’!!. Didn't we hear, day in, day out, from Jesuit Brothers, Scholastics and Priests how great was the demand for his help, not only by local people in trouble or in sickness, but from people far off? And more to the point, didn't we see or meet with him as he made his way, hurriedly to be sure, thro' the chattering throng of boys on the old Lower Line Gallery or elsewhere, talking now to one, now to the other?

I recall quite clearly two such occasions when he spoke to me in the midst of the 'madding crowd'. The first was on the noisy Third Line Gallery. I turned around to find him standing behind me with head slightly bowed, and his left hand brushing back the hair off his forehead - (this was a characteristic gesture). “What's your name, boy?” he asked. I told him. “I know your brothers”, was his reply. He then said, “Are you a Pioneer?”, and before I could answer “No, Father”, he said; “You know, you ought to be, for the love of God”. “Yes, Father”, I said. “Be in the Sacristy before Supper”, he replied and was gone. So I became a “probationer” (at the age of 14) on that day and a Pioneer two years later. It didn't cost me anything then or later, thank God, although it was much later that I came to appreciate the graces which flowed from this 'chance' meeting with a holy priest.

The second such meeting was equally unexpected and abrupt. It happened in October 1932, a few months before his death, on February 19th, 1933. He appeared from nowhere in the middle of a crowd of higher-liners and this time with the ghost of a smile on his rugged face, eyes lowered and hands half-clapping. Without any introduction, he kept repeating. “The word is VISCERA, VISCERA, VISCERA, not VISCERIA, VISCERIA. A common word there”. I was nimble in mind in those days and I knew almost immediately that he was correcting my pronunciation of a word - I'm sure there were many others - which occurred in the “Evening Office of the Dead” which the members of the Sodality of Our Lady used recite at their Saturday night meetings in the Sodality Chapel in the Castle. “Thank you, Father”, I muttered, and he ended the interview as he had begun it; “Yes, VISCERA, a very common word, there”. He was off again.

I might underline here a fact about Fr John's spirituality which made a deep and lasting impression upon me. It was his devotion to the Holy Souls. As this is a very Catholic devotion, he must have learned it, either from his mother or after his conversion, when his reading would have opened up the wonderful possibility of his being able to keep his dead relatives and friends for whom, up to this, he was not accustomed to pray. Whenever, or however he came across this practice, he made it part and parcel of his daily prayer life. In his week-day Masses and in his Sodality Masses on Saturdays, we boys were asked to pray for some person recently deceased. On rare occasions, too, we were asked to pray for some “poor man or woman dying in great pain”. The Holy Souls were for him the poorest of the poor because tho' they were in need, they could neither help themselves nor beg for help from the living! The doctrine of the Communion of Saints was one that appealed to him. For Christ's words were as true of them as any of the living: “As often as you do it to one of these, my least brethren, you do it for me”. Father John was ever on the “look-out for Christ in need”.

There was a third meeting which comes to my mind. My two brothers and myself had got permission to go to Dublin on a Playday in Autumn 1931. We had to rise early to catch a Provincial Bus that passed thro' Clane about 7.45 am on its way to the City. As we made our way we came to the straight part of the road which ends at the “Jolly Farmers”, we saw Father John jogging towards us. He evidently had been out on a nearby sick-call or bringing Holy Communion to some regular client and was returning “at speed” lest he be late for the Boys Mass at 8.00 am. He slowed down as he passed saying “God Bless you have a good day there” and was gone. I mention this passing encounter to record what I and the boys of my time frequently witnessed, namely his jogging along the avenue or around the Higher-Line track in the early morning. This, no doubt kept him fit; for physically fit he was, despite the austere life he freely lived so that he might be a minister of God after the example of Christ. Indeed, he had to keep fit, if he was to reach so many sick persons by walking or by riding his bicycle. Although I never saw him riding, I heard about it, some years before I went to Clongowes, from my mother. My eldest brother, John, took very ill at Clongowes on October, 1924. He was operated on in Dublin but given very little hope of recovery. Father John used to ride up from Clongowes in every kind of weather, spend half an hour praying over the dying boy. And then, off again back to Clongowes. After several days, when his life hung on a thread, my brother started to recover, and finally did so. My mother always maintained that her son's recovery was due to the prayers of Father John.

Stone, Arthur, 1900-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2156
  • Person
  • 19 September 1900-19 August 1972

Born: 19 September 1900, Cape Town, South Africa
Entered: 18 March 1923, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 14 June 1932, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1936
Died: 19 August 1972, Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL: 05 April 1931

by 1927 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire (ANG) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Arthur Stone had English, Anglican parents, who came to Australia from South Africa. He became a convert when at the parish school at North Sydney at the age of ten. Then he went to the Marist Brothers High School, Darlinghurst, and was head prefect in 1918. He went on to study engineering at the University of Sydney. He later worked as a civil engineer in the NSW Department of Main Roads. He played rugby league with the North Sydney firsts, and joined the Jesuits, 18 March 1923, at Greenwich.
Most of his studies as a Jesuit were in Ireland, at Rathfarnham, as a junior, 1925-26, and theology at Milltown Park, 1929-33. He studied philosophy at Heythrop, England, 1926-29, and did tertianship at St Beuno's, 1933-34.
He returned to Australia and taught at Riverview, 1934-39. But his heart was in pastoral work, working between North Sydney and Lavender Bay, and he was eventually parish priest, of North Sydney, 1947-53, and Lavender Bay, 1953-59. He walked the streets visiting his people, and related well to then. This was shown in the 1950s when he asked the cardinal for permission to attend a concert given by Johnny Ray, the first of the pop stars. The request was so surprising that it was given. The story was well told in the parish magazine. This made up for his lack of conversation in the Jesuit community.
He also worked in the parish of Richmond, 1959-68, and then retired to Canisius College, Pymble, being almost paralysed. He could not say Mass, but heard confessions at St Patrick's Church, Church Hill, in Sydney. At Pymble he enjoyed watching Australian Rules football on television every Saturday during the season.

Stevenson, Robert L, 1906-1977, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/411
  • Person
  • 30 January 1906-01 April 1977

Born: 30 January 1906, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 01 April 1977, Tuam, County Galway

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

by 1929 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 52nd Year No 3 1977

Obituary :

Fr Robert L Stevenson (1906-1977)
Father Robert L Stevenson was born in Dublin, June 30th 1906, and after some education privately, went to the Christian Brothers, Synge Street. He entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg on August 31st 1923. Beginning his studies for the BA at Rathfarnham in 1925, he passed through the usual course and was ordained at Milltown Park, June 24th 1937. He had gone to Valkenburg for Philosophy, 1928 1931, and his Tertianship was spent at St Beuno's, 1938-1939. The years 1939-1941 were spent in Galway as Prefect of Studies and teaching, and his work was similar at the Crescent, Limerick, 1941 1946. From 1938 to his death in 1977 he was a missioner, stationed successively at Emo, Belvedere, Tullabeg, Emo and Rathfarnham. His years at Rathfarnham (1969-1977) were brought to a close by his death “in harness” at Tuam, April 1st 1977.

Of his years immediately after the Tertianship we have a clear picture from what Father James Stephenson, The Hall writes:
Bob Steve when I knew him and lived with him in his early years in the Society was what would be called in those days, “a good Community man”. He had a ready wit and was endowed with a felicity of expression and vividness of imagery that was most entertaining and more than usually amusing.
What made him “tick over” was an intense zeal for souls or to put it in modern jargon, his motivation was the betterment of the spiritually" underprivileged". However, after his tertianship, it was some years before he was able to put his ambition into operation. During those early years as a priest he was assigned to administration, and acted for many years as Minister in the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick. It was a post he naturally disliked but he carried on his duties faithfully and effectively. Of course, what made this post tolerable was that he was Prefect of the Church and so had plenty of Church work to do, sermons, confessions, counselling and sodality direction. He was for many years Director of the Ignatian Sodality and a very popular and energetic Director at that. He went to great pains in preparing his talks and sermons, having his eye, I suppose, on the type of work he desired, namely the Mission Staff. This care in preparation of talks and sermons served him in good stead during his life as a Missioner when he had the leisure to write and publish in addition to some pamphlets, a book on the Holy Land and also a biography of a Jesuit he most admired, Father Leonard Shiel.
As a preacher and retreat giver he worked among the Irish in Great Britain. Towards the end of his life he also devoted much of his zeal and energy to mission work in the United States.
It may be of interest to mention in passing that as a scholastic teacher in Belvedere he took a great interest in the Newsboys Club, an interest he translated into practice when making his renunciation before his final vows.
Some years ago he had trouble with his heart and it was that way God took him when giving a mission in Tuam Cathedral. Death came as a thief but it did not find him unprepared. He went to his Maker full of merit and good works. May he rest in peace.

Father Kevin Laheen writes: My first contact with Fr Bob Stevenson was in Belvedere in the thirties when he taught Irish and RK. He was an excellent teacher, had a gift of keeping discipline in a pleasant sort of way, and his ability to impart his knowledge to the boys was something which we, in our youth, could appreciate, and often did publicly admire.
But he did ambition a life of specifically priestly work, as opposed to an administrative job which after all does not call for the sacrament of Holy Orders. Though as Minister in the Crescent he did is job well, his heart was in the pulpit, in the confessional and on the altar.
At length he got the job (as a missioner) for which he was suited, which he loved, and at which there was no way in which it could be said that he was anything but a complete success. An eloquent and - fluent speaker, he could hold an audience in the palm of his hand for anything up to forty minutes, and that in the days when the TV has conditioned people to accept things in capsule form. Although uncompromising in the pulpit in proclaiming the teaching of Christ and the Church (often being accused of being too far right of centre) he could be a most compassionate man when dealing with the weaknesses of those who often lapsed from the strictest following of Christ.
His kindness to women, especially to nuns, was a side of Bob that was not generally known. In the days when the lay sister was regarded as the unpaid servant of the community, Bob was her champion, and I have met many such sisters who have sounded his praises and her own gratitude to him for his understanding sympathy and kindness, to say nothing of his courage in defending these sisters, when to have done so would have risked being “blacked” in the convent where such defence was registered.

In the early forties, just after the war, or even during the last years of it, Fr Leonard Shiel and Father Bob started the mission to the Irish in Britain literally single-handed. Leonard had the ideal that if the Irish brought none of this world's wealth to the land of adoption, they certainly brought their strong Irish faith, and his aim, aided by Father Bob, was to make sure that their faith suffered no injury by the new materialistic surroundings in which they found themselves, so but in addition that these same Irish would be apostles of the faith spreading it among those with whom they lived and worked. An ideal like this took courage. Many a patronising and openly hostile comment was made about this work. But neither of these men could be turned aside from their ideal; and by degrees they were joined by Frs M Bodkin, R Maguire, B Prendergast, B Hogan, T Kilbride and many others, until the thing took on the nature of a crusade. Then the Irish bishops were approached, and nothing happened for some years, Leonard Shiel then approached the English bishops, and at last the two hierarchies got together and other orders came in to help. This work has now virtually passed out of the hands of the Society but its flourishing success, and the immense good it has done, must be ascribed to the inspiration and devotion and zeal of these two men. Without the support of Father Bob I think the scheme would have remained a one man apostolate of Father Shiel. This is a chapter of history that so many younger members of the staff, and indeed of the Province, know nothing about. It took a zeal and single-minded dedication that I have often felt would have cheered the heart of Saint Ignatius. (See, however, Father Bob's book about Fr Leonard Shiel, “Who Travels Alone”, especially Chapters four and five-Ed.).
In the last ten years, Bob was definitely low key, as they would say these days. His preaching was just as eloquent and gripping. His zeal was untiring, but he liked to get back to base a great deal more, and devote so much of his time to writing. He was a man of great linguistic gifts, and apart from having a reading knowledge (and in some cases a speaking knowledge, too) of most European languages, he had also mastered Russian.
I think he was a little worried in recent years about the direction the Society was taking. In his own mind I don't think he was convinced that the balance between the vertical and horizontal approach to the service of God has been found. I also feel that he had some idea that his life was running out, and-looking back over certain things he said to me-I feel he was preparing for the end. Sickness was a thing he never knew nor liked, though to the sick he was devoted and kind. God took him mercifully in the arms of a fellow Jesuit, anointed by another, and receiving expert first aid treatment from the fourth member of the mission team at Tuam.
In the course of his second last mission, in his own native parish of Beechwood Avenue, a lady told me that on many occasions in the course of the mission he said, “Remember, if you knock daily on the Gate of Heaven by saying your daily prayers, when you knock for the last time in death, Our Lord will keep His promise and open for you”. After his devoted life, I have a feeling that the door was always open, awaiting him.

Father Niall O'Neill writes:
Imperial Hotel, Tuam: 1st April 1977:

Supper in the Hotel was at 6 pm. The Missioners Frs Séamus MacAmhlaoibh, Noel Holden and myself - Niall O'Neill - started almost immediately. Fr Bob who had been out of sorts for a day or two came down later and sat with his book at his favourite spot Fr. Seamus MacA gave Fr Bob some notices to be announced at the out-church-Lavally (Leath Bhaile) as we left the dining-room. Bob seemed in good form and gave his usual “OK”.
We went to get ready for confessions in the Cathedral at 7.00 pm, as it was the 1st Friday. Noel went back down to discuss something with Bob at about 6.45. They were talking on the way up the stairs which were very steep, about the closing of the Mission. Noel's room was No.24 at the end of a short corridor at the top of the stairs. At Noel’s room Bob put his hand on the handle of the door and gasped and slumped. Noel caught him and shouted, “Niall, quick, quick”. Séamus and I were together round the corner about 15 feet away; as we arrived Noel was holding Bob in his arms. We brought him to the bed in No 24. Seamus and Noel looked after him spiritually - Absolution and Anointing. While they were doing this I opened collar, thumped his chest and gave artificial respiration (mouth to mouth). A lady came to the top of the stairs and we asked her to ring for a Doctor. Noel said he could feel no pulse. We prayed and gave more resuscitation and respiration. I went for some whiskey and asked at the Desk if they had rung the Doctor - he was on his way. The whiskey wasn't used. I took over the respiration again from Séamus. Noel said, “he's gone”. I went down again and asked at the desk that they would ring Fr Greally, the Administrator. He came on the phone and I told him Bob had had an “attack”. As I was on the phone the Doctor (Cunningham) arrived-it was only 7.05 pm. He confirmed our fears. He left to order the ambulance. Fr Greally arrived at 7.7. We decided that Séamus would go to Lavally. As Noel had had the brunt of the shock he would stay and ring the Provincial and Rathfarnham. 7.10 I went to the Order of Malta Ambulance Unit. As there was to be a Dinner at the Hotel at 7.30 I hurried on the Ambulance, although it was already under way. I went into the Cathedral and started the Rosary for the Mission at 7.20: “This Rosary will be offered for Father Robert Louis Stevenson our Senior Missioner who has been taken ill and has been removed to Hospital”. After the Rosary I found the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cunnane in the Sacristy. He presided at my Mass, I preached on the Sacred Heart and after the sermon His Grace came to the Ambo and announced the death of “Fr. Robert Louis Stevenson”. He paid a tremendous tribute to Bob as priest, missioner, fellow-organizer with Father Leonard Shiel of the mission to the emigrants in England, writer and staunch up-holder of the faith.
In the meantime the Ambulance had arrived at the Hotel at 7.25, and took Bob to the “Grove” Hospital in Tuam which is run by the Bon Secours Sisters. They were marvellous. Bob was laid out in a beautiful private room; they provided a lace Alb, White Vestments (The Resurrection), and arranged the room very attractively: the table with Crucifix, lighted candles on one side of the bed, on the other a table with an exquisite vase of freshly cut Daffodils.
At Lavally Seamus announced the sad news, and Mass was said for Bob at 7.30 and 8.00 pm.
Noel had been trying to contact our Dublin Houses, by phone. When Mass and confessions were over Bob and I removed all Bob’s things from his room in the Hotel and returned the key to the desk. We then went to the Hospital, and with Frs Greally and Gleason joined two nuns (Sr. Loreto, Superioress and another), saying the Rosary, and then said another - the Glorious Mysteries - taking a decade each.
Later at the Presbytery the Priests served tea. Noel had failed to contact Fr Meade, who was absent when he rang Rathfarnham. Eglinton Road, when contacted, deferred any decisions until Fr. Meade had been consulted. At 11.10 Fr. Provincial was on the phone, and later Fr Meade rang. Arrangements were made for a funeral from Gardiner St - the remains to arrive on Saturday at 5 pm. It was now 11.30 pm, and undertakers had to be contacted to arrange for a removal from the Hospital at 10.15 next day, Saturday. Mass was arranged for 11 o'clock at the Cathedral, the departure from Tuam to Dublin to be immediately afterwards.
Near 12.00 midnight lots were drawn to choose an undertaker without favouritism. McCormicks were drawn. We went to his house and aroused him from bed. Then back to the Hotel to compose an Obituary Notice for the papers. After 1 o’clock Noel went back to the Undertaker with the Notice, and so to bed at 1.30 am.
April 2nd, Saturday: As I had to preach at the 8 am Mass, and say the 10 o'clock Mass, while Seamus was at Lavally, Noel attended the removal from the Hospital at 10.15. The Archbishop arrived during the Rosary and joined in; he recited the removal prayers, and the coffin was carried out by the Administrator Fr Greally, Fr Concannon CC, Fr Gleason, CC, and the Doctor on duty. The Archbishop, Noel and all the priests walked in the funeral through the town after the hearse. The shops closed and pulled their blinds. There was a huge crowd at the Cathedral. The coffin was placed in front of the High Altar and a concelebrated Mass followed. The Archbishop was the Principal Celebrant, and Fr Holden preached a particularly fine eulogy of 7 minutes, in which he included sincere thanks to the Archbishop, clergy and people for their sincere sympathy. The Galway community was represented by Frs McGrath and J Humphreys, and Brs Crowe and Doyle. After Mass the Archbishop recited all the prayers over the coffin and led us in the “In Paridisum”...as we walked down the aisle of the Cathedral. In his last sermon Bob had said, “I will never see you again ...” and this had made a deep impression on the men. After our unvesting the funeral moved off at about 11.50 am. The hearse was escorted to the boundary of the parish by the Galway Jesuits, and Fr Concannon CC. drove us three missioners in his car.
After early lunch in the Hotel we talked about Bob's favourite prayer which Noel had mentioned in his eulogy, “I'll talk with God”: “There is no death, though eyes grow dim. There is no fear while I'm with Him...”
It seemed fitting that the Archdiocese of Tuam should have been the last place for Bob to preach his last Mission, and begin his New Mission with our departed fellow Jesuits in the Communion of Saints: It had large Irish-speaking areas, and Ballintubber Abbey - “The Church that refused to Die”. The End-of-Mission Confessions began at 1.30 p.m. That evening Noel went to Lavally. Seamus gave a Penitential Service in the Cathedral followed by Mass and Confessions. Next day-Sunday, 3rd we spoke at all the Masses, inviting the congregation to the end-of-Mission ceremonies at 7.30 pm. At concelebrated Mass at 7.30 pm. His Grace, Noel and I were concelebrants. Noel preached. Séamus MacA closed in Lavally. Our supper ended at 10.30, and so to bed at 11.00.
April 4th: Monday. Up at 6.00: After breakfast in the Presbytery I drove the ADM to the funeral in Gardiner Street, where Fr Hanley received us and gave the ADM every hospitality. After the funeral we had dinner in SFX where Fr Greally seemed very pleased.
Introducing the requiem Mass in Gardiner Street Church on the morning of Monday, April 14th, Father Matthew Meade, Superior of Rathfarnham Castle where Father Robert Stevenson was stationed, expressed the sympathy of all present--of his brother Jesuits and all those whom Father Stevenson had helped in so many ways - with Father Stevenson’s sister who was present, having crossed over from Richmond, Surrey. Father Stevenson’s life, said Father Meade, was simply summed up in one word: He was a Missioner. A most gifted and eloquent preacher, he had spent some thirty years preaching the Word of God in many lands. He was a tireless worker. Never, Father Meade said, since he first knew him forty years ago, both as a fellow worker with him on the missions and as Director of the Mission and Retreats Apostolate, had he ever known Father Robert Stevenson to refuse any assignment given to him or to fail to answer any call made upon his services on the grounds of being tired or over-worked or unfit to undertake any work to which he was assigned. The circumstances of his death are proof of this generous spirit. While he was engaged in giving a mission in Tuam Cathedral, he died in the arms of his fellow missioners. It was a glorious ending to a life lived out to the full in god's service,
Some little glimpse of Father Stevenson's spirit is seen in something Father Meade related to the Editor : “I cannot lay my hands upon an edition of the Province News which must have come out in 1965/67 when I wrote notes on the work of the Mission. In one of these editions, I remember, I wrote about an extraordinary achievement of Bob’s, which showed his remarkable versatility. I was asked to supply a priest for a mission: I think it was in Kerry or Co. Cork. There were in this place three workers' camps on some big scheme. One camp was of Germans; another of Irish Speakers, and the third English speaking men and women of the locality. The missioner would have to preach to one section in German; to another in Irish and to the third in English. Bob took on the whole mission by himself and did the whole mission as requested. I think I published a letter from the priest there, giving an account of this remarkable achievement on Bob's part and how well he did it all”.
Father Noel Holden, in whose arms Father Stevenson died in the Hotel where the Missioners were staying while giving a mission in Tuam, said that it was clear that Father Stevenson was unwell for some time before he died. Indeed during lunch on that First Friday (April 1st) the Archbishop of Tuam (Dr. Cunnane) by phone had invited Father Stevenson to stay with the Archbishop for the rest of the Mission. His Grace could see that Father Stevenson was very unwell. At the Requiem Mass in Tuam, the chief concelebrant was His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam. At the Mass Father Holden spoke few words. He drew attention to the fact that when Father Bob died the notes were in his pocket for the sermon he was to have preached that day concerning the Sacred Heart. The concluding words of the sermon were to have been: “No stranger of God”. Father Holden reminded his hearers that these words were very true of Father Stevenson himself. His missionary work was the work of a man whose prayer kept him close to God from whom he sought continually for guidance and help in his work for souls.
Fr Holden said that Fr Stevenson had a big 'mail' from people whom he had at some time directed spiritually during his missions. Father Stevenson never preached without having with him a summary of that special sermon: each such occasion, each such congregation, was new, different. And this in spite of the fact that he had so crowded a programme. Fr Holden noted the programme of Fr Stevenson's closing months. In January he had given a mission in Corby, England; from February 6th to 20th he preached at Knock;from February 27th to March 13th his work was in Beechwood Avenue - where he had been born. He died “in harness” in Tuam on April 1st during a Mission which with three other Fathers he had begun on March 20th. He was very proficient in preaching in the three Irish dialects: that of Donegal - whose Hills he loved - of Connaught and of Munster.
Father Holden reminds us that Father Stevenson wrote a lot. He published many Messenger Office Pamphlets. In 1975 he published a book on Father Leonard Shiel entitled “Who Travels Alone”. His foreword ended with the words: “I have chosen to call his memory - WHO TRAVELS ALONE, for I think it sums up a man both restless and still reserved, a riddle to all of us, his friends”. Fr Holden said that the core of this tribute could be applied also to Father Stevenson himself, for his life was one of restless thought and work in his efforts to help souls to God.
Father Holden could also show that Fr Stevenson did not easily relinquish any project he had turned his attention to. Fr Stevenson had visited the Holy Land some years ago. He made many written notes and also took many photos with the intention that his impressions and reflections when published might help others who wished to study and visit Our Lord's “Native Land”. The following summer Father Stevenson was in Los Angeles where he prepared his book for publication; but when back in Ireland he found that the case containing his manuscript notes and diaries had got lost. But he would not allow his spiritually helpful undertaking to be frustrated. Between his missions during the next year he made use of free intervals to recall his impressions of the Holy Land and wrote-from memory therefore-his helpful and successful Book: “Where Christ Walked”.
Father Holden adds the small but significant addition which helped Fr Stevenson very much to understand and attract Christians other than Catholics: Father Stevenson's father was a Scotch Presbyterian. His mother's people were from Graiguenamanagh, which he had visited as late as last May when giving a Mission at nearby Loughlinbridge.

Stephenson, William T, 1882-1980, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/412
  • Person
  • 29 December 1882-06 January 1980

Born: 29 December 1882, Tramore, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1898, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1917, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 06 January 1980, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

William was a relative of Patrick Stephenson (RIP 1990) of the Australian province, and entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1898.

by 1903 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1905

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William was a relative of Patrick Stephenson of the Australian province, and entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1898. After juniorate and philosophy at Jersey, he arrived at Riverview in October 1905. He remained there until early in 1911, teaching, being assistant prefect of discipline, and for a couple of years, junior rowing master. He spent most of the rest of his life working in parish ministry and doing some pamphlet writing in Ireland.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 55th Year No 2 1980


Fr William Stephenson (1882-1898-1980)

The memorial card of Fr Willie Stephenson, which has been distributed to the whole Province, gives one a glimpse of the life of the man whose obituary I have been asked to write. He died at night on 6th January 1980 in his 98th year.
At the time of his death he had completed and sent to his printers a revised edition of one of his many booklets, Days with our Lady. Ninety six pages which he wrote in clearest manuscript before having it typed and corrected before sending it first for censorship and then to his printers. He died before the estimate for printing was returned. While engaged in this gigantic task, he was also coping with his usual “fan mail”, his Christmas post, and meeting a continuous stream of visitors.
He had a set routine of life: breakfast, meditation, Mass, divine Office, spiritual reading, recreation. From this routine he never diverged until about the Friday before the Sunday of the Epiphany. Then he was confined to bed and began to go downhill rapidly, but still fighting and believing that he would get back on his feet again to continue his life's work.
Though fighting for life, he had no fear of death and was fully aware that it might be at hand for him. After his doctor had seen him on the Saturday, I approached him and suggested that I would anoint him. He immediately said, “Very well, I was going to ask you yesterday to do it”, and he immediately put out his two hands over the blankets. I had brought the holy oils with me, and without any ordeal I proceeded with the anointing. He thanked me for it and went on without any sign of distress or emotion,
In the same way he regarded the announcement of other people's deaths, no matter how closely related they might have been to him. It was a matter of fact: a fact of life. I accompanied him to visit the remains of his sister at her home not many years ago. He mounted the stairs, went over to the bedside, took a brief glance at the remains, beautifully laid out, and then turned away saying to me, “She's the image of my mother”. There wasn't another word. He came to the church, did not meet many people or look for any sympathy. The words “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” were a reality both for himself and for those near and dear to him.
A letter written to him by a university student in London arrived after his death. It gives a very true picture of a younger Father Willie and shows the influence he had on many young men who had gone away from the Church and from religious practices. The letter begins, “Dearest Willie”, and the writer goes on to say: “My only sadness, my dear Willie, is that I never knew you as an adult. I feel sadness within me that I missed a guiding light in this sea of currents that can sweep one away to shores one did not consciously choose. I feel that you are a true man of God, even though I do not practise the faith. I know that you remember me, but I don't have such a clear picture of you. I remember walking up by Murray’s forge with you one day when I was about seven years old and you were reading your black book. The cuffs of your jacket were thread bare, and you were tall and thin with piercing eyes. I knew that you were a nice man, but I was also frightened of you. I see you now as a light. I know that I am out in the Arctic circle in terms of Catholic faith, but I see your light, Willie: I see it shining out there in the darkness, but it's a long way off”.
Monsignor Tom Cullen, a past pupil of Mungret and taught there by Father Stephenson, also wrote to him: “You are one of the greatest priests I have known in all my life. You are the very best. I remember you in Mungret: you were great to the Apostolics”.
Father Stephenson knew no barriers of class, creed, age or life-style. He was the friend of all and was truly “all things to all men”. In the prime of his life he worked in Galway, and was a “live wire” both in the school and in the church for twenty-five years; his principal work being the Holy Hour and the men’s sodality of our Lady. He spent the last thirty years of his life in the Rathfarnham community. Here he is greatly missed, both as a member of the community and as a confessor ad jan., and by a countless number of clients both young and old who constantly visited him. In the room which he occupied, everything spoke of centuries past. The older and more worn-out his garments became, the more he became attached to them - almost in every sense. He loved his game of cards, and we feel particularly indebted to his young friends in the Society who were so good to him and dropped in occasionally for a game'. .
Finally, of all the places he dwelt in during his long life - Jersey, where he did his philosophy; Sydney, his regency; Galway; Mungret, where he was first as pupil and later as sub mod of the Apostolic School, etc., - Tramore, his native spot, took pride of place. The following letter, signed by Michael Cullen, town clerk, came from Tramore Town Commissioners:
“Dear Father,
At the meeting of the Commissioners on 8th January, a vote of sincere sympathy was adopted to you and the Jesuit order on the regretted death of the late Father William Stephenson, SJ RIP.
Not alone did the Commissioners express their own regret but also the sense of loss of the whole community here who knew, respected and loved Father Stephenson who was born here and always expressed his affection for the town: he was one of our most valuable tourist ambassadors.
He was a personal friend to me and my family, and we were very closely associated with him during his holidays each summer: we shall never forget him.
The County Manager asked to be associated with this expression of sympathy,
May God grant Father Willie eternal rest, and consolation to all who mourn him.'

No account of the life of Fr William Stephenson would be complete without putting on record his vast contribution to the Province through his writings published by the Irish Messenger Office. In all, he had fourteen booklets published, many of which went into several editions. His great work, however, was the Child of Mary Prayer Book, which has seen forty editions, twelve of which he edited (1930-1975). He not only edited and compiled these booklets, but in many cases - especially in his latter years - contributed substantially towards the printing. His object in devoting his time and energy to this work was to do good and to help the seminary fund for the education of Jesuits.
He was always interested in finding and helping candidates for the priesthood, and kept up contact with them and with their families all through life. With youth of all kinds he had a special charism and could make instant contact with them when much younger men would be utterly inadequate. About six years ago, when he was ninety-two, an incident occurred which brought this home to me. I was called to the parlour to meet four youths. They had finished school and were just “browned off”, as they put it. Obviously I was not their man: after all I was over sixty. They asked me if there was any younger man they could talk to. I made an arrangement with them for the following day. They were satisfied, and as I was showing them out I saw the Old Man in the distance. He was coming up the avenue with a bundle of sticks for his fire under his arm.
I pointed him out to the youths and told them that only a few days previously he had celebrated his sixtieth year in the priesthood and was ninety-two years of age. I told them to stop him and congratulate him. Soon I saw a huddle down the avenue. He had his arms on their shoulders and was in deep conversation with them. I did not wait. Next morning I asked him “How did you get on with those lads you met on the avenue last evening?” “Great lads”, he said. He had all their names; knew where they lived and where they had been at school. “They are all going to Mass and holy Communion this morning”, he added. “How did this happen?” I asked him. “I asked them were they saying their prayers (no!); were they going to Mass (no!). I brought them in behind the laurel bushes and heard their confessions. They are going to Mass and holy Communion this morning, and tonight they are coming up to me for a game of Switch.
Fr Stephenson's life was not without its trials. He went through some very rough times and was let down by some who were his friends and to help whom he had gone to endless trouble. One of these robbed him of all his savings. But he had a maxim which he frequently repeated: “let nothing disturb thee”. This may be more easily said than done. He did it. He could shut out from his mind anything that was beyond his power to remedy and never refer to it once it was over. This gave him constant serenity of mind and the power to help troubled souls. He radiated peace and cheerfulness and optimism. This was the Great Old Man - the true man of God. RIP

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1949

Our Past

Father William Stephenson SJ

Father William Stephenson SJ (95-98), celebrated his Golden Jubilee as a Jesuit last year. Father William came here as a small boy and was the youngest of that group of novices to join the Society of Jesus in 1898. A mature boy he plumbed the depths of spiritual wisdom under the direction of Fr James Murphy, the famous novice master, He went to Jersey for his philosophy where he acquired a great facility in the happy French idiom. Repairing to Australia for his regency, there, he spent three years having a magnetic influence for good over the boys who were under his charge. He returned to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained there in 1915. His next appointment was to the Crescent College, and Mungret was privileged to have him on the staff the following year. He was responsible under God for the vocations of many of our Past. In 1920 he was transferred to St Ignatius, Galway, where he remained for 25 years. During that quarter of a century he built up a great Men's Sodality-one of the finest in Ireland. The memory of his fruitful work in Galway occasioned a striking presentation of a gift of a chalice from those whom he had guided so zealously. His name is familiar as an author of spiritual works. Innumerable pamphlets, prayer-books and leaflets by his hand grace the book-stalls of our churches. We congratulate him on his more recent book “Christ Our Light”, a review of which we publish in this issue. Fr Stephenson is now a member of the Community at Manresa, Clontarf - the retreat house for workmen. We offer him wealth of blessings.

Stephenson, James B, 1906-1979, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/410
  • Person
  • 16 April 1906-11 April 1979

Born: 16 April 1906, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Innsbruck, Austria
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 11 April 1979, James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin

Part of the University Hall, Hatch Street, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at O’Connell’s School, Dublin; 1st year Arts at UCD and 1 yeat Philosophy at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, Dublin before entry

by 1936 at Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria (ASR) studying

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Holy Cross College Clonliffe before entry

Spillane, P Gerard, 1919-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/616
  • Person
  • 01 November 1919-26 May 2000

Born: 01 November 1919, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1939, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1956, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 26 May 2000, Mater Hospital Dublin

Part of the Belvedere College SJ, Dublin community at the time of death.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Studied 1st year Engineering at UCD before entry

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000

Fr Gerard (Gerry) Spillane (1919-2000)
1st. Nov. 1919: Born in Dublin
1931 - 1938 Christian Brothers' O' Connell Schools, Dublin - Leaving and Matric.
1938 - 1939: UCD for a half-year, studying Engineering.
7th Sept. 1939: Entered the Society at Emo.
8th Sept. 1941: First Vows at Emo.
1941 - 1944: Rathfarnham-studying Arts at UCD.
1944 - 1947: Tullabeg- studying Philosophy.
1947 - 1950: Clongowes- Teacher; Prefect; Clongowes Certificate in Education.
1950 - 1954: Milltown Park- Theology
31st July 1953: Ordained at Milltown Park.
1954 - 1955: Tertianship at Rathfarnham.
1955 - 1962: Clongowes- Teacher, Higher Line Prefect
1962 - 2000: Belvedere- Teacher; Games; Vice-Rector. Since 1988 he has served as Health Prefect; Chaplain St. Monica's Nursing Home; Sacristan; Guestmaster.

From March 1999, Fr. Spillane's health was in decline. He was admitted to the Mater Hospital and was diagnosed to be suffering from cancer in July of that year. Since then, he spent several periods receiving special nursing care in Cherryfield Lodge, after which he would be well enough to return to Belvedere. He was again admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in March, but was not confined to bed and until shortly before his death he was able to go for walks around the grounds. He died peacefully on 26th May 2000 at the age of 80.

Joe Dargan writes ...
Behind the simple facts of the Curriculum Vitae given above there was a life of faithful commitment and service which was the heart and soul of Gerry. He touched the lives of many people who valued his support and judgement and recognised that his influence on their lives was deep and personal. Fr Gerry was above all else a Religious and Priest. His life was centred on the Eucharist. Through it he became an act of worship of God. The witness of his life spoke volumes. The quiet impact he made on people was shown by the numbers and variety of people who attended his funeral.

As a teacher in Clongowes and Belvedere he dedicated himself to the hidden, constant and grinding work of the classroom as well as forming boys according to the values of Jesus Christ. When his close friend, Fr. Tom Scully, died in 1968 at the age of 46 Gerry became chaplain and mentor of the Catholic Housing Aid Society which provides accommodation for the aged poor as well as newly weds. At the time of his death another flat complex was near completion.

In 1988 Gerry retired from teaching. He became Chaplain to St. Monica's Nursing Home. His care of the sick and dying was unstinting. He would sit for hours with a dying patient, just being present offering support and prayer. At his death the patients of St. Monica's asked that the funeral from Gardiner Street to Glasnevin cemetery would pass and stop at St. Monica's.

Gerry is greatly missed by the members of the Belvedere Community. His was a constant presence and made everyone feel welcome. One of his late colleagues wrote this letter to the community at the time of his death.

"I regret that I cannot attend the funeral of Fr. Gerry Spillane this morning. Gerry is in my prayers. I send my sincere condolences to his family and the community. Gerry was already an established and hugely respected member of the staff of Belvedere when I arrived in 1965. I well remember that he made me feel very welcome and was kind and helpful to me as I settled in to life in Belvedere. We struck up a nice bond of friendship as we chatted on the corridor. I was struck from our first meeting by his transparent decency. I never heard him raise his voice to any boy - nor did I ever hear him speak badly of any boy. He had a great respect for our students and they had huge respect for him.

I was always aware of his love for all sports. He seemed to believe that the real value of sport was in contributing to the good of the team, rather than seeking personal glory. I feel that Gerry was very much at home in Belvedere. He knew Belvedere and its community very well and was most generous in giving his time and energy for their good.

I believe that Gerry lived his vocation fully every day of his life. I feel privileged to have known him as friend and colleague over 30 years. Please convey my deepest sympathies to his family and members of the community.

John Brown."

May he rest in the Peace of Christ,

Joseph Dargan SJ

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2000
Father Gerry Spillane SJ
Gerry Spillane was born on 1 November 1919, one of three brothers, a north Dubliner, from the district around Drumcondra and Glasnevin which - as he liked to point out - produced so many Jesuits around those years, mostly, like himself, pupils of the Christian Brothers at O'Connell's (for whom he always retained great regard). He had in a high degree the virtues typical of his background: straightforwardness, conscientiousness, great human decency and loyalty to the traditional values he had inherited at home and in school.

Having started an engineering degree at UCD, he soon abandoned it to follow what he had come to recognize as his true vocation and he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Emo, Co Laois, in September 1939, in lean times just as the Second World War was breaking out. He was a few months short of his 20th birthday.

He followed an entirely traditional course of Jesuit formation, mostly during the war-years and their aftermath; after Emo, juniorate in Rathfarnham Castle, while studying for the BA at UCD, philosophy in Tullabeg, Co Offaly, three years as a teacher and prefect in Clongowes and then theology in Milltown Park. Following ordination on 31 July 1953 by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, there was a fourth year of theology, and finally tertianship back in Rathfarnham.

He had hoped to go on the newly-opened Irish Jesuit mission to Zambia (known in those pre-independence days as Northern Rhodesia) but was sent instead to teach in Clongowes. It was not a posting which greatly appealed to him. Quite apart from the thwarting of his missionary desires, boarding school life in the early fifties was austere and relations between pupils and staff were formal and relatively remote.

Within a year, Gerry was appointed Higher Line Prefect, which meant that, in place of teaching, he was responsible for the discipline and good order of the school as a whole and of the most senior pupils - the Higher Line - in particular. His sense of duty and his scrupulous anxiety to ensure the highest standards of behaviour in the school probably had the effect of concealing his enormous humanity from those in his charge (his formation had partly concealed it even from himself) and only the more perceptive among them descried it.

1962 marked a watershed in his life: it was the year he was transferred to Belvedere, in the wide-ranging “reshuffle” of Jesuit assignments made at that time by the American Jesuit plenipotentiary sent by Father General to visit the Irish Province. This change brought him back to his north Dublin roots and set him to tasks which were more congenial than the role of Higher Line Prefect, faithfully though he had discharged that office. He was to spend his remaining thirty-eight years in the college - until 1988 as a member of the staff, thereafter, until his health failed, as chaplain to a nearby nursing home.

Gerry taught mathematics and his specialty was the “matric” class at the top of the school. His teaching had all the hallmarks of the man himself: solid, faithful, meticulously and painstakingly prepared. In the first years, he also taught religion. But 1962 was another, deeper watershed, not only for him but for priests of his generation and the church they served. In October of that year the Second Vatican Council began. It was to transform the landscape and seemed to render the theological studies Gerry had undertaken with such careful fidelity suddenly irrelevant. Like others, he lost confidence and found it difficult to master the new insights so prodigally unleashed in those years. After a short time, he stopped teaching religion and never gave a retreat again.

He had come to Belvedere as replacement for Tom O'Callaghan, sent to Limerick the year Gerry arrived. He inherited not only Tom's classes but also his teams and, for the next nineteen years, his name became synonymous with Junior Cup rugby in the college. Tom - regarded by Tony O'Reilly as the best coach he ever had anywhere - had ended a long sequence of semi-final near-misses through the fifties by winning in 1960 and 1961 and had failed only narrowly to make it three-in-a-row with a talented team the following year. Gerry Spillane, with less natural flair, was to maintain Belvedere's high standards at this level throughout his long term in charge.

But he was dogged by every kind of misfortune in the Cup itself and, despite reaching five finals, he never succeeded in winning the trophy. One year, there was the loss of key players through freak injuries between a drawn match and a delayed replay against Blackrock (delayed, as he would explain to you, against his will); defeat through a last-minute try and touchline conversion at the hands of Pres Bray another year; a comeback from 3-14 down to 13-14 against Blackrock finally thwarted in the closing minutes, with 'Rock on the ropes, by the referee's failure to play advantage, a third year. “What do you have to do?” he wondered aloud on the night of his last final in 1979, when Conor Hickey's team had lost by only a single score - once again to Blackrock. It was hard to find an answer.

Gerry's own tension and nervousness on big match days was apt to communicate itself to his young teams and may have played a part in their undoing. But there is no doubt that he made a huge contribution to the welfare of the game in Belvedere and he did much to develop the school's rugby talent in his time. What he lacked in flair he made up for by dogged, methodical study of the game, which helped to make him the perceptive coach he was.

It was typical of him that he looked after equipment - balls, pumps and the rest - with scrupulous care, preferring to keep them in his own room rather than entrust them to anyone else. There was no waste, no needless damage or loss, no lavish expenditure of any kind. That was how he conducted his entire life. (Instances of venality among the clergy and the abuse of the Mass-card system by some of them was one of his well known conversational whipping-boys). His whole approach was somehow epitomized in the vision of him on so many winter afternoons setting off on his bicycle at the end of a full day's class (he didn't drive), already middle-aged, three or four rugby balls laced together and hung from the handle-bars, for another carefully prepared practice in Jones's Road.

He expected of his players the same high standards of application and attention to detail he set for himself and he helped to pass on these standards to his successors.

His preparatory work in the earlier years must surely be given some of the credit for the memorable Senior Cup successes of 1968, 1971 and 1972, under Gerry Brangan, Paddy Lavery and Jim Moran. Needless to say, he would never claim such credit for himself - he shunned the limelight and took a dim view of coaches who were less self-effacing, whether colleagues at schools level or those on the national stage. There were certain bêtes noires in particular, but they cannot be named here!

After his retirement from coaching in 1981 - he was by then 62 and had been fit enough to referee until shortly before - he retained a close interest in the school's fortunes. Whatever rueful reflections it may have inspired in him, he greatly rejoiced at the ending of the long drought in 1994 and the two further Junior Cup successes of the nineties. He may be forgiven if he found the victories over Blackrock, at whose hands he had so often tasted bitter disappointment, especially sweet.

He had much better fortune as a coach on the athletics track and his sprinters, hurdlers and relay teams won several Leinster and All-Ireland championships over the years. Even here, there were, of course, occasional disasters', as he would have said himself - his sprinters misplaced by a negligent judge on the tape, recalcitrant parents, long meetings in the parlour, to little avail, and so on. Gerry had a certain expectation that reality would disappoint him and, although he loved to win, he probably found losing fitted better into his view of the world.

He also had success coaching cricket in Belvedere, somewhat to the surprise of those who had known his apparent disapproval of it in Clongowes. One of his junior teams famously ran up such a big score (a currently very prominent Jesuit playing a starring role) that his opponents refused to bat and conceded the game in high dudgeon. Gerry's hyper-caution in this instance was punished by - horror of horrors - having the incident reported in the newspapers. This he would certainly have regarded as “Disastrous in the extreme”! He had been a gifted tennis player in his youth, but he didn't talk about that. He was somewhat less private about his support for Manchester United, whom he followed loyally, if at times a little despairingly, until the good times came at last - happily he lived long enough to see them reach their present heights, even though he would have found adjustment to such a flood of good fortune quite hard to cope with.

When he retired from teaching in 1988 - by then he was beginning to find classes harder to control (and the milder sobriquet “sausage” for troublesome boys was giving way with growing frequency to somewhat harsher terms) - he suffered a minor crisis. For someone so unstintingly devoted to duty and so averse to relaxation or self indulgence of any kind, not working seemed close to not being. He was a life-long Pioneer and he didn't smoke. He wasn't a reader and he lacked cultural interests. Well-intentioned (or occasionally mildly mischievous) efforts by colleagues in the community to remedy such defects by luring him to a concert or a play were apt to founder on Gerry's imperviousness to the delights of coloratura cadenzas or what he regarded as the unintelligible, unfunny fantasies of the stage and screen. He found holidays a penance and was glad of an excuse not to take them. An invitation to join some of the community on a picnic outing to the Dublin mountains one St Stephen's Day was met by the puzzled - and, of course, unanswerable - enquiry, “What's the purpose?” Loyalty made him accept occasional invitations to class reunions of former pupils of both Clongowes and Belvedere - so many of whom had, at worst, sneaking respect for him, while many more felt genuine affection - but it was against the grain and, having made a brief appearance, he would be gone.

With such a temperament, reinforced by the rigidities of his training in the thirties and forties, retirement from the work he had been doing all his life was very difficult. But with time and care the crisis passed. In due course, and with real success, he undertook chaplaincy to the nursing home run by the Irish Sisters of Charity, St Monica's, across Mountjoy Square in Belvedere Place. Although he had spent so much of his life in the classroom, Gerry had always been very much a priest. His pastoral instincts expressed themselves in his care for his family, in his work with Fr Scully Flats (Tom Scully had been his colleague in the Belvedere community), and in many other ways, most of them known only to himself and those for whom he worked. His recent, harrowing experience of personal weakness helped to bring some of his deep humanity more visibly to the surface. He greatly admired the dedication of the Sisters and his gentleness and compassion and zeal as a priest found a new outlet in his ministry to the sick and dying old ladies in his care in St Monica's.

His significance in the Jesuit community grew steadily over the last fifteen or twenty years of his life. He had lived through the changes in community brought about by the Council and survived them. His official role for much of the last period of his life was that of guestmaster (or, as he half-jokingly preferred to insist, eschewing the appearance of self-importance through use of the official title, “distributor of rooms”) and he was a warmly welcoming presence for the many visiting Jesuits, from Ireland and abroad, who came each year to stay in Belvedere.

But his profile in the house far transcended any formal function - he was also, at different times, vice-rector, prefect of health, and sacristan. His warmth and capacity for humour, his lack of self-regard, the simplicity of his personal life, his courtesy and graciousness, his obvious rectitude and integrity, all these and something else, a certain enduring youthfulness of spirit, despite being old-fashioned in so many ways, something irreducible which was just “Spillane”, gave him unique stature and he became, for far more reasons than the length of time he had spent there, 'father of the house, loved and respected, the very heart of his community.

Cautious and conservative by instinct and training as he was (he never, for example, wore anything but clerical black), he genuinely enjoyed being teased and taken for what he emphatically was not. The sheer absurdity of having it suggested to him that he was a crypto-charismatic, a “banner man” who, beneath the sober surface, was really into “raising and praising”, greatly tickled his fancy and no one saw the ludicrousness of it more keenly than himself. Some of the things that made us - and him - laugh most were stories he told about himself, usually with a hint of the absurd lurking not far away, Thus, he took pleasure in recounting how he had responded to an earnest American lady who, on learning that he was in Belvedere, asked him expectantly how the Jesuits now viewed their famous past pupil, James Joyce (of whom Gerry would, on principle as well as by disinclination, almost certainly have read not a single line): “As a bowsy!”

He enjoyed telling us, too, of the times when he had been mistaken for the then Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Henry McAdoo, to whom he bore more than a passing resemblance. One lady, who had insisted that, despite his denials, he must be Dr McAdoo, had forced him to walk away from the bus-stop where he was standing and seek alternative means of transport. Someone else had taken him for 'the Abbot of Mellifont and he had had to flee then too! Another topic we liked to draw him out on was the terse one - or two - line letters he had written in his time in response to parents whom he regarded as unduly interfering or presuming to tell him how to train - or, much worse, pick - his rugby teams. Such Spillane rebuttals would have invited no further dialogue on the recipient's part and he richly enjoyed our detailed analysis of the merits of his literary style!

In July 1999, when he was nearly 80, after being in obvious decline for some months, he was admitted to the Mater Hospital and diagnosed as having cancer. The progress of the disease was quite slow and, after periods of convalescence in Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit nursing home beside Milltown Park, he was able to return to Belvedere. His lack of energy distressed him and - consistent with the gentle pessimism which was part of his make-up - he could always find some reason for a measure of frustration, some minor “disaster” to lament. But the prevailing note was of patient resignation in the face of illness and the mystery of life and death, great gratitude for what the nursing staff in the Mater or Cherryfield Lodge were doing for him, and deep, characteristically undemonstrative faith.

In March of the present year, Gerry returned to Cherryfield, where he died on 26 May, halfway through his 81st year, predeceased by his brothers. May that slightly taut smile, worn so often in life, relax now in joy and surprise as he beholds the unclouded glory of God.

◆ The Clongownian, 2000
Father Gerard Spillane SJ

Fr Spillane was teacher and Third Line Prefect for three years 1947-50, while preparing for the priesthood. Later, he returned to teach and then become Higher Line Prefect in 1955,
remaining until 1962. He was to spend the rest of his life in Belvedere College and died, aged 80, on 26 May 200. The following is a slightly edited extract from the obituary which recently appeared in “The Belvederian”.

Following ordination, Fr Gerry Spillane had hoped to go on the newly-opened Irish Jesuit mission to Zambia (known in those pre-independence days as Northern Rhodesia) but was sent instead to teach in Clongowes. It was not a posting which greatly appealed to him. Quite apart from the thwarting of his missionary desires, boarding school life in the early fifties was austere and relations between pupils and staff were formal and relatively remote.

Within a year, he was appointed Higher Line Prefect, which meant that, in place of teaching, he was responsible for the discipline and good order of the school as a whole and of the most senior pupils - the Higher Line - in particular. His sense of duty and his scrupulous anxiety to ensure the highest standards of behaviour in the school probably had the effect of concealing his enormous humanity from those in his charge (his formation had partly concealed it even from himself) and only the more perceptive among them descried it.

1962 marked a watershed in his life: it was the year he was transferred to Belvedere, in the wide-ranging reshuffle of Jesuit assignments made at that time by the American Jesuit plenipotentiary sent by Father General to visit the Irish Province. This change brought him back to his north Dublin roots and set him to tasks which were more congenial than the role of Higher Line Prefect, faithfully though he had discharged that office. He was to spend his remaining thirty-eight years in the college - until 1988 as a member of the staff, thereafter, until his health failed, as chaplain to a nearby nursing home.

Smyth, James, 1928-2023, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2368
  • Person
  • 13 August 1928-02 August 2023

Born: 13 August 1928, Lauragh, Tuosist, County Kerry
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park Chapel, Dublin
Final Vows: 07 October 1976, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin
Died: 02 August 2023, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street Community Community at the time of death

Son of Thomas Smyth and Frances Lyne.

Born : 13th August 1928 Lauragh, Tuocist, Co Kerry
Raised : Lauragh, Tuocist, Co Kerry
Early Education at Lauragh NS, Co Kerry; Mungret College SJ, Limerick
7th September 1946 Entered Society at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
8th September 1948 First Vows at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
1948-1951 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1951-1954 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1954-1956 Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency : Studying Cantonese and Teaching Catechetics at Xavier House
1956-1957 Kowloon, Hong Kong - Regency : Teacher
1957-1961 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
28th July 1960 Ordained at Milltown Park Chapel, Dublin
1961-1962 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1962-1963 Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Minister; Socius to Novice Master; Church Prefect at Xavier House
1963-1966 Kowloon, Hong Kong - Teacher at at Wah Yan College
1965 Prefect of Studies; President of Academic Alumni; President of Past Pupils Union
1966-1971 Belvedere College SJ - Teacher; Assistant Prefect of Studies; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD
1968 Newsboys Club
1970 Spiritual Father 3rd & 4th years; Assistant Career Guidance
1971-1979 Gardiner St - Assists in Church; BVM & SFX Sodalities; Newsboys Club
1976 Parish Chaplain; Chaplain in Hill St Primary School
7th October 1976 Final Vows at St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin
1979-1982 Claver House - Curate in Gardiner St; living in Hardwicke St., Dublin; Spiritual Director Belvedere Youth Club
1982-1985 Luís Espinal - Curate in Gardiner St; living in Hardwicke St., Dublin; Spiritual Director Belvedere Youth Club
1985-1990 Gardiner St - Curate in Gardiner St; living in Hardwicke St., Dublin; Spiritual Director Belvedere Youth Club
1988 Resides in Gardiner St Community
1990-1991 Croftwood, Cherry Orchard - Chaplain in Cherry Orchard Parish of Most Holy Sacrament; Assists in Gardiner St
1991-1992 Milltown Park - Sabbatical
1992-2000 Belvedere - Assistant Pastoral Care Co-ordinator; Ministers in Inner City; Assistant Librarian & Sacristan; College Confessor; Chaplain to Social Integration Scheme
1994 Chaplain in Junior School;
1996 Pastoral work in Gardiner St; Spiritual Director
2000-2023 Gardiner St - Assists in Church; Church Team; Spiritual Director
2015 Prays for the Church and Society at Cherryfield Lodge


James Smyth SJ RIP: Friend of the poor

Fr James (Jim) Smyth, at 95 the oldest Jesuit in the Irish Province, has died in Cherryfield Nursing Home, Milltown. He passed away peacefully on the morning of Thursday, 31 August. His funeral took place on Tuesday 5 September.

He had a remarkable lifelong involvement with those on the margins in north inner city Dublin, living alongside them in a small one-bedroomed flat in Hardwicke Street. He was a friend to the travelling community, prisoners and anyone in need.

He was a member of the Gardiner Street Community for many years. Richard Dwyer SJ, Superior of that community offers the following reflection on his life.

Renowned for compassion and kindness

Fr James Smyth SJ was born on 13 August 1928 in Lauragh, Tuosist, Co Kerry. He went to Lauragh National School and received his secondary education at Mungret College SJ, Limerick.

On 7th September 1946 he entered the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois and took his first vows on 8 September 1948.

After taking an arts degree at UCD, followed by 3 years of philosophy at Tullabeg, he went to Hong Kong in 1954 to study Cantonese and teach catechetics. He returned to Dublin to study theology at Milltown Park and was ordained to the priesthood on 28 July 1960.

He returned to Hong Kong for 4 years after his tertianship (1962) working as Socius (assistant) to the Master of Novices there and later as a teacher in Wah Yan College, Kowloon.

James returned to Dublin and from 1966 to 1971, he worked in Belvedere College SJ. Through a chance encounter on a bus from Rathnew in Wicklow to Dublin, he was invited into the Newsboys Club not far from Belvedere. He attended the club for a number of weeks and was told to sit in the corner and say nothing. According to himself, he felt awkward and embarrassed and spoke to no one. He missed one session and when he returned, the boys asked him where he had been and that they had missed him. This was the beginning of a remarkable lifelong involvement that James developed with the people of north inner city of Dublin.

He went on to live in Hardwicke Street flats in small one bedroom for a 12-year period and became part of the social fabric of people there. He became close friends with the parents and grandparents and became a trusted and beloved pastor, confessor and counsellor to them. He married their sons and daughters, baptized the children of those unions, and became a priestly grandfather to the numerous children.

He visited the sick and elderly. He was a frequent visitor to Mountjoy and St. Patrick’s prison and was renowned for his compassion and kindness. He highlighted the poor condition of the flats and the lack of any play and recreational facilities. James himself lived on a basic income of £20 per week and had to go without meat to buy a shirt or a pair of shoes. All of this time he worked as a curate in Gardiner Street Church and spent long hours in the confession box. He was loved by all who came to him and he was noted for his compassion and understanding.

Over his years in Hardwicke Street and the Church in Gardiner Street, he also was involved with the Travelling Community and again presided over many weddings and baptisms. In a nutshell, James discovered and developed in his heart a tremendous love of the poor and marginalized and the people of the North inner city and the Travelling Community took Fr James to their hearts and loved and revered him.

In the late 1980s and into the 1990s a heroin epidemic was devastating the lives of young people in the North Inner City. Along with the local residents, Fr James and Dublin City Councillor Christy Burke,set up a committee to rid Hardwicke Street of drug dealers and pushers who were making a lot of money from enticing friends and neighbours to take heroin. It was a wonderful example of a community coming together with great courage and determination to eradicate the scourge of hard drugs from their area and to prevent the death and utter destruction of young lives. Fr James and Christy received death threats as a result of their actions.

Fr James continued to live and work with the poor and marginalized in Gardiner Street Church up to his 85th year when ill health saw him transferred to Cherryfield Nursing Home. He settled in well to life in Cherryfield and was cherished by the staff as one of the oldest residents. The constant stream of visitors from the inner city, the Travelling Community and fellow Jesuits bore strong testimony to the love and affection he was held in, to the very end of his long life.

May he rest in peace and receive the fitting reward of all his good deeds in long priestly ministry.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm dílis.

Richard Dwyer SJ

September 2023

Simpson, Patrick J, 1914-1988, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/405
  • Person
  • 10 April 1914-08 August 1988

Born: 10 April 1914, Wimbledon, Surrey, England / Derry, County Derry
Entered: 07 September 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Chiesa de Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 08 August 1988, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1939 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1947 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire (ANG) studying
by 1948 at Rome Italy (ROM) - studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

England :
On September 26th Fr. Simpson went to Heythrop to do special studies in Sacred Scripture.

Irish Province News 63rd Year No 4 1988 (Final Edition)


Fr Patrick Simpson (1914-1932-1988)

10th April 1914: born in Wimbledon, England. Schooled at Dominican convent-school, Wicklow, and 1927-32 in Clongowes, his home then being in Derry.
7th September 1932: entered SJ. 1932 4 Emo, noviciate. 1934-38 Rathfarnham, juniorate (at UCD, Latin and Greek to MA). 1938-41 philosophy: 1938-39 at Vals, France; 1939-41 at Tullabeg. 1941-45 Milltown, theology (31st July 1944: ordained a priest). 1945-46 Rathfarnham, tertianship. 1946-47 Heythrop College, Oxfordshire, England: private study of Scripture. 1947-50 Biblical Institute, Rome: study.
1950-88 Milltown, professor of Scripture (1950-60: Parat se ad exam. laur.). 1983-88 Ecclesiastical Assistant to Christian Life Communities (CLC). 8th August 1988: died in St Vincent's hospital, Dublin

It is difficult to write competently or fairly of anyone, even of those with whom we have lived for a long time in close contact. Our perceptions, even of ourselves can be so superficial. Only God can write our biography or autobiography (!). So we are shy to write of Paddy Simpson, but we must do what we can.
We can speak confidently of his wide and deep knowledge and of his willingness to share that knowledge. From his earliest days in the Society we have a picture of him holding forth endlessly, whether to one or to many, on a variety of topics, all the while standing tirelessly on the corridor. Coming into the refectory of a morning you would hear his voice. For Paddy there was no such thing as being off colour before breakfast. He could speak, naturally, of his own speciality, scripture, but also of so many subjects, sacred and profane. Again, he could talk of many practical things with technical knowledge, not least the subject of motor bikes.
In his piety he was not demonstrative. The rosary as a method of prayer did not appeal to him. Yet he surprised many by his enthusiasm for the charismatic movement, and he was much in demand among charismatics in Dublin, and attended Jesuit international charismatic conferences on the continent. He also took an active part in the Christian Life Community.
Although essentially an intellectual, he did not suffer from intellectual snobbery, and he took great pleasure, with no trace of condescension, in talking to and also helping ordinary people and admiring their views and insights. He was a ready learner. He appreciated intellectual honesty and could be blunt in speaking of what he regarded as humbug or pretentiousness.
Looking back over his life I cannot recall any pettiness. He accepted "leg pulling" cheerfully. I never saw him in a huff, or even angry. He may have suppressed hard feelings, but one never got the impression of such suppression or any resultant tension. He was patently honest and sincere, and freely acknowledged the worth of others, even when otherwise they did not appeal to him.
I am sure he had his disappointments, one of which, surely, must have been that he never finished his doctoral work in Rome. Despite his brilliance and capacity and quick understanding, he had great difficulty in protracted study, and apparently took no great joy in writing. A retentive memory and an analytical mind helped him greatly in his reading, An undoubtedly disorderly room, but a very orderly mind. It was always noted in community meetings or Milltown Institute meetings that his remarks were always worth heeding, and the result of clear and unprejudiced thought. He bore no ill-will if his views were not accepted. Many will recall too his cogent views on Six-County affairs.
It is well said that Paddy is remembered with affection - the expression used by the members of the Half-Moon swimming club at Ringsend by whom he was always accepted as one of themselves, and whom he greatly helped. He himself was a man of loyalty and affection, not least towards his own family as we saw in his great concern for his brother who suffered long before dying of cancer about five years ago.
Another aspect of him that always amused and caused gentle chaff was his joy in preparing his itineraries, whether at home or abroad - how to avail of all possible short routes, at the least possible cost. It was said, true or not, that he got more joy out of planning a journey than out of the journey itself.
We cannot speak of his spiritual life, but it was noted that he seemed to have not a few who sought his aid and advice, and we may be sure that he was generous in his sharing with others.
It was hard for him to admit that he had had a small stroke, although for a year or two he had been talking of getting old, and indeed he showed signs of it. In the end when speech had failed, one could not be sure of contact, except for one occasion when he gave his beautiful smile. We miss him in Milltown, but thank God for His eternity where all who are missed will be found.

Shuley, Thomas, 1884-1965, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/765
  • Person
  • 16 June 1884-28 March 1965

Born: 16 June 1884, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 16 May 1918, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1922, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 28 March 1965, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Belvedere College SJ & Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1907 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1909

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Thomas Shuley entered the Society in 1902, and came to Australia in 1909. From 1910-15 he was a regent at Xavier College, working at various times as second and first division prefects, but his name is misspelt in the lists from the college history. After ordination in Ireland, he worked mainly in the pastoral ministry.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 40th Year No 3 1965
Obituary :
Fr Thomas Shuley SJ
Fr. Tom Shuley was born in Dublin on 18th June 1884. He was one of five brothers, of whom three, Tom, George and Arthur, came to Clongowes in 1899. Tom was then fifteen years old, having been for some years previously at St. George's College, Weybridge, Surrey, conducted by the Josephite Fathers. He completed his last year in Rhetoric class in 1902 and entered the noviceship at Tullabeg on 6th September of that year, Fr. Michael Browne being his master of novices and Fr. Richard Campbell socius. Of his immediate contemporaries the only survivors are Fr. C. Byrne and Fr. E. Mackey.
After two years juniorate in Tullabeg and three years philosophy in Stonyhurst, he went to Australia for colleges, and was prefect at Xavier College, Melbourne, for five years. He apparently filled the position with great success. When Fr. Paul O'Flanagan was in Australia in 1950, he was impressed by the number of old Xaverians who, after that long lapse of time, enquired for Fr. Shuley and spoke of him with esteem and affection.
During his last two years at Xavier, he was in charge of the cadets. In connection with this activity, he used to tell a good story. On one occasion, he accompanied the cadets to an inter school shooting competition. After the competition, the sergeant in charge brought the boys up to the targets and showed them how the signals were worked. He than announced that, as a finale to the day, there would be a match between himself and Mr. Shuley, ten shots each. Mr. Shuley was quite a good shot and accepted the challenge, the stakes being half-a-crown. The contest was thrilling : Each contestant scored an “inner” until the very last shot, when Mr. Shuley just failed with an “outer” and duly handed over the half-crown. The boys, of course, were greatly impressed by his prowess. The party then went down to the railway station. The sergeant shook hands with Mr. Shuley and whispered : “There's your half-crown back, sir. I had that all arranged with the markers”.
He returned to Ireland in 1916 and, after theology in Milltown Park, was ordained in 1919. He taught for a year in Mungret before doing tertianship in Tullabeg. Four years as Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes were followed by seven years in Mungret, at first as First Prefect, then as Minister. In 1933 he went to St. Ignatius', Galway, where he was Procurator and then Minister until 1939. After a year on the staff at Gardiner St. there began his long connection with the mission staff, which lasted from 1940 to 1953. At the close of this period he was over seventy, but remained remarkably active, and acted as Minister to the end of his life, in the Crescent, Limerick, 1953-55, in Rathfarnham 1955-59 and in Leeson Street 1959-64. During the last year or two in Leeson Street his health had been failing, and in 1964 he was transferred to Milltown Park. On 18th September he had a stroke and was brought to St. Vincent's nursing home. He recovered to the extent of being able to move about with assistance, but his condition never gave much hope of recovery. On 28th March 1965 he had a second stroke and the end came peacefully within a few minutes.
When one thinks of Fr. Shuley's long and active life, the first characteristic that one recalls is his complete devotion to the work he had in hand. He is, perhaps, best remembered as a Minister, in which office he spent twenty-three years, and in which he displayed remarkable efficiency. He took a keen interest in the details of housekeeping, was well informed in business matters, knew where to buy to the best advantage and where to get the best advice concerning work to be done. He was not, however, engrossed in business. He enjoyed pleasant relaxation when it came his way no one was a better companion on an outing or holiday - but he never lost sight of the main purpose, the material welfare of the house where he was in charge and the comfort of his community. As a missioner, he was most methodical and painstaking. One of his former fellow-missioners recalls that, at the outset, his sermons were not very effective. He realised this, and set to work to improve them, making copious notes of his reading, and seeking advice from others, with the result that he soon became a really first class preacher.
This devotion to duty was what one might call the outstanding exterior feature of Fr. Shuley's character. It flowed naturally from a corresponding interior feature, his complete selflessness. No man was ever so free from what has so well been called “the demon of self-pity”. It was not that he had no feelings. He would, indeed, talk freely to his intimate friends about the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” which had come his way during his life in the Society. But he treated all adversities with a good-humoured, almost light-hearted courage, and his attitude was that the past was the past and the thing to do was to get on with the next job. In his latter years he had a good deal of illness, which he endured in the most matter-of-fact manner, conscientiously taking the necessary measures for his recovery, and resuming his work in the quickest possible time.
Fr. Shuley was a wonderful community man. He had a great capacity for friendship, and a special gift for seeing the humorous side of life whether within or without the walls of the monastery. He was an excellent raconteur, and had a power of making a good story out of some incident that would have appeared featureless to others.
His deep, though unobtrusive piety was shown by the regularity of his religious life and by his constancy in spiritual reading. One would often find him in his room delving into some spiritual author, old or new, and he would give one the gist of what he had been reading, accompanied by his own shrewd and humorous comments on its application to actual life. At no time was the depth of his spirituality so evident as in his last days, when, helpless to a considerable extent and suffering much discomfort, and obviously knowing that the end was not far off, he displayed complete resignation and that good-humoured courage that had been such a feature of his whole life.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1965


Rev Thomas Shuley SJ (OB 1890)

The Rev Thomas Shuley SJ, who has died in a Dublin nursing home, was born in Dublin on June 16th, 1884.

He was educated at Belvedere, St George's College, Weybridge, and Clongowes Wood College, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1902. Having studied humanities and philosophy at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, and Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, he spent six years as teacher and prefect at St. Xavier College, Melbourne.

He returned to Dublin in 1915 for theological studies at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1918.

Father Shuley was stationed for 17 years in the Jesuit secondary schools at Clongowes, Mungret and Galway. During a further 17 years he was engaged in giving retreats and missions throughout the country or in church work at St Francis Xavier's, Dublin, and the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick. During the last 10 years of his life he was Vice Superior and Bursar at Rathfarnham Castle and 35 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin.

Irish Times, 30/3/65

Sherry, Patrick J, 1920-1983, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/402
  • Person
  • 17 March 1920-05 November 1983

Born: 17 March 1920, Dundrum, Dublin
Entered: 10 February 1939, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1950, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 05 November 1983, Sacred Heart, Monze, Zambia - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
“We imagine his going left many hearts empty and evoked memories of all kinds of services and kindnesses, not least his unfailing patience and cheerfulness”. With these words Fr John Fitzgerald, writing from the Seychelles, summed up well the immediate aftermath of Br Sherry's death on the night of Saturday 5 November 1983.

Br Sherry's passing was sudden. On Friday ‘Sher’ (as he was known to his friends) stayed in bed for the greater part of the day. He came to meals and evening prayer. The following morning saw him as usual at the early Mass. At about 1300 hours on Saturday he phoned the Sisters in the hospital. The Sisters and doctor came over. The crisis came at about 22.50 when Sher struggled to the door of Fr Jim Carroll’s room to say that he could not breathe. Sr Grainne arrived and started cardiac massage. But the Lord had called Sher to himself.

Br Sherry was born in Ireland on 17 March 1920. He entered the Society on 10 February 1939 and arrived in Zambia on 1 September 1953. For the next 30 years he served the young Church in Zambia selflessly and with unbounded generosity. In Chikuni he served as a kind of ‘minister of supplies’. Fr MacMahon would lean heavily on him but Sher had his little hideouts which constituted his survival kit! He finally moved into the field of mechanics and water pumps. After Chikuni he moved to Chivuna where he was engaged in the trade school and with odd jobs of maintenance. Then he started to be a sort of “move and fix it” on a diocesan level. About 1965/66 he moved into the Bishop’s house in Monze from where he continued his 'move and fix it’ campaign. He loved to colour these trouble shooting journeys with a touch of drama and life and death urgency;

”Sher is a great loss. Apart from his work, he was a great community man”, said the Bishop of Monze. “He was part and parcel of everything that went on in the community. He was interested in parish affairs. He never stinted himself in anything he did. In community discussions he often brought them back to some basic spiritual principle’.

He was a gentle, understanding, thoughtful and patient man. He was both candid and open with the ability to talk about the small things of life. People appreciated this and were greatly saddened by his death. He was loyal to the group of men who worked with him and was ready to defend them when criticism was levelled against them. They, on their part, appreciated this and made his coffin when he died, planed and varnished it, washed and shone his vanette and drove him to his grave to show the fellowship they enjoyed in his company.

Perhaps it was his generosity that shone most brightly. He had no hours. He once said, “My Philosophy of Life is to try to help everyone as best I can”. He liked praise and a pat on the back but he never worked for it. He was a self-made man. He battled with great courage against illness and disability. Without any chance of professional training, he became proficient in general mechanics, electricity and plumbing. But he specialized in water pumps where he often succeeded where more professional people failed! He had well developed hobbies, stamp collecting being close to his heart and he left behind him quite a valuable collection. ‘If you want your watch repaired, Sher's your man’ indicates his other hobby.

His religious life and Jesuit vocation were something very dear to him. He never had an identity crisis. He was a fully convinced and dedicated religious. His was a deep and direct faith, a gospel faith, which led him directly to the person of Christ in His church, in His sacraments and in His People. This faith enriched his many human qualities and his selfless service of others.

A great crowd thronged the Church in Monze for his funeral Mass. They came from every corner of the diocese to pray for Br Sher and to offer thanks for his life. Fr Dominic Nchete, the VG, at the graveside voiced the official thanks of the diocese for Br Sherry's life of service and dedication to the church in Zambia. The leader of the Salvation Army in Monze offered a prayer and thanks to God for Sher. As the 28 concelebrants left the altar, the leading priests lifted his coffin and carried it to the waiting vanette – a last gesture of closeness to him.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Clerk in Pim’s of Dublin before entry

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 59th Year No 1 1984
Br Patrick Sherry (1920-1939-1983) (Zambia)
I first made the acquaintance of Br Sherry in the summer of 1938 when he came down to Emo to visit the Novitiate for a day or two before deciding to finalise his decision to enter. It was a fine summer's day and we were all out at recreation when we met this quiet, shy young boy sitting on the bench in the “pleasure grounds” at the back of “this ancient house”. We had many a good joke over this in later days as it was unusual (if not unique) for a “Brother” novice, in those far off days, to come to come to see what he was letting himself in for. It seems to me that Paddy Sherry remained this same quiet, shy person all the days of his Jesuit life. Officially he entered in February 1939 but actually he came as a postulant in the August of 1938. So I had about seven months with him during the Emo days and then did not live with him again for another 25 years or more.
Meantime he spent a year in Belvedere, three in Tullabeg, six in Rathfarnham one in Mungret and one in Milltown Park; always as “cook” with several “minor” offices tagged on in case he should not find enough to keep him busy in the kitchen.
Various stories are told about him in those more or less uneventful days (if one forgets the various crises the six years of war in the early forties occasioned in the running of kitchens in particular) - when some of his time to repairing watches, experimenting with the use of oil and water gadgets for cooking during the fuel shortages of the war period. Also his taking apart the Aga cooker in Mungret College to replace the defective asbestos packing and even prepare it as the future oil-burning cooker, which many came to see and admire : with the intention of acquiring a similar cooking apparatus.
Where Paddy Sherry really found his scope and outlet for his yet undiscovered talent was in what was then the Chikuni He was among the pioneering brothers in these first few years of the Irish Province entry into what is now the Province of Zambia. The need for the ability they had to offer was very real and urgent as there was much to be done and a whole structure to be built up so that the actual missionary activity could take place. Brother Jim Dunne was the precursor of such as Pat McElduff, Paddy Sherry and Charles Connor; men who left their stamp on the Mission and on whom the Mission left its stamp too. The great need tested the yet unknown talent of these men and they were not found wanting. It was a talent that the Hong Kong Mission had not given an opening to and could have remained undiscovered had not the Chikuni Mission cried out for it. At the time there was no way it was going to show itself in Province. his The variety of jobs that Paddy was called on to do after he went on the Chikuni Mission in 1953 was to reveal what great ability of mind and hands were his despite the early years of a somewhat handicapped and educationally deprived young boy; educationally deprived because of these defects of hearing and speech that were his from the cradle to his early teens. I came to know of this only in later years when he spoke to me about it to praise all that the doctors had done for him the way they cared for him in the various hospitals, the he was giving prayers that were offered by his own family and others that helped him to reach normality. He called it a miracle and I think that is what brought him to his vocation.
When Paddy went to Africa the Chikuni Mission was seething with building plans and future development in the yet undeveloped missionary area but the funds were as scarce as the plans were plentiful. At that time Jim Dunne was devoting his time to developing the manual talents of the local Africans in the “Trade School” in Chivuna; he himself was only a short time after taking his first Vows having gone out while yet a novice: to finish his second year as Novice under Fr Joe McCarthy. Many of those he trained in brick-laying, carpentry, plastering etc. were later on to become the nucleus of the many building teams of the mission. Paddy Sherry was into building from the start and his training was simply on-the-job experience, moving from the shovel, pick and wheel barrow stage, to the more skilful areas as his experience of what was needed grew and his own personal skill was given a chance to practise and develop. There were incidents too that could have been harmful to him: such as when he was on a roofing job on the great assembly hall being built for Canisius College he inadvertently stepped on the end of a loose asbestos sheet which he was laying out in groups on the roof preparatory to fixing them in place. The sheet tilted and Paddy was launched into space, coming through the roof to fall on the concrete floor some fifteen feet below. Everybody was horrified and he was rushed off to hospital but was back on the job in a few days and trotting about the roof again as if nothing had ever happened to him.
He was ten or eleven years on the Mission when it was decided to allow him to give his full time to electrical work for which he had shown a decided talent; a talent he attributed to his early home days in Dundrum when he used fill in the days with “messing' around with electrical things. He proved more than a success at this and did many highly complicated electrical jobs (apart from the routine wiring jobs on the various new buildings and teachers houses), such as making the connections in Monze Hospital for X-Ray units, Sterilisers etc. and at the same time was on call for the various bore-hole pumps (for water supplies) around the Mission area, which were often very troublesome. He had many emergency calls when the pump failed to deliver the precious water and on one particular occasion. he got an emergency call from Chivuna Girls' Secondary School. Their pump had “conked out” and the situation was serious for the following morning with such a large number of pupils and people depending on the supply, apart from the sanitary problem. He set out at 9 pm on a dark African night to go 25 miles away to settle the problem before the next morning dawned and was really pleased with himself. There was nothing he enjoyed more than an emergency call and it did not matter how long the hours were that he had already been working, he set out at once. It wasn't always realised by the recipients of his attention that he had cheerfully made such a sacrifice without fuss.
Paddy Sherry was indeed a humble person in the real sense of the word, a person with a great sense of personal dignity who while very sensitive to any sort of criticism was indeed very careful not to criticise others whatever the circumstances. He might complain of being somewhat misused but never was he inclined to make it a personal issue. What struck me about him was his innocence; he was uniquely innocent and yet very perceptive. I have never met anyone like him in this unconscious innocence and the way he would instinctively recoil from anything said or done that would seem to threaten this in any way. The Lord did indeed reveal many things to this “innocent and lowly”.

Br Patrick Sherry : continued
Zambia, † 5th November 1983
“I can imagine his going left many hearts empty and evoked memories of all kinds of services and kindnesses, not least his unfailing patience and cheerfulness”. With these words Fr John FitzGerald, writing from the Seychelles, well summed up the immediate aftermath of Br Patrick Sherry's death on the night of Saturday, 8th November 1983. An emptiness certainly prevailed.
His passing was very sudden. He is not known to have complained of feeling unwell until the very last day of his earthly life. On Friday he stayed in bed for the greater part of the day, but came to meals and evening prayer. The following morning saw him as usual at the early Mass. At about 13.00 hours on Saturday he 'phoned the Sisters in the hospital. He is reported to have said to them that he could not go through another night of what he had gone through the previous night. The Sisters and doctors came over at least twice if not thrice between then and his death but did not detect anything serious. The crisis came at about 22.50 when Br Sherry himself struggled to the door of Fr Jim Carroll to say that he could not breathe. The doctors were again called. Sr Gráinne arrived and started cardiac but the Lord had called Br Sherry to Himself.
Br Patrick Sherry - known to his Jesuit confrères as “Br Sher” or simply “Sher” - was born in Ireland on 17th March 1920, entered the Society on 10th February 1939, made his final profession on 15th August 1951 and arrived in Zambia with Fr John FitzGerald on 1st September 1953. For the next thirty years he served the young church of Zambia selflessly and with unbounded generosity. In Chikuni he served as a kind of Minister for Supplies and store manager, finally moving into the field of mechanics and water-pumps. After Chikuni he moved to Chivuna where he engaged in the hundred and one jobs of maintenance. It was during this period that he started to be a sort of miss excurr, on a diocesan level - shooting trouble-spots all over the diocese but returning to base every Friday evening. About 1965 or 1966 he moved into the Bishop's house, Monze, still serving as miss. excurr. He loved to tint these trouble-shooting journeys with a touch of drama and life-and-death urgency.
"Sher' is a great loss. Apart from his work, he was a great community man. He was part and parcel of everything that went on in the community. He was interested in parish affairs, never stinted himself in anything he did, and at community discussions often brought us back to some primal spiritual principle. He was gentle, understanding, thoughtful and patient, candid and open. He had the ability to talk to people about the small things of life: they appreciated this and were greatly saddened by his death.
Perhaps it was his generosity that shone most brightly. He had no hours. He once said "My philosophy of life is to try to help everyone as best I can.' He liked praise and the pat on the back, but never worked for it. A self-made man, he had battled with great courage against illness and disability. Without any chance of professional training, he became proficient in general mechanics, electricity and plumbing. He specialised in water-pumps, in which he often succeeded where more professional people failed.
In another way too Br Sherry was a self-made man: he had quite well developed hobbies. I doubt if he really knew the total number of stamps in his collection or its value. He also developed a taste for music and was able to relax with it.
His religious life and Jesuit vocation was something very dear to him, His was never an identity crisis. He was a fully convinced and dedicated religious. His deep faith led him directly to the person of Christ in his Church, in his sacraments and in his people. This faith enriched his many human qualities and his selfless service to others.
A great crowd thronged the church in Monze for his funeral Mass. They came from every corner of the diocese to pray for Br Sherry and to offer thanks for his life. The Vicar-General, Fr Dominic C Nchete, voiced at the graveside the official thanks of the diocese for Br Sherry's life of service and dedication to the Church in Zambia. The leader of the Salvation Army in Monze offered a prayer and thanks to God for Br Sherry. As the 28 concelebrants left the altar, the leading priests lifted his coffin and carried it to his waiting vanette - a last gesture of closeness to him.
(From Jesuits in Zambia: News, slightly adapted).

Sheridan, Terence J, 1908-1970, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/401
  • Person
  • 16 September 1908-14 December 1970

Born: 16 September 1908, Phibsborough, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 14 December 1970, La Ignaciana, Pasay City, Manila, Philippines - Hong Kong Province (HK)

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03 December 1966

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

by 1935 at Catholic Mission, Ngau-Pei-Lan, Shiuhing (Zhaoqing), Guandong, China (LUS) Regency
by 1936 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1967 at Manila, Philippines (PHI) working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Terence Sheridan, S.J., died in Manila on 11 December 1970, aged 61.

Father Sheridan was born in Ireland in 1908. He first came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1934. He studied Chinese, taught in Wah Yan College, wrote one book and many articles, and returned to Ireland in 1937 for theological studies and ordination.

He came back to Hong Kong after the war and was stationed here until 1960, boldly combining his duties as senior English master in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, with apostolic and pastoral work and energetic participation in the cultural life of the community. Almost immediately after the war he started a series of annual Chinese operas in English - a daring and successful venture into Anglo-Chinese cultural relations. He also produced many plays for the Stage Club, including a long remembered ‘Othello’ From 1952 to 1954 he edited Outlook - a lively cultural review - so lively indeed that it once brought him before the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case that won him many new admirers.

In 1960 he went to Singapore as editor of the Malaysian Catholic News. In 1964 he joined the Pastoral Institute in Manila to work on the use of modern communications media in Catechetics and in general radio and TV.

He died suddenly at his table, when busily at work editing a film record of the Pope’s visit. He would probably have chosen such a death if the choice had been his.

These dull details seem totally inadequate in a notice on Father Terry. They point to the intellectual gifts and the energy and initiative that he had in abundance; they give no idea of the friendliness and the astonishing ever-fresh charm that brightened every group that he joined, whether he joined for a few moments or for a span of yeas. Very fittingly, his death came in Gaudete week, Joy Week.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 18 December 1970

Requiem for Father Sheridan

Friends of the late Father Terence Sheridan, S.J., filled the chapel of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, on 18 December for a Requiem Mass concelebrated by about twenty of Father Sheridan’s fellow-Jesuits.

Few people will be so sorely missed as Father Sheridan. Nevertheless there was no appearance of gloom in the congregation before or after Mass. They had gathered to pray for the repose of the soul of a man who spent his life spreading happiness and high spirits in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Many of those present stated explicitly that mourning would be out of place on such an occasion.

The chief celebrant, Father Fergus Cronin, Provincial Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and one of Father Sheridan’s oldest friends in Hong Kong, paid the following tribute.

I suppose all of us here are people who knew Father Terence Sheridan so it is not necessary for me to say who he was nor to mention many of the things he did.

Indeed it would be difficult to do this for he did so many things, and all of them with some distinction.

He was first of all a priest and a Jesuit. He prized his priesthood and his membership of the Society of Jesus above everything else.

He came to Hong Kong and the East because he was sent here by his superiors to be a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He came to this part of the world joyfully, eagerly, and he did not preach so much in words as by living his faith and by letting what he was come through all that he did.

He taught. I suppose he would have thought of himself for many years as primarily a schoolmaster, but his interests went beyond the classroom to the playing fields for he was a sport master and a good athlete himself, to the production of plays. Many who were boys in Wah Yan when he was a teacher would think of him as an inspired producer.

But he was more of a writer than a teacher and, as in teaching, his writing overflowed into action. He wrote and produced plays, Chinese operas in English, religious plays such as his play for the Marian Year 1954, spectaculars such as the pageant he produced in the Racecourse (on another occasion) and good drama in English such as so many Shakespearean plays and The Lady is not for Burning for the Hong Kong Stage Club.

He was a good writer – first of all an editor – and he founded outlook, Tsing Nin Man Yau, Eastern Messenger. He wrote for all sorts of periodicals. He wrote books. He wrote the text of his Chinese operas in English. If he had been only a writer he would have quite a creditable amount of good writing, as much as many whose sole work was writing.

He was a critic of events. His pungent writing in Outlook pointed out many of our local weaknesses. The same was true in his writings in the Malaysian Catholic News. After he left here and went to Singapore he became interested in film criticism, in making people critical of what they saw on the screen or on the stage.

He was all these things and so much more. I thing you will agree with me that he was the most alive person you have known. Wherever he went he had people laughing. He was able to spread most of his ideas by making people laugh while they read them or listened to them. He had also a genius for friendship and comradeship. In any company he was the centre of laughter, of discussion, of song. Frequently he burst into song. I suppose he took at least one shower a day and he never took a shower without singing.

It is hard to think of one who was as alive as now being dead. In the words of one of the songs from Gilbert and Sullivan, which he loved so well: “Is life a boon, then so it must befall that death whenever it calls, must call too soon?” But do not think of him as not being alive. He is in peace and happiness we trust, and we are here to pray God to bring him to the eternal happiness of heaven. It seems a strange thing to ask that God might give him eternal rest if by rest we mean inactivity, but if we mean that he is a valiant soldier of Jesus Christ who has returned from battle and is now with his Master enjoying himself, relaxing after the years of struggle on earth, then we are closer to the reality. In Irish, “Ar deas De go raibh a anim.” May his soul be on the right hand of God.”
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 25 December 1970

Note from John Moran Entry
He then took over editorship of the Far East Messenger, a monthly magazine started by Father Terence Sheridan SJ. It ceased publication in 1953.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong KongIrish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971

Obituary :

Fr Terry Sheridan SJ

The news of Fr Terry Sheridan's death in Manila arrived as a shock in Honk Kong on the evening of December 14th. His body had been discovered that morning in his locked room at the East Asian Pastoral Institute on the Ateneo de Manila campus; and a spate of rumours about the circumstances of his death soon found echoes in newspapers in Hong Kong and even more luridly in Ireland Investigation established that Fr Terry had died, of “cardiac failure with coronary failure with coronary insufficiency”, during the night of 10th-11th. He was last seen on the Thursday evening when he dined late with Fr Leo Larkin and some of the staff of the ETV Institute of the Ateneo. Thus abruptly, at the age of 62 with drama and in tragedy came the end of a life that had been full of incident and colour, laughter and varied achievements. Fr Sheridan was buried in the novitiate cemetery at Novaliches, Quezon City, on December 18th mourned by a host of friends he'd made during his four years' residence in Manila, after a magnificent funeral.
One of Fr Terry's fellow-novices, Fr. Tom Barden, who was on his way back to Australia after visiting Ireland and Hong Kong, arrived in Manila the day Fr Terry's death was discovered. He'd been looking forward to meeting him after so many years, and planned to stay some days with him, and was rather puzzled and disappointed at not being met at the airport. In a letter to Fr Provincial he wrote: “I stayed for the funeral and during the intervening days was struck by the great love everyone had for Terry. I have written to Marie (Terry's sister) and tried to convey in some measure the reactions of the people at the Institute and the magnificent ‘Mass of Resurrection’. It was a unique experience and made one feel proud of the little man who had earned so much love and so much esteem. I know he will be missed not only in Manila but even more in his province to which he has brought no little fame."
Fr Terry was born in Dublin on September 16th 1908, and went to school first at the Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin, then in Kilkeel, and finally to Belvedere College. He was always full of life, and it's been said of him that he was the best known schoolboy in north Dublin in his day. At school he was particularly well known for his prowess in games - swimming, water-polo, hockey, and of course rugby in which he played for the Schoolboys of Ireland and on the Leinster interprovincial schools' team. Years later in Hong Kong, an Ulster schoolboy of those days, the then Commissioner of Police, Mr. Maxwell, discovered Terry after dinner one evening in one of our houses and told him the Ulster team considered Terry and his brother Dick (scrum- and out-halves respectively) were “the two roughest players we had ever played against”.
In 1927 Terry joined the Society, arriving in Tullabeg on the night the Long Retreat was to begin, and going straight into it without time to get anything from his Angelus, Fr Sean Turner, but a bar of soap, as he recalled afterwards. After about a week of the Long Retreat he told his novice-master, Fr Martin Maher, that he'd known the novitiate would be a bit hard but he thought he could take two years of that kind of life - and was then re assured that the Long Retreat would last just a month.
During his Juniorate which followed, at Rathfarnham Castle, Fr Terry began his lifetime career as a writer and editor being a leading light of the subsequently suppressed Broken Delph. Having been more noted for games than for study at school, he did not take a university course in Rathfarnham, and later felt that he had been deprived of something that he could have benefited from and certainly would have enjoyed. From 1931 to 1934 he studied philosophy as well as producing plays each year and topical sketches at frequent intervals. A superb comic actor, he was also interested in the art of stage production, and he wrote many of the Tullabeg parodies of well-known songs which survived to later generations. Assigned to Hong Kong after philosophy, he was the outstanding personality on board the German ship on the 42-day voyage from Dover, bubbling with life and endless philosophical argument and fun. On the morning of his birthday the ship's band insisted on playing outside his cabin at 5.30 a.m., and later in the day a mammoth tea-party with plenty of Munich beer was given for him and all the passengers by the ship's company.
At Shuihing on the West River, where Fr Terry was sent along immediately after his arrival at Hong Kong, he got his first taste for the Cantonese Opera, for which in his inimitable English adaptations he was later to become well known in Hong Kong. In his year in the Portuguese-province house at Shiuhing, besides studying Cantonese and gaining a fair command of the colloquial language, he also did a fair amount of writing on various topics, some of which was published in The Rock, and began his first book, Letters to Bart, a series of letters of advice to a young man on the various practical problems of life. From 1935 to 1937, Fr Sheridan was on the staff of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong as as teacher and sportsmaster, and produced school plays climaxed by a famous production of scenes from the Merchant of Venice in which some who are today leading citizens in Hong Kong took part.
Humorous stories about Fr Terry abound at every stage of his career, perhaps the best known (which he always vehemently denied) being about Fr Kenny, the Minister at Milltown Park, where he studied theology from 1937 to 1941, finding him piously at his priedieu with his hat still on his head, after an unsuccessful surreptitious return “from abroad” during time for Examen. With the 2nd World War at its height, Fr Terry went to Gardiner Street after completing his Tertianship, and there spent some of the happiest years of his life, giving retreats and missions all over Ireland, doing church work and working for the Pioneers. It was not until 1946 that he could return to Hong Kong.
Almost immediately be became involved in the cultural life of post-war Hong Kong, and began his series of Cantonese operas in English, which became an annual “event”; they are Sheridanesque translation-adaptations of the well known themes of Cantonese opera. For these, he collected a team of former students of his. to form the Wah Yan Dramatic Society, which still holds together and is now preparing to produce the latest of Fr. Terry's scripts quite recently completed, One of his greatest fans was the former Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Grantham, to whom was dedicated the printed version of the most famous of the operas, A Lizard is No Dragon. In 1952 Fr. Sheridan left the classroom, to launch two periodicals, a fortnightly Chinese magazine for young people Tsing Nin Mar Yau (later taken over by Fr. Peter Dunne), and Outlook which ran for two years and ended in a blaze of glory which Fr Sheridan as its editor being cited for contempt of court because of some editorial comment on the newly introduced system of district judges in Hong Kong. He lost the case and was fined a nominal sum, which was paid by a friend. As the magazine, (intended to be a literary and cultural magazine for Hong Kong as a successor to the very successful pre-war Jesuit publication, The Rock), wasn't paying its way and there didn't seem much likelihood that it ever could, it was discontinued and Fr Sheridan went back to the classroom for a few years. But all this time he was also producing plays, and was a leading member and one-time chairman of the Hong Kong Stage Club for whom he produced numerous presentations, among his best being Othello and The Lady is not for Burning. He also wrote a number of religious plays, school plays and film scripts and scenarios, as well as pageants for the Marian Year of 1954, and on the history of Hong Kong and Macao.
In 1961 Fr. Terry was assigned to Singapore to take over the fortnightly Malaysian Catholic News, started some years previously by Fr J Kearney (California and Far East provinces). It became a different, lively paper in his hands; and again he became a well known and loved personality in his Singapore setting. It was he who drew up for the Singapore defence forces their official Code of Conduct. In 1966, after difficulties about his editorship of the newspaper, he resigned from the post, and was sent to Manila to work for the overseas programme of the newly established Radio Veritas. After a short while there he went to the East Asian Pastoral Institute to which he remained attached, writing, teaching and editing, until his death. He was also teaching at the Ateneo, and last year spent some months in Saigon training the staff of the community development TV enterprise there in TV script-. writing and production techniques. Film appreciation and TV, especially for education and religious purposes, were dominant interests of his last years, together with modern catechetics and audio-visual methods. He travelled over much of the Philippines introducing teacher-groups to the study, evaluation and use of film, and at the time of his death had almost completed a book on this subject. When he died, he was working on a film record of the recent visit of Pope Paul to Manila, commissioned by the Bishops' conference; it was but one of many irons in his fire.
The tremendous achievement he left behind will be long remembered; but it is his personal charm and gaiety, the impression he made as a priest and Jesuit that will remain in the memory of all who had the privilege of knowing him, and of all whose lives were brightened by his cheerful presence. It is impossible to record even a fraction of the amusing and outrageous incidents which happened to him, in which he was involved or took part; they happened all the time, and in various places all round the world in which Fr Terry found himself at one time or another he nearly always seemed to fall on his feet, meet the right person at the right time, improvise brilliantly. He will be missed, for many reasons by many people, as Fr Provincial said in his address at the memorial Mass for Fr Sheridan at Wah Yan, Hong Kong; he would surely also appreciate the quotation from his beloved Gilbert & Sullivan operas, used on the same occasion: “Is life a boon? If so it must befall, that death whene'er he call, must call too soon”.

Though it is nine years since Fr Sheridan left Hong Kong, a large gathering of friends and acquaintances from all walks of life attend ed the Requiem at Wah Yan, including many non-Christians who had been associated with him at some stage. A number of letters paying tribute to Terry were received by Fr Provincial and others, from individuals and groups like the Stage Club, who heard of his death with shock and sorrow. An old friend of the stage, Mr. Rei Oblitas, now director of cultural services for the Hong Kong government, paid this tribute on the radio:
“At midday today, I was told of the death that has just occurred suddenly in Manila of Fr T J Sheridan, SJ. The news came as a shock to me, and I felt at first as if a thick and lowering cloud had suddenly swept over the sun. Terence Sheridan was born 62 years ago on the 16th September, 1908. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1927 and came to Hong Kong first in 1934, where he was occupied in learning Chinese. He returned home to Ireland in 1937 to study theology, and was ordained priest in 1940. He returned to Hong Kong immediately after the war, early in 1946, to teach at Wah Yan College, both in its early site in Robinson Road and at its new premises at Mt Parrish. In the early 1960's he left Hong Kong to work at Kingsmead Hall of the University of Singapore, and he edited a diocesan paper there. About 1964 he moved to Manila to concentrate upon work concerned with television and lecturing at the University Ateneo de Manila, where he was working until his recent death. Within his vocation to the priesthood he used his considerable talents as a teacher, a writer, editor, dramatist and producer, both for radio and for the stage. In Hong Kong he was particularly notable for his activity both as chairman and as producer for the Hong Kong Stage Club, and for productions for many other societies in the colony as well. I have myself, personally, very vivid recollections of the splendid productions he engaged upon for the Stage Club, and particularly for his ‘Othello’, which was staged at the Lee Theatre, ‘The Lady's not for Burning’, ‘The School for Scandal’, ‘Treasure Island’ and a host of others. And he was of course concerned with the revival of interest after the war in Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas, by a most successful production of ‘The Mikado’. His productions were always alive, exciting, very colourful; and he also initiated productions by the Hong Kong Stage Club especially directed for the enjoyment of local children studying English, of extracts or whole passages from the English classics. He didn't do this with any sense of over serious didacticism, as is illustrated by the fact that one of his first potpourri productions of this kind was entitled ‘It's a School Cert’. But it is for his very free translations and productions of Chinese opera in English, which he did with the Wah Yan Dramatic Society, that I think he will probably be best remembered by many in Hong Kong. For those who had never seen a Chinese opera, it was a delightful and heartwarming experience to find the full richness, gaiety and movement of the Chinese theatre presented with a fine Gilbertian wit in the translated versions of English dialogue. Even after he left Hong Kong, he returned on more than one occasion to reproduce one of these operas with the Wah Yan Society, usually for the benefit of some charity of the colony. It is saddening to think that if one of these works is ever produced again, we shall not find him before the curtain rises, moving to the foot-lights for his brief and good-humoured exposition to explain one or two of the conventions of the Chinese theatre for the benefit of those who are experiencing it for the first time”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1970


Father Terry Sheridan SJ :

It is impossible to do Fr. Sheridan justice within the limits of an obituary notice. He was so versatile, so energetic, so amusing and so zealous that to leave anything out is to mar the general portrait.

After a school career which was more noteworthy for prominence in sport than for progress in studies, he joined the Society and after his philosophy course set sail for Hong Kong in 1934. Though still a Scholastic, he was the outstanding personality on board the German liner, so much so that on his birthday the ship's band insisted on serenading him and the ship's company threw a huge party for all the passengers.

On his arrival in China, he was posted to the language school at Shiuhing. There he gained a fair command of Cantonese and learned to appreciate the Cantonese opera. For the secondary school pupils, struggling with their English texts he staged scenes from Shakespeare or from other English classics.

He returned to Ireland for theology and did not get back to Hong Kong till 1946. Once more he interested himself in the stage and initiated the foreign element in the colony into the meaning of the Chinese theatre. The former Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Granthan, was an enthusiastic supporter of Fr Terry.

The schoolmaster and producer had now to turn his hand to journalism. He launched two periodicals in 1952 and then in 1961 was assigned to Singapore to take over Malayasian Catholic News. While he was there he drew up for the Singapore defence forces their official Code of Conduct. After a short while he was sent to work for the overseas programme of the newly established Radio Veritas. He spent the rest of his life training priests and laymen to write and adapt audio-visual aids to the defence and spreading of the Church. .

His death came when least expected and alarming rumours were spread that he had met a violent end. This was not so. Fr Terry had died of heart disease, but his body was not discovered for a day. Hence the inevitable crop of lurid tales. We offer our sincere sympathy to his sister Maria.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1938

Mungret Mewn in South China

Father Terry Sheridan SJ

The last account of this mission to appear in the “Mungret Annual” was written by Father Joseph McCullough from the mission field itself. He, with Father Michael Saul, another Mungret man, was at that time in Canton, the capital of South China. His account of the Mungret men who were helping him was probably the last article that Father McCullough ever wrote. For the very time when it was published here June 1932, Father Saul was dying from cholera and Father McCullough was courageously attending to the needs of his friend. On June 21st, Father Saul died. On the evening of the funeral, Father McCullough himself went down with the awful sickness that was sweeping away hundreds at that time. He fought the disease out of his system, but on June 27th his heart gave way and he was laid beside Fr Saul in the little Catholic cemetery by the Pearl River. It was the end of the first gallant attempt of Irish Jesuits to help in the establishment of a Catholic school in Canton. Two old Mungret men gave their lives for that cause. They were the first of the Irish Jesuit mission to die in China.

The pioneer and founder of the mission was Father George Byrne. He landed in China in 1926, on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. His first concern was to build a University Hostel where, in a Catholic atmosphere, Chinese Catholics might live while attending the Hong-Kong University. To-day Father Byrne is professing in the University and is known familiarly to the students, Catholic and pagans alike as “Grandfather”. That is a title of honour and affection in China.

The second work he was bold enough to undertake was the Regional Seminary for South China. Here the future priests for a region with a population of nearly fifty millions get their training right up to ordination. As native priests are one of the primary needs in China to-day, it can be seen how important the success of this work was and is. At present there are more than sixty Chinese students in the Seminary, where their spiritual needs are catered for by Father Dick Harris.

In 1933 the Irish Jesuits took over Wah Yan College, which is now, with over 900 boys on the rolls, one of the largest colleges in Hong-Kong. Here, almost from the beginning, Father Richard Gallagher has been in charge. If he was popular in Mungret as a teacher he is even more popular among the Chinese boys. They say of him that he is “hó hó sam”, which means that he has a very kind heart. And all who work with or under him know that this is true. At present he is the acting Superior of the Mission; an arduous task on top of his other responsibilities.

With him in Wah Yan, also from the beginning, is Father Eddie Bourke, who had been First Club Prefect in Mungret just before he went to China. He has been in charge of the boarders all the time and his influence over them has been so great that it is from among these boarders that we draw the greatest number of converts. One has entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Manila while another is going soon to the Regional Seminary to start his studies for the priesthood.

Besides those actually working in the front-line trenches, so to speak, there are others preparing themselves by the study of the language. And what a language! The Jesuits have a special school for its study about twenty miles from Hong Kong. Here Father Albert Cooney looks after the wants of those who are learning to write with a brush and to speak in lilting monosyllables. Father Ned Sullivan, his old school-mate, is with him there, striving to “Kong Tong wa”, which means simply, but not too simply, to speak Chinese. Mr Patrick Walsh has now reached such proficiency in the language that he is staying on there simply to perfect himself. Mr George McCaul, who was in Mungret a year after him, is still that time behind him in the study of the native tongue. Soon he, and all the others in the Language School, will be out teaching in Wah Yan, the Seminary or the University, or, be it whispered, in our new village mission. They will be replacing the Mungret men, and, of course others, who have gone before them.

Next September, Father T Fitzgerald, who edited the 1932 Jubilee “Mungret Annual”, and Mr John Carroll will be going out with six other Jesuits to swell the ranks and carry on the good work in South China. Mungret is prominent in the Irish Jesuit Mission to China as in so many other mission fields. May we ask that you will not forget that little Mission in South China, and that you will help to protect it, by your prayers, now that war and unrest threaten that kind Chinese people who must be won to Christ.

Shaw, Francis J, 1907-1970, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/451
  • Person
  • 26 March 1907-23 December 1970

Born: 26 March 1907, Mullingar, County Westmeath
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park. Dublin
Final Vows: 24 December 1945, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 23 December 1970, St Vincent's Nursing Home, Leeson Street, Dublin

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

by 1932 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - LEFT for a period and returned. Took First Vows 21 November 1926

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Shaw, Francis
by Patrick Maume

Shaw, Francis (1907–70), Jesuit priest, Celtic scholar and historical polemicist, was born 26 March 1907 in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, the fourth child among four sons and two daughters of Patrick Walter Shaw (1872–1940), merchant, and his wife Mary 'Minnie' (née Galligan). The Shaws were a leading Mullingar business dynasty; Patrick Walter Shaw owned several premises in the town (and a number of racehorses) and sat on a number of public bodies, including Mullingar town commissioners and Westmeath county council; he chaired Westmeath county board of health. In local politics, the Shaw family formed a distinctive faction independent of both the local Redmondite organisation and the radical dissident group led by Laurence Ginnell (qv). P. W. Shaw, however, endorsed the support expressed by John Redmond (qv) for the allies in the first world war and addressed several recruiting meetings. He was a Cumann na nGaedheal TD for Longford–Westmeath (1923–33).

From an early age Francis Shaw took a strong interest in the Irish language, and was awarded fifteen prizes and medals at local and national feiseanna. He was educated at Mullingar Christian Brothers' School and Terenure College, Dublin. The latter school was chosen because its Carmelite proprietors were willing to make allowances for his frail health by letting him sleep in a single room rather than a dormitory. Shaw's health problems were chronic; late in life he stated he had hardly ever had a pain-free day.

On 1 September 1924 Shaw entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg, Rahan, Co. Offaly, and after his first profession (21 November 1926) undertook his juniorate studies at the Jesuit residence in Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, where Fr Lambert McKenna (qv) encouraged him to pursue a career in Celtic studies. In 1929 Shaw graduated from UCD with first-class honours in Celtic studies, winning a postgraduate scholarship and a Mansion House Fund scholarship in Irish language and literature; at UCD he wrote for the college magazine, the National Student. In 1930 he won a travelling scholarship in Celtic studies, and in 1931 graduated MA with first-class honours (his principal areas of study being Irish history and the Welsh language). He studied philosophy at the Ignatius Kolleg (the German Jesuit house of studies) at Valkenburg (near Limburg) in the Netherlands (1930–32). His scholarly mentors included Osborn Bergin (qv); Eoin MacNeill (qv), whose lectures Shaw recalled as 'unorthodox and unpredictable … they taught in action the way of research' (Martin and Byrne (1973), 303); Rudolf Thurneysen (qv), under whom he also studied at the University of Bonn (1932–3; he returned to Ireland prematurely because of ill health); and T. F. O'Rahilly (qv).

Shaw's presence in Germany during the Nazi seizure of power contributed to his abiding distaste for that movement. In 1935 he sparked public controversy by suggesting at a meeting in UCD that advocates of Irish-medium education for English-speaking children displayed a narrow nationalism comparable to Nazism; in April 1936 he published an article in the National Student denouncing Nazi persecution of catholicism, the regime's general lawlessness, and the writings of Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg (1893–1946): 'this farrago of impiety, stupidity and ludicrous ignorance of history … a religion of race and racial hatreds, founded on pseudo-scientific theories which are discredited by all serious historians and ethnologists'.

Shaw undertook further study at UCD (1933–6); in 1934 he produced a highly praised edition of the Old Irish text Aisling Oengusso. During his studies at UCD he regularly presented papers to the Irish-language student society Cumann Liteardha na Gaeilge and taught at the Irish-language summer college in Ballingeary, Co. Cork. He studied theology at the Jesuit faculty in Milltown Park, Dublin (1936–40), where he was ordained priest on 31 July 1939. He was allowed to substitute a long retreat for tertianship studies because of his ill health, and became a professed Jesuit on 24 December 1945. From autumn 1940 until his death Shaw lived in the Jesuit community at 35 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, of which he was superior (1945–51); he annually constructed the Christmas crib in its chapel. He was also a consultor of the Irish Jesuit province (1947–53).

Shaw initially expected to spend some years on research after ordination. In March 1941, however, he was appointed professor of early and mediaeval Irish at UCD in succession to Bergin through the influence of D. A. Binchy (qv), and held this post for the remainder of his life. Later in 1941 he was appointed to the board of the Institute for Advanced Studies, and in 1942 was elected MRIA. Shaw was a painstaking teacher, and assisted foreign students with evening tuition, often in their own languages. His sense of humour and combative argumentation brightened his lectures and survives in such published remarks as his dismissal of the wilder theories of the archaeologist R. A. S. Macalister (qv) regarding cross-cultural parallels: 'The swastika in Dublin is associated with laundrying [a reference to the well-known Swastika Laundry]. Therefore the Nazi movement is the cult of hygiene and Hitler is a soap-and-water god!' (Studies (June 1935), 320).

Shaw's devotion to teaching, combined with his poor health, meant that his research interests (mediaeval Irish medical tracts, whose significance in pioneering a simplified Irish free from the inflated rhetoric of the bardic schools he held to be greatly undervalued; ancient Irish clothing, houses and social life generally; the history of Celtic scholarship) found expression only in occasional publications, including articles and book reviews, in the Jesuit journal Studies and similar outlets. Shaw remarked that whenever he set about reducing his collection of typewritten transcripts of medieval medical texts to coherence he had to go to hospital.

Shaw was an outspoken opponent of T. F. O'Rahilly's thesis on the existence of two St Patricks, both on scholarly and devotional grounds: he held that mediaeval miracle tales and scholarly positivism alike hindered recognition of the deep interior spirituality found in the 'Confession' and 'Letter to Coroticus'. He was scathing about scholars who (unlike his hero MacNeill) relied on printed editions (often outdated) rather than reading manuscripts. A recurring theme is that vague and ignorant romanticisation hinders the Irish nation from recognising authentic heroes such as George Petrie (qv), Eugene O'Curry (qv) and Johann Kaspar Zeuss (qv).

Shaw held the view, common among social historians, that history paid too much attention to the powerful and articulate and should explore the experience of the common people. He was encouraged in this by love of country sports and the fields and rivers of his native lake country; he praised his fellow Westmeath man Fr Paul Walsh (qv) for supporting his topographical studies by walking the land, and claimed that MacNeill, as an Antrim 'countryman', understood Ireland better than did the urban Patrick Pearse (qv) and James Connolly (qv). As he grew older, he felt his own lifetime had witnessed the end of an immemorial rural Irish way of life, whose traces, he hoped, would at least be preserved in the records of the Folklore Commission. He thought that popular commercial culture, particularly from America, was debasing public taste, and lamented that the authentic romance and heroism found in lives of saints and missionaries were being eclipsed by the synthetic Hollywood varieties. In 1942 he published a pamphlet criticising the novel and film Gone with the wind for excessive 'realism' in their depictions of sexuality and childbirth and for superficiality in their depictions of catholicism. This rousing defence of literary censorship against 'long-haired intellectuals' appealed to readers to keep the faith even if the European war subjected Ireland to the same devastation as that suffered by the defeated states of the American south.

Shaw attributed the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century to the efforts of ideologues to force common humanity into utopian projects. His scepticism of state power was influenced by contemporary catholic social thought, and he saw Irish identity as essentially catholic; but, though this forms a subtext in his 1963 article on the essentially Roman nature of early Irish spirituality and his analysis of the 'Celtic twilight' of W. B. Yeats (qv) as owing more to Macpherson's Ossian (mediated through Arnold and Renan), the rhetorical inflation of Standish James O'Grady (qv), and 'the charlatan Blavatsky and Brahman philosophers' than to the authentic past as revealed by Celtic scholarship, Shaw was not a bigot. Throughout his career he lauded protestant scholars such as Edmund Curtis (qv), Edward John Gwynn (qv), and Douglas Hyde (qv); he admired Pope John XXIII and welcomed his attempt to open the catholic church to the world.

Shaw took a strong interest in radio for religious purposes and popular education; he gave several 'retreats for the sick' on Radio Éireann, encouraging listeners to mentally re-enact, in Ignatian style, the life of Jesus, and he contributed to the Thomas Davis lecture series on early Ireland. He also wrote on spiritual and other matters for the Jesuit devotional magazine, the Sacred Heart Messenger, and was active in An Rioghacht (the League of the Kingship of Christ) and the Sodality of the Sacred Heart. His illness gave him a particular interest in ministry to the sick; he was a frequent hospital visitor, and directed the sodality of the nursing staff at St Vincent's Hospital (1944–59). He was popular as a confessor and spiritual adviser, and frequently mediated family disputes in local households.

Dean of the faculty of Celtic studies in UCD (1964–70), he served in the NUI senate (1963–70), and was spoken of as a possible successor to Michael Tierney (qv) as president of UCD; he served as interim president after Tierney's resignation in 1964, but did not seek the post. During the 'gentle revolution' protests of the late 1960s, Shaw supported the 'establishment' group around President J. J. Hogan (qv), and his defeat in UCD governing body elections in December 1969 strengthened advocates of greater student participation in university governance. After a year's illness, Shaw died in a Dublin nursing home on 23 December 1970, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

Shaw's posthumous fame rests on an article published two years after his death. He had been invited to contribute an essay to the spring 1966 issue of Studies (commemorating the 1916 rising), but his 10,000-word article, 'Cast a cold eye … prelude to a commemoration of 1916', was turned down by the journal's editor (Fr Burke Savage) and the Jesuit provincial as over-long and inopportune. Shaw acquiesced, but prepared a 20,000-word version which circulated in typescript. In 1971 a copy was acquired by the New Ulster Movement (precursor of the Alliance Party), which saw the piece as directly relevant to the developing Northern Ireland troubles, and gave it further informal circulation. Under these circumstances, Fr Troddyn (editor of Studies) and the provincial decided that official publication would reassert their copyright and assist understanding of Irish current affairs; the article appeared in the summer 1972 issue of Studies (vol. lxi, no. 242, pp 113–53) under the title (chosen by Troddyn) 'The canon of Irish history: a challenge'.

In 'The canon of Irish history', Shaw attacks the four last pamphlets produced by Patrick Pearse in 1915–16 to justify the forthcoming Easter rising. The pamphlets, Shaw contends, equate the Gaelic tradition with physical-force separatism as the 'gospel of Irish nationality', with Wolfe Tone (qv), Thomas Davis (qv), James Fintan Lalor (qv), and John Mitchel (qv) as its 'four evangelists'; claim that John Redmond and his political allies committed national apostasy in accepting home rule rather than full independence as a final settlement; and equate the rebels, precipitating war and their own deaths to redeem a corrupted Ireland, with Jesus crucified to redeem sinful humanity. Shaw argues that Pearse projected Standish James O'Grady's essentially pagan concept of heroism and a modern republican ideology essentially alien to Irish society onto the Gaelic past; that Pearse and his allies denied and betrayed the concrete achievements and genuine patriotism of others, particularly Redmond and MacNeill; that Pearse, and by extension the whole physical-force republican tradition, engaged in blasphemous self-deification to justify imposing their will on the majority in a manner reminiscent of twentieth-century fascism and communism; and that the independent Irish state owes more to an older and broader popular sense of Irish nationality, which Redmond and MacNeill represented, than the irreligious and destructive mindset of Tone and Pearse.

'The canon' sums up the concerns of Shaw's lifetime. Its critique of Pearse resembles his 1930s critique of Yeats; its invocation of the horrors of twentieth-century European history reflects his longstanding sensitivity to those horrors; its vaguely defined but essentially catholic and rural-populist version of Irish identity reflects Shaw's lifelong self-presentation as spokesman and servant of the plain people of Ireland; and Redmond and MacNeill are cast, like Zeuss and Petrie, as heroes unjustly forgotten by those enjoying the fruits of their labours.

In 1966 Shaw had concluded his essay by hoping that recent moves towards north-south reconciliation indicated that both parts of Ireland, north and south, as well as Ireland and Britain, might recognise their commonalities and join in preserving the best in their cultures from American commercial cosmopolitanism. The essay's publication six years later, at the height of the Northern Ireland troubles, coincided with intensive debate (associated with such figures as Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917–2008)) about whether traditional Irish nationalist self-images had contributed to the conflict in Northern Ireland and threatened to unleash similar conflict in the Republic; this context gave the essay an explosive impact. An Irish Times editorial (11 September 1972) noted that Shaw's view of Pearse as a destructive ideologue comparable to Rosenberg raised awkward questions about numerous eulogies of Pearse as a model Christian patriot: 'Has every other cleric been wrong and only Father Shaw been right?' The Jesuits were accused by Cruise O'Brien of opportunism in suppressing Shaw's piece until it became convenient to distance the catholic church from militant nationalism (New York Review of Books, 25 January 1973), and by an Irish Press editorialist (1 September 1972) of re-enacting previous clericalist betrayals of Irish nationalism: 'The name of Pearse will easily survive this modern Shavian broadside.'

Shaw's essay has been subjected to extensive critique (Lyons, Lee, Ó Snodaigh) over its failures to place Pearse in context and to address the place of Irish protestants and unionists in Irish nationality; its dismissive attitude to republicanism and socialism; and its over-simplistic view that pre-1916 Ireland was a democracy. (Shaw also unduly minimises the political differences between Redmond and MacNeill.) It is still, however, regularly cited in debates about the relationship between nationalism and Irish historiography; when Studies marked its centenary by publishing a selection of essays from past issues, Shaw's essay was singled out by former Taoiseach John Bruton as 'the most startling essay in the volume'. Some who praised Shaw's critique of Pearse's sacrificial politics were advocates of a secularist liberalism which would have horrified Shaw, and the essay survived, when the man behind it was virtually forgotten, into an Ireland whose social and political attitudes he would have found unrecognisable.

Shaw's papers are held at the Irish Jesuit Archives, 35 Lower Leeson Street (reference J451), which also has files concerning the 1972 publication of 'The canon of Irish history' (CM/LEES/359, 383). A miniature plaster side-portrait by the sculptor Gary Trimble is held in the same building.

Westmeath Examiner, 24 Oct., 8 Nov. 1931; 28 July 1934; 16 Mar., 21 Sept. 1940; 15 Mar. 1941; Ir. Times, 10 Sept., 2 Oct. 1964; 11 Dec. 1969; 11 Sept. 1972 (includes F. S. L. Lyons, 'The shadow of the past', p. 12, on Shaw's 'The canon'); Marian Keaney, Westmeath authors: a bibliographical and biographical study (1969), 174–6; Ir. Independent, 25–8 Dec. 1970; obituary, by Fr Francis Finnegan, Irish Province News (1971), 76–8; M. Proinséas Ní Catháin, 'The academic and other writings of Rev. Professor Francis Shaw, SJ', Studies, lx, no. 238 (summer 1971), 203–07 [list is incomplete]; Studia Celtica, vii (1972), 177; Francis Shaw, 'MacNeill the person' in F. X. Martin and F. J. Byrne (ed.), The scholar revolutionary: Eoin MacNeill, 1867–1945, and the making of the new Ireland (1973), 299–311 (includes note on contributor, p. 300); Lochlann, vi (1974) [supplement to Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap, xi], 180–81; Pádraig Ó Snodaigh, Two godfathers of revisionism: 1916 in the revisionist canon (1991); Diarmuid Breathnach and Máire Ní Mhurchú, 1882–1982: Beathaisnéis, iii (1992), 152–3; J. J. Lee, '“The canon of Irish history: a challenge” reconsidered' in Toner Quinn (ed.) Desmond Fennell: his life and work (2001), 57–82; Philip O'Leary, Gaelic prose in the Irish Free State 1922–1939 (2004), 52; Michael Wheatley, Nationalism and the Irish party: provincial Ireland 1910–1916 (2005); Bryan Fanning (ed.), An Irish century: Studies 1912–2012 (2012); John Bruton, remarks at launch of Bryan Fanning (ed.), An Irish century, 21 Mar. 2012, www.johnbruton.com/2012/03/irish-century-studies-1912-2012.html (accessed 27 June 2012)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971

Obituary :

Fr Frank Shaw SJ

The death of Father Shaw which took place at “96” on 23rd December, 1970 was not altogether unexpected. The news of his condition throughout the spring and summer was none too reassuring. He left us for the James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, in March and during his stay there met with some minor accidents because of physical weakness. Later, while convalescing, he broke a leg and had to be transferred to the hospital at Navan. It seemed little less than a miracle that he should have returned to UCD. to lecture in the autumn. He paid us what proved to be a farewell visit in October. After some weeks of class-work at Belfield he had once more to go into hospital, at St. Vincent's, Elm Park, whence he was transferred to “96”, Father Frank had made many a recovery from serious illnesses over the years but this time it seemed presumptuous to expect a further prolongation of his life. The end came peacefully and painlessly just on the eve of Christmas Eve. His last thoughts may well have been that the coming Christmas Eve should be the first in so many years that he did not spend the day just outside our domestic chapel putting together the Christmas Crib.
Frank Shaw was born in Mullingar on 26th March, 1907 and was educated at the Christian Brothers' school in that town and afterwards at the Carmelite College, Terenure. He entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on 1st September 1924. After his first religious profession two years later he began his juniorate studies at Ratharnham. He had the good fortunate to meet at Rathfarnham Father Lambert McKenna who discerned in the young scholastic the desire and ability to engage in Irish studies. In after-life, Father Frank never failed to acknowledge the wholesome advice of Father Lambert whom he affectionately referred to as “The Bard'.
His success in the First Arts examination was such that he was advised to study for his degree in Celtic Studies. He graduated B.A. with First Class Honours in 1929 and at the end of the following year won the much coveted Travelling Studentship. But immediately after this success he set off for Valkenburg for his philosophy course. He completed this latter branch of studies in two years, 1930-32, and half-way through graduated M.A.
In the autumn of 1932 he set out for Bonn to enter on his higher studies. Here he had the good fortune to have Professor Rudolf Thurneysen to guide him. Professor Thurneysen, who had reached the age-limit, no longer held the chair but continued to lecture at the University. Frank, however, was not fated to complete his Travelling Studentship course under the celebrated professor. The following year he had to return to Dublin as the regime of life in Germany did not suit his delicate health. For the next two years, 1933-35, he was a member of the Leeson Street community and then spent a further year in private study at Rathfarnham before he went for theology to Milltown Park in the summer of 1936. Three years later he was ordained priest on the Feast of St. Ignatius. On the completion of his theology he once more joined the Leeson Street community where he was to spend the rest of his life. Because of his very frail health, he was excused from making the usual tertianship but did the Long Retreat at Rathfarnham.
When Father Frank returned to Leeson Street in 1940 it would seem that for the next ten or fifteen years he would be a research worker while gradually moving up the ranks of teaching responsibility. But early in 1941 the chair of Early and Medieval Irish was vacated by his former professor, Dr Osborn Bergin. So far as Father Frank or the rest of the community was concerned his elevation to the vacant post was not seriously considered. It was only when Professor Daniel Binchy suggested that he should present himself for the chair that Frank put his name forward. Thanks to so eminent a supporter as Professor Binchy, together with other admirers of the young Jesuit's ability, he was nominated Professor at a meeting of the Senate of the National University held in March, Thereafter he had to abandon any further extensive researches as his little energy had to be carefully husbanded to enable him to do justice to his students in the Celtic faculty.
His major published works were his critical edition of the early Irish text, Aislig Oenguso', which appeared in 1934 and his Medieval Medico-Philosophical Treatises in the Irish Language, an essay contribute to the Féil-Sgribhinn Eoin Mhic Néill (1940). Yet, making due allowance for the ill-health which never ceased to try him and the scrupulous care with which he imparted know ledge to his students, it is remarkable how much writing of lasting value he was able to achieve during all his professional career. His writing is to be found in many essays and reviews he contributed, chiefly to Studies. Some of his most searching reviews were written in his early student days but already he was giving advance notice of the interests in Celtic Studies that particularly attracted him. In 1930 appeared his pamphlet The Real St. Patrick, a best-seller ever since. Later critical essays were The Linguistic Argument for Two Patricks (1943), The Myth of the Second Patrick (1961), Post mortem on the Second Patrick (1962) and Early Irish Spirituality (1963). These are but a selection of the ably-presented essays from the pen of a scholar who at the end of his life could scarcely ever remember a day free from some pain or ache.
On 17th April, 1945 he was appointed Superior at Leeson Street and held office for the next six years. It was as Superior he made his final profession in the Society on Christmas Eve 1945. For the last ten years of his life he was spiritual father to the community who will long remember the devotion and high intelligence he brought to bear in presenting the word of God.
From his earliest years in the Society his superiors were aware that his health would always be cause for concern. Even in his days at Terenure College he had to be excused the usual dormitory regime of the other boarders and have a room to himself like the members of the community. It was the provision of this facility that determined Frank's parents to send him to school with the Carmelite Fathers rather than to Castleknock, where other members of his family had been educated. Yet, it should be said at once that Frank himself was never selfishly concerned about his health. Indeed, he had to be reminded frequently by superiors to spare himself. The preparation of lectures and the holding of classes cannot but have made heavy demands upon his fragile resources of strength but this sickly scholar was made of heroic stuff.
The boredom of being obliged to pass weeks on end at convalescent homes made him early in life aware of the misery of his fellow-patients. So it is not matter for surprise that throughout his priestly life of thirty years he became something of a legend in the Dublin hospitals for his devotion to the sick. Not a few Jesuits he helped in his time to face up to an unfavourable medical diagnosis and meet the supreme hour with gentle resignation to God's will. Scarce a day ever passed that inquiries did not reach Leeson Street, asking whether Frank could call at one or other of the city hospitals to solace the sick and their afflicted dependents. It was known also that he was frequently called upon to settle family disputes and restore harmony.
Inevitably the newspapers carried reports of his attendance at this funeral or that wedding or the baptism of the children of friends he had made in the academic world and the professional classes generally. What did not appear in the papers, however, was his attendance at the wedding of some poor artisan's daughter or the christening of his child, or his visits to the poor in their bereavements. He knew for instance that the newsboy's little son was about to make his First Holy Communion and not once or twice from his sick bed he would commission a member of the community when down town to buy some little memento appreciated on these occasions. His entering a sick-room gave one the feeling of something sacramental. The 'Retreats for the Sick which he broadcast in Holy Week are still spoken of by those whom they helped. Even when he himself was in hospital he was more concerned with the spiritual and physical health of his fellow-patients than he was with his own troubles.
His piety was simple. Like his own patron saint, Francis of Assisi, Father Frank had a great devotion to the mysteries of Christmas. Patients in St. Vincent's Hospital in the Green and in Blanchardstown Hospital will remember the loving care that he spent on building the magnificent cribs there. They were the out ward sign of his desire that others should share in that devotion, If they have a Christmas Crib in heaven, then Frank was busy his first Christmas there.
His devotion to the dead was remarkable. In all weathers when ho could manage to be out of bed he was off to a funeral to bring solace to the desolate. Like the Divine Master, he went about doing good.
There was a very human side to Frank. He was an intelligent man and could not fail to realise the fact. He was also a born dialectician and enthusiastically defended the weaker case in an argument. When he was up and about his presence at community recreation radiated sheer delight. In debate he was unyielding. One instance made history at Leeson Street. He was defending a patently weak case with his customary bravura when his contestant vigorously rejoined “Can't you keep to facts”. To this Frank replied “Can't we leave facts aside and keep to the argument?” He was also generous to a fault. If he felt that someone took hurt in an argument he spared no pains to explain matters and see to it that charity did not suffer.
For many years he was spiritual director to the Nurses' Sodality at St. Vincent's Hospital. One might well wonder whence came the energy to sustain him in keeping up to a routine of sermons or lectures ... a wearing experience even for those blessed with good health. But Frank was of that unselfish stuff that did not reckon the cost. The miracle of his life is that he accomplished so much in spite of so much ill-health.
A little-known side of his apostolate was his instruction of those intending to enter the Church. Only the recording angel will ever . be able to say how many wearying hours he spent in the parlour
in this very rewarding but exacting form of the ministry. His advice was frequently sought by those intending to enter the religious life. He was a much sought-after confessor and spiritual adviser. To the last he was extrovert, helping others to bear the daily cross in the following of a crucified Master. It is almost needless to be labour the point that in leaving us he has gone up with full hands to the judgement seat of that Master whom he so generously served.

Schrenk, Franz, 1909-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/548
  • Person
  • 02 December 1909-15 August 1992

Born: 02 December 1909, Řetenice, Teplice, Czech Republic
Entered: 07 September 1929, Trnava, Czechoslovakia - Cechoslovacae Province (CESC)
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 15 August 1992, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

Transcribed CESC to ASR; ASR to HIB 1952

by 1937 came to Milltown (HIB) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 22nd Year No 2 1947
Belvedere :
The Times Pictorial of March 8th devoted its front page to photos of the German children who are under the zealous care of Fr. Schrenk. Photos showed them receiving religious instruction from Fr. Schrenk, at Mass and Communion in the College Chapel, at breakfast, etc.

◆ Interfuse No 82 : September 1995 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1993


Fr Franz Schrenk (1909-1992)

2nd Dec. 1909: Born in Czechoslovakia
7th Sept. 1929: Entered the Society of Jesus at Velehrad, Moravia
1931 - 1934: Studied Philosophy at Pullach
1934 - 1936: Regency in Duppan
1936 - 1940: Studied Theology at Milltown Park
31st July 1949; Ordained at Milltown Park
1940 - 1941: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1941 - 1992: Belvedere-Teacher (Philosophy/Russian/German), also Spiritual Welfare of German-speakers in Dublin.
1951: Transcribed to Irish Province in 1951
15th Aug, 1992: Died at Bon Secours Hospital

The story of Franz's life is quite quickly told. He did not speak much of it himself, although sometimes with a glass of whiskey he would indulge in a little reminiscence about his family and his experiences. He was gently critical of his Jesuit friend and compatriot Max Prokoph who spent his life in Africa and who wrote a small volume of reminiscences published shortly after he died. (”That he should be so foolish”). He always refused to give the boys an interview for the school annual, The Belvederian, if the subject matter was to be his own life, which is, of course, what they were really interested in. As a result of all this, some of the information I will mention has been gleaned from the archives and is mentioned among us now for the first time.

In stressing Franz's reluctance to speak of himself, I do not wish to convey an impression of any kind of neurotic self-depreciation - he was the most un-neurotic person you could ever meet.

He was born in Settenz, in what was then Czechoslovakia, in 1909 and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Velehrad in Moravia in 1929. He studied philosophy with the German Jesuits at Pullach, outside Munich where Fr. - now Blessed - Rupert Mayer was living at the time. (One of the most moving and memorable occasions in community in Belvedere was Franz's address to us about Fr. Mayer at the time of his beatification, when the rector managed to persuade him to take the unusual step of talking to us in this way). In 1936 he made the fateful move to Ireland to study theology, just as the war clouds were gathering over Europe. By the time he was ordained in 1939 and had completed his tertianship at Rathfarnham in 1941, there was no longer any possibility of going home, first because of the war itself, later because of the communist take-over in his country and the expulsion of his family. And so he was forced to stay.

In 1941 he began the longest continuous membership of the Belvedere Community in history (though Fr. Peadar MacSéumais is - if the image isn't too bizarre and he doesn't object - coming up fast on the rails!). He was chaplain to the German speaking community in Dublin (there is a touching picture in The Belvederian about this time of Franz shepherding three German war-orphans across the snow filled school yard in Belvedere, after giving them their First Holy Communion in the Boys' Chapel). He taught German and Religion in the school. He took charge of the Philosophy course from 1942 until it died out in the 1970's. He even taught some Russian, before school in the mornings, for a few years in the 1960's. As a teacher, he was intelligent, capable, solid and fair-minded. Through his German contacts, he was able to obtain substantial financial assistance from the Archdiocese of Köln for the building of the new Kerr Wing in the 1970's although - typically - he never spoke of this. In the early 1950's he began his European tours for senior boys, which were such a pioneering venture in Ireland at that time. They were gratefully remembered by all who took part and they allowed him to slip across the border in Berlin to visit his family behind the 'Iron Curtain'. He was to remain an intrepid traveller to the end of his life. In 1989 we had the joy of celebrating with him his eightieth birthday, the sixtieth anniversary of his entry into the Society of Jesus and the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

With such a history Franz might have been something of an exotic in the surroundings of Belvedere - yet he was the most unexotic person imaginable. He never drew attention to himself, he was always unobtrusive, ordinary. His room was typical of himself - furnished with the simple amenities he required, no more and no less. He was sane and balanced in his views. He was rarely outspoken and impressive when he was. He was patient and undemanding even when, in his last years, he was unwell. He bore his deafness without complaint - we would be forced to remember his difficulty by the whistling sound of his hearing aid as he adjusted it, but there was never any criticism of others implied. He simply never complained about his life or the lot which had condemned him to live in exile from his country and his family.

He was never changed from Belvedere over a period of 51 years and there was never any need to change him: he was a free man. He was open to new ideas (he told me once how his sister had said to him, at the time of the Second Vatican Council: 'This is not new for you - you always thought this'). Yet he was no faddist, not a man to espouse popular ideas just because they were popular, He was his own man. He would have appreciated the praise of one of the Christian Brothers at Marino, where we used to say Mass on a regular basis: “Fr, Schrenk knows which side of the altar he belongs to”! On the other hand, he willingly concelebrated on special occasions, until a few years ago, when deafness made this too difficult. (He would tell you about this quietly, undemonstratively). He said Mass with quiet, unspectacular reverence and absolute fidelity to the very end of his life. He had a genuine, well-informed and intelligent interest in world events, especially in Eastern Europe, where he and his family had endured so much. He watched the collapse of communism with initial scepticism and then lost no time in using the opportunity this gave him of visiting his brother and sisters outside Berlin and he would go not only in the summer, as was his custom, but at Christmas as well. (He made all his own travel arrangements and headed off with the courage and intrepidity that characterised everything about him). He took Irish citizenship in 1953 and the measure of his interest in his country of adoption was the strength of his republicanism and his support for Fianna Fail (the virulence of which sometimes surprised us!). He heartily disapproved of Mrs Thatcher! For recreation, he liked to watch football on television - any football anywhere! You would even find him viewing obscure matches in the Argentinian First Division, beamed on one of the new satellite stations. But, with Franz, if someone else wanted a different station, that was always negotiable - and those who live in community will know what heroic virtue such freedom can sometimes entail!!

It is impossible to think that Franz Schrenk left a single enemy behind him, not because he was the kind of person who would seek peace for peace's sake or was a time server of any sort - he was an utterly truthful, real person, with no pretence. His own man - but because of the spontaneous benevolence which he radiated to everyone, I think of the shy smile with which he would greet you, his quiet charm towards strangers and visitors to the community. For all the independence of mind with which he lived his life, he was very much in community and observed the brethren with wry but completely unmalicious humour, An example of his dry observation after one of the older fathers had described how all the lady-teachers on the staff had given him a kiss to mark his jubilee - “They call that sexual harassment!” He was very much in the community but he also got on with the quiet pastoral service with which he filled his spare time and the years of his retirement and about which we knew little enough. He was still driving a borrowed car in the final weeks of his life - to visit his friends and those he had committed himself to look after. His care for his family was with him to the very end. He admitted with gentle guilt that he had managed to skip the queue in the Mater Hospital to get his cataract operation done sooner, so that he could go to Germany and visit his family - a visit he was never able to make.

Franz died as he had lived, unobtrusively. His death marked the end of a long, contented, extraordinarily good life. It is hard for us to convey how deeply sad we are today, even though we are not sad for him. We know now it was a very great privilege to have lived with him. For me myself (I first met him when I was seven and he taught me English in Elements class), it is an inestimable privilege to say these few words for Franz, my father, my brother, “good faithful servant”.

Bruce Bradley

Scantlebury, Charles C, 1894-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/396
  • Person
  • 20 September 1894-23 May 1972

Born: 20 September 1894, Cobh, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1931, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 23 May 1972, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin

Editor of An Timire, 1928-29; 1936-49.

Studied for BA at UCD

by 1924 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1930 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 47th Year No 3 1972

Loyola House
Father Scantlebury's sudden death on 23rd May came as a major shock to the community. Father Charlie was a “founder” member of Loyola House. The first entries in the Minister's journal are his and he tells how he (the first Minister') joined Father McCarron there on 19th November, 1956 - “for a week Father McCarron cooked all the meals most efficiently”.
Particularly since his retirement from the Messenger Office, Father Charlie was rarely absent in his fifteen years and his sudden disappearance from the Community has left a notable void - and many chores, kindnesses, daily routine jobs, willingly undertaken now to be left undone or taken on by others.

Obituary :

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ (1894-1972)

Had he lived a few more months, Fr Charlie Scantlebury would have celebrated his diamond jubilee as a member of the Society on September 7th of this year. He was born on September 20th, 1894, in the Cove of Cork, Cobh to us and Queenstown to our fathers. It was the chief transatlantic port of call in the Ireland of those days, a bustling, busy place of rare beauty. He was, and not with out reason, proud of his native place. Having begun his schooling with the Presentation Brothers in their College at Cobh, he came to Mungret at the age of fifteen in 1909. He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg, direct from Mungret, in September 1912. Fr, Martin Maher was his Master of Novices, and for his first year Fr. William Lockington (author of “Bodily Health and Spiritual Vigour”) was Socius. From the first day of his religious life, he was a model of orderly living, up with the lark and “busy as a bee” all day long, most exact in all practices and absolutely indefatigable.
Having taken his first vows on September 8th, 1914, he went to the new Juniorate at Rathfarnham where he spent four years, the first year in what, at that time, was called “the home juniorate”, and the last three at University College. He was awarded his B.A. degree in the summer of 1918. It was during his Rathfarnham years - years that witnessed so many manifestations of patriotic endeavour - that what was to be one of the abiding interests of his life began, the revival of Irish as the spoken language of the people. Facilities for developing a blas' in those days were few enough but later, when improvements came, Fr Charles was to use them to the full. He spent many holidays in the Gaeltacht and became a fluent speaker, After Philosophy at Milltown Park, 1918-21, he wsa assigned to Belvedere. Here another side of his character became evident, his apostolic zeal, then manifested by unremitting interest in and concern for the boys under his care. In the extra curricular activities, particularly the Cycling Club and the Camera Club, he found an ideal method of meeting and influencing boys from various classes in the school. Some of the pupils whom he helped in those days love to recall his name with reverence. After Theology in Milltown Park, 1925-29, where he was ordained in July 1928 by Archbishop Edward Byrne, and the Tertianship, 1929-30, at St, Beuno's, he returned to Belvedere, to be Editor of the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Thus began what was to be the great work of his life. For the next thirty-two years he was Editor of the Messenger and National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. For a dozen or so of these years he was Editor of An Timthire as well. Under his editorship, the circulation of the Irish Messenger continued to grow until in the early nineteen-fifties it reached a record height. In his later years he had, like other Editors and publishers of religious magazines, to face new and wearisome difficulties, That he found all this work easy or particularly to his taste would be a false assumption but the strain did not diminish in any way the vigour with which he applied himself to it. He had, of course, the consolation of knowing that he was, in all this, working not only for the holy Catholic faith but for the motherland also. From every point of view his work at the Irish Messenger Office was a real success.
If there is any mystery in Fr. Scantlebury's life it lies in the amount and the variety of his extra-editorial activities. He was a popular giver of the Spiritual Exercises, A member of the Old Dublin Society since the early forties, he was Council member in 1949-50, Vice-President from 1951 to 1955 and again on the Council 1961-62. He was a regular contributor to the Society's proceedings: papers read by him included “Lambay”, “Belvedere College”, “Lusk”, “A Tale of Two Islands” and “Tallaght’. He was the second recipient of the President's Medal (now known as The Society Medal) which he was awarded for his paper on Lambay”, read to the Society on February 26th, 1945. Fr Scantlebury was granted Life Membership of the Society in 1971. He illustrated his lectures by slides made by himself. Of such slides he had a large collection, Patriotism for him consisted largely in helping to conserve what was best in the things of the spirit. He wished to preserve to his generation something of the glories of his country's past, Four of his talks appeared in booklets, published by the Messenger Office. These were entitled : Ireland's Island Monasteries; Saints and Shrines of Aran Mór; Treasures of the Past; Ireland's Ancient Monuments. He was never flamboyant, nor was he ever a bore.
To himself he remained true to the end. He continued to be a model religious, given selflessly to Christ Our Lord, intent only on the expansion of His Kingdom, Had the Rules of the Summary and the Common Rules been lost, they could almost be reconstructed from a study of his daily conduct. One could not imagine a situation in which he would hesitate to obey the known will of his Superior. At all periods of his priestly life, he was most active as a Confessor, The number of those who came to him for spiritual direction was remarkable. In the last decade of his life when, as a member of the community at Eglinton Road, he took his turn as Chaplain to the nuns at the New St. Vincent's Hospital, he was held in the highest esteem by all. As a neighbour said on the day of his funeral: “he knew everybody and was every one's friend”. He died on May 23rd. RIP

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2002

Farewell Companions : Dermot S Harte

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ was from Cork and he was born in the town that was host to much drama. Queenstown (now Cobh) was the last port-of-call for the ill-fated 'Titanic'. It was also a silent witness to the mass emigration of thousands of our fellow Irish men and women who sailed from the port to create a better life for themselves in the New World.

Charlie was the editor of the Irish Messenger for many years and lived a large part of his working life within the College. He was our guide in the Touring Club, and with him we visited such places as Jacob's Biscuit Factory, the Guinness Brewery, Harry Clark's Stained Glass Studios - Harry, that Irish Master of the Art of Stained Glass Creations - the various Newspaper Offices, the Urney Chocolate Factory in Tallaght (that visit went down extremely well!), the Irish Glass Bottle Company, the Hammond Lane Foundry and numerous other centres of interest. He was also a popular confessor who was noted for the leniency of the penances that he dished out in very small doses!

But I remember him best for the introduction that he gave me to the elegance of Georgian Dublin on which subject he was an expert. But he did not spare us from the sight of Dublin's Georgian slums (many located within the shadow of the College) where we were appalled to see the beauty of the architecture so wantonly decayed. He instilled in me, and in many others, a sense of value, and I like to think that he made us better people and better citizens.

He died many years ago. Those who knew him will remember him with deep affection.

Scally, James, 1902-1948, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/395
  • Person
  • 12 August 1902-30 January 1948

Born: 12 August 1902, Cloneygowan, County Offaly
Entered: 01 September 1919, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 14 June 1932, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1935, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 30 January 1948, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1924 in Australia - Regency at St Aloysius College, Sydney
by 1927 at a Sanatorium in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
by 1934 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Scally entered the Society aged sixteen, in 1919 at Tullabeg. He went to Australia after only a year of juniorate for his health in late 1922, where he taught and was assistant prefect of discipline at St Aloysius' College. By 1926 his health seems to have recovered sufficiently to return to Ireland for philosophy and theology, followed by tertianship at St Beuno's 1933-34. His health thereafter became indifferent, but he undertook administrative posts such as minister of Tullabeg until his death at a relatively young age.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 2 1948
Fr. James Scally (1902-1919-1948)
Fr. James Scally died at Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin on January 30th. He was born in 1902 at Cloneygowan in Laoighis. He went to school first to the Christian Brothers in Portarlington and then to Clongowes. He entered the Society in 1919. From 1911 to 1926, he taught at St. Aloysius' College, Sydney. He studied philosophy and theology at Milltown Park and was ordained there in 1932. After his tertianship at St. Beuno's, he was master in Clongowes until 1936 when he went to Tullabeg. He remained there for five years during which he was Minister. He came then to Belvedere where he was at first associate-editor of the Irish Monthly and ‘The Madonna’ and then master until 1945. During the last years he was in Rathfarnham. His health, which had never been robust, forced him in the end to give up all active work.
These dates and places give a cold record of Fr. Scally's life. They reveal little of the friend whose early death we keenly mourn. They tell nothing of the high courage which made possible their record of work undertaken and accomplished.
Fr. ‘Jim’ Scally was gifted by God with an unusually attractive character. He certainly had no enemies, even in the very mildest meaning of the word. Rather was he loved by all who knew him, Without the slightest affectation or conscious effort on his part, he quickly won the sympathy and friendship of those he net. Some twelve years ago he met friends of the present writer, and then only for a few brief days, and after that never saw them again. They never forgot him, never failed to ask for news of him; they were deeply grieved at the news of his death. His serious illness at Christmas caused sorrow to his friends in the Community at Tullabeg, a sorrow which was shared at more than one hearth in the neighbourhood where each year the same question was asked with unaffected feeling: ‘Will Father Scally never come back to us again’??
It is not easy to describe or disengage the qualities which thus attracted. Father Jim or Seamus, as he was known to many, was naturally shy and reserved - though not unduly so - and he was modest almost to the point of diffidence. Those natural qualities he transformed and raised through his piety to the level of good, round Christian humility, still unforced and still attractive. He was sensitive, too, and this quality God was to use to his sanctification. He was intensely and transparently sincere, and to those who knew him well, that sincerity was very deep and very real. It was closely allied to a great earnestness in his life, the unfailing consciousness which he ever had of the high ideal of his priesthood and of his religious calling. At the back of everything he did and said, and not far back, there was always that great seriousness of purpose, that concern about the things of God. I can certainly recall many conversations with Father Scally from which I came away not only edified, but inspired. The Exercises of St. Ignatius and the matter of his own retreat were subjects on which he would speak with enthusiasm and eagerness. In Tullabeg in the years after his ordination, he planned great things which God did not ask him to accomplish. True to the spirit of the second and sixteenth rules of the Summary, he was far from neglecting the sanctification of himself, applying himself seriously to that most difficult pursuit, and the years that followed gave him rich opportunity. For years he kept at the work allotted to him when true zeal only and a deep religious spirit could have supplied for fast failing physical strength. When he could do nothing else, he prayed, and two days before he died, when his physical suffering and discomfort were intense, he was still striving to read his Office, and his only anxiety was that he would not be able to receive Holy Communion every day. Unconsciously, as I imagine, repeating the words of Father Damien, he said : “Without Holy Communion I do not think I would be able to carry on at all”.
It was Father Plater, I think, who threatened to haunt to his discomfort whoever would dare to write his life. On reading what I have written here, I confess to the fear of some such visitation if I leave it at that. For no one would repudiate more vehemently than Fr. Jim, any attempt at ‘saint-making’ in his regard. He had his faults and no one was more conscious of them than he, and none more concerned about them. Further, to those who knew him not, these words picture one who was dull and grim and deadly serious, my only excuse is that words cannot capture things so elusive and immaterial as the sparkle of the eye and the playful chuckle which told of a keen, fresh, though quiet, sense of humour which never left him even when illness pressed most heavily on him. Father Scally was laid to rest on the second of February. On that Feastday of Our Blessed Lady, thirteen years before, he had taken his final Vows in religion. When he died, though young in years, he was mature in the things of God. The way which God had chosen for his sanctification was the difficult road of sickness. As the years went by God asked more and more from him, and to the end he gave generously and courageously. In him the offering of the Sume ac Suscipe - that consummation of the Exercises - in a very literal sense was given and received. He was a model to us all.
Suaimhneas síorraidhe d'á anam, agus leaba i measg na naomh go raibh aige

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1948


Father James Scally SJ

We learned with deep regret of the death of Fr James Scally SJ, which took place on January 30th this year, He had been on the staff of Belvedere for some years before going to Rathfarnham Castle in 1945. He had been at school at Clongowes and entered Tullabeg, at that time the noviceship, in 1919. As a scholastic he had spent some years in Australia, chiefly at Riverview; and was ordained at Milltown Park in 1932. After his tertianship, which he made at St Beuno's, Wales, he was. appointed to teach at Clongowes; but the work in the class-room was too exacting on his strength, which was not at all robust; and in 1936 he was appointed Minister of Tullabeg, which in 1930 had been made the Philosophate of the Irish Province. He held that office for five years.

He made an excellent Minister. He was painstaking, methodical, very practical, pleasant and easy to deal with, and very considerate and kind. He was very popular with the Philosophers; and did all he could to make life pleasant in that remote region. The Philosophers of that date will remember what a genial Master of Villa he made ; and they were grateful for all he did to help the games, the plays, the boating. They will remember the canoe which he got Fr Vincent Conway, of the Australian Province, to construct - which some wit called “The Scallywag” - in which he used to navigate the network of waterways, which surround Tullabeg, the canal, the Brosna, the Cloddagh, the Silver, with their diminutive, meandering tributaries. In due season he did a bit of shooting or fishing. He was very happy at Tullabeg.

But all his life he had to struggle against a weakness of the lungs. As a Scholastic he had spent some months in a sanatorium. The disease gained ground and he had to curtail his activities. To his energetic and zealous temperament this enforced inactivity grew very trying. He liked to give retreats and do other spiritual work; and after his death his voluminous, methodical, collection of spiritual notes showed what attention he had given to qualify himself for this ministry. In the last few years the disease gained ground rapidly. He was always courageous and uncomplaining, and struggled on against his growing weakness. In the last few months the disease had attacked his throat, and he suffered greatly. He received the news that he was dying with perfect resignation. He was anointed on the afternoon of January 30th, 1948, and two hours later death came to release him from his sufferings. By his patience and constant prayers he had greatly edified all who came near him in his illness. He was only 45 years.

To his parents, his brother and sisters we offer our deepest sympathy.

◆ The Clongownian, 1948


Father James Scally SJ

Father James Scally died at Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin, on January 30th. He as born in 1902 in Cloneygowan in Offaly, He went to school first to the Christian Bothers in Portarlington and then came to Clongowes. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1919. From 1922 to 1926 he taught at St Aloysius' College, Sydney. He studied philosophy and theology at Milltown Park and was ordained there in 1932. Soon he came as master to Clongowes, staying until 1936 when he went to Tullabeg as Minister. He then went to Belvedere as associate-editor of the “Irish Monthly” and “The Madonna”. The last years of his life he spent in Rathfarnham Castle. His health, which had never been robust, forced him in the end to give up all active work.

These dates and places give a cold record of Father Scally's life; they reveal little of the friend whose death we keenly mourn; they tell nothing of the high courage which made possible this record of work undertaken and accomplished.

Father Scally was gifted by God with an unusually attractive character and was loved by all who knew him. Without the slightest affectation or conscious effort on his part he quickly won the friendship and sympathy of those he met. People with whom he came in contact only for a very short time never forgot him, never failed to ask for news of him, and were deeply sorry when they heard of his death. When news of his last serious illness came, it brought sorrow to many homes where the same question was often asked with unaffected feeling: “Will Father Scally never come back to us again?”

In the years after his ordination, Father Scally planned great things which God did not ask him to accomplish; but he did seize the rich opportunity of self-sanctification and sacrifice that was offered to him and for years he kept at the tasks allotted to him, when, certainly, true zeal only and a deep religious spirit can have supplied for fast failing plıysical strength. To what degree of perfection he attained in the end God alone knows but I venture to say it was a very high degree indeed.

If, to those who knew him not, these words picture one who was dull and grim and deadly serious my only excuse is that words cannot capture things so elusive as the sparkle of the eye and a playful chuckle which told of a keen, fresh, though quiet sense of humour which never left him even when illness pressed most heavily upon him. But at last that illness came to an end and it was on the Feast of Our Blessed Lady, the second of February - the feastday on which thirteen years before he had taken his final vows in religion - that he was laid to rest.

Suaimhness síorraidhe d'á anam agus leaba i measg na naomh go raibh aige.

Scallan, Brian R, 1914-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/541
  • Person
  • 22 June 1914-01 February 1997

Born: 22 June 1914, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949
Died: 01 February 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

During the summer Frs. Jas. FitzGerald, Kearns and Scallan helped in the campaign organised by Dr. Heenan, Superior of the Mission House, Hampstead, to contact neglected or lapsed Catholics in Oxfordshire. Writing Fr. Provincial in August, the Superior pays a warm tribute to the zeal and devotion of our three missionaries :
“I hope”, he adds, “that the Fathers will have gained some useful experience in return for the great benefit which their apostolic labours conferred on the isolated Catholics of Oxfordshire. It made a great impression on the non-Catholic public that priests came from Ireland and even from America, looking for lost sheep. That fact was more eloquent than any sermon. The Catholic Church is the only hope for this country. Protestantism is dead...?”

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 92 : August 1996


Fr Brian Scallan (1914-1997)

22nd June 1914: Born in Limerick.
Early education: St. Munchin's, Limerick
7th Sept. 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
1935 - 1938: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1938 - 1941: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1941 - 1943: Clongowes - Regency
1943 - 1947: Milltown Park - Studying Theology
31st July 1946: Ordained at Milltown Park
1947 - 1948: Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1948 - 1952: Mungret College, Teaching
1952 - 1954: Clongowes, Teaching
1954 - 1957: Crescent College, Limerick, Teaching
1957 - 1982: Rathfarnham: Chaplain-Colleges of Technology Bolton St. and Rathmines
1972 - 1979: Parish Curate - Edenmore Parish
1979 - 1982: Parish Curate - Marino Parish
1982 - 1992: Manresa - Marino Parish Curate
1993- - 1997: Retired.
1st Feb 1997: Died at Cherryfield Lodge

Brian Scallan was born in Limerick on June 22nd, 1914. He retained a life-long interest in the people and events of that city. The Limerick Anthology was the last book he was reading, and he continued to have a keen interest in Young Munster, with whom he had played rugby prior to joining the Society. He was a good rugby player and was capped for Munster Schools when he was a student at St. Munchin's. He joined the Society in 1933, doing his novitiate at Emo. He was described by his contemporaries as out-going, a good companion, and a friendly person. He was interested in wildflowers, nature, and a very good musician, playing both the piano and organ.

After the Novitiate he did an Arts degree at UCD, and then did his philosophy in Tullabeg. His regency was done at Clongowes, his theology at Milltown. He was ordained on July 31, 1946, and did his Tertianship at Rathfarnham 1947-48. Following this he taught in Mungret for four years, Clongowes for two years and in the Crescent for one year.

After this, in 1957 he moved to Rathfarnham, becoming a Chaplain in colleges of Technology, a ministry he continued for fifteen years at Bolton Street and Rathmines. In that work, his work in providing books for poorer students was noted. He gave them a love for reading and was concerned for their welfare. For part of this time he also helped with chaplaincy work with the new Mercy school in Ballyroan; he used to teach catechism and organise plays and operettas, being very successful at it. It was during those years of chaplaincy in the colleges of Technology that he began to organise pilgrimages to Lourdes, a work of love that went on for more than thirty years. He gave retreats regularly in the summers when he was teaching and when he was chaplain.

From 1972 until 1992 he worked in parishes, first in Edenmore for eight years and then for twelve in Marino. He was a very pastoral priest, who was dedicated to the Church in serving the people. He was compassionate and a good listener, being readily available to help people. Many parishioners from those parishes came to his funeral and could recall many deeds of kindness. His devotion to Our Lady; his many trips to Lourdes; his booklet on Lourdes left a deep impression on many.

Ill-health led to an amputation and forced his retirement from the pastoral work he loved. Moving into Manresa was a big change for him, but he adapted well and was very much at home there. His fear of being isolated and forgotten did not materialise as he had a regular flow of visitors. He continued to have interests in sport, music and reading. His health deteriorated before Christmas. He went to hospital shortly after Christmas and was faced with the possibility of a second amputation, which he did not want. His condition deteriorated further and he was moved to Cherryfield; he wanted to die among his own. Brian died peacefully on February 1st, surrounded by members of his family, community, and some friends, His sister, Elsie, died a little more than two weeks before Brian, leaving one sister, Sr. Rita FCJ, as the only surviving member of the family. May he rest in peace.

Mike Drennan, SJ

◆ The Clongownian, 1997

Father Brian Scallan SJ

Fr Scallan, a native of Limerick, came to Clongowes for his years of regency as a scholastic, before ordination, 1941-43, and returned as a priest for a further two years, 1952-54. Apart from three years teaching in the Crescent immediately afterwards, he spent the rest of his long life divided between chaplaincy to the Colleges of Technology in Dublin (Bolton St and Rathmines), 1957-72, and parish work in Edenmore and Marino. He died in Cherryfield on 1 February 1997.

Saul, William, 1910-1976, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/393
  • Person
  • 18 October 1910-01 August 1976

Born: 18 October 1910, Kilmainham, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1941
Final Vows: 02 February 1944, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 01 August 1976, St Joseph. Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia

Early education at CBS Synge Street, Dublin

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William Saul was educated at the Christian Brothers school, Synge St, Dublin, 1920-28, and entered the Society at St Stanislaus', Tullabeg, 1 September 1928. Philosophy studies were at Tullabeg, 1932-34, and his juniorate studies in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and Irish, were at the National University Dublin, 1930-31. Regency was at Mungret College, Limerick, 1935, and Clongowes Wood, 1936-37. His theology was at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1938-41, and tertianship at Rathfarnham, 1942.
Before arriving in Australia in 1948, he taught at the Crescent, Limerick, and at Clongowes. From 1955-61 Saul taught mathematics and music, as well as directing the military band at Xavier College, Kew. Then he taught religion, mathematics and music at Riverview, 1962-71. After a year at Canisius College, Pyrnble, 1972, he spent the last years of his life at the provincial residence, Hawthorn.
Saul was a highly talented musician and could play any instrument in the orchestra. He created an arrangement of “Galway Lullaby” from which he received royalties. He was not an easy man to know, and was considered irascible. In his latter years, he did not appreciate superiors, whom he considered were not friendly towards him. He did not always appear to be the happiest of men.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Kennedy G., O'Flanagan and Saul leave for Australia on 9th July.

Irish Province News 51st Year No 4 1976

Obituary :

Fr William (Bill) Saul (1928-1976)

Fr. J. A. Mac Seumas writes:
It was with a heavy heart that I heard last July of the death of poor Willie Saul. I call him Willie as that is how we knew him long ago in Synge Street, in the 1920s. In those days we walked to and from school, only travelling by tram when the weather was too bad. And so we usually walked, especially home, with the same people. In my case I walked back with Willie Saul, During those years we came out to Rathfarnham Castle on a three-day retreat once a year. I was on retreat with Willie Saul four times, in the years 1924 to 1928. One cannot emphasise sufficiently what good these retreats did in helping young lads to go on for the priesthood, not only in the Society, but also to other religious orders and the diocesan clergy.
In due course Willie and I, and some others, having applied to the Society to be admitted, left Dublin on the afternoon train on September 1st for Tullamore. We were met by the socius to Fr Martin Maher, Fr Henry King and made the uninspiring trip out to Rahan College, otherwise known as St. Stanislaus College. After the period of first probation, we began the two years of the novitiate and, looking back on it now, I can say that we enjoyed that period of our lives a little more than we might admit.
The two years passed quickly enough, and the Vow Day came along. We then entered the Society as scholastics, bound by yow to spend our lives in the same Society until God would call us to Himself.
When Willie reached the colleges, in Mungret in fact, the pattern of ill health in his life began to show itself. He suffered from severe stomach pains which often left him very weak. This persisted, and a year in Clongowes when he was Study Prefect showed no improvement, in fact he never recovered from this malady of the intestines.
Whilst he was in the study he had a very quiet systematic method of dealing with any disturbance. He kept an exact record of any breach of the study rules. For these offences he did not punish. Later if any concerted breach of discipline occurred, he would read out the list of minor infringements, which he had kept, and remark that the offenders would receive their due punishment unless quiet was restored. This usually had the desired effect.
He was very loyal to his family. His brother, Paddy, died at an early age. Fr James was an SMA. Myles was a founder of the Photographic Section of the Garda Siochana. Willie himself was blessed with a very quick mind, and was very good at mathematics. He taught Leaving Certificate in this subject. He was also talented in a high degree in music, and more about this later.
But above all else he was solidly spiritual. It was only a solid spirituality that sustained him in Milltown. He suffered severely from pains in his stomach. The house physician was not ideal for religious. He was known to have told his students in UCD that religious were prone to be hypochondriacs. It would seem that he had put Fr Willie into that category, because all the comfort given him on his first visit was “You are suffering from flatulence”, and on a second visit months afterwards he told Bill Saul, “Take plenty of exercise”. Needless to say the medical report was accepted and acted on by his religious superiors, and Fr Willie soldiered on. It took peritonitis and an ambulance in the early hours of the morning and an emergency operation to prove that Fr Willie was a genuinely sick man.
A second major operation followed, both of which, coupled with some time convalescing, meant that Fr Saul missed a sizeable share of the scholastic year. He was now told that he could not be ordained because the requirements of Canon Law had not been met.
With only weeks to go before ordination day Fr Willie was able to show the fallacy of the so-called canonical obstacle, and was then presented with the final hurdle : his exam, and if you make it you are acceptable. He rose to it like Eddie Macken on Boomerang.
Willie had loyalty to his friends in a high order. With a serious turn of mind he was dependable and true. This seriousness showed itself in his reading, his taste was intellectual and heavy, rather than frivolous. He loved a good problem, be it in maths, chess, bridge or anything. Incidentally, he played a good hand at bridge, sized up the situation in a brief time, and then played without any further hesitation, and always got full value from a hand.
He enjoyed more than anything a good musical evening, and he put much work into organising both the instrumental and the singing side of such a get-together. He himself was very talented in violin, flute and piano.
He had a quick mind and was a clear thinker. He had, moreover, the gift of making clear to us slower ones in philosophy and theology what his alert mind had grasped in a flash. And most important of all he was most generous in using this gift.
In these days of comfort and carpets one small point deserves mention. Many a theologian in those days studied in less discomfort because of his skill as a carpenter. Fr Saul’s speciality was an armchair of his special design. The music-stands in the Crescent, still in use, if I mistake not, are his handiwork. The revival of the Caecilians was in no small part due to his inspiration and hard work.
We lost touch with Willie when he left us for Australia in 1948. May he rest in peace.

Fr Hugh O'Neill adds the following details concerning Fr Bill Saul’s life as a Jesuit:
From 1943 (after his tertianship) till 1947 he taught in the Crescent; then, after another year or so in Clongowes, he went to Australia around 1948. After he left Ireland, Fr Saul worked in the following places: 1948 56: St. Louis School, Claremount, Perth; 1956-62: Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne; 1962-72: St. Ignatius College, Riverview; 1972-74: Canisius College, Pymble; 1974-76: Director of Jesuit Seminary Association.

Ryan, Michael J, 1917-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/797
  • Person
  • 06 September 1917-03 April 2008

Born: 06 September 1917, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 17 October 1941, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1951, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1955, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 03 April 2008, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Entered St Mary's, Emo, County Laois: 07 September 1936; Left: 02 March 1939; Re-entered: 17 October 1941.

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

Michael Ryan SJ, RIP
The funeral of Fr Michael Ryan SJ took place in Milltown Park, Dublin on April 7, 2008. Michael died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin on Thursday, April 3, 2008, aged 90 years.
Born in Dublin, his early education was with the Christian Brothers on North Richmond Street. He entered the Jesuits in Emo in 1936, then studied Arts at UCD, followed by Philosophy at Tullabeg. His Regency was at Mungret and Clongowes, and he studied theology at Milltown, where he was subsequently ordained in 1951. As a priest, he worked first as a teacher in Clongowes and then in Gonzaga College. From 1957 he ministered in the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick, for three years and then assisted in the Milltown library until 2006, when he was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge. His condition had deteriorated in his last six months and he had to be transferred to hospital for treatment, eventually returning to Cherryfield in March before his death on April 3. May he rest in the peace of Christ.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Went to Juniorate without Vows. Sent away because of bad speech impediment. Reentered

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 136 : Summer 2008


Fr Michael Ryan (1917-2008)

6 September 1917: Born in Dublin
Early education at CBS, North Richmond Street, Dublin
7th September 1936: Entered the Society at Emo
1938 - 1939: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
31st July 1939: Left the Society for health reasons
1939 - 1941: Studied Arts at UCD
17th October 1941: Re-entered the Society at Emo
2nd February 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1947 - 1948: Mungret College - Regency
1948 - 1949: Clongowes Wood College - Regency
1949 - 1952: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1951: Ordained at Milltown Park
1952 - 1953: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1953 - 1956: Clongowes Wood College - Teacher
2nd February 1955: Final Vows at Clongowes
1956 - 1957: Gonzaga College - Teacher
1957 - 1960: Sacred Heart, Limerick - Ministered in Church
1960 - 2007: Milltown Park - Assisting in Library....
21st August 2006: Admitted to Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin
3rd April 2008: Died at Cherryfield

Fergal Brennan writes:
Michael Ryan was a most unusual character. He possessed a unique combination of charm, humour and suspicion. The Milltown Community Staff found him very pleasant and likeable. He was always smiling, told them jokes, and plied them with stories about fishing. His family were fond of him, and his funeral was delayed so that some relatives could return from Australia to attend.

Born in Dublin in 1917, Michael attended O'Connell Schools, where he was impressed by several of the Brothers. Entering the Noviceship in 1936, he was already an accomplished fisherman, catching pike in the Emo lake. Paddy Kelly reports, however, that several people objected to Michael using live, fluffy, little coot chicks as bait. At the end of his time in Emo, Michael did not take First Vows, but he did go on to Rathfarnham and started studies in UCD. He left the Society the following summer, but continued to associate with the Juniors, going for walks up the hills with them, and attending the Irish Villa. On such Villas in Ballinskelligs, Michael taught fly-fishing to Des O'Loughlen and anyone who was interested. When he finished his degree in 1941, it is said that Michael “talked his way back into the Noviceship”. This time he did take Vows, and his progress through ‘Formation' was quite standard after that, including Ordination in Milltown.

After Tertianship, Michael started on a life of teaching - first in Clongowes, then Gonzaga, where the students in his Irish Class did extremely well in the Leaving Certificate. However, Michael was not suited to the work, and transferred in 1957 to the Sacred Heart Church in the Crescent, Limerick. A physically active man, he loved travel and sport. He not merely fly-fished at Castleconnell, and played golf in Ballybough, but, whenever he could, he would take the bus to Kilkee to go swimming in the Pollock Holes. In the Church, he was regarded as a kind and sympathetic confessor, of great assistance to people with scruples. Michael was considered to be hard-working, religious and committed, very useful in the Church, a man of prayer, but somehow different, perhaps even odd, though this wasn't really his own fault. However, tensions arose between Michael and the Minister. Gradually, the tensions grew, eventually culminating in Michael preaching a public sermon criticising the Minister, while the latter was saying the Sunday Mass. This brought matters to a head, and Michael was moved to Milltown Park.

During his time in Milltown, Michael helped out in the Library, particularly in the Irish Section. He was happy there and enjoyed doing research, mostly on Irish history and ancient languages. He was convinced that all languages are derived from the language of Adam. The older languages include Old Irish, and so it could provide clues to the meaning of Old Testament names. St Patrick was a major subject of Michael's research. It was remarkable that he concluded that our Patron Saint was born in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, in France, without being aware that the citizens of Boulogne were already convinced of that; a school, a parish, and some streets there are called after him. But the Boulognnais based their conclusion directly on tradition, without taking the route touristique through Britannia Secunda and Bun na hAbhann, Normandy and Neustria, which could last the whole of a St Patrick's Day Long Table. Micheal had the imaginative talent of a novelist, piling on the embellishments. It is reported that a whole Supper was spent explaining how the story of the Knock apparitions was fabricated by the Nun of Kenmare.

Fishing remained an important hobby for Michael, and he would spend two weeks every year in Pontoon with Jack McDonald and Dermot Fleury, fishing from a boat on Lough Conn. He practised golf in the Milltown grounds, swam in the pool, and spent a lot of time at "outdoor works", slashing vigorously at tussocks along the Black Walk. He remained an acute observer of nature, especially of birds and plants.

Basically a kind man, Michael helped foreigners with their English, explaining to them the anomalies of the language. Still, he was not above a bit of “divilment”. Before a meal, he would go to the Library and read up a topic in an Encyclopaedia article. In the Refectory he would sit with Eddie FitzGerald, and bring up the topic during a lull in the conversation. Eddie took the bait every time, and a long argument would ensue. After one such exchange, when Michael had left, Eddie said to me: “Actually, I don't know much about it, but I do know Michael Ryan can't be right!” In fact, much of the time Michael was right. He took considerable delight in being able to hold his own in a discussion with a learned professor. In so doing, he proved something to himself and he felt the better for it.

Michael enjoyed teasing people and challenging them, particularly if they were authorities of some sort. But sometimes his words were awkward or aggressive, and his attitude was misread. At a Province Meeting in Rathfarnham, he famously threw down the gauntlet by asking the Provincial would he not agree with the “Danish proverb” that says, “A fish rots from the head down”. There was no real malice in Michael. He was never actually uncharitable about others, though he remained quite convinced that some of them were out to get him. He was particularly worried about John Hyde, watching him and following him around. Michael was convinced, too, that his neighbour was interfering with his hand basin and had bugged his room. There were two reasons for this. Not only did this man live in the room next door, he was also a leading ecumenist, and Michael was ever a loyal defender of the “Catholic truth”.

Old age mellowed him considerably, dampening much of his prickliness and suspicion. He grew tolerant of Superiors, and was liked increasingly by many people. It was sad, though, to watch his powers deteriorate and his confusion grow.

He gave up gardening. Golf became too much for him. He started losing things in his room, though he no longer blamed this on anyone else. As his confusion grew, he seemed to grow in calmness and self awareness. He enjoyed the company of Magda, his Polish care-giver. Beaming, he would come down the stairs to go for a walk, with Magda on his arm. “Don't marry a Polish wife!” he would chuckle, obliquely expressing his appreciation of her solicitude. In fact, he was grateful to the Staff for all the help he received, and very grateful to Mary Mooney, who brought him his breakfast and took care of his room. Finally, Michael's confusion grew too great. He was moved to Cherryfield in August 2006. Suffering from senile dementia, he was well cared for by the Staff there. He died peacefully on April 2008.

Michael lived much of his life in a world of his own imagining. He was a fundamentally decent human being, though haunted by recurrent suspicions which were largely beyond his control. I hope that he has found peace, now, and freedom from all his fears.

Ryan, Edward F, 1886-1928, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2077
  • Person
  • 07 February 1886-14 September 1928

Born: 07 February 1886, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1903, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1920
Final Vows: 02 February 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 14 September 1928, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Belvedere College SJ, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1912 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Clongowes.

After his Novitiate he had six years of Juniorate, two of which included teaching other Juniors and he graduated MA in Classics, maintaining first place in his group throughout. These years were spent in Tullabeg for 5 years and then Milltown.
He was then sent to Valkenburg for Philosophy.
He made his Regency teaching at Clongowes for three years.
He then went to Milltown for Theology.
He finished his formation at Tullabeg making tertianship there and also serving as Socius to the Novice Master, and then continued in the latter position for two more years, and also being Minister for one of those.
He was then sent to Rathfarnham as Minister of Juniors for a year.
He was then sent to Mungret as Prefect of Studies.
1926 He was appointed Prefect of Studies at Belvedere. For the greater part of a year he did this job with great success, and then he was diagnosed with malignant cancer. In spite of every effort by doctors and great care, they were unable to halt the progress of the cancer and he died at St Vincent’s Hospital 14 September 1928.

He was a brilliant Classical scholar, but more importantly, Frank was a model of unostentatious holiness. He was as faithful to his religious duties as a novice. Kindness and charity were the characteristic virtues of his life. His gentleness did not interfere with his capacity to govern. Where Frank ruled, law and order reigned. Honest reasonable work was the order of the day. Everything was done gently and quietly. He left no pain, nor bitterness behind.

His death was met with great sorrow on the part of all who knew him.

◆ Irish Province News 4th Year No 1 1928 & ◆ The Clongownian, 1929

Obituary :

Fr Edward (Frank) Ryan

On Friday Sept. 14th, feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, death robbed the Irish Province of one of its most promising members. On that day Fr Frank Ryan died in Dublin, at the early age of 42.

Fr. Frank was born on the 7th Feb. 1886, educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society on Sept. 7th 1903. He got no less than six years Juniorate, five of them in Tullabeg and one in Milltown. However for two of these years he discharged with success the difficult task of teaching other Juniors. He won his MA in 1911, retaining the place he had held all through his University course - first in the Classical Group. Three years Philosophy at Valkenburg followed, and then three years teaching in Clongowes. A brilliant course of Theology at Milltown over, he went to Tullabeg for the Tertianship, acting during the year as Socius to the Master of Novices. This latter position he held for the next two years, discharging at the same time the duties of Minister. Then a year in charge of the Juniors at Rathfarnham, and another as Prefect of Studies at Mungret. In 1926 he was appointed Prefect of Studies at Belvedere. For the greater part of the year he did his work with pronounced success, and then the call came. He was attacked by malignant cancer. In spite of all that modern science could do, in spite of loving and intelligent care, the dread disease claimed another victim, and Frank passed to his reward from St. Vincent's hospital on the 14th Sept. 1928.
That he was a brilliant Classical scholar his University success abundantly proves, but, far better than this, Fr Frank was a model of unostentatious holiness. To the daily round of duties in the Society he retained to the end the regularity of a novice. Kindliness, charity of the right kind. was the characteristic virtue of his life. Yet this gentleness in no way impaired his efficiency. Where Fr Frank ruled law and order reigned, honest, reasonable work was the order of the day. And everything was done quietly. There were no earthquake shocks. He left no soreness, no bitterness behind in any of the departments over which he presided. He “kept the justice of the King; So vigorously yet mildly, that all hearts Applauded”. Very sincere sorrow, on the part of all who knew him, followed Fr Frank to his early grave. But he has not “altogether died”. He will long be remembered as a man who has shown us that brilliant success and thoroughgoing efficiency are very consistent with the greatest gentleness and kindliness of character. May he rest in peace.

A contemporary of his writes :
Fr Frank was only just finding his work and opportunity when God called him away. The years he spent as Socius at Tullabeg, even the years he spent at Rathfarnham, did not show him at his best. As Prefect of Studies at Mungret he first revealed his power of organisation and his capacity for dealing with men.
In Belvedere he found a perfect field for the exercise of his rare talents and his one year of work there, shortened enough and interrupted by his fatal disease, gave grounds for the highest anticipations, There was more than a great Prefect of Studies lost in him. Those who knew him best had come to recognise that his judgment, his intelligence, his kindness, his firmness and his enterprise, his complete interest in the work he was given, fitted him for higher things. But his contemporaries will keep longest the joyous memory of his social gifts. He was a perfect community man. His interests were always these of his house. He was full of gaiety, saw the humorous side of situations, and told a story or an adventure excellently.
Those who lived with him in Tullabeg or Milltown Park, who rowed with him in the boats on the Canal and the Brosna, or walked to Lough Bray or Glendhu, or cycled to Lough Dan or Luggala, these will not soon forget what a companion he was. He planned all these excursions. He saw to all the details. He forgot nothing, overlooked nothing. He was most ingenious and thoughtful in his charity. He knew every inch of the Dublin hills and knew the times necessary for all stages of the journey. No one could pack a bag as he could. He loved to surprise you by all the wonderful things he would draw out of it beside the fire on the Scalp or Glendhu.
Such talents, that judgment, intelligence capacity, frankness, such a temperament, so kind, joyous, humorous, can ill be spared in our Province. But perhaps, the greatest thing in his life was its ending.
For sixteen months he lived under sentence of death, He was too intelligent, too clear sighted, not lo know what his disease meant. He could mark its advance, he could note his own growing weakness No one who visited him during that time can forget his courage and cheeriness. He was always calm, always his old self. He kept up his interest in things, would speak dispassionately, if asked, about his sickness. He could tell a good story. He was never absorbed by his own ills.
Perhaps that is the lesson - courage, cheerfulness, conformity - that God wished him to preach by his life and death. Requiescat in pace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edward Francis (Frank) Ryan 1886-1928
“Whom the Gods love, die young” was certainly verified in the case of Fr Frank Ryan. Having displayed remarkable qualities of mind and heart, he died of a malignant cancer at the age of 42.

He was born on February 7th 1886, educated at Clongowes and entering the Society in 1903.

He was brilliant in his studies, taking his MA in Classics in 1907, retaining the place he had held all through, 1st in the Classical group. After an outstanding course in Theology in Milltown Park, he acted as Socius to the Master of Novices in Tullabeg. In rapid succession, he was Master of Juniors, Prefect of Studies in Mungret and Belvedere, in which house he first became aware of his dread disease.

He died on September 14th 1928.

The truly remarkable gifts of character he enjoyed may be gauged from the fact that even now, many years after his death, he is spoken of by those who knew him for his gaiety and kindness, and his rare quality of intuitive sympathy.

Ryan, Austin, 1904-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2075
  • Person
  • 02 December 1904-26 September 1992

Born: 02 December 1904, Brisbane, Australia
Entered: 05 April 1923, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained 24 August 1938, Leuven, Belgium
Final vows: 02 February 1942
Died: 26 September 1992, St Joseph, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1930 at Granada, Spain (BAE) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Austin Ryan was educated at St Joseph's College, Sydney, and entered the Society in Sydney, 5 April 1923. His Jesuit training was wholly overseas, including philosophy in Spain. He gained a BA in classics from the University of Ireland, and a Licentiate in theology from Louvain. He was ordained, 24 August 1938, and later professed of the four vows. He retained his ability to read Spanish for the rest of his life. His story about scholastics having to don swim wear under the shower and being provided with a spoon to tuck in their shirts while dressing amused more modern scholastics.
After a few years of teaching at Riverview, 1941-42, Ryan was appointed professor of church history and oriental questions at the theologate, Canisius College, Pymble, 1943-46. He returned to Riverview teaching classics from 1947-52, followed by a year of pastoral ministry at St Ignatius' Church, Richmond. He spent some years between 1954-59 teaching experimental psychology to the scholastics at Loyola College, Watsonia, and was the prefect of studies and minister of juniors. He also edited the province periodicals “Hazaribagh” and “Province News”.
From 1960-69 Ryan was a brilliant and inspiring teacher of Latin, Greek, Italian and Hebrew at Corpus Christi College, Werribee, and was a wise and understanding spiritual father to the students. His integrity and unfeigned sincerity won him the respect of his students.
His next appointment was teaching Latin and Greek to the novices at Loyola College, Watsonia, 1970-72. He was far from happy here, and even talked about leaving the Society. One of the Fathers, believing that he was being helpful, continually reminded Ryan of his rubrical failures at Mass. From 1976-81 he returned to Riverview teaching Latin, Greek, French and German. This also was not a success, he was still very unhappy.
Apart from short postings at Campion College, Kew, and the provincial residence, from 1982-92, he remained at Campion College praying for the Society and tutoring in Greek, Latin, Italian and German.
Ryan was a truly international Jesuit, a gifted linguist and scholar, and a fine raconteur. He was lively at recreation with an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes. He worked hard all his life, and was always an available confessor. He suffered depression especially when he felt he could not cope with his work. The province was indebted to him for recording the 'curriculum vitae' of many deceased Jesuits.

Note from Frank Dennett Entry
He enjoyed the work as a Province Archivist, as it gave scope to his historical scholarship and precision. With the assistance of Austin Ryan he compiled a short biography of every Jesuit who had lived and worked in Australia.

Russell, John, 1926-2023, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2369
  • Person
  • 14 August 1926-22 September 2023

Born: 14 August 1926, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961, Chiesa del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 22 September 2023, St Paul’s, Hospital, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Ricci Hall, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK 03 December 1966

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Son of Matthew Russell and Angela Coyne. Studied at UCD.
Ordained at Milltown Park.

1943-1945 St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
1945-1948 Rathfarnham Castle - Studying
1948-1951 St Stanislaus College Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1951-1954 Hong Kong - studying language
1954-1958 Milltown Park - studying Theology
1958-1959 Rathfarnham Castle - Tertianship
1959-1962 Bellarmino, Rome - studying Theology
1962-1964 Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong - teaching Theology
1964-1967 Curia, Rome - Assistant to Procurator General
1967-1968 Milltown Park - teaching Theology
1968-1969 Xavier House, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Rector and Nopvice Master
1969-1972 Wah Yan Kowloon, Hong Kong - Rector
15/02/1972-02/04/1978 VICE-PROVINCIAL
1978-1984 Ricci Hall, Hong Kong
1984-1990 Provincial’s Residence, Ricci Hall, Hong Kong
1990-199 Wah Yan Hong Kong


Remembering Father John Russell SJ

Jesuit Brother Father John Russell who spent over 50 years in Hong Kong died peacefully on Friday 22 September at St Paul’s Hospital, Hong Kong. He was 97 years old.

Fr. Russell was born in Dublin, Ireland on 24 August 1926. He entered the Society at Emo, Co. Laois, on 12 November 1943 and was ordained to the priesthood on 31 July. 1957 in Milltown Park, Dublin. He took final vows on 2 February 1961 at the church of the Gesù, Rome. It was there that he also did his doctorate in Canon Law, and lectured for a time at the Jesuit Gregorian University in the capital. He also spent a number of years as assistant procurator for the Jesuit general curia there.

Over half of his long life was spent on mission with the Jesuits in Hong Kong, as Thomas Morrissey SJ points out in his book Jesuits in Hong Kong, South China, and Beyond. He began as a teacher in the seminary there and in 1968 he returned from Rome to Hong Kong as a novice master for a short while. In 1969 he was appointed rector of Wah Yan College, Kowloon. He was only 45 years old when he was appointed Provincial in Hong Kong, on 15 February 1972, the Chinese New Year.

A fond companion: Go well, Fr Russell SJ
(From Irish Jesuits International)

In an interview with us back in 2017, Fr Russell spoke fondly of another appointment in Hong Kong, this time managing the Catholic Centre in a commercial building in the city. It had a few floors dedicated to the Centre that included a chapel. He met all kinds of people there—some wanting comfort and consolation and some just wanting a comfortable place to sit and reflect.

As well as being a friend and companion to those who needed it, a lively highlight to John’s life was working as Warden to 120 students at Ricci Hall. It is a hostel for students attending Hong Kong University. Fr Russell enjoyed ministering to the noisy, lively young students – for 12 years they kept him young and vital: he often turned a blind eye to their antics!

Before retirement, Fr Russell worked with the Curia in Hong Kong in the marriage annulment section but remained a constant companion and a listening ear to those who needed it.

John’s only surviving family member in Ireland (Dublin) is his brother Matthew with whom both the Hong Kong Jesuits and our own John K Guiney (IJI) have been in contact in recent weeks. All priests of the Chinese Province will celebrate Mass for the intention of Fr. Russell’s eternal rest.

Go well, Father John. Rest in Peace.

Roset, Donald A, 1904-1974, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2071
  • Person
  • 07 June 1904-01 May 1974

Born: 07 June 1904, Nymagee, NSW, Australia
Entered: 12 February 1923, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained 23 August 1937, Leuven, Belgium
Final vows: 15 August 1940
Died: 01 May 1974, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1929 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Donald Roset was educated at CBC Waverley and Riverview, where he established a record for the mile race U17 at the GPS sports. He joined the Society, 12 February 1923, and after his novitiate at Greenwich went overseas, first to Rathfarnham, 1925-28, where he gained a BA with honors.
He studied philosophy at Jersey, after which he returned to Australia as third prefect at Riverview, 1930-34. Theology studies at Louvain followed, and tertianship at Tronchiennes, 1939. He returned to St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, where he stayed until 1954, having completed a term as rector and prefect of studies. From there he went to Riverview until his death. He was prefect of studies from 1955-58.
Roset was a small man but extremely energetic and hardworking. He put himself entirely into everything he did, and worked hard at his studies. He had a great sense of duty, and a personality with a keen deadpan wit that could sometimes be taken as over seriousness or lack of humour. He once said in his deep rather unmusical voice “three of my community let me down last year, one of them left the Society and two of them died”. He did worry a lot, but was very kind and never bore a grudge.
He taught French most of his life, and was considered good teacher by his students. His advice as prefect of studies was wise and helpful. The last few months of his life, during which he suffered a stroke and complete inactivity were particularly difficult for him.

Ronan, John 1893-1979, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/381
  • Person
  • 11 February 1893-08 August 1979

Born: 11 February 1893, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 02 June 1915, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows 02 February 1926, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died:08 August 1979, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 54th Year No 3 and 4 1979

Obituary :

Br John Ronan (1893-1913-1979)

John Ronan was born in Dublin on 11 February 1893. His family had Scottish connections and John used like to take his holidays in Scotland. It may well be that it was from his father he inherited his dry wit and his gift with words. He attended National School and then a Christian Brothers school to sixth standard, and joined the novitiate at Tullabeg in the year 1913. The precise date was a subject of controversy between John and a succession of editors of the Province Catalogue: in the Catalogue he consistently appears as entering in 1915; Fathers Aubrey Gwynn and Fergal McGrath, however, recall that John was in Tullabeg in 1913; further, John's Final Vow formula is dated 2nd February 1926, which indicates that he must have taken First Vows in 1915 or early 1916.
In 1918 a young man was despatched from Tullabeg to Gardiner Street; the Minister, Father Bury, greeted the news with joy: “This is splendid: he will tempt the Fathers to eat better because of his good cooking!” John was twenty-five then, and his gift for making people happy is well attested; he was asked for by various houses, and a member of the Province who arrived in houses which Brother John had just left recalls that John was remembered with gratitude and affection. Cooks have a central place and wield great power within their domains: John cooked for his brethren for thirty years and made them happy because he was generous, painstaking and thoughtful. He worked in Gardiner Street (1918-23), Rathfarnham Castle (1923 36), Belvedere (1926-29), Clongowes (1929-31), Emo (1931-35), Mungret (1935-38), Tullabeg (1938-43), St Ignatius, Galway (1943-47), Crescent (1947-48), Clongowes again (1948-58), Manresa (1958-59) and finally Milltown Park (1959-79).
It was during the last twenty years of his life that the present writer came to know and appreciate him. He was assistant to Brother John Rogers in the bindery and ad dom. He was neat and self-contained; had a small stocky frame, large and long face, black hair, steel rimmed glasses, black chesterfield and boots which had long since seen their best days; he made an unusual figure both within and outside the house. He loved the city of Dublin and was the best known of the community on the 11 bus route; drivers used make unscheduled stops to take him aboard. They loved him more for his easy chat and good-humoured wit than for the sweets he used give them. He aged imperceptibly, for he was built of durable stuff. He seemed indestructible, as was illustrated when at the age of eighty three he came limping home after an affair with a car; he was reluctant to admit to the accident, went off to take a bath to ease his wounds and was back in action the following day. He was delightfully unpredictable in ways, and free of shyness in his relating to others. To illustrate: passing the Gas Company showrooms one day, he looked in and saw a salesgirl within who looked very gloomy. He went in: “I'd like to ask you about a gadget which you're advertising; you don't seem to have it on display”. “What is it?” she replied grumpily. “Well, you've an ad saying: Make your tea in a jiffy! I'd like to see a jiffy and know how it works!” As she tried to explain she began to smile. After a while, he said: “I know well what a jiffy is, but you look a lot happier now than when I came in!” And off he went.
John was seventy years old when Vatican II came, bringing to an end an era of stability in which regularity of practice and unswerving loyalty to authority were the characteristic of the faithful, John among them. The way was opened for new forms of religious and personal expression, with questioning and experimentation the order of the day. Like many of his generation, John found the sweeping changes in Catholic and Jesuit life hard to understand; the new forms of expression and the eclipse of the old left him confused. He was ill at ease in the new Milltown Park, and voiced his reservations with great honesty to his superiors and to the community; he was distressed that his critiques met with little effective response; he felt that a sympathetic hearing of his views was not enough. Values were at risk, as his eagle eye could see, and he loved religious life and the Province enough to do what he could to safeguard these values. Now that we as a Province are moving into calmer waters we can be grateful to John and others like him who have acted as reminders of the central qualities which must characterise any religious life worthy of the name.
Together with the difficulty he experienced in adjusting to the upheavals of aggiornamento, John went through a long period of indifferent health. For sixteen years his problem was wrongly diagnosed and treated, until finally Dr Dan Kelly brought him relief. The wit which had been so noted in him before was less evident in the latter years, though it emerged in flashes still, and brought many a smile. The younger brethren who overslept were labelled “the rising generation”; “All for me, dear Jesus!” was a remark used for a certain Father whom John thought as caring for himself a little too well. Some found it disconcerting to pass him on the corridor and half-hear a devastating remark as he shuffled away, but this may have been a device to communicate and keep in touch with those whose ways he found hard to understand. He detested beards, and persisted for quite a time with one scholastic in an anti-beard campaign until the object of his attentions asked him to ease up, whereupon to his surprise John said: “I’m only waying it because I like you”! A few years ago he fell into conversation with a lady on the front drive: he confided that he had been sent down town to buy two butterfly nets for the Rector (these were in fact intended for the removal of leaves from the swimming pool), He then launched into an incisive commentary on the Rector’s general performance, and told how the superiors of old used stay in their offices and appear mainly at mealtimes whereas the present one ... etc., etc. At the front door the lady revealed that she was the Rector's mother. Nothing daunted, he bade farewell with the remark: “See if you can't do something with him!”
Over a long lifetime John used his gifts well; he was cook, dispenser, house steward, manuductor, assistant bookbinder; he was a respected watch-mender, fiddled with radios - one of his crystal sets is still extant; he made walking sticks for those who, unlike himself, enjoyed the countryside. The present writer, more than forty years his junior, never knew him in his heyday, but considers his sixty-six years of service to the brethren a remarkable achievement worthy of the gratitude which was expressed by the wide representation of Province members at John’s requiem. What I find more remarkable, however, is the manner in which he continued his life of service to the very end. He might well have felt that by his eightieth year he had done enough, that he was no longer needed or wanted, that he could legitimately retire. Instead he took on a new role - that of postman and messenger. In finding yet one more way to serve the brethren he was typical of a great tradition of Jesuit brothers; having early on, in the words of the Kingdom exercise offered himself “entirely for the work”, he carried through to the end his promise of availability. While he was glad to have a daily task and was upset when the protracted mail-strike from February to June of this year left him with little to do, the work took its toll, and he was frequently to be seen suffering from attacks of dizziness, sitting along the corridor with his head between his hands.
What was sad in the final years was that it was hard to convince him that he was appreciated. Superiors had with doubtful wisdom allowed too much to change for him to be other than wary of well intentioned compliments. He developed the habit of blessing himself as they went by. Yet he had his friends in the community, and also among the lay-staff. He delighted in chatting with the latter and running errands for them; he continued to get cut-price cigarettes in Clery's for one woman long after she had given up smoking, for she had not the heart to tell him she no longer needed them. Moreover, he always presented the best side of community life to outsiders. I quote from a letter of his nephew: “John always spoke with great pride of your Society ... and of the wonderful work which is being done by everyone within the order”. That reticence, however, which often blocks us from speaking within the community of that pride we feel for the brethren afflicted John too. There's the story of the two scholastics who came early to supper and found John sitting down before them. “Supper doesn't begin till six!” he admonished them. “Ah”, they answered, “but we have an excuse; we're off on apostolic work. We're working for God!” “That's obvious”, said John. “If you were working for anyone else you'd have been sacked long ago!”
Of the inner life of such a man one of my generation can only guess. Surely there must have existed a deep union between God and himself to make him so consistently faithful to his religious practices, so simple and frugal in his dress and way of life, so willing to live out a life of uneventful service. He had to face the sufferings of loneliness, ill-health, confusion and perhaps even a sense of betrayal over the changes that came in the last years of his life. One thinks of the hardships of the disciple’s calling in the gospel of Luke; of Ignatius' prayer: “To give and not to count the cost”; of Hopkins sonnet on St Alphonsus Rodriguez; of K Rahner's account of the “wintry spirituality of many Jesuits”.
His death, like his life, was simple, unadorned, unromantic and without fuss. When asked about his health earlier this year, he used reply: “I'm all right, Father, you have to keep going, if you lie down they'll put you in a box?” He was moved down to the Chapel Corridor a month before he died: he had already renamed that corridor “the coffin corridor” some time before. He accepted the change with macabre humour; the door of his new room would be just the right size to get out the coffin! He sought out his friend Dr Dan Kelly at St Vincent’s, the day before he died. He knew with his quiet realism that he was dying, yet he refused to stay in hospital; he wanted to die at home. A life-long Pioneer, he took a little brandy that night; the end came peacefully about 6 am the following morning; it is hard to think that he was reluctant to go. I like to think of him now as surprised by joy at his meeting with the Lord, amazed and delighted at hearing the divine commendation for his life of service. Gone now the misunderstandings that marred the last years; if the communion of saints means anything, we at Milltown Park may confidently hope that he will keep a brotherly eye on us and on our affairs, now that he has entered into new service as God's messenger of grace to us.

A writer from the Far East would like to add the following:
A fine, warm-hearted man, whose conversation on spiritual and secular matters had the quality of suavitas. Knowing that he was from the Coombe, I associated him with a man like Dean Swift - he had that observation of people and that natural eloquence of the Dubliner. A dedicated man, he had that warm humanity so befitting a Jesuit, and which the Brothers by their prayer and simplicity have given so fully to the Society. May he pray for us to be gifted with more vocations like his

Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/378
  • Person
  • 01 August 1904-20 June 1983

Born: 01 August 1904, Tralee, County Kerry
Entered: 05 October 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Died: 20 June 1983, John Austin, North Circular Road, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983
Fr Redmond Francis Roche (1904-1922-1983)

We had been friends since we came together as boys in Clongowes. As a boy, as indeed all through life, he was quiet and unassuming, always in good humour, and somehow radiating goodness. In the Lower Line, he and I and a couple of others, under the auspices of Mr Patrick McGlade, the Line Prefect ( †1966), started a news-sheet called Lower Liner. The first few weekly issues were polycopied before we ventured into having it printed by the Leinster Leader and sold at 3d a copy. However, for Fr Larry Kieran, the Prefect of Studies, this schoolboy venture into publication was too much. We were ordered to desist and confine ourselves to our quite undistinguished studies.
Ned Roche was born in Tralee on 1st August 1904, and before going to Clongowes attended the Christian Brothers' School, Tralee, and Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. He entered the Society in Tullabeg on 5th October 1922, some days too late to join in the First-year novices Long retreat. In travelling to Tullabeg, he had been hindered by the disruption of transport services caused by the civil war. If I recall aright, Ned, accompanied by his father, came by coaster from Tralee to Cork, and thence as best he could via Limerick to Tullabeg.
He joined our group of ten Second-year novices for that very happy month while, without making the retreat, we attended the talks. These were given by Fr Michael Browne, who had just begun his third term as Master of novices. For conferences and recreation we were accommodated in the old Sodality room beside the People's church. Outside, we walked untold miles up and down the stretch of road outside the back gate. Ned fitted in as if he had been there all the year.
Noviceships are normally uneventful. His finished, Ned passed on to juniorate in Rathfarnham (1924-26), philosophy in Milltown (1926-29), prefecting in Clongowes (1929-33), theology in Milltown (1933-'7). In 1934 he served my First Mass in the old chapel of Marie Reparatrice in Merrion square. His own ordination came in 1936, followed after theology by tertianship in St Beuno's (1937-38). He served as Socius to the Novice-master in Emo for four years (1938-42).
There followed an unbroken term of twenty-five years as a superior: Rector of the Crescent, Limerick (1942-"7), of Clongowes (1947-53), of Belvedere (1953-39), and Superior of the Apostolic school, Mungret (1959-67); then Minister, Vice Rector and Rector of Gonzaga (1967-'74). On recovering from a a very severe (almost fatal) illness in 1974, he served for three years on the Special Secretariat. In 1977 he became Superior and bursar of John Austin House.
To have borne so much overall responsibility for so long, with the added burden of big building extensions in both the Crescent and and Belvedere, and to have won such respect, admiration and affection amongst his fellow-Jesuits, the college boys and their parents - all this makes Ned one of the truly Ignatian Jesuits of our time.
In a letter he wrote to me on my way to Australia, telling all about the retreat Er Henry Fegan had just given the juniors in Rathfarnham (1925), he constantly reminded us of it. “Quid faciam pro Jesu? and Non quaero gloriam meam, sed gloriam Eius qui misit Me: these were much-used texts. These words express a profound influence on a life they go a long way to explain.
G. Ffrench

This year (1983) Fr Roche's health began to deteriorate markedly. Stair climbing became an ordeal and black-outs occurred. After a time in the Whitworth (St Laurence's) hospital, he went to Cherryfield to convalesce, but was soon back in the Whitworth, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20th June.
It was a life of remarkable service in one very responsible position after another. He brought to each assignment a dedication that was wholly admirable and meticulousness that could on occasion be exasperating. In his rectorships he completely accepted the whole 'package', from care of the community and in the old system) the school to responsibility for attendance at meetings, matches, plays, dinners, funerals. All that involved considerable self-giving austerity of life.
He was quite clearly a man of God, and quite unconsciously conveyed that impression to others. After his death the parish priest of Aughrim street parish and the president of the Legion of Mary praesidium of which Ned was spiritual director told me of the sense of Gold that he brought with him. There will be readers of this He was kind and understanding (there are many testimonies of this). On his own admission he hardly ever lost his temper, but when he did, he did! He was a shrewd assessor of character and situation. He was very interested in developments in the Church and the Society, and kept up his reading in Scripture and Moral Theology. Here one sensed his spirit of obedience.
There are some good-humoured stories about him: the one apropos of his devotion to funerals, that he once approached a funeral stopped in traffic and asked could he join it; how he once delighted the novices by inadvertently pulling a packet of cigarettes from his pocket as he left the refectory; how he once began to admonish scholastic X and then said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, that was meant for scholastic Y”.
He had a special interest in and affection for Mungret. Readers will remember his authoritative article on Mungret in Interfuse (no. 12 (Dec 1980), pp. 11-24). Mungret records found a home in his room in John Austin. One of the great pleasures of his later years was to be visited by graduates of the Apostolic school from various parts of the world.
In his day he was a keen golfer, cricketer and skater, He brought to his sport that exactness with which he served God in larger matters. (Playing croquet with him in Emo, remember, was an exhausting experience!) His favourite animal was the racehorse, and he went to the - on television - as often as he could.
On 20th June he finished his own earthly race in the peaceful hope of another vision. It is a grace to have been with him.

◆ The Clongownian, 1983


Father Redmond F Roche SJ

Ned Roche, as he was familiarly called, died in Dublin in June last; only some years previously he fought his way back from almost fatal illness, showing in this the measure of his willpower.

Born in Tralee on 1 August 1904, he came to Clongowes after earlier schooling in Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. Four years later in October 1922 he joined thirteen first year Jesuit novices in Tullabeg, among them two of his contemporaries in Clongowes, Charlie Daly (1919-22), now in Hong Kong and Bill Dargan (1917-22), now in Eglinton Road.

With a pretty good general knowledge of the career of Irish Jesuits since Fr Peter Kenney landed in Dublin on 31 August 1811, I think his record of continuous administrative service is unique. Beginning with his eight years in forming others with its due place in learning the art of administration, I set down here without immediate comment his curriculum vitae:
1921-31: Gallery Prefect in Clongowes.
1931-33: Lower Line Prefect in Clongowes.
1933-37: Theology in Milltown Park where he was ordained priest on 31 July, 1936.
1937-38: Tertainship in St Beuno's, N Wales
1938-42: Socius, i.e. assistant to Master of Novices, Emo Park.
1942-47: Rector, Crescent College, Limerick.
1947-53: Rector, Clongowes Wood, College.
1953-59: Rector, Belvedere College.
1957-67: Superior, Apostolic School, Mungret.
1967-70: Minister, Gonzaga College.
1970-76: Rector, Gonzaga College.
1976-78: Bursar, John Austin House, NCR, Dublin.
1978-83; Superior, John Austin House.

While Fr Roche was certainly not the first Superior to die in office - one thinks off-hand of Fr James Gubbins who died as Rector of Belvedere, of Fr John S Conmee who died as Rector of Miltown Park - the unadorned mention of the offices he filled is ample evidence of the respect in which he was held by the eight provincials whom he served as a priest and by his Jesuit brethren.

The hallmark which stamped his character was thoroughness inspired by charity. Not over-quick by nature this thoroughness in mastering detail caused him hours of patient daily labour. In the five schools in which he worked he set out to gain as full a knowledge, as possible of his boys and their parents, of their individual personal problems, their joys and their sorrows. Nor did he forget them in their careers after they left: quite by accident I came across two instances where he had supplied the money to make post graduate studies in the United States possible. He had the countryman's innate sympathy for bereaved familiers and, if at all possible, attended requiems, often involving long tire some journeys.

As in work so also in play, Ned was thorough: for years he was one of four Jesuits who took their fortnight's summer holiday in Tramore: the drill was strenuous, eighteen holes before lunch, eighteen holes and a swim after lunch; deadly serious bridge after supper.

His memory should be kept alive here in Clongowes by placing a modest plaque on the Lower Line Pavilion which he built fifty years ago. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1984


Father Redmond Roche SJ

This year (1983) Fr. Roche's health began to deteriorate markedly. Stair-climbing became an ordeal and the black-outs occurred. After a time in the Whitworth (St Laurence's) hospital, he went to Cherryfield to convalesce, but was soon back in the Whitworth, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20th June.

It was a life of remarkable service in one very responsible position after another. He brought to each assignment a dedication that was wholly admirable and a meticulousness that could on occasion be exasperating. In his rectorships he completely accepted the whole package', from care of the community and (in the old system) overall responsibility for the school to attendance at meetings, matches, plays, dinners, funerals. All that involved considerable self-giving and austerity of life.

He was quite clearly a man of God, and quite unconsciously conveyed that impression to others, After his death the parish priest of Aughrim Street parish and the president of the Legion of Mary praesidium of which Ned was spiritual director told me of the sense of Gold that he brought with him. There will be readers of this obituary who can confirm this for themselves.

Ned Roche was born in Tralee on 1st August 1904, and before going to Clongowes attended the Christian Brothers' School, Tralee, and Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. He entered the Society in Tullabeg on 5th October 1922, some days too late to join the First-year novices' Long retreat. In traveiling to Tullabeg, he had been hindered by the disruption of transport services caused by the civil war. If I recall right, Ned, accompanied by his father, came by coaster from Tralee to Cork, and thence as best he could via Limerick to Tullabeg.

In 1934 he served my First Mass in the old chapel of Marie Reparatrice in Merrion Square. His own ordination came in 1936, followed after theology by tertianship in St Beuno's (1937-8). He served as Socius to the Novice-master in Emo for four years (1938-42).

There followed an unbroken term of twenty-five years as a superior: Rector of the Crescent, Limerick (1942-7), of Clongowes (1947-53), of Belvedere (1953-9), and Superior of the Apostolic school, Mungret (1959-67); then Minister, Vice-Rector and Rector of Gonzaga (1967-74). On recovering from a very severe (almost fatal) illness in 1974, he served for three years on the Special Secretariat. In 1977 he became Superior and bursar of John Austin House.

To have borne so much responsibility for so long, with the added burden of big building extensions in both the Crescent and Belvedere, and to have won such widespread respect, admiration and affection amongst his fellow-Jesuits, the college boys and their parents.

(Compiled from contributions by S. R. and Ffrench).

Roche, George Redington, 1869-1953, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/377
  • Person
  • 21 November 1869-12 December 1953

Born: 21 November 1869, Monivea, Athenry, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1889, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 10 July 1905, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1908, Clongowes Wood College SJ, Clane, County Kildare
Died: 12 December 1953, Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1893 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1900 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1907 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 2nd Year No 4 1927
Clongowes :
Fr. G. Roche has been appointed Rector of Clongowes. The College is not absolutely new to him. He was there for six years as a boy. As a Jesuit he was gallery prefect, third line prefect, lower line prefect for four years, and higher line prefect for nine. He put in the rest of his time as minister and prefect of discipline at University Hall, and as Rector of Mungret.

Irish Province News 29th Year No 2 1954
Obituary :
Father George R Roche
George Philip Redington Roche was the sixth of the eight children of Thomas Redington Roche J.P. and Jane Redington Roche, and was born on Nov. 21st, 1869, at Rye Hill, Monivea, Athenry, Co. Galway. This property had belonged to his grandmother, Eleanor Redington, whose family originally came from Mayo, and whose husband was Stephen Roche of Cork. George Roche's mother, before her marriage, was a Miss Cliffe, of Bellevue, Macmine, Co. Wexford. She belonged to one of those prominent High Church Protestant families whose conversion to the Catholic Church caused such a sensation just a hundred years ago. The most notable of these were the Rams of Ramşfort, and an interesting account of their conversion and also of that of the Cliffes was published by Burns & Oates in 1901 under the title. Some Notable Conversions in the County of Wexford. The author was Rev. Francis J. Kirk, an Oblate of St. Charles, formerly Protestant Rector of Gorey. The book contains a long letter from Jane Redington Roche describing the almost simultaneous though independent conversion of all the members of her family and their reception into the Church in Paris by Père de Ravignan in 1856. Mrs. Roche was a most fervent Catholic and a woman of strong character. She was noted for her imperturbable calm, a characteristic which her son inherited.
At the age of about ten George Roche was sent to school at Oscott. After two years the school was closed to lay pupils and he went for another two to Ushaw, but in 1883 was transferred to Clongowes together with his elder brother Charles, who as a young man went out to the Gold Coast and died there in 1897. The records state that George commenced his studies in Third of Grammar, his Professor being Mr. Richard Campbell.
There is little information available about his school days. A master with whom he was particularly friendly was Fr. James Colgan, who frequently visited his home and is thought to have influenced his vocation. He manifested an early enthusiasm for his favourite sport of cricket. It occupied all his spare time in the holidays and he showed no taste for country sports. He used to relate how on one occasion the Clongowes cricket XI played a match against the Mental Home in Carlow. George was bowling and the batsman, a patient, was palpably 1.b.w. However the umpire, an attendant, unhesitatingly gave him “not out” whispering to George, “I'll explain to you later”. When the batsman was finally bowled out, the attendant explained, “That man thinks he's a pure spirit. He’ll let you put him out any other way, but he can't be 1.b.w.”.
George Roche left Clongowes in 1889 and entered the noviciate at Tullabeg on September 7th of that year. Fr. John Colgan was his Master of Novices and Fr. David Gallery Sociuş. They were succeeded in the following year by Fr. W. Sutton and Fr. R. Campbell. Amongst his fellow novices were Fathers O. Doyle, J. F. X. O'Brien, H. and F. Gill, J. Kirwan, D. Kelly, J. Casey, L. Potter and T. Corcoran. He did a year's juniorate at Milltown and one year of philosophy at Jersey, returning to Clongowes in 1893 as Third Line Prefect, under Fr. Devitt as Rector and Fr. Fagan as Higher Line Prefect, two men whom he always admired. He also figures in the Catalogue as cur. instrum, mus. Fr. George's best friends will agree that the duties of this office must have been purely administrative. From 1894 to 1899 he was Lower Line Prefect and master. He then completed his two remaining years of philosophy at Stonyhurst and returned to Clongowes in 1901 for a year as Higher Line Prefect under Fr. James Brennan as Vice-Rector, From 1902 to 1906 he studied theology at Milltown, being ordained in 1905. After a year of tertianship at Tronchiennes, he once more returned to Clongowes, at the close of Fr. Devitt's second period of Rectorship, as Higher Line Prefect. He remained in this office for ten years under Fr. T. V. Nolan and Fr. N. J. Tomkin. It was during this period that he built the Higher Line pavilion which has since done such useful service. In 1915 he took over the Principalship of University Hall. In 1922 he was appointed Rector of Mungret, leaving there in 1927 to become Rector of Clongowes and Consultor of the Province. At the end of his term in Clongowes he worked for a year as Operarius in Gardiner St., 1933-34, then went to Rathfarnham as Spiritual Father and Assistant Director of the Retreat House. He was back once more in Clongowes from 1938 to 1945 as Spiritual Father to the Community, Assistant Procurator, Director of the junior sodalities and editor of The Clongownian. In 1945 his health began to fail and he was transferred to Rathfarnham so that he might more easily receive treatment for the diabetes which had long troubled him. In December 1950 he had a slight stroke and was removed to St. Vincent's Nursing Home. He never recovered and in April 1951 it was decided to move him to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross. He grew steadily weaker, though suffering no pain and retaining all his usual placid cheerfulness.
On December 9th, 1953, he was anointed by his Rector, Fr, P. Kenny, and died on December 12th at 8.15 p.m.
The mere recital of the various offices held by Fr. Roche during his long life gives an indication of the worth of his work for the Province, There was nothing spectacular in it but it was all most solid and valuable. Wherever Fr. Roche went he did his job conscientiously and successfully and handed things over in good shape to his successor. Throughout the long span of his life be kept on doing the ordinary things. well ; one never expected him to be spectacular, one could not picture him as anything other than reliable.
If any portion of his work is to be singled out for special praise, it would obviously be the influence he exerted over boys and young men. He had almost all the gifts that make a man acceptable to the young. He was--to use a hackneyed but here applicable phrase-& man's man. He was straightforward to the degree of bluntness, ostentatiously courageous, able to preserve his good humour in adversity, incapable of harbouring a grudge, healthily unsentimental yet possessed of a really tender kindness which was all the more attractive because it was manifested in deeds rather than in words. A mother sending her son to Clongowes asked a friend, an old Clongownian, to write to Fr. Roche: and ask him to be kind to the boy. “You needn't worry”, was the reply. “George Roche couldn't help being kind to everyone”. He had, naturally, a particular interest in and special ties with Clongownians since he spent altogether just forty years of his life at Clongowes and had a deep attachment to his Alma Mater, but old Mungret boys and past students of the Hall can testify also to his sincere solicitude for their interests.
I have spoken of the placidity he inherited from his mother. This did not mean that he was incapable of emotion. To some he may have appeared stolid, but his imperturbable manner was not due to lack of feeling. On him, as Rector of Clongowes, there devolved the anxious task of carrying through the erection of the New Building which went on from September 1929 until the summer of 1933. There was a period when serious difficulties arose. I happened to meet Fr. Roche in Dublin at that time, I asked him conventionally how he was and I can recall the revelation he made to me when he replied in his usual almost brusque way, “Worried to death”. He knew the family history of almost every boy who had passed through his hands, and no one was capable of greater sympathy in the inevitable misfortunes that life brings to every family.
Another characteristic I have mentioned was his courage. This was manifested particularly during the time when he was Principal of University Hall, 1916 to 1922. It was a disturbing time in the history of our country and Fr. George had a difficult task since many of the young men under his care were involved in the political movements of the day. One instance will give an idea of the situations that arose and the way in which he dealt with them. The Hall was raided one night by the Auxiliary police. Fr. George's sister, Miss Isabella Roche, the only now surviving member of his family, was living nearby and . from the fact that the lights in the Hall were on all night knew that something untoward was happening. Next day Fr, George came to give her an account of the raid. A tremendous knocking came at the door and when Fr. Roche opened it he found a large force of the Auxiliaries, mostly in a state of inebriation and waving automatic pistols. He asked what they wanted and the leader replied : “We have come to search this house”. “Well”, said Fr. George, as imperturbably as if he were addressing a crowd of unruly Higher Liners, “you needn't make such a row about it”. The words were recorded by himself and those who knew him will recognise them as authentic and realise the courage they manifested.
Fr. Roche was a man of deep, if unostentatious piety. He was completely unworldly, simple and unpretentious. Though he worked untiringly to help his old pupils on in the world, one always felt that his paramount interest was their spiritual welfare, that the first question he wanted an answer to was "were they keeping straight?" His characteristic spirituality is manifested in two little works which he published, Meditations on the Passion, published in two parts by the Irish Messenger Office and now in its eighth edition (eighty-first thousand) and The Divinity of Jesus Christ, published by the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland. They are both solid, straightforward works, largely based on Scripture and breathing that warm, simple, virile devotion to the Person of Our Divine Lord which was the mainspring of the author's devoted life. In him the Province has lost one of its most loved and revered members.

◆ The Clongownian, 1954


Father George Redington Roche SJ

Father George Roche was called home to his reward on the evening of December 12th, 1953. He had reached a fine old age at the time of his death, but he will long be missed by his religious colleagues and the countless friends be made through out his long connection with Clongowes,

George Redington Roche, sixth child of Thomas Redington Roche was born at Monivea, Athenry on Nov. 21st, 1869. His early-school years were spent at Oscott and Ushaw but in 1883 he came to Clongowes where he was to spend the next six years.

He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg in 1889 and, after his first religious profession, was sent for his earlier studies to Milltown Park and the house of the Paris province at Jersey. He then returned to Clongowes as Third Line Prefect and after a year was advanced to the management of the Lower Line. The years 1899 1901 were spent at his philosophical studies in Stoneyhurst but he was here for another year as Higher Line Prefect before he began his theological studies in Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1905. On completing his tertianship at Troncbiennes, he returned once more as Higher Line Prefect to Clongowes and filled that post until 1915. One tangible memorial of his term of office is the Higher Line Pavilion, which has given so many years of useful service while it forms a graceful landmark in the grounds of the College.

In 1915, Father Roche left Clongowes to take up the wardenship of University Hall where he remained until his appointment to the Rectorship of Mungret in 1922. He came back to Clongowes again, this time as Rector, in 1927. The tangible memorial of his rectorship is the New Building which was begun in 1929. Succeeded by Father Fergal McGrath as Rector in 1933, Father Roche spent the next four years in Dublin but returned for his last period in Clongowes in 1938. He was now close on the scriptural sepuaginti anni, yet we find him posted as Assistant Procurator, Director of the Junior Sodalities and Editor of the Clongownian. He returned, however, to Rathfarnham, in 1945, as he was suffering from diabetes and needed the treatment which could be got more easily in the city than in a country house. The last three years of his life were spent at The Hospice for the Dying, Harold's Cross.

From the foregoing account, it will be seen that for many years of his active life, Father Roche filled posts of responsibility. It is unnecessary for the present writer to emphasise the fact that he filled success fully the positions of trust given him by the Society. The fathers and mothers of boys who were entrusted to his care, past pupils on the threshold of life's responsibilities and in need of a steadying band and a word of kindness, can all testify to the deep understanding and humanity of this great priest. But his religious colleagues, too, will long cherish the memory of Father Roche, both as Superior and as colleague.


The Late Fr George Redington Roche

An Appreciation

Father George halted on the ground floor gallery at Rathfarnham Castle where he had been walking with no little difficulty. When I asked him if he was getting better his reply was unhesitating “I have no ambitions about getting well - I am ready”. Shortly afterwards, a severe stroke added to his other infirmities and necessitated his removal to the Hospice for the Dying at Harold's Cross. His speech and memory were gone and it seemed as if the end was only a matter of days. Yet, almost two years afterwards he was still alive. During a visit to the Hospice his nurse said to me “We never had a more gentle or obedient patient”, and she might have added “more resigned”. What astounded those who called to see him was the fact that, despite his helplessness and sufferings, never did they hear a complaint uttered by him. Shortly after his arrival at the Hospital, Father George, greatly to every one's surprise, improved considerably in his speech and his memory made a remark able come-back. True, he was looked after with devoted care.

I set down here some few impressions of visits paid him. We were conversing one day for some little time when I said : “Father George, you must be in your present state, the winner of great blessings for the Society's missionary efforts”. With touching simplicity he answered : “I hope so”. On a visit to the Hospice some time later, full of admiration for the extraordinary patience with which he accepted everything, I suggested suddenly, but quietly : “Father George, you, as his Rector, gave Father John Sullivan the final absolution and consolation as he was about to die, so Father John must be at help to you now”.. Caught off his guard, his answer came. unhesitatingly “Indeed he is, and constantly very near me”.

Father Roche looked forward to visits from his friends and at all times was. interested in any news, however trivial, about Clongowes where a long part of his life, from boyhood to Rector, was spent. With Old Clongownians, he had amazing contacts, far and near. He seemed to have a genius. for finding out the weaker type who found it hard to stand up to the world's cruel usage. In his own undemonstrative way he proved a tower of strength to that weaker member who needed advice, encouragement and help.

Father George loved a quiet joke and this, coupled with a delicate sense of humour, made him a pleasant companion. He had a simple directness which marked a natural shyness. Until one came to know Father George well, his shyness tended to embarrass others. Yet, it came to be almost an endearing trait, when one entered into his friendship.

A life-long interest of his was, of course, the Clongowes Rugby and Cricket Teams which he knew intimately all over the years, either as a player himself when a a boy or afterwards as a Line Prefect. He told me that he played as a boy on the first Rugby Fifteen that Clongowes ever turned out. I never tired of the story, which I set down here with the typical questions and answers :

“Did you score!” “No”. “Where did you play?” “Full back”. “Who won the match?” “Nobody”. “Why?” “We never finished it”. “What happened?” “The Match was abandoned”. “Why?” “One of the Opposition Players died on the field”.

Again, when he played Cricket in Galway for the Community when on holidays :

“How did you get on?” “Not too well”. “Why?” “None of us did too well”. “Why?” “Our Opponents fared worse”. “Was it the weather?” “No”. “Why?”! “The crease was wretched”. “Did you enjoy the match?” “Not so much until it was over”. “Why?” “One of the other side said the ground was very poor, which the farmer owner overheard and indignantly objected, saying: ‘It was the best land in Galway’.”

In the evening of his life at the Hospice for the Dying, it was a long way back to his achievement in 1895, when, playing for the Community at Clongowes, he got four consecutive wickets in five balls for no runs.

The beautiful Pavilion ·which he, as Higher Line Prefect, and his great friend, the late Tom Cullen, erected in the Cricket grounds and is so much admired on Union Day, was built on the profits of the shop, or if you prefer so to put it, on the innumerable bars of chocolate which the boys consumed in those days of plenty and cheapness. This will be, for many years to come, please God, a worthy memorial of this great man who loved Clongowes so deeply. I leave to historians of Clongowes in the future, the story of his part in building the new Clongowes. He was Rector when this gigantic undertaking was got under way and before he relinquished office he saw the boys housed in a building that is the justifiable pride of Clongowes today.

He lies in Glasnevin. The life of a great soul, a great gentleman and a kind-hearted confessor has passed peacefully to its close. Full of charity, full of years and full of sympathy for all who came his way, he will be sadly missed. His long weary wait at the Hospice was eased by the skill and constant care of the nursing staff and consoled by and comforted by the devoted attention of his Rector, Father P J Kenny, whose care it was to bring to his old Higher Line Prefect the last comforts and Rites of Holy Church.

Sidney B Minch

Riordan, Edward, 1904-1987, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/384
  • Person
  • 31 August 1904-02 February 1987

Born: 31 August 1904, Cork City, County Cork
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1942
Died: 02 February 1987, Nazareth House, 16 Cornell St, Camberwell, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

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

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edward Riordan came from a remarkable Irish family. Of five boys, three became priests and two doctors. All four sisters received a tertiary education. The Christian Brothers in Cork educated him before he entered the Society at Tullabeg, 1 September 1924.
Riordan's Jesuit studies were all in Ireland, and his secular studies in the classics were undertaken at the National University at the colleges in Cork and Dublin. He was sent to Australia for his regency at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1932-35. He was ordained, 31 July 1939, and arrived back in Australia in 1944. After two years as socius to the master of novices he was appointed master for sixteen years, and more than 100 Jesuits were formed by him. In 1961 he was assigned to profess theology, First in the diocesan seminary at Glen Waverley, then at Canisius College, Pymble. These were not the happiest years for him, as he was well aware of his limitations as a teacher of theology.
At the age of 67 Riordan volunteered to teach English in Lahore, Pakistan, for four years, then returned to Australia to work with the poor at Salisbury North, Adelaide. Living in a housing commission dwelling was not easy, privacy was hard to find, but he loved the people and was loved by them. They called him 'Ned'. After six years in this work he went to live with the homeless men at Corpus Christi Community, Greenville, Victoria, where the men praised him for being a hopeful sign of God's wisdom and true human dignity After four years his memory began to fade and he was forced to retire to the Hawthorn parish community The sisters at Nazareth House eventually cared for him. His memory had practically almost gone.
He was perceived by his novices to combine the rationality of John Fahy with the genuine affective devotion of John Corcoran. He taught his novices the deepest truths of the following of Christ, he lived by those truths as he taught them, and he carried them superbly into the life he led when his term as master of novices was over. His whole life was one of humble service The way he showed was an austere way, one of prayer, self-denial and fidelity He lived a life of great personal poverty and self-sacrifice. Rarely did his novices see the man who in his younger days had been a merry companion and the life of the party. He loved the stage and was a good actor and enjoyed proclaiming poetry and prose. Shakespeare was a particular love.
There was fire in Riordan, there were flashes of merriment but so much was suppressed. It was his understanding of his role. However, he mellowed in his latter years and entered into the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. In himself he was not an aloof person but very companionable. He was not a hard man, but rather had the gift of strong gentleness. He was at peace with himself, and content with his own company, deeply prayerful, and at home with the Blessed Trinity, a priest after the mind of St Ignatius Loyola.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 62nd Year No 2 1987


Fr Edward Riordan (1904-1927-1987) (Australia)

31st October 1904: born. Ist September 1924: entered SJ.
1924-26 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1926-29 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1929-32 philosophy: 29-'30 Milltown, 1930-32 Tullabeg.
5th April 1931: formally transferred to Australia.
1933-35 (three years) Australia: St Aloysius College, Milson's Point, North Sydney, regency.
1936-'41 Ireland. 1936-'40 Milltown Park, theology, 31st July 1939: ordained a. priest, 1940-41 Rathfarnham, tertianship. (Late 1941: probably travelling to Australia. 1942: the Australian catalogue lists him among its overseas members in Ireland, while the Irish catalogue makes no mention of him, not even among the Australian Jesuits residing in Ireland. He may have been in an intermediate position - on the high seas – when both catalogues were being edited.) .
1943-70, 1975-87 Australia.
1943-61 Loyola College, Watsonia (Melbourne area): 1943-44 socius to the master of novices; 1945-61 Master of novices. 1962 Corpus Christi college, Glen Waverley (Melbourne area), professor of dogma, spiritual father to the seminarians. 1963-68 Canisius college, Pymble (Sydney area), professor of theology (1963-65 minor course, 1966-68 dogma; 1964-67 prefect of studies). 1969-70 Jesuit Theological College, Parkville (Melbourne area), professor of dogma, spiritual father.
1971-74 Pakistan: Loyola Hall, Lahore, pastoral work, giving Exercises.
1975-80 South Australia. Adelaide area, pastoral work, mostly in Salisbury North, while residing in Manresa, Norwood (1975), St Ignatius College, Athelstone (1976-78), and Salisbury North itself (1979-80).
1981-'7 Melbourne area: 1981-84 Corpus Christi men's hostel, Greenvale, pastoral work. 19858-6 Immaculate Conception residence, Hawthorn, praying for Church and Society. 20th February 1987: died.

“Ned came from a remarkable Cork family. Of the five boys, three became priests and two, doctors. All four girls had a tertiary education. His sister Una was due to revisit him in April. (Miss Una Riordan, 5 Egerton villas, Military hill, Cork.)

Rice, H Ignatius, 1908-1960, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/374
  • Person
  • 14 September 1908-22 February 1960

Born: 14 September 1908, Dundalk, County Louth
Entered: 09 November 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 02 February 1939, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 22 February 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 35th Year No 3 1960

Obituary :

Br Ignatius Rice (1908-1960)

Br. Rice was born at Dundalk on 14th September, 1908 and entered the Society on 9th November, 1927. On 20th February, 1960 he collapsed at his work at Milltown Park and died two days later in hospital without regaining consciousness.
After his noviceship he worked as cook in Belvedere, Rathfarnham, Leeson Street and Galway. His years in the kitchen accentuated a weakness in his right leg which had given him trouble even as a boy; and the heat and long hours standing by the range made him suffer great pain. Finally he had to give up the work of cooking and was sent to The Crescent in charge of the domestic staff, where he also worked in organising card drives in aid of the college building fund. While in Limerick he made many friends by his zeal and good humour.
In 1956 Br. Rice was sent to Milltown Park to help in the Library, and by reason of his energy and great natural intelligence he learnt the new art of book-binding very quickly and soon became a very valuable member of the staff of the bindery. This is the work on which he was engaged when he suffered the stroke which led to his sudden death.
The loss of Br. Rice was very deeply felt by the community in Milltown Park. In this province the number of Brothers in any house is necessarily very small. In these circumstances a man of unfailing courtesy and friendliness is a very great treasure; and Br. Rice was just such a man. Furthermore, he was always ready and willing to take on extra work when one of the other Brothers was away for holidays or to make a retreat. Br. Rice was very versatile and always seemed to be delighted to find some way in which he could be of service to the community in spite of his ill-health. Finally, he was in his own way a deeply religious man with a very true notion of the ideals of the vocation of a Jesuit Brother.
To his sister, his brothers and other relatives and to his many friends we offer our sincerest sympathy. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Ignatius Rice SJ 1908-1960
Br Ignatius Rice was born in Dundalk on September 14th 1908. All his life he was subject to an infirmity in his right leg which must have made his years as a cook and manductor a veritable martyrdom.

A good part of his religious life was spent in the Crescent where he was invaluable in organising charitable functions in aid of the school building fund.

His last years were spent at Milltown Park as a semi-invalid. Always a fund of good humour, he was willing, cheerful and deeply religious. Little was ever heard by his brethern of his sufferings in life. He gave a fine example of pain cheerfully borne.

He died on February 22nd 1960 from a stroke, which proved fatal.

Reilly, Conor S, 1930-2012, former Jesuit priest, chemist, professor

  • Person
  • 04 May 1930-20 May 2012

Born: 04 May 1930, Cork City, County Cork / Dundrum, Dublin, County Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1947, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February1966, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 20 May 2012, Enstone, Oxfordshire, England

Left Society of Jesus: 25 February 1972

Transcribed HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

by 1964 at McQuaid, Rochester NY, USA (BUF) studying
by 1965 North American Martyrs, Auriesvill NY USA (BUF) making Tertianship

Reidy, Michael, 1917-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/795
  • Person
  • 23 October 1917-18 January 2008

Born: 23 October 1917, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 18 January 2008, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/death-of-mick-reidy-sj/

Death of Michael Reidy SJ
Fr Michael Reidy SJ died peacefully in Cherryfield early on the morning of Friday 18 January 2008, aged 90 years. May he rest in the peace of the Lord. Fr. Michael (Mixer) in the loving care of the dedicated staff of Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home; sadly missed and deeply regretted by his loving sisters-in-law Chris and Nonie, his nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and a wide circle of friends, especially his very many past pupils of Belvedere College and by his Jesuit companions.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 24th Year No 2 1949
The Fire at Milltown Park :
Early in the morning of Friday, February 11th, fire broke out in the tailor's shop over the Refectory. The alarm was given and the Fire Brigade summoned. At first the progress of the fire was slow, but after a short time it became terribly rapid, and some of the Community were rescued barely in time. Fr. Johnston, Fourth Year Theologian, lost his life. He had remained to dress himself completely, as he was due to say Mass at the Sisters of Charity, Mount St. Anne's, and was asphyxiated by the fumes before he could escape - one may say, a martyr of Duty. Fr. Gannon got severely burned, and Mr. Reidy suffered injury to his spine as the result of a fall ; both are doing well and will, it is hoped, be none the worse in the end. The Fire Brigade was able to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the building where it had broken out.

Milltown Park, Dublin :
The morning of Friday, February 11th was a tragic morning here in Milltown Park. The two top stories of the Theologians House (built in 1908 by Fr. Finlay) were burnt out. Fr. James Johnston, a 4th Year Theologian lost his life, Fr. Gannon was severely burnt on his hands and face, and Mr. Reidy dislocated some of the vertebrae of his spine, jumping from a ledge underneath his window.
At 5.30 Br. Kavanagh discovered a fire in the Tailor's Room. He summoned Fr. Smyth, acting Minister, who telephoned for a fire brigade, while a few scholastics endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to extinguish the fire with Minimaxes and water. Br. Kavanagh carried. Fr. W. Gwynn (aged 84) to safety, and Fr. Smyth warned the occupants. of the Theologians House to make for the fire escape.
By this time the stairs end of the Theologians' House was burning fiercely; the fumes and heat in the corridors were unbearable, and it is due to the Mercy of God that so many were able to get to the fire escape before they were overcome with suffocation. In the meantime, the first of the fire brigades had arrived and Frs. Power, Hannigan, Gannon and a couple of scholastics were rescued. The firemen then concentrated on saving the New House which was by this time filling with smoke.
A roll-call shortly after 6 o'clock confirmed that Fr. Johnston was missing, but by this time the whole of the doomed wing was ablaze. Coincidentally with the celebration of the Community Mass at 7.15 the six fire brigades got the conflagration under control.
Offers of assistance and accommodation began to pour in from all sides and within a couple of days ran into thousands.
The Scholastics were transferred to the Retreat House, Rathfarnham, where they stayed for four days. They will always remember the kindness and hospitality shown by the Rector, the Community and the Retreat House staff of Rathfarnham.
On Tuesday 15th the Scholastics returned to Milltown, where a field kitchen, presented by the Army, had been installed. They occupied the Retreat House and many of the rooms had to accommodate two occupants, as the Minister's House also had to be vacated owing to damage and water.
On Friday 18th, the ‘octave' of the fire’, lectures were resumed, and routine was gradually established.
Fr. Gannon recovered rapidly and hopes to be back in Milltown soon. Mr. Reidy is also on his feet again, and he too hopes to be out of hospital in the near future, though he will be partially encased in plaster of paris for a considerable time.
The majority of the occupants of the Theologians' House lost all their personal effects, notes, etc. Fr. Gannon, however, being at the end of the corridor, and having his door closed, will salvage all his books and notes.

◆ Interfuse No 137 : Autumn 2008 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2008


Fr Michael Reidy (1917-2008)

23rd October 1917: Born in Dublin
Early education at Belvedere College
7th September 1936: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1938: First Vows at Emo
1938 - 1941: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1941 - 1944: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1944 - 1946: Belvedere College - Regency; H Dip in Ed
1946 - 1950: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1949: Ordained at Milltown Park
1950 - 1951: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1951 - 1982: Belvedere College - Teacher, Chaplain to News Boys Club and Legion of Mary; work with St. Vincent de Paul Society
2nd February 1981: Final Vows
1982 - 1983: Gardiner Street - Sabbatical (3 months)
1983-2001: Belvedere College -
1983 - 1999: Pastoral work Gardiner St.; “Penny Dinners”:
1999 - 2001: Off “Penny Dinners"; Spiritual Director (SJ)
2001 - 2008: Cherryfield - Prayed for Church and Society.
18th January 2008: Died peacefully at Cherryfield.

Frank Sammon writes:
Gerry Walsh, for so many years dedicated to the Jesuit Community at Belvedere and its apostolates, noted that “Mickser” rather than “Mixer” is the right way to spell the name by which Michael Reidy was known to generations of Belvedereans. There was an Irish Comedian whose name was Mickser Reid. Michael was happy to call himself “Mixer” or “Mickser” - and at one of our Class of 1966 Reunions he told us, with a laugh, that he was happy to be with us for our Class Reunion - as a “good Mixer/”Mickser”.

Michael Reidy was associated with Belvedere College for most of his life. He seemed to be the Jesuit with whom Belvedere Past Pupils could most easily indentify - because of his simplicity, his humility, his kindness, his good humour and his holiness. Michael lived out these aspects of Jesuit life in the Belvedere Jesuit Community. These years saw the Jesuit Community at Belvedere change from a community numbering close to thirty Jesuits to a community close to half that number. The style of Jesuit education at Belvedere changed significantly - envisaged through the changes in headmaster (Gerry McLaughlin, Diarmuid O Laoghaire, Jack Leonard, Bob McGoran, Noel Barber, Bruce Bradley, Leonard Moloney and Gerry Foley (the first lay Jesuit Headmaster of Belvedere).

Michael was a student of theology at Milltown Park when the fire at Milltown occurred in 1949. For several years some of the Jesuits studying theology at Milltown had their beds in the Milltown Park Library - between the shelves. Michael injured his back at the time of the fire...

As a teacher in Belvedere he taught Religious Knowledge and Irish. It was as Spiritual Father at Belvedere that he would have been best known by our generation at Belvedere (1960 1966). He organized the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Society of St Vincent de Paul. He preached in the Boys' Chapel, And he interviewed each of the sixth year students (about seventy five in the class of 1966) as we prepared to leave Belvedere and began to make plans to get a job, study for one of the professions, leave Ireland for the UK, US or Canada, or join the Jesuits, one of the other orders or the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Henry Nolan was the Rector at Belvedere (1965), Jack Leonard was the Prefect of Studies. These were years when the Jesuits world-wide were introducing changes instigated by the Second Vatican Council and the Thirty First General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (1965-1967). These were years when the culture and the life-style of Jesuit Community life and Jesuit Education went through huge changes.

As Spiritual Father in Belvedere he interviewed all the Leaving Certificate class and discussed with them their plans for when they left Belvedere. I told Michael that I was thinking of joining the Jesuits. Michael suggested that I might like to talk to the Jesuit Provincial - Brendan Barry - who was then visiting the Belvedere Jesuit Community.

Maybe his attraction to the Belvedere Past was his availability and his interest in pupils and past pupils. They sensed that he was present with them and was happy to be with them. They felt, perhaps, that he was content to be there with them - sharing a memory, a bit of news, a joke. He was happy to be with a group connected with Belvedere. They felt he wasn't so busy that he would be rushing away from them.

Michael Reidy was linked in his last years with Cherryfield Community. He used a walking frame. In the years at Cherryfield he always looked forward to going back to Belvedere for a feast-day celebration in the Jesuit Community, an event organized by a class of old Belvedereans or to attend meetings connected with the Belvedere Lourdes group or the Belvedere Youth Club. He conveyed a sense of good humour - to “how are you?” the reply would come: “could be worse!”. There would be a chuckle that expressed a sense of humour as he bore his health struggles with patience. He kept an interest in the lives of the boys. He would mention that he met somebody - and would give a short account of their life. He would signal if there was a difficult situation in their life.

His involvement - in his later years - with the Lourdes group from Belvedere - was a very important commitment; his presence, his involvement in the committee and his appeal to the Past Pupils for financial support for the work. He worked a lot with Eamonn Davis in making the arrangements for the Annual Lourdes Pilgrimage.

Another big commitment he had was to the Belvedere Youth Club - as Chaplain. This would have commenced - in the years soon after his ordination - with his involvement as Chaplain for the Sunshine House groups at Balbriggan; and with the Belvedere Newsboys Club which later became the Belvedere Youth Club. Paul Brady, Director of the Belvedere Youth Club, and Michael Reidy were awarded the Belvedere College Justice Award. Michael was involved in organizing Retreats and Mass for the Belvedere Youth Club. In recent years he would have been present at most of the gatherings.

What was it in him that drew people to him? His humour, his wit, his enjoyment of celebrations. Michael liked a party. He enjoyed gatherings of Past Pupils. He felt happy to be associated with Belvedere College and with the groups that sprouted from it. He was blessed to live almost his entire life in Belvedere College.

In a life-time of 90 years, almost all were spent in Belvedere - as student, scholastic, young Jesuit priest, as a “mature” Jesuit and as an older Jesuit. “Per Vias Rectas” was the legend that Michael was happy to give shape to his Jesuit life.

The decision to amalgamate the Jesuit Communities of Belvedere College and the Gardiner Street Jesuit Community meant that Michael was stationed in Gardiner Street for a short number of years. He would make the journey from Great Denmark Street over to Gardiner Street at a slow pace - greeting people he met along the way and bringing his faith and his goodness to those he met along the footpath.

A final image of Michael Reidy that I came across in recent weeks was in a collection of photographs of John Paul II's visit to Ireland in 1979. One of the photographs of the Mass in the Phoenix Park shows a group of Irish priests during the Mass in the Phoenix Park. One can pick out Michael's profile among the faces of that huge crowd. That is an image Michael would be happy with - celebrating the Mass, in a large gathering of people with a huge cross-section of Irish people coming together for a special celebration led by John Paul II.

Reid, Desmond, 1921-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/727
  • Person
  • 14 May 1921-20 February 2007

Born: 14 May 1921, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 December 1940, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 22 April 1977, Kingsmead Hall, Singapore
Died: 20 February 2007, Mount Alvernia Hospital, Singapore - Indonesian Province - Malaysia (MAS)

Part of the Kingsmead Hall, Singapore community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 04 February 1977 ; HK to IND (MAS) : 1991

by 1973 at Singapore (HK) working

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - O’Connells Schools; Apprenticed to an outfitter before entry

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007


Fr Desmond (Des) Reid (1921-2007) : Malaysia Singapore Region

14th May 1921: Born in Dublin
Early education - Eccles St. Dominican, and O'Connell's CBS
7th December, 1940: Entered the Society at Emo.
1942 - 1945: Rathfarnham - BA in UCD History, Latin
1945 - 1948: Tullabeg - Philosophy
1948 - 1950: Mungret - Teacher
1950 - 1954: Milltown Park - Theology
31 July, 1953: Ordained at Milltown Park
1954 - 1955: Rathfarnham – Tertianship
1955 - 1963: Leeson Street - Minister, Asst. Editor, Studies.
2nd February, 1956: Final Vows, St. Ignatius, Leeson St.
1963 - 1969: College of Industrial Relations - Minister, Lecturer in Social Philosophy, Director Pre-Marriage Courses
1969 - 2006: Singapore, Parish of St. Ignatius, Kingsmead Hall
20th February, 2007: Died at Mt. Alvernia, Singapore

Excerpts from “A Tribute to Fr. Desmond Reid”, published by the Parish of St. Ignatius, Singapore, May 2007:
Once upon a time, a young Irishman left home and family for a distant land not knowing what lay ahead, but only that he had to go because the people there needed him. More than the apprehension of what to expect of a different culture, he was initially overwhelmed by the incredibly hot weather, only to thrive in it later as he was a “hot-house plant”.

The natives were extremely friendly and welcoming. Before long, everyone in the village got to know this humble, kind, caring, amiable, learned ang-moh, whom they invited to their homes and social functions. He would make it a point to mix with all who would invite him. He was at home with the young and old, the well-heeled and those whose heels had seen better days, the erudite and the retired. He was, if you wish, like the proverbial fairy godmother in every fairy tale, except that this one was for real.

He made it a point to be available to all who called on him because he was faithful to the One Who sent him. He tried his best to speak and think and act like the One Who, because of which he touched the lives of many individuals. Never judgmental or harsh, he attended to each and everyone with such care and attention that it made them feel special. This issue of SHARING features the stories of some of these folks.

Plagued by a bad back and a pair of equally disagreeable legs, he never complained or let them get in the way of what he was doing. Always mindful of the One Who sent him, he remarked several times that he was ready to “go home” if the One should call. That didn't happen for many, many years, until that fateful 20" February morning in 2007. And he lived happily ever after in the house of the One Who sent him,
Stephen Lee

He came for his first meeting with us on his scooter -- thin, wiry and white-haired. He told us he had a few health problems. Foremost of which, at that time, was the tendency to get a clot in a leg artery which caused the leg to swell like Popeye's. This was accompanied by fever and a lot of pain. They told him in Ireland that the heat in a tropical climate would do him good. This was one reason why he was sent here.

I was first surprised by his homilies – which we call allocutions. Coming from a Jesuit, they were unfanciful, down to earth, factual, and yet powerful in content. Later, we discovered what a lasting impact had on us. He was much quoted and appreciated.

One of the Junior Legionaries remembers best the parable that Fr. Reid told of the boy who was walking along the road and saw a snail crossing the road in the path of a car. The boy kicked the snail quickly to get it out of the way, and thus saved it. Nursing his pain in the ditch, the snail cursed the boy who kicked him. Fr. Reid said we are often like that with God. He sends us pain and sorrow, and we curse our fate. Only God, who can see the bigger picture, knows why it happened. Often it is to save us from greater dangers we cannot see or fathom. We have to remind ourselves of this story and encourage others, too, in their woes to trust in God.

The grapevine told us that Fr. Reid was a worrier because if things could go wrong they usually did. His mother died when he was young. His father's business failed, but he forbade his two priest sons from leaving the priesthood to help out. His priest brother, a Jesuit in Hong Kong, was shot and killed when investigating a night-time intruder. For someone who knew the value of suffering, sometimes Fr. Reid wondered if God sent him many sufferings for the good of souls. But as he lamented to someone, it is easier said than done to accept God's will constantly.

A familiar sight was that of Fr. Reid walking down the driveway with the Indian drunk who had come again for a handout. The man was clutching a two-dollar bill and Fr. Reid had his arm around the man's shoulders, like one supporting a good friend, and escorting him down the road for a good send-off.

Fr. Reid was specially known, of course, for his homilies. We are all familiar with the way he spoke, commanding attention from his first word to the last. He spoke barely above a whisper, but always simply and in a measured tone. As a teacher I always longed for this gift of Fr. Reid.
Joan Fong

I would see Fr. Reid sitting outside the residence, quietly praying, his gaze always on the statue of Our Lady. He would always greet me warmly and ask how I was, and I would share with him my thoughts and worries, and he would always say, “You're alright”, and tell me to keep praying and to trust in God. I came to experience real pastoral comfort and solace through this simple man, who accepted me with all my faults and welcomed me with open arms. He might never have thought that he was doing anything special, but he would be surprised how many others feel differently. I began to walk to church not just to pray, but to be just simply with Fr. Reid. I thank God for the special moments with Fr. Reid, priest and friend extraordinaire.
Terence Teo

Reid, Derek, 1927-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/693
  • Person
  • 01 March 1921-30 November 1992

Born: 01 March 1921, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1962, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 30 November 1992, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Sinensis province (CHN)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1953 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Derek Reid S.J.

As reported in our last issue and also in the daily press, Father Derek Reid SJ died in mysterious circumstances at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, on 29 November 1992.

Cardinal Wu was the chief concelebrant at a Requiem Mass attended by a packed church in Causeway Bay on 5 December and burial followed immediately afterwards at Happy Valley.

Father Derek Reid was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 1 March 1927. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Emo, Ireland, on 7 September 1944, and went through what was then the normal course of formation for Irish Jesuits.

After two years of novitiate, he studied for a B.A. degree at University College, Dublin, a constituent college of the National University of Ireland. This was followed by three years’ study of philosophy in St. Stanislaus College, situated in the Irish midlands.

Father Reid came to Hong Kong in 1952. His first two years were spent in the study of Cantonese. For the first year he stayed at the MEP House, 1 Battery Path. This building was later used for law courts and now houses part of the Government Information Services. In the second year, he transferred to the newly-acquired Xavier House in Cheung Chau.

From 1954-55, Father Reid, still a scholastic, spent one year teaching at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, then situated in Robinson Road.

He returned to Ireland in 1955 for four years of theology at Milltown Park, in Dublin, At the end of the third year he was ordained priest on 31 July 1958. Theological studies were followed by a final year of spiritual formation in Rathfarnham Castle, also in Dublin.

In 1960 Father Reid returned to Hong Kong where he was to spend the rest of his life and went back to teaching in Wah Yan Hong Kong. The college had in the meantime moved to its present site in Wanchai. During those first years he is listed as teaching religion, history and English Language. He was also the spiritual director of the boys and in charge of the night school (since discontinued).

In 1966, he became principal and supervisor of Wah Yan College in Waterloo Road, Kowloon. He held this post for 12 years and was largely instrumental in maintaining the high standards for the which the school is known.

In 1978 he returned to Wah Yan Hong Kong as a teacher in the ranks but in 1983 he was appointed principal and supervisor of the college.

In 1985, he stepped down as principal but continued part-time teaching. In 1989 he became superior of the Wah Yan Hong Kong Jesuit community, a post he held until this year, when Father John Russell assumed the post.

During the Requiem Mass on 5 December, Father James Hurley SJ, assistant pastor at St Vincent’s Parish, Wongtaisin, and a contemporary of Father Reid, gave the homily in Chinese.

Father Hurley pointed out that Father Reid was a man of all-round and exceptional ability. This was recognised soon after he joined the Jesuits and, even before his ordination as a priest, he had been given many responsibilities. After his return to Hong Kong his great qualities were even more clearly seen.

Whatever work was entrusted to him, he took seriously, worked hard at it, did it competently, undeterred by difficulties, and never gave up until it was completed.

He had a deep sense of responsibility and people naturally had great confidence in him, He was always very ready to help people and Father Hurley gave examples of the help that had been given to himself and others.

Father Reid made an outstanding contribution to the education of young people in Hong Kong and one that was greatly appreciated. He not only encouraged students to study hard, he urged them to take part in a wide range of extracurricular activities, to broaden their outlook, and show their concern for people and for society.

He had great confidence in young people, and while some urged him to act with greater caution, he proceeded to give great freedom to the students of Wah Yan Kowloon in organizing and building up a Students’ Association, something which they did very successfully.

In a pastoral letter in 1989 Cardinal John Baptist Wu urged Catholic school authorities to raise the level of education in democracy in schools. Father Reid had already anticipated the Cardinal’s recommendations more than a decade previously.

Father Reid had many interests. For example, he was a very good football player and, in his later years, he regularly played tennis. Indeed, he had played a game on the day of his death.

Besides his educational work Father Reid did a good deal of pastoral work both in school and in the many churches where he regularly said Mass, preached and administered the sacraments. He was not only a great headmaster, he was also a great priest, said Father Hurley.

Father Reid was highly respected by those who had dealings with him, He had very many friends. All of them, Jesuits, co-workers, students, Catholics and non-Catholics, will miss him greatly. “We shall never forget him,” said Father Hurley in conclusion.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 18 December 1992

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born in Dublin in 1927. He first came to Hong Kong as a Regent in 1953, and then returned as a Priest in 1960. He was a modest man of simple tastes and ordinary interests, who worked hard and go along well as a gentleman.

He was a highly respected Principal from 1967 until his untimely death in 192. He was open yet cautious and inspired great confidence in others. Many past students of Wah Yan feel they owe him much.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 72 : Easter 1993

Respected teacher and Educational Administrator : Fr Derek Reid

Harold Naylor

Now six weeks after his death, the “Agatha Christie: mystery of it all remains. A few hypotheses from the accompanying letter have been interpolated into this account (penned on 28th December, 1992) after the paragraph that ends, There is still no police report of the cause of death.

Referring to the 29th November, the Chinese Province News says, “He was last seen at around 8.00 pm on Sunday evening. On his table was found the missal opened at the readings for the Mass for the morning of the 30th”.

To say that many felt the grief of loss for the example of a Confucian gentleman would be an understatement. The large numbers at the HK Funeral Parlour on the night of 4th Dec., and the great funeral Requiem Mass in the Chapel of Christ the King (where he often said the English Sunday Mass), St. Paul's Convent, Causeway Bay, showed not only the respect of priests (over a hundred concelebrating) and Religious, but also the few hundred past students who made up the majority of mourners at the 10 am Requiem Mass on Saturday December 6th. At the interment later, which Cardinal Wu officiated at, there was an unusual crowd of people who felt they had lost a good friend.

I first met Derek as my examiner for the De Universa in Tullabeg in 1959. He was discreet and retiring, as he always was. In August 1960 we travelled from Naples to Hong Kong, in company with a fellow scholastic Brendan James, and priests returning: James Hurley, Peadar Brady, Gerry Keane. The talk among us was that Derek would be Principal of Wah Yan College. In fact he was an ordinary teacher of English and European History, until six years later when he became Principal in Kowloon Wah Yan. In his twelve years as Principal, he earned the deep respect of the teachers for his gentle manner, which never confronted anyone, but rather gave each a feeling that he had good plans for many years ahead.

The senior students found him very supportive. Under him the new Students Association became the most prominent in the whole of Hong Kong, It was at the time of cultural revolution in China, and of strong student movements. He gave the students much autonomy and support, and they in return gave not only full cooperation but made the school known as the freest and most democratic in Hong Kong. He not only wrote good testimonial letters for students leaving the school, but continued to take a personal interest in them in later years.

A good footballer until the early seventies, he took a keen interest in school sports. This gave him an added contact with students. By about 1975, he had an operation for varicose veins in his leg and so gave up football. He took up tennis. In fact, the very afternoon he died he was playing a spot of tennis with Paddy O'Rourke and two lay teachers, as was his Sunday afternoon custom.

Leaving Kowloon as Principal, he went to Hong Kong Wah Yan as an ordinary teacher, He preferred this, and had started there in 1954. Being a teacher did not prevent him being an advisor to many educators outside. He had been chairman of the Grants School Council (72-74) and earned the respect of many heads of schools. He was conservative in an intelligent way, and also very human, but in a very retiring way. He was a man of regular habits and settled tastes. He liked a game of bridge. He used to keep up contact with Donny Reynolds, after he left the Society in '76 by playing bridge with him once a month or so. Donny went to his reward and Derek was at his funeral - about four weeks before his own. In fact, Derek was playing bridge with his brother Desmond, along with Joseph Garland and Robert Ng, two nights before he died.

I appreciated Derek for fully supporting the Education Department request to take in two extra classes to enable the policy of compulsory free education for all to the age of fifteen, which was introduced in 1972 after the Governor, MacLehose's, speech. As a teacher under him, he gave me all the freedoms took, and supported my strange methods and deep involvement outside the school in ecumenical and social movements. I think most of the other teachers felt that they had a friend in the shy and cool man, who kept much to his office, and yet knew every thing that was going on.

Now six weeks after his death, the “Agatha Christie” mystery of it all remains. On the morning of Monday 30th November, the Canteen staff knocked loudly at the room of Seán Coghlan (Principal) at 6.15. There was panic, and mutters of the body of Joe Mallin in a rubbish container in the school canteen. John Russell (Rector) had also been stirred. Fortunately, Joe Mallin was seen on the stairs, and the three went to the canteen. The police were already there and nothing could be touched. They saw the body of an old grey haired caucasian in a 1.3m oil barrel which was used for refuse. The head was bowed. He was not recognised! Seán had a quick breakfast foreseeing difficulties with the students already arriving. The Vice-Principal came. Soon the boys came looking for Fr. Reid, who was to say the 7.45 Boys Mass. There was a search made for him, and when his room was entered, there was every evidence that he had not used it at night. Gradually the tragedy dawned. That body in the canteen, with shoes neatly by the barrel and glasses neatly on the table, was Derek's! The Police report was of no marks of violence on the body. The detective in charge later said, that he had taken the barrel away and tried to get into it, but failed. There is still no police report of the cause of death.

He certainly did not commit suicide, and there could be no one who could have anything against him. there is not only grief in his community, but also fear. It is not know how he died. It is a mystery, We await a police report on cause of death... If it says by suffocation - then could it be robbers? But there is nothing to steal! There are reports of the canteen having been burgled of money from the soft drinks dispensing machine in the past, about £30 or $40 which only teenagers might be interested in - But how did Derek get there? There is talk of Derek missing his tennis cap and going down to the canteen, next to the tennis court - Two tennis caps were found in his tennis bag in is room! Could he have recognised some boys, did something go terribly wrong? - I dread to hear the end for the sake of stupid boys. Was it some mad man? - But could he do it alone? and why bring the body there? It is a mystery, which had better be forgotten. Let us remember this good man.

Several days after, I met Francis Chen, one of his close friends. They liked each other's company and watched the golf championships every year. Francis had met him in very strange circumstances. A few weeks after Derek came here as Principal, the eldest son, then a senior student in the school, was found hanging in the bathroom at home. The mother had a Master's degree in counselling from Cornell Uni, N.Y. Francis found in Derek a sympathy and understanding which made them friends evermore. Then Mabel Chou is another, whom he baptised when her son was a senior student here. It could be said that she saved his life seven years ago, when she visited him in hospital with her husband, a cardiac specialist. Derek's medication was changed and he survived as a frail man with Parkinson's disease. He retired as Principal of HK Wah Yan in 1988. He became Rector in 1989 but resigned for health reasons in July 1992. A holiday in Ireland brought him back with more vigour and absence of shaking of the hand and head. I met him on the feast of Christ the King, when he brought his brother Des (Singapore) from the airport, Des was to preach at his funeral three weeks later!

Regularly saying English Sunday Mass in a parish or Wah Yan, he was a good religious Jesuit, calm and regular. May we remember him as a respected teacher and gentleman. And may his gentle prayers help his past students and friends to be more like him!

Redmond, Stephen B, 1919-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/833
  • Person
  • 26 December 1919-14 January 2017

Born: 26 December 1919, Ballsbridge, Dublin
Entered: 28 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1958, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Died: 14 January 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Early Education at Holy Faith, Haddington Road, Dublin; Synge St CBS, Dublin; UCD

1942-1945 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1945-1947 Belvedere College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD (45-46)
1947-1951 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1951-1952 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1952-1971 Gonzaga College SJ - Teacher
1971-1979 Lusaka, Zambia - Assistant to Novice Master; Teaching Theology; Writer; Music Apostolate at Jesuit Educational Institute, Xavier House, Chelston
1979-2010 John Austin House - Music Apostolate; Writer
1989 Assistant Province Archivist; Librarian; Directs Spiritual Exercises
2010-2016 Milltown Park - Music Apostolate; Writer; Spiritual Director; Spiritual Director in Legion of Mary and St Joseph’s Young Priests Society
2013 Music Apostolate; Writer; Spiritual Director in Legion of Mary
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/podcasts/stephen-redmond-sj-looks-back-life-jesuit/

Always young in heart
Stephen Redmond SJ spent his life writing, teaching and composing music, including a song for the Eurovision in 1969. He died on Saturday, aged ninety-seven. In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications when he was 93, he talks about his childhood and his life as a Jesuit.
In ‘the good old days’ when Stephen Redmond SJ was teaching English and History in Gonzaga, he was also writing music. In 1968 his Irish song Gleann na Smól was in the final few from which Ireland’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest was chosen. Over the years – many years – he has written many other songs both in Ireland and later in Zambia, where he ran a weekly radio programme.
He published a selection in a CD called Wonder World: Songs for Children and the Young in Heart. The lyrics are by various poets, including four poems by Stephen himself. He wrote and performed (piano and voice) all the music. Proceeds from the sale of the CD goes to Third World charities.

Redmond, John, 1924-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/794
  • Person
  • 18 June 1924-29 September 2011

Born: 18 June 1924, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 29 September 2011, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/sadness-and-style/

Sadness and style
Fr John Redmond died peacefully in Cherryfield on 29 September at the age of 87. How would we like to remember John? In two scenes, from the start and the end of his adult
life. With a group of fellow about-to-be novices he hired a chauffeur-driven car and proceeded in style from Dublin to the noviciate in Emo. Other photos from this time show him handsome, stylish, full of charm. There is a transparent innocence and optimism in his face. He never lost that innocence. In his seventy years as a Jesuit, John schoolmastered and ministered as a priest. But he suffered from serious illness, initially depression, later accompanied by physical illness. Last month, after a particularly traumatic spell in hospital, he returned to Cherryfield literally weeping with joy that he would be able to die at home.
One remembers too a picture of the Belvedere Cricket Team from the college annual of 1942. A close friend describes it: “In the middle, small, confident, nonchalant in his blazer and whites is John the team captain (also a disconcerting slow bowler and steady bat). In the row behind, tall and angular, Dermot Ryan, namer of metropolitan parks. The photograph celebrates a victory and is full of life and promise.
Another memento from that time marks his victory in the Belvedere debating society. Classmate Garret Fitzgerald’s rapid-fire delivery had for once met its match. It was a wonderful consolation to the family that in his final days he returned to Cherryfield. Then he was at peace – like the man in Luke who was sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. That is how I will remember John, at peace at the end, as he was on that sunny day of cricket. I know he gave his best as a Jesuit for 70 years, even if he thought his best was not good enough. He never ceased to think of and pray for all his family and to thank God for all his good companions in the Society of Jesus. It is with thoughts such as these that I comfort myself.”
John’s contemporary, Dick Cremins, preached at the requiem Mass in Cherryfield:
“An early memory: in Emo we were gathered at the back door, waiting to go in after recreation. I said or did something unusual, at which he exclaimed encouragingly, “Brother Cremins, you missed your vocation!” Then his hand on his mouth, as he realised that in another sense this was not something one novice said to another. Even then John was the life and soul of the party.
In our years of formation, in Tullabeg and Milltown, he continued as a cheerful spirit, always engaged in the choir and on the stage. That was the man I left behind when I went to what was still Northern Rhodesia. We lost touch until 50 years later when I returned home and found he had become the Hermit of Cherryfield. He was odd, withdrawn, and never left his room. On the few occasions when I met him, I found him gracious, although I believe this was not the experience of every one, including his family. I heard then how he had isolated himself and given up work – until in the end there was no place for him except in this nursing home.
One of our contemporaries, Michael O’Kelly, who was a strong young man and one of the best footballers of our time, began in Tullabeg to complain about a pain in his knee. My reaction was to say to myself, “Why doesn’t he snap out of it and get on with life?” It was a cancer. In a short time his leg was amputated above the knee, and he died before he could be ordained. I learned not to take the pains of others so cavalierly.
Likewise, we should not underestimate John’s sufferings: isolation, depression (those who have never known it wonder why he didn’t snap them out of it), low self-esteem, a feeling of being useless and achieving nothing (what could be worse for a Jesuit?). John’s achievement was a life of suffering borne with great fortitude and who knows how much prayer. For that we give thanks.
Edmund Campion (d. 1581), in his Brag, spoke of being “merry in heaven” with his persecutors, a word he borrowed from Margerie Kempe (c. 1400). We pray that John may be merry with the Lord and that with help of his prayers we will join in their merriment when our time comes.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012


Fr John Redmond (1924-2011)

18 June 1924: Born in Dublin.
Early education at St. Vincent's CBS, Glasnevin and Belvedere College
7 September 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1952: Crescent College - Teacher (Drama, Choir, Games)
1952 - 1953: Clongowes - Teacher (Drama, Games)
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1962: Loyola House - Teacher of Religion and Philosophy at Bolton Street
2 February 1959: Final Vows at Loyola House
1962 - 1975: Gonzaga College: Spiritual Director to boys; Teacher; Prefect; Sports Trainer
1964: Teacher (rugby, cricket, games); Sub-minister; founded Vincent de Paul for boys in the school
1975 - 1985: Belvedere College - Teacher; Spiritual Father to students
1976: Spiritual Father to Students IV, III, II, I
1981: Assisted in Gardiner Street Church
1985 - 1994: Gardiner Street - Assisted in Church
1994 - 1997: Milltown Park - Pastoral ministry
1997 - 2004: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church
2000 - 2004: Assistant to Prefect of Health
2004 - 2011: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for the Church and the Society
from 2006 : Attached to Milltown Park Community

John Redmond was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in September 2001 following heart surgery in the Mater Private Hospital, and recovered well. He became a full-time member of Cherryfield Lodge in 2004. Following the death of his twin sister Peg, his condition deteriorated, particularly in the last year. After 2 days in a coma, he died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge at 9.30pm on Thursday 29 September 2011

Obituary : Paul Andrews

John entered the Jesuits in 1942, at a time when such an action was piously spoken of as “giving your life to God”. One was offering the Lord a chalice full of sweet wine, the whole of one's future. John made the offering with joy; he had a quality of optimism and enthusiasm which was infectious, and stood out even among the bright sparks who went with him to Emo. A couple of them joined him in hiring a chauffeur-driven car to carry them from Dublin to the noviciate. He wanted do it in style.

As we look back on his long life as a Jesuit, we can see how inadequate is the image of a goblet of sweet wine. Our lives and relationships are inevitably a mixed drink, bitter-sweet. We can see in retrospect what a mixture it was, at once richer and more painful than when we took vows. John's remarkable mother may have had some inkling of this. In his journal of jottings and quotations, John notes an extraordinary memory. On 18 June 1942: Upon my telling mother, with great joy, that I was going to join the Jesuits, she replied: “You do not know what you are doing!!!”

People have warm, happy memories of John in those early days: handsome, smiling and gifted in many directions. Despite his small stature he was a sportsman who could captain the Belvedere cricket team, swing a golf club, play a respectable game of soccer; and a debater who won the school prize ahead of the rapid-fire delivery of his classmate Garret Fitzgerald. He was at ease on the stage, singing, dancing, acting. And he was the best of company, with an unaffected charm.

He read English in UCD, and he left behind a journal with a telling collection of the literature that spoke to him, pages and pages of meticulously transcribed poems and prose. He obviously loved the romantic poets, Keats, Laurie Lee, Browning: The year's at the spring and day's at the morn... He copied at length St Augustine's account of the death of his mother Monica, and strong pieces from St Patrick, Newman and Fulton Sheen. Gerard Manley Hopkins features more than any other poet, but here we begin to see John's own history. He moves from Hopkins' wide-eyed love of nature: Look, look up at the stars! to the desolation of his late sonnets: I am gall, I am heart-burn. God's most deep decree Bitter would have me taste. My taste was me.

That gradual move from joy in the world around him to an overwhelming sense of his own inadequacy, is the story of his life, and difficult to understand from the outside. John taught in Bolton Street College of Technology for four difficult years, difficult because he was in strange territory with few of the old signposts to help him. He could not take for granted that his students were open to religion, much less that they were pious. Yet a recent encounter reveals another side of his ministry. David Gaffney was visiting houses in the parish of Esker when he met a parishioner outstanding for his devotion to the community and the parish. As they chatted, the man told David: As a young man I had no time for religion, really disliked it. But then I went to Bolton Street Tech and was taught by a priest called Father John Redmond; and he made such good sense of religion that it has stood to me ever since. I told John this story on his deathbed, but do not know if he was conscious enough to savour it.

John would have had little sense of success. In 1962 he moved into Jesuit schools, first Gonzaga, then Belvedere, as spiritual father, teacher and trainer of sports. He founded the Vincent de Paul Society in Gonzaga, and introduced generations of boys to an awareness of the poverty not far from their doors. He led pilgrimages to Lourdes, and could show a dazzling smile to the camera in the group photograph. But gradually in his middle years, in the nineteen sixties and seventies, he fell prey to the black dog of depression, which goes hand in hand with feeling unloved. The self-confidence needed to meet people, or to impose himself in a classroom, deserted him. He would look at his life, at his achievements, and wonder: is there anything there? Did I make any difference?

The changes in the church did nothing to cheer John. The new form of the Mass, which opened its treasures to so many Catholics, remained alien to him. The turmoil that followed Vatican II in the Church and in the Jesuits stirred him to anxiety and anger. That firm, well-rounded faith, nurtured in the hallowed parish of Iona Road, nursery of countless vocations, seemed to have less and less to say to the world around John.

His reaction to depression was to retire. It is not that he was neglected. While he did meet sometimes with the snap-out-of-it sort of advice, that was not the general pattern. In Gonzaga, Belvedere, Crescent, Milltown and Cherryfield, in varying degrees, his Jesuit colleagues agonised over how he could be lifted. Good professional help certainly mitigated some of the pain and damage. But increasingly through his seventies and eighties he tended to withdraw not merely from work but from his human contacts both with Jesuits and with his other kith and kin. Dick Cremins, a near-contemporary, was astonished on return from Zambia to find that the charming and sparkling young John he had known in the 1950s had become the hermit of Cherryfield. He could still be lovely company when the black dog was put outside the door. But most of the time he suffered, especially at losses like that of his twin sister Peg.

John's Requiem Mass was on the feast of a Scottish Jesuit martyr, St John Ogilvie. The government forces that captured him in Edinburgh, tortured him at length in the hope he would betray other Catholics. They crushed his limbs under huge weights. They pricked and pierced him with needles continuously for nine days and nights to keep him without sleep – but he maintained his patience and even gaiety right up to his last moment, when he was hanged in Glasgow.

John Ogilvie gave his life to God as a young man; John Redmond over nearly nine decades. It is only at the end that we can see what is meant by "giving our life to God". His tortures for the most part were not physical but interior, and they lasted for years. They climaxed during a terrible spell in hospital in his last month. When George Fallon arrived to drive him back to Cherryfield, the exhausted John broke down in tears of joy that he would be able to die at home. On the third page of his journal he had copied out Newman's prayer. Let me end with it:

“May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in his mercy may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last”.

Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

  • Corporate body
  • 1911-1986

In 1913, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) purchased the 16th century-built Rathfarnham Castle from a Dublin building company, Bailey and Gibson. Initially, the plan was for a noviciate for Jesuit novices and in time, for working men’s retreats to be established at the Castle. However, by September 1913, this had changed to a house of studies for those Jesuits attending university. This decision was made following the change of regulations to the National University requiring students to attend lectures whereas previously they could be prepared for examinations elsewhere. The Jesuit Juniors as they were known would live at the Castle and cycle to lectures at University College Dublin, then located at Earlsfort Terrace in the centre of Dublin.

The Jesuits engaged the architect, Charles B. Powell to modify the Castle in the summer of 1913. Blessed John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933) was Rector of Rathfarnham Castle for the years 1919-1924. Sullivan was a convert and the son of Sir Edward Sullivan, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (1883-1885). Sullivan’s rectorship was significant for the building of the retreat house in 1922, (working men’s retreats at the weekends and boy’s during the week). Some Jesuits on mission staff lived there. It became a home for tertian fathers (those Jesuits taking a renewal course following ordination) in 1940. The Castle continued to function as a Juniorate until 1975 and for retreats until 1986 when the Jesuits sold Rathfarnham Castle. The following year, it was purchased for the nation by the Office of Public Works.

James Brennan SJ, 30 July 1913-15 January 1919;
Charles Doyle SJ, 16 January 1919-26 July 1919;
John Sullivan, 26 July 1919-19 May 1924;
John Keane SJ, 20 May 1924-1 August 1930;
Thomas V Nolan SJ, 2 August 1930-23 June 1936;
Patrick Kennedy SJ, 24 June 1936-28 July 1942;
Hugh Kelly SJ, 29 July 1942-28 July 1948;
Patrick Kenny SJ, 29 July 1948-13 March 1955;
John McDonald SJ, 14 March 1955-28 June 1961;
Fergal McGrath SJ, 29 June 1961-30 July 1967;
Patrick Doyle SJ, 31 July 1967-30 June 1971;
Eric Guiry SJ, 1 July 1971-30 July 1974;
Matthew Meade SJ, 31 July 1974-31 August 1982;
Richard Brenan SJ, 1 September 1982-1985.

Quinn, Kevin, 1916-1994, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/549
  • Person
  • 21 March 1916-09 December 1994

Born: 21 March 1916, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 09 December 1994, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the John Austin, NCR, Dublin community at the time of death.

Educated at Crescent College SJ.

by 1956 at Gregorian, Rome Italy (ROM) teaching

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The word 'incisive' means 'sharp, clear and effective' and this word apples to Fr. Quinn who was a brilliant student, a clear, talented teacher, had 'justice for all' as a driving force in his life and apostolate. He did not hesitate to stand up to authority in civil, ecclesiastical, religious, trade union and employer circles when he felt justice was at stake – ‘even reducing the Rector of the Gregorian to tears over the way lay employees of that prestigious institution were treated.’

Fr Kevin was born in Limerick, Ireland, on 21 March 1917. He attended the Jesuit school, Crescent College and immediately afterwards entered the Society at Emo Park in 1933. The formation years of study matured him intellectually – university studies, philosophy, theology. He was ordained priest in Milltown Park, Dublin in 1947.

Before the end of 1949, he was called to prepare himself to be co-founder and lecturer in the recently begun Catholic Workers' College. He studied again at U.C.D. where he obtained a Master's degree with first class honours in Economic Science and National Economics in 1951. With this under his belt, he was posted to Rome to the Gregorian University to lecture in Economics for twelve years. He hated Rome and held that his posting was a mistake as the letter summoning him to Rome was address to Pater Quint!

From 1963 to 1969 he lived in Zambia, in Lusaka where he joined the Oppenheimer College (1963-1965) lecturing in Economics and became Vice Principal. Later when the Oppenheimer became the University of Lusaka, he moved there lecturing in Economics. In 1966 he was a member of The Commission of Enquiry into the Mining Industry 1966, Zambia's most important document yet on industry. He was considered to be ‘one of Zambia's most respected and experienced arbitrators in labour affairs’. For his work he was awarded ‘Officer of the Order of Distinguished Service’ by the President in 1966.

He returned to Ireland to the College of Industrial Relations (the former Catholic Workers' College) as director of studies and lecturer where he remained for twenty years.

He lived his life in a spirit of submission to the will of God as he understood it through the wishes of his superiors and ordinary day-to-day events. He was a genuinely humble man with a spirit of detachment and availability. He shared his knowledge with the learned and the unlearned. ‘Kevin possessed many social virtues which endeared him to those about him, especially his colleagues in a common enterprise. His loyal co-operation was very notable, likewise his' almost perpetual good humor and his ability to see both sides of a dispute and provide at times a Solomonesque solution which found acceptance’.

From 1986 to 1994 he was minister in our houses. His health began to fail and he died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge on December 9 1994, aged 78 years.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr Kevin Quinn (1916-1994)

21st March 1916: Born in Limerick.
Secondary studies: Crescent College, Limerick
7th Sept. 1933: Entered Society at St. Mary's, Emo
1935 - 1938: Juniorate at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
1938 - 1941: Studied Philosophy at Tullabeg
1941 - 1944: Regency at Clongowes Wood College
1944 - 1948: Studied Theology at Milltown Institute
30th July 1947: Ordained a Priest
1948 - 1949; Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle
1949 - 1950: Clongowes Wood College - Master
1950 - 1951: Leeson Street - Studied MA at UCD.
1951 - 1963: Gregorian, Rome - Lecturer in Economics
1963 - 1969: Zambia - Lecturer & Vice-Principal at College of Social Science.
1969 - 1973: College of Industrial Relations - Director of Studies & Lecturer in Social Science.
1973 - 1986: Lecturer in Economics
1986: Minister
1989 - 1994: John Austin House - Minister
9th Dec. 1994: Fr. Quinn had been in failing health since last August. He was brought to Cherryfield Lodge while awaiting a bed in the Bon Secours. After a stay at the Bon Secours, he was back in Cherryfield Lodge since the end of November and died there, peacefully, on Friday December 9th, 1994, aged 78

        Caoimhín, I know not how to sing
your gifts of mind and heart and everything
that Love Incarnate fashions for a man
pledged not to me an 'also ran
Your sterling worth was measured true
by all who lived and toiled with you

So wrote a contemporary of Kevin's in a poem celebrating the diamond jubilee of eleven priests who had entered the novitiate at Emo in the autumn of 1933. The author confesses his inability to reveal in the allocated six lines the hiddden treasure of goodness which he and his companions discovered in Kevin during their sixty years in the Society of Jesus.

It was common knowledge even from his noviceship days that he was endowed with a variety of intellectual, social and practical gifts, apart from those supernatural gifts by which Incarnate Love was drawing him to Himself for his own purposes. Yet throughout his long life much remained hiden or at best the subject of surmise while others blossomed with the passing years.

His intellectual gifts matured during his time at UCD and their growth accelerated in philosophy in Tullabeg 1938-41. He spent his next three years teaching in Clongowes, sharing his ideas and ideals with outstanding success. His talent for teaching and opening up young minds became apparent. This was for him a happy and rewarding time. But it was in Milltown Park that his intellectual power became apparent to his professors and fellow-students alike. He was equally at home in dogma and moral. He had little difficulty in passing his Ad Grad in June 1948 before going on to tertianship in Rathfarnham in the September of that year.

After tertianship, to the surprise of many, he was re-appointed to teaching in Clongowes. But before the end of 1949 the call came to prepare himself to be a co-founder and lecturer in the still inchoate Catholic Workers' College. This new appointment entailed two more years of study in Economic Science and National Economics at UCD, where he obtained a Master's degree with first class honours.

One might be excused for thinking that Kevin had reached the end of the beginning of his life-apostolate when he started to lecture to working-men in February 1952. But not long after he was called to take up a permanent post in a newly-founded Institute of Social and Economic Studies attached to the Gregorian University in Rome. He spent the next eleven years lecturing and counselling and in building up a library for the Institute. Then he was seconded to the Oppenheimer Institute in Lusaka, the nucleus of the University of Zambia. He returned to Ireland in 1969 to become Director of the College of Industrial Relations and he remained there for twenty years lecturing in Statistics and contributing greatly to the work of the College.

From this summary of his varied work and apostolate it is clear that at no point did he choose his assignment over the forty-four years of his active ministry. This speaks eloquently of his spirit of detachment and his availability, though it tells us little of what all this cost him personally. It does reveal that there was not a shred of careerism in his make-up neither as to the choice of work nor as to its location or other circumstances.

There are still other aspects of Kevin's authentic Ignatian spirit. Like most of us he had his likes and dislikes as regards his associates or those for whom he worked; but I never knew him to allow personal preferences to intrude on his apostolate. He was on friendly and cooperative terms with his colleagues and he shared his knowledge with the learned and unlearned with equal enthusiasm. He had no 'hang-ups' as between helping the poor rather than the rich, the cleric rather than the lay-person. All who came to his lecture-room or office received the best service he could give. He was a man for all the Lord sent to him: a man without a trace of intellectual snobbery.

Kevin was a very private person and did not speak easily of interior things or tell of all God had done for him. But we know from the Lord that a tree can be known by its fruit; so it was patent to those who lived with him over the years that he was a genuinely humble man. He certainly lived his life, especially after his ordination and tertianship, in a spirit of submission to the will of God as he understood it through the wishes of superiors and day-to-day events.

To persevere in religious life is not always easy nor was it easy in Kevin's case at all times. The following prayer that he once recommended for times of “desolation: may reflect a personal experience of his own:

        Lord, drag me
if I will not walk
and when my wavering
footsteps go astray
or wander on their own
perversive way
when they refuse your will
the whole day long
and clamour to be still
when stubborn knees
are loath to pray
the body sulks
the minds turn gray
path leads uphill
then waste no pains
on me
nor coax me
nor to guide, essay
dear Lord
but drag me
if I will not walk

Kevin possessed many social virtues which endered him to those about him, especially his colleagues in a common enterprise. His loyal co-operation was very notable, likewise his almost perpetual good humour and his ability to see both sides of a dispute and provide at times a Solomonesque solution which found acceptance. He combined patience in listening, openness to new ideas and new ways, courtesy in all his dealings, and obvious sincerity with a personal playfulness and a profound love of justice in argument. All went to make him a unique reconciler in the field of industrial relations and a welcome member of any Jesuit community.

When death was near he was well prepared for it. Shortly before he died he asked Brother Joe Cleary to shave off his beard, saying with a smile: 'You can keep it as a relic!'

May his generous soul rest in peace.

Eddie Kent SJ


Kevin returned to the College of Industrial Relations in 1969, succeeding Fr. Edmond Kent as Director. He guided the College through a transitional period after the close of Fr. Kent's directorship in which it had been successfully established and developed. In 1972 he returned to lecturing in Economics and Statistics in which he excelled and remained in this role until his retirement. He was very generous in giving additional personal tuition to students who were experiencing difficulties and many students got through their exams as a result of his help and went on to successful careers in Accountancy, Personnel Management and Trade Unions.

He was well liked by both staff members and students and his advice was frequently sought. It was typical of him that when he felt the time had come to retire he quietly slipped away with a minimum of fuss. Happily, Fr. Tod Morrissey persuaded him to have his portrait painted at this time and it hangs in the College as a reminder of his great contribution over so many years.

John Brady SJ


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice”. This was my text and theme for my homily at Kevin's funeral Mass. And justice for all was, I thought and think, a driving force in his life and apostolate. He did not hesitate to stand up to Authority in civil, ecclesiastical, religious, trade union and employer circles when he felt that justice was at stake - even to reducing the Rector of the Gregorian to tears over the way lay employees of that prestigious institution were treated.

He hated Rome, whither he averred he had been sent by mistake. The message received in Germany summoning him to the Gregorian was addressed to a Pater Quint. He alleged that, apart from the Greg, the only places he knew in Rome were the Termini (the central rail station) and the airport; but he could have added Babington's Tea rooms at the Spanish Steps whither he and Miss Stafford, an old firend from the International Labour Office in Geneva, resorted on Sundays. It is doubtful if he ever visited St. Peter's.

Release from Rome came with his assignment to the Oppenheimer Institute (the nucleus of the University of Zambia) in Lusaka in the then Northern Rhodesia. At the conclusion of his six years there he was decorated by President Kaunda of the newly-formed Zambia, fought off a move to re-assign him to Rome and returned to Ireland.

Kevin was a solid and shrewd counsellor, a very dedicated minister in John Austin and a good friend. I can say no more.

Seán Hughes SJ


It was only when he joined the John Austin Community in 1989 that I really got to know Kevin Quinn. He was a very edifying companion. To see this professsor emeritus of the College of Industrial Relations, the Gregorian and the Oppenheimer commuting between the house and the supermarket and attending to the minutiae of community maintenance was a lesson in diaconia straight from the Acts of the Apostles. More than once I found him a good listener, ready to give time and advice on a problem. He was a very honest person this was evident at community meetings. He was forthright in opinion, impatient of humbug and ready to shed enlightenment on many topics. He was sensitive to the needs of others. I experienced much kindness from him.

He was richly and (forgiveably) repetitiously reminiscent about his time in Rome (which he detested apart from his Sunday excursions - cf. Seán Hughes' piece) and in Zambia where President Kaunda decorated him as an Officer of the Order of Distinguished Service for his work in industrial relations.

As Seán Hughes emphasises, he had a strong sense of justice. With this went a rapport with 'ordinary people: I think a favourite experience of his while in John Austin was the long conversations over coffee and cigarettes with the lady who came to clean and tidy the house. She really mourned him when he left us.

It was a grace to know him in community. Requiescat.

Stephen Redmond SJ

◆ The Clongownian, 1995


Father Kevin Quinn SJ

Clongownians of the war years will remember Mr Kevin Quinn SJ, as he then was, who did his regency here 1941-44. A Limerickman and past pupil of the Crescent himself, he subsequently returned here as a priest to teach for a further year in 1949-50 but spent the rest of his life teaching economics. After taking an M.A. in UCD, he went to the Gregorian University in Rome for twelve years, followed by a further six in Zambia. He lectured at the College of Industrial Relations in Ranelagh for seventeen years until 1986 and spent the last period of his life in semi-retirement, acting as minister of the Jesuit Comunity at the CIR and, more recently, at John Austin House on the North Circular Road in Dublin. He died on 9 December 1994, aged 78.

Quigley, Mark, 1897-1980, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/368
  • Person
  • 02 April 1897-22 December 1980

Born: 02 April 1897, Roscrea, County Tipperary
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1928, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1932, Clongowes Wood College SJ, Clane, County Kildare
Died: 22 December 1980, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Early education at Mungret College SJ

by 1923 in Australia - Regency at Riverview, Sydney, Xavier College, Kew and Studley Hall, Kew

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Mark Quigley entered the Society in 1914 at Tullamore, and in 1921 arrived at Riverview for regency, teaching and assisting the prefect of discipline. In late 1923 he moved to Xavier College where he was hall prefect, and as he had a brilliant singing voice, he looked after the choir. After a year he was sent to Burke Hall again teaching as well as assistant prefect of discipline. During his priestly life he worked mainly at Gardiner Street, engaged in pastoral ministry.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 56th Year No 1 1981

Gardiner Street
A week after Dermot Durnin’s death, we are still stunned by the fact. He and his quick wit will be missed very much, not only by his brethren here but also, grievously, by his “ladies” in St Monica’s. He had built up such a cheery relationship with every one of them and used to give them so much of his time that the news was really shattering and has left them still bewildered. At least they must have been comforted by the send-off we gave him: 65 priests concelebrated the Mass in a crowded church. One of the congregation remarked that the ceremony was “heavenly”. (One of the community was overheard wondering aloud if Dermot was digging his friend Pearse O’Higgins in the ribs and begging him to “tell that one again”.) His totally Christian attitude towards death, an attitude of joyful anticipation, prevents us from grudging him his reward, though this doesn't diminish our sense of loss.

On 22nd December, Fr Mark Quigley slipped away from us to make his way to Heaven: requiescat in pace! It was typical of him that his departure was so quiet and peaceful as to be almost unnoticed. When he did not get up that morning, it was found that he was only half-conscious and had the appearance of approaching death. The doctor confirmed that he had only a few hours to live. Many of the community visited him during the morning and prayed with him and for him. Though he could not speak clearly, when asked if he would like the prayers for the dying to be said, by nodding his head he acknowledged his awareness of imminent death. Just about half an hour before he died, he succeeded in pulling his crucifix up to his lips and kissing it. Three of us were with him when he breathed his last gentle breath, without the slightest sound or struggle.
Go ndéanaí Dia trócaire ar a anam mín mánla.

Irish Province News 56th Year No 2 1981


Fr Mark Quigley (1897-1914-1980)

Fr Mark Quigley died at St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin, on 22nd December 1980, in his 84th year, His death was neither sudden nor unexpected. For over a week before he took to his bed he was feeling sick, very confused in mind, and looking poorly, He was well prepared for death. The Superior, Fr Dan Dargan, along with some of the community was reciting the Prayers for the Dying, and Fr Mark had kissed his vow-crucifix when he quietly yielded up his soul to his Saviour, whom he had served for 66 years in the Society of Jesus.
Fr Mark was a Tipperaryman and was always ready to make friends with people of Tipperary extraction. He was born in Roscrea (11th April 1897) but spent most of his childhood in Cloughjordan and Borrisokane. He was educated at Mungret College and entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on 31st August 1914, one of a group of twelve novices who came to be known as the Twelve Apostles. Along with him from Mungret College came Joseph McCullough, Fred Paye and Charles Devine. World War I was only a month old, and his vow-day (1st September 1916) came in an exciting year, an era of resurgence, when the Twelve made their commitment to the King of kings.
After the noviceship there followed a year of Home Juniorate as was then the custom, a year which Fr Bodkin used to describe as one of much high thinking and plain living. The season, Christmas 1916 to Easter 1917, was bitterly cold. The Grand Canal was frozen over for a long period and deep snow covered ground for several months. The only available fuel was turf, and rather damp turf at that. The 1914-18 war entailed sacrifices; hence the regime was spartan. On a visit to Tullabeg Fr T V Nolan, then Provincial, arranged that the novices and Juniors - “big growing men” - should as far as possible be exempt from the food restrictions published in the newspapers. On the intellectual side of life the Juniors were fortunate in having the splendid services of Mr Harry Johnston, SJ, who taught Greek, Latin and English.
After his Home Juniorate Mark moved to Rathfarnham Castle to do First Arts. In 1918 came a threat of conscription being extended to Ireland, so to make sure that as clerics they would be exempt from military service, all who had taken their vows received minor Orders. After his year in Rathfarnham, Mark spent three years at philosophy. A section of the buildings at Milltown Park was assigned as the philosophate, and with the Irish philosophers recalled from abroad, his community numbered 22 philosophers and 21 theologians. In 1921 (the Anglo-Irish truce just having been agreed) the Status brought something of a surprise, if not consternation, for Mark when he found himself among the scholastics assigned to sail for the Australian missions. The five-week sea journey was particularly trying for Mark, He was so reserved and retiring nature that he kept very much to himself or at least to the company of the Jesuits aboard the ship. Although he was a good athlete and had a splendid tenor voice, he refrained from mixing with the hundreds of passengers in their social entertainments. At the first port in Australia, a letter which had been sent by the Superior of the Mission, Fr W. Lockington, allotted the scholastics of the group to various colleges. Mark was to go to Riverview College, Sydney, as teacher, with charge of the junior cadets. This was a new trial for him. The Australian boys were difficult to control, and he discovered that - “take one consideration with another - a prefect’s lot is not a happy one!”
In 1923 Mark was moved to Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne - one of the public schools. He was appointed teacher and hall prefect. Into this great hall, at class break, there would flow a sea of boys - some hundreds of them. Mark had friends among the boys, and they admired his gentle tolerance. Perhaps the happiest time of his regency was his fourth year when, still in Melbourne, he was assigned to the preparatory school. He had a fellow-Tipperaryman, Fr James O'Dwyer, in the community, and they had much in common to talk about. In 1925 the Irish Provincial recalled Mark for theology in Milltown Park, where he was ordained (31st July 1928). For tertianship he was sent to St Beuno's, north Wales.
It was very appropriate that Fr Mark and should die at St Francis Xavier's,Dublin, where he had worked for nearly 45 years. Except for three years in the Crescent, Limerick, two in Clongowes and one in Mungret, as a priest all his activity was associated with Gardiner street. Over the years he directed different Sodalities of our Lady and Conferences of St Vincent de Paul, including one for Irish-speakers. Fr Mark was a competent speaker of Irish and for many years celebrated Sunday Mass in Irish. For a number of years he was Minister, But his church choir, composed of men and boys, which he conducted for 26 years (1935-61), was perhaps his most successful achievement. To support him Fr Mark had the distinguished organist Mr Joseph O’Brien: they became close the friends. The choir became an undoubted attraction at the Sunday Mass. On Christmas mornings the faithful, coming to hear the choir's rendering of Christmas carols, used to flock in, so that the church was already thronged by 6.30. During Holy Week the choir created an atmosphere of reverence and suspense, especially during the Seven Words from the Cross on Good Friday, when the congregation remained for the three hours. Perhaps the climax of the choral year came on Easter mornings when the window-curtains were withdrawn, revealing the light, the illuminated canvas of the risen Christ over the high altar was unveiled, the organ thundered, and the choir sang Resurrexit, sicut dixit. To maintain this choir over the years Fr Quigley had to recruit new members, visit the homes of prospective candidates, train new voices and hold frequent practices.
To these labours must be added his work in the church as preacher and confessor. He took his turn on call (domi, ie, the twenty-four-hour tour of duty 2.30 pm to 2.30 pm - ready for all comers). He visited the sick members of the sodalities. In the neighbourhood he was a respected and familiar figure. To the secular priests he was well-known, and in his own quiet way he made many friends amongst them.
It is true to say that Fr Mark's health began to fail in the last five years of his life. With his weakening eyesight he could not read with any comfort, and as for walking, even with the aid of a stick, he felt insecure if he ventured out on the streets. His memory, which in former times was most remarkable and reliable, showed signs of failure. Gradually he had to withdraw from many of the church activities. At times he had periods of depression and a feeling of loneliness. He was by nature a shy and most sensitive man,
His requiem Mass took place on Christmas eve, a very busy day for professional and businessmen and secular priests. The attendance was impressive but not what it would have been had it occurred on a less busy day. Even relatives and priests from Tipperary were unable to be present and had to be content with sending telegrams of sympathy and regret at not being able to travel.
To those in the Society and outside it he will always be remembered as the quiet man with a marvellous memory for faces and facts: a mine of information about people he had met. In community recreation, if he heard someone assert something which he knew was incorrect, he remained silent, or if asked might reveal the truth with amazing details. In death he made no protest, but quietly, as became the man, yielded up his gentle soul to his Creator.

Purcell, John, 1913-1976, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/367
  • Person
  • 30 September 1913-21 April 1976

Born: 30 September 1913, County Limerick
Entered: 30 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 21 April 1976, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Lavender Bay, North Sydney, Australia community at the time of death.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Civil Servant before entry

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Purcell entered the Society at Emo, Ireland, 30 September 1933, did his juniorate at Rathfarnham, 1935-38, studied philosophy at Tullabeg, until 1941, and then gained a BA and a diploma of education from the National University, Dublin. Regency was done at Belvedere College, Dublin, 1941-42, and theology at Milltown Park, 1943-47. Tertianship followed immediately.
Purcell taught at Limerick and at Mungret College, 1948-62, and then went to Australia, and the parishes of Hawthorn and Richmond, 1963-64. From 1965-68 he taught religion and Latin at St Louis School, Claremont, WA, but this was not a successful appointment. Purcell found it hard to adapt to the culture of Australian schoolboys. His final appointment in Australia was at St Francis' Xavier parish, Lavender Bay, Sydney During this time he became ill with cancer and returned to Dublin.
He was very Irish, a simple priest, pious and unworldly He was happiest and more successful in parish work, where he showed pastoral zeal. He enjoyed preaching, but his sermons were long and poetic, and did not relate well to an Australian congregation. There was sadness that when he decided to return to Ireland he was already unwell.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 3 1976

Obituary :

Fr John Purcell (1933-1976)

Fr John Purcell, a Dublin man, entered the Society at Emo on 30th September, 1933, his twentieth birthday. Nearly thirty entered that year, and John, I should think, was as “unusual” a character as any. Let me admit straight away that suavity or blandness of manner was not very outstanding in him; nevertheless the longer we lived with him and the more we came to know him, the more he gained our respect and endeared himself to us. He was a man of deep humility and transparent honesty, combined with a persevering courage in the face of difficulties. As Fr Rodriguez might say, let me illustrate the foregoing with examples.
Very few of us, I imagine, have had to contend with the difficulties of speech and articulation which afflicted John. At times of stress or excitement, when for instance he had to preach or read in the refectory, very often his vocal chords would seize up with nervous tension. It was embarrassing for his audience: it must have been an excruciating embarrassment for himself. A lesser man would have given up. John persevered through several years of this until he gained reasonable control over it. Again, his eyesight gave him difficulty in embarrassing ways. How well we can recall the thick, heavy lenses, and John's myopic peering around on the football field, wondering where the ball had gone. But again he persevered, and took his part in this as in all else that was part of community life. Indeed, he loved those various activities, and was a very friendly and sociable companion, full of innocent jokes and quaint sayings, some of which have passed into the folklore of the province. He took a simple delight in ordinary things, loved our Irish countryside and was always ready for an excursion anywhere, especially to unusual or out-of-the-way places. Many of us are indebted to his enthusiasm for some very noteworthy outings.
In studies he was equally dedicated, and plodded away with the best. He was probably too original in some of his ideas about history, literature and suchlike, too far off the beaten track to be acceptable for higher academic honours, but his intelligence and devotion to work were never in doubt. Very early on he showed an interest in meteorology and quite a remarkable natural flair for weather forecasting. Though he suffered many a goodnatured leg-pull over his hobby, there is no doubt that he was quite outstanding as a 'weather man', and I should imagine that a present day scholastic with his talent might easily be sent on some kind of travelling scholarship or special course in the subject.
A year of teaching in Belvedere followed by another in the Crescent preceded theology in Milltown Park, 1943 to 1947, and tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle, 1947-48. They were, if you like, uneventful years, but all the time they were having their formative influence. Fr John returned to teaching after tertianship, with ten years at the Crescent and four at Mungret before his departure for Australia. I feel sure the classroom must have provided many a penitential hour for him, as his sense of duty, his seriousness of purpose together with his mild external foibles would have left him a natural butt for boyish “humour”. Yet even the boys appreciated his genuineness and sincerity and were happy to join him in bicycle rides all over Limerick and Clare. And it was quite extraordinary the influence he had with parents, especially those in sorrow or tribulation. In most unexpected ways I have come across instances of his power of consoling them which surprised even me who knew him so well. No doubt his long years of faithful effort in the spiritual life earned him this grace of being able to help others.
In 1962 he left for Australia with Fr Nash. He began with church work in Hawthorn and Richmond, followed by teaching in Claremont and Riverview, and finally church work again from 1971 on, at St Francis Xavier's in Sydney. I remember how he wrote to me at one stage explaining that “the die was cast, and he was to leave his bones under the Southern Cross”. His letters were always cheerful, full of news and shrewd comment, and showing an undiminished zest for life. It was in these years that he founded and ran a one-man apostolate that was as unique as himself. He was distressed and deeply concerned at the number of those giving up their priesthood, and he decided to start a campaign to have Masses offered for these “stray shepherds”. How many of us - Jesuits and others - he contacted all over the world, God alone knows, but John's zeal was very great. We were invited to offer Mass once a year for this intention, indicating the month of choice. If you signed on, John would send you a reminder at the beginning of that month, never failing in all the years. One can only marvel at his zeal and perseverance. The labour of letter writing must have been enormous, but who can say what were the limits of the spiritual good he did by his campaign? We must only wait to read the Book of Life.
In recent years his letters mentioned in a very cheerful way that his health had disimproved; but as late as September, 1975, he still had no inkling that the end was drawing near, and informed his family that he was coming to Ireland for a holiday in June. As always, he was full of zest for the project, and had plans for borrowing a bicycle and cycling around Limerick “to revisit past scenes of delight”. However, his health deteriorated so rapidly that his superiors sent him home much earlier, knowing he might not live to see the summer. One is happy to know that he found the few weeks in Ireland very consoling, meeting his relatives and his fellow-Jesuits, and comforted by Br Cleary's devoted nursing until he was moved to St Vincent’s hospital on Holy Thursday. He died six days later, We have lost a good and upright man and a true religious: but we who knew him will continue to draw inspiration from this Jesuit in whom there was no guile. Suaineas síoraí dá anam.
T Mac Mathúna, SJ

An tAthair Proinsias Ó Fionnagáin has sent us from Nantus some memories of Fr John Purcell:
John was a man of burning sincerity and liable, inevitably, to see things in black and white. For him there were no beige or pastel shades - God love him - and his religious colleagues, when desirous of a little amusement, had no difficulty in drawing him out. His likes and dislikes - all strictly based on justice! - were known to all his fellows, and it is to be feared that many, one time or another, succeeded in making him ring the changes on his personal enthusiasms or pet aversions.
He was convinced that the First Principle and Foundation of the Exercises should be meditated on only once in a man's lifetime. And one long-table morning at the Crescent, there were four of us, including John, at the end of a table. One of the fathers unobtrusively shifted the subject of conversation from the Junior Cup to the First Principle. Soon voices were slightly raised, and bit by bit there was some increase in the tension. At the other end of the table a foursome broke up to attend early classes, but one member of it, who was still free, moved up beside us to finish his coffee and draw some profit from a now rather unspiritual conversation. When he got an opening he calmly advanced the respected authority of Fr Hugh Kelly, who advocated strongly the desirability of an annual repetition of the First Principle. For Fr Hugh had recently been on business in a wealthy diocese and learned there that one of the Province's missioners had conducted with marked success, sometime before, the clergy retreat. That missioner, Fr Kelly learned, was able by his eloquence and fervour to move to tears of devotion the wealthily beneficed parish priests by his expose of the First Principle. We did not get time to hear John's rejoinder. I remember vividly that the rector moved swiftly over from his table to say that the domestic staff needed all the tables cleared instantly to prepare the refectory for lunch,
In those now far-off days, John was devoted to the Sunday bicycle-outings with the younger boys. I don't think he enjoyed these outings - he was much too seriously minded - but his strong sense of duty urged him to bring to the healthy country surroundings those youngsters who might easily have got into mischief in the streets. He studied industriously for his classes and was rigorous only with himself. His pupils, no doubt, from time to time imposed on him but knew they could turn to him in time of trouble.
When vacations came round he left his books aside and tried to relax. I can vividly recall our first Christmas Vacation together in the Crescent. When other masters were out and about in the pre Christmas rush, John was at his table with a novel of P G Wodehouse. Raucous sepulchral laughter could be heard issuing from his room, and then at table we all benefitted from the recital of all the ridiculous Wodehousian situations he had read during the morning.
He was hard on himself but was never (intentionally) hard on others. There were some of his colleagues who found his company irritating but I think that with the passing of the years they learned to take a kindlier view of John. He was not unfeeling, as some supposed, and stories percolated back to us of his secret apostolate amongst the sick, the disappointed, the unpopular. There was the story of a family in deep affliction over the tragic death of their eldest child, a very promising young pupil at the Crescent. The jury brought in a very charitable verdict, but in professional circles the term 'dementia praecox' was whispered. Where others failed, John succeeded in bringing lasting consolation and resignation to the mourning parents. After a long absence from the Crescent - in Clongowes, then India - I recall that when I mentioned that family to John, he told me that thanks to God's grace and the help of our Lady, comforter of the afflicted, all the members of that family were leading a normal life and able to mingle naturally with their neighbours and acquaintances. I think John's own good prayers and mortifications had much to do in winning the desired grace.
When he went to Australia, a member of the community (I was then at Leeson street) on the eve of John's departure, remarked: “The province is losing a man of God”. There was no comment: the sincerity of the remark was appreciated by all present.

Fr John Williams of the Australian province, who entered the Society in Tullabeg and spent most of his years of formation in Ireland, had Fr Purcell as a member of his community (Jesuit Residence, Claremont, Perth, Western Australia), 1965-70:
The teacher. As a teacher he was very conscientious in the preparation of his classes. Chesterton once defended the lot of the schoolmaster facing the untamed thing called a class. Fr John was not equipped by nature to tame such. Hence confrontation was frequent and so was the exhibition of muscular Christianity. John had a brawny arm! He had visited Riverview and liked the surroundings, hence his request to be sent there. It was forecast that those scamps there would have him for breakfast! He did not last a term, and was posted to St Francis Xavier's parish (Sydney).
Spiritual father.
Needless to remark, his duty in this respect was most conscientiously carried out. His domestic exhortations were given in an attractive style. His English expression was excellent. They were looked forward to as they wittingly or otherwise were tinged with humour and sometimes with drama.
The priest. During vacations Fr John used to supply in St Mary’s cathedral, where he was much appreciated. One could not but be impressed by his devotion to the blessed Sacrament. The hours of the divine Office were divided and said in the chapel. The late Archbishop Prendiville had a high opinion of Fr John, who attended him in his last hours.

Like Fr Williams, Fr Thomas F (Frank) Costelloe is of the Australian province and also spent much of his time of formation in Ireland. He came to know John Purcell in the parish apostolate at St Francis Xavier's, Lavender Bay, North Sydney:
He was a curate in this parish during the last six years of his life (1970-76). A man of retiring disposition, he did not mix freely with the people of the parish. They, nevertheless, admired him for his dedication to his work for them and especially for his kindness to the sick and the aged. As a Jesuit, he was what I would call one of the old school, and had doubts of the worth and usefulness of the changes in the liturgy and in religious life. A man of great faith, with a great love of the Society, he showed his fine religious spirit in the willing acceptance of the severe illness from which he died. In a letter to me a short time before his death, he expressed his gratitude to the community at Milltown Park and especially to Brother Cleary for their unfailing kindness to him during his last days there.

Prokoph, Maximilian A, 1910-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2350
  • Person
  • 28 March 1910-28 May 1990

Born: 28 March 1910, Dobřenice, Czechoslovakia
Entered: 07 September 1928, Mittelsteine, Grafschaft, Germany now, Ścinawka Średnia, Poland (GER I for Čechoslovacae Province - CESC)
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Munich, Germany
Final vows: 02 February 1948
Died: 28 May 1990, Nazareth House, Johannesburg, South Africa - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed BOH (Lusaka) to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1947 came to Rathfarnham (HIB) making Tertianship
by 1967 came to St Ignatius Lusaka (HIB) working 1966-1970

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Max was born in Hanersdorf in Bohemia on 28 March 1910. He entered the Jesuits in 1928. After philosophy and a two year stint as a teacher and prefect of discipline in the Jesuit College at Duppau, he went to England, to Heythrop College for theology but returned to Germany for ordination as a priest in Munich in 1937. He returned to England to do a post-graduate certificate in education at London University.

He came to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1940 and spent ten years in pastoral work as well as being in charge of teacher training at Chikuni from 1940 to 1950. During this time he fought for the establishment of Canisius Secondary School and eventually opened it in 1949.

He then moved north to Broken Hill (Kabwe) to the Sacred Heart Church where he worked for 15 years (1950 to 1965) as manager of schools, education secretary and parish priest. For his work he was awarded an M.B.E. from Governor Hone in 1964.

In 1966 he came to Lusaka to St Ignatius Church and was the first chaplain at the newly opened university (UNZA) from 1966 to 1979. During these thirteen years, he was pastorally active in preaching, giving marriage preparatory sessions and counseling. He also found time to visit, help and encourage detainees and prisoners. Then there were his radio programs. Through "Thought for the Day" and other programs, he reached an ever wider public, presenting clear, well-thought-out views on current questions and life in general.
On 24 October 1985, he received the Order of Distinguished Service (1st Division), from President Kaunda for tirelessly 'working for the development of this country for the past 40 years’.

Fr Max was devoted to serving others. School boys, school girls, teachers and managers of schools – all were helped in one way or another. He even organised a bursary fund for students who needed help.

He had the vision forty years ago to see the potential for development and education among the women of the country. Quite early on, he persuaded a group of girls, with permission from their parents, to enrol for teacher training. He transported them from Chikuni to Chilubula Training College. They changed their minds when they got there and wanted to return. But their tears were to no avail. Later, of course, they thanked Fr Max for launching them on a worthwhile career which gave an example to the many young women who followed them.

He did much to encourage, support and motivate the first Zambian priests, men like the late Elias Mutale, the late Dominic Nchete (the first Tonga priest) and Archbishop Adrian Mungandu who acknowledged his influence on them. He also introduced the Handmaid Sisters of the BVM into Zambia. Married couples, both before and after marriage, were a concern of his; he always encouraged and supported them.

Did he consider his life and work worthwhile? His answer was, ‘What could be more worthwhile than working for Christ. If it was given to me to choose again where to live and work for these 50 years, I would choose no other country, no other people’.

He was 'a man for others', driven by the love of Christ. At times he may have been impatient and he could say the most devastating things, but the people forgave him because they knew his heart was in the right place.

In the last few years, his health began to fail. The Nazareth Sisters accepted him in their hospital in Johannesburg where he died on 28 May 1990, aged over 80, fifty of those years were lived in Africa.

Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
When Fr Max Prokoph began to fail, Arthur was as assiduous as ever in helping him.

Note from John Coyne Entry
Of Fr Coyne’s time in Zambia, Fr Max Prokoph writes:
‘In spite of his age, he tried to make himself useful in every way possible. For a man who had a finger in every pie in his home province for so many years, it was quite remarkable that he never tried to interfere in the province of his adoption, but spent his time in all sorts of projects for which a younger person would neither have the time nor the inclination. Having put the archives of the Lusaka Archdiocese in order and separated what belonged to the newly erected diocese of Monze (1962). He got down to gathering material for a history of the mission in the days of the Zambesi Mission. Since there was only one full-time priest available for the parish of St Ignatius (Fr Des O’Loghlen) he gave a hand wherever he could, in the confessional, extra Masses, keeping the parish registers and not least by regular systematic parish visiting, house by house, as far as he could get on foot, perhaps the most systematic visiting the neighbourhood ever had. Quite a few were brought back to the church’.

Note from Maurice Dowling Entry
Fr Max Prokoph who had been instrumental in getting Fr Dowling for the mission and who had been his principal, said of him, "I have never met a more loyal man". Fr Prokoph described how in the initial difficult days, Maurice had stood by him on every occasion, always ready to help, never questioning a decision, absolutely loyal.

Note from Jean Indeku Entry
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.

Note from Fred Moriarty Entry
Fr Fred was a radio program coordinator. He recorded many programs in ciTonga and English for ZNBC. He coordinated with Fr Bill Lane and Fr Max Prokoph in this area.

Prendergast, William R, 1906-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/365
  • Person
  • 29 April 1906-04 January 1971

Born: 29 April 1906, Bray, County Wicklow
Entered: 31 August 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1938, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 04 January 1971, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971

Obituary :

Fr William R Prendergast SJ

Fr Prendergast died on January 4th this year. His death ended a long period of chronic if sometimes mysterious ill-health, under which he never gave up but continued to the last the sort of exacting work which had occupied so much of his life, facing gallantly never-ceasing demands on his failing energy.
His loss, when he might in happier circumstances have expected a continuing or perhaps growing capacity for good was a loss to the Society, the Church and even to the country.
One of three very able brothers he did not come under Jesuit influence until he joined the Order and was fortunate in finding in Fr Frank Ryan and still more in Fr J Canavan, men who appreciated and helped him, and won his undying gratitude. A practical rather than an academic-minded man he did not have much early opportunity to reveal his special quality. This, and perhaps his early training at home, made his deep humility something of a handicap. He was more than different. He had an obvious inferiority complex, thinking so little of his own powers that he needed the stimulus of praises, and this quite mistakenly gave the impression that he was vain. There was nothing remarkable about his formative student years, if one excepts the fact that he was sent, as might have been expected, to be First Prefect in Mungret immediately on its completion. The school was then smaller in numbers and had only recently begun to compete in rugby, a game which he had never played. Yet during his five years he saw his teams bringing home on more than one occasion the Munster Rugby cups which larger and longer-established schools sought for eagerly.
In 1943 he was appointed to the small mission staff and there, for more than twenty years, he found full scope for his gifts. A tireless worker he was also a natural orator of unusual quality with a fine presence and a good voice --- almost too powerful a voice. But that was only a foundation for a style which was dramatic and picturesque, if perhaps old-fashioned, but which was to the end most effective. He had also a remarkable power of illustrating and an excellent, though controlled sense of humour and a talent for exposition of even complicated thought. There was an other and perhaps equally important quality which made itself felt. Travelling one day in a town when Fr Prendergast had just given a big Mission, the present writer heard of the impression made during this mission from an enthusiastic taxi-driver. “You know, Father”, he said, after his account of the Mission, “every man and woman in the town knew that he really wanted to help them”. His busy mission periods were interspersed with continuous retreats to priests that were equally fruitful. Of one of them (to the clergy of a Northern diocese) a parish priest wrote in a letter to me: “He paid us the compliment of being very carefully prepared; he was refreshingly rude and his doctrine and advice were a grand blend of the practical and the ideal”.
It is not, one hopes, beside the point to record his personal influence. More than once miracles were attributed to him, a notion that he found ridiculous and suspect. But to see him in a crowd of gay children after an instruction, to hear the invariable tributes to his self-sacrificing efforts to help, both temporally and spiritually, was to understand the largeness of his heart. He was a delightful companion, the most tolerant and kind of friends, quick to share the joys and sorrows of his beloved priests and people. In the end ill-health forced him off the hard road of the Missions. But, both in our church in Galway and in the Rathfarnham retreat house where he was working until just before his death, he had devoted clients. Unmethodical and terribly busy as he was, he might at times seem to neglect even close friends. But he never forgot them. Though they might have grudged him to others for the most part, they knew him, and in their hearts relied on him if need arose, and they can now surely rely on his assistance from heaven. To his brothers and nephews we offer our sincere sympathy.

Power, Patrick, 1907-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/551
  • Person
  • 11 May 1907-28 December 1995

Born: 11 May 1907, Ballyhaught, Kilmallock, County Limerick
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 28 December 1995, St John of God’s, Stillorgan, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Mungret College SJ

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 86 : July 1996

Fr Patrick (Paddy) Power (1907-1995)
11th May 1907; Born, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Early education: Mungret College, Limerick
1st Sept. 1924: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
2nd Sept. 1926: First vows at Tullabeg
1926 - 1928: Rathfarnham, Home Juniorate
1928 - 1931: Milltown/Tullabeg, Philosophy
1931 - 1934: Clongowes Wood College, Prefect and Teacher
1934 - 1938: Milltown Park Theology
24th June 1937: Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1938 - 1939: St. Beuno's, Tertianship
1939 - 1941: Belvedere, Teaching, Games, Choir
2nd Feb. 1940: Final Vows, Belvedere College
1941 - 1944: Mungret College, Study Hall Prefect
1944 - 1960: Clongowes: Teaching junior classes
1960 - 1963: In poor health

During his first years at St. John of God's Hospital, Fr. Power came regularly by bus to visit Loyola House and would also look up old friends. He came to all celebration meals. În latter years he would be collected by car, but with failing health these visits tapered off. Loyola Community and his own family kept in close contact and celebrated birthdays with him. He continued to concelebrate Mass daily to the end, and loved to use his wonderful singing voice at Mass.

He died unexpectedly on 28th December 1995

Fr. Paddy Power died unexpectedly at St. John of God's Hospital, Stillorgan, on 28th December 1995, having had, on his own affirmation, a great Christmas. On two or three occasions over the long years of Paddy's illness, his general health had given serious cause for concern, but, on each occasion, he recovered, and, in spite of all his sufferings, lived a long life in the Society. He had celebrated in 1994 his seventieth year in the Society, and outlived most of his contemporaries. His long life was surely a tribute to the care he received under the supervision of the Brothers of St. John of God. Several members of his family had died at a much earlier age, so family longevity was not the reason for his long life.

Paddy's parents must have been very religious people: how else can you explain the six religious vocations in the family - Paddy's vocation, two brothers Augustinian Fathers, two sisters members of the Institute of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Mount Anville), and one sister a member of the Good Shepherd Congregation. Paddy always had a deep affection for the members of his family, an affection reciprocated by them. This also must be said for his love for the Society. His fifteen years in formation and twenty years of active ministry had left him many friends, and to the end, he could recall persons and names with great zest and interest. He always much appreciated visits from members of the Society. His memories of earlier days in the Society, and of those he lived with or worked with, or other happenings, were quite remarkable.

By any standard, Father Paddy had an exceptional life in the Society - some may spend their lives as missionaries in far-off places, or teaching in Colleges, or Houses of Formation, or in Administration, but Paddy, after his formation, spent well over half his priestly life in hospital. And yet who can say his life was less productive or precious in God's eyes for all those years he was institutionalised in Hospital? It was a source of great consolation to Paddy (which he often spoke of) when more than one Provincial stressed for him the fruitfulness of his suffering.

Of the seventy years Paddy spent in the Society, the usual fifteen preceded the end of tertianship, a further twenty years or so were spent in : Belvedere (two years), Mungret (three years) and about fifteen years in Clongowes preceding his fairly continuous illness which began in 1960, while still in Clongowes. The psychic disorders which plagued him for the rest of his life (thirty-five years) rendered active ministry impossible.

During his long years of illness, his beautiful tenor voice always stood him in good stead, and helped to attract affirmation and acclaim for his notable talent, which he gently welcomed. Many felt that if he had been properly trained, he could have had an outstanding reputation as a singer. He took a great interest in sport, a throwback to his early years in Mungret as a boy, when he showed considerable hurling skill.

When you went to visit Paddy, it was impossible to give him any news as his sister Vera or some other member of family would have been to visit him and have given him all the latest! His birthdays were celebrated in the hospital with members of his own family and a Jesuit or two from Loyola House present who enjoyed tea and some of the delicious birthday cake. He celebrated Mass daily up to the end, and birthday Masses were special, with a St. John of God Brother and the nurses making a great fuss of him, and dressing him up specially for the occasion.

No one would choose to spend his life in the Society as Paddy did - yet to the end he remained gentle, docile and accepting of his lot. He did not complain. At times, particularly in the earlier and intermediate years of his illness, it was distressing to visit him and find him at that time in the depths of depression. However, people often remarked in latter years how resigned and even cheerful he was, with a sense of great gratitude to God for the enduring love and friendship of his family and Jesuit friends.

Now, he is in a better place where there is no more suffering. He fought the good fight, treasured his priesthood, and kept the faith until the end which came rather unexpectedly on the 28th December 1995. May he rest in Peace!

John Guiney SJ

◆ The Clongownian, 1996

Father Patrick Power SJ

Fr Patrick Power SJ, who died in Dublin after many years fighting depressive illness on 28 December 1995, was Third Line Prefect for two of the three years he spent here as a scholastic (1931-34). After ordination he returned to teach in 1944, after a three year spell in charge of the study hall in Mungret. His Prefect of Studies there for the three years was Fr James Casey, his fellow-novice, and they moved together to Clongowes. His fellow-novices at Tullabeg had also included Fr Gerry O'Beirne, Fr Charlie O'Conor and Fr Tom O'Donnell, like Fr Casey all very familiar figures in Clongowes in later years.

Fr Power spent some fifteen years on the Clongowes staff teaching religion, mathematics, Latin and English in the junior classes. By 1960, ill-health made it too hard for him to continue and, in 1963, he moved to Eglinton Road. Much of his subsequent life was spent in hospital. He bore his long years of suffering with great fortitude. He concelebrated Mass daily until the end, taking the opportunity to use his beautiful tenor voice, for which he was renowned, when he could. After a final Christmas, which he had particularly enjoyed, he died unexpectedly just before the New Year.

Power, Cyril, 1890-1980, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/26
  • Person
  • 23 March 1890-19 March 1980

Born: 23 March 1890, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1907, St Stanislaus, College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1923, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 08 December 1926, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 19 March 1980, Mater Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Studied for MSc at UCD and MA (Cantab) at Cambridge University

by 1916 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1920 at St Edmund’s House, Cambridge, England (ANG) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Cyril Power entered the Society at Tullamore in 1907. After tertianship in 1926, Power was on loan to the Australian Mission to teach moral theology, ethics and canon law at Werribee until the end of 1929. He returned to Ireland, and in October 1930 was made rector of Milltown Park, and then professor of moral theology for many years. As a professionally trained mathematician, he was eventually allowed to return to Clongowes where he spent twenty years teaching mathematics, and looking after the farm, which was what he had always wanted to do.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 9th Year No 3 1934

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

Irish Province News 55th Year No 2 1980


In Memory of Fr Cyril Power SJ, by Francis McKeagney (OC 1976)

They've all gone home now.
Just you and I, old man,
And the workmen shovelling clay,
The grave a foot too wide, a foot too deep they say.

To here,
This sheltering graveyard corner
With the Castle peeping through the trees,
You have come
Theologian, farmer, mathematician, Sir.
I remember most a cap,
“The demon on wheels”,
Nights, teeth out,
The class formulae
‘Wake up, man! Cos 2A?’
‘I bet he died with his pipe in his mouth’
Somebody said for something to say.

Your silence stood larger than any words said.

I suppose a modest black cross
Will be placed in due course
R. Pater C. Power, S.J.
Obiit March 19, 1980
And questions wait like prayers for answers
Inside the iron gates.

But it is time to leave.
A last few fading traces of snow whiten the hour.
A quiet quiet pervades the journey's end,
Rest a while, kind Sir, morning can't be far.
From somewhere in the maze of time's enormous corridors
I offer you this tiny flower,
Perhaps it might catch even a single sunbeam
And open slightly
In a remembered colour of you.


Irish Province News 55th Year No 3 1980


Fr Cyril Power (1890-1907-1980)

Fr Cyril Power died in the Mater hospital on the 19th March, just a few days before completing his ninetieth year. Of those ninety years he had spent 47 in Clongowes as a student, scholastic and priest. He entered the Society in 1907, doing his noviceship under the famous (or as some would think today, infamous) Fr James Murphy. This Mag Nov frequently said to his novices that he would make life so hard for them in the noviceship that never again for the rest of their lives would they feel anything hard; and he acted on his say. Yet, wonder of wonders, Fr Power used to recall with almost boyish glee the many rather harsh (to modern eyes anyway) penances meted out for trivial mistakes or accidents. The penances were so bizarre - outrageous, we might almost say - that they afforded continual fun to all save the actual recipient. But then he had his turn for a laugh too.
From the noviceship in Tullabeg Fr Power proceeded to University College, Dublin, where his mathematical genius continued to reveal itself; and in 1914 he secured his MSc, winning at the same time a studentship to Cambridge. For two years he taught mathematics in Rathfarnham to his fellow scholastics. From Rathfarnham he went to Stonyhurst to study philosophy. In 1917 he returned to the boys for two years. In 1919 he took up his studentship at Cambridge, studying mathematical physics for two years: he gained a brilliant MA (Cantab). For the next four years he studied theology in Milltown Park, being ordained priest in 1923. Finally he returned to Tullabeg for tertianship (1925-26).
His first appointment as a formed Jesuit was to teach moral theology and canon law in Archbishop Mannix's seminary, Werribee, Australia. From there he was summoned home in 1930 to teach moral theology in Milltown, where he became Rector (1930-38) and a Consultor of the Province (1931-39). From the professor's chair, he was sent to manage the 700-acre farm of Clongowes, which he did very successfully for the next 24 years, teaching senior mathematics all the time and continuing to teach it till a few months before his death.
Such in brief are the bald facts of Fr Cyril's life. All they tell us really is that he was a brilliant mathematician and an able theologian.
But he had even better qualities, the most obvious and praiseworthy being his genuine modesty - humility would be a better word. The writer of this obituary was pretty closely associated with him for over fifty years. Never by word or act did he show the least pride in his brilliant academic career.
He spoke to everyone on level terms, and seemed quite unconscious of his intellectual ability. He never did the heavy, if I may be excused the telling expression. In fact it was difficult to get him to talk seriously at recreation, as he rightly considered that it was not the time for treating of serious topics. He was an inveterate leg puller, and seemed to take life lightly, seeing the funny side of most people and things. The possession of these qualities made him, as one would expect, a pleasant companion and an enemy of pessimism and gloom.
Of course, behind all this lighter side of Fr Cyril there was the man of solid faith and simple piety (his great devotion was to the rosary). Being a very balanced and common sense person, he was to a great extent free from prejudice, and in Milltown Park, as rector of eighty scholastics of ten or twelve nationalities, was noted for his just, equal treatment of all.
As a professor he worked a perpetual miracle every day by being extremely clear in the worst of Latin. He wasn't a Latin scholar. Though his clear and quick mind made him shine in the exact sciences, he was no linguist. But it was as a teacher of mathematics that he really found his métier. He was a patient and understanding master, being ready to repeat again and again the explanation of a problem till all his pupils understood. No wonder he was liked and admired by his boys. Yes! we in Clongowes have lost in him a well beloved member of our dwindling community, and the Province has lost one to whom it owes much.

◆ The Clongownian, 1980


Father Cyril Power SJ

On March 19th, Fr Cyril Power died just four days before his ninetieth birthday, having spent forty-six years of his life in Clongowes as a boy, scholastic and priest. Few, if any, in its one hundred and sixty-six years of existence spent so much of their life. living and working in the school.

Father Cyril entered the Society of Jesus from Clongowes in 1907. He went through the various stages of Jesuit formation: novitiate, university, philosophy, teaching and finally theology. Being a brilliant mathematician, when he finished his MSc in the National University, he won a travelling studentship to Cambridge. He then taught mathematics to his fellow scholastics for some two years, and later returned to his alma mater to continue teaching maths to the boys.

After the completion of his studies, sacred and profane, he was sent to profess moral theology and canon law in Archbishop Mannix's seminary at Werribee, Melbourne, Australia. After five years there, he was summoned home to take the chair of moral theology at Milltown Park, the Irish Jesuit theologate. He became Rector of the house the following year and, in this difficult post, he spent the next eight years. In 1939, he took on the management of the Clongowes farm and held that position for the next twenty-four years, at the same time teaching senior level maths. He continued to teach mathematics up to a few months before his death.

Such, in brief outline, is the story of his life. It tells us only of his great intellectual ability as mathematician, philosopher and theologian but he had even better qualities. He was a humble man, never showing in word or act pride in his intellectual superiority. He shunned the light. He offered his solid knowledge in things philosophical and theological only when asked and one could always rely on his reply.

He seemed quite unconscious of his great mental powers. He had a light and humorous approach in ordinary conversation. He was a natural leg-puller and whenever he was around at recreation, there was always fun and laughter. Behind it all, there was well hidden, a deep and simple piety - his great devotion was to the Rosary and, as one would expect, a profound faith.

How we miss him from our community



Fr Cyril Power SJ

We were all deeply saddened to hear of Fr Power's death. It falls to my lot to write an appreciation for a man who, throughout the years, has written the appreciations of many others in the pages of the Clongownian.

Fr Power's life was a long and eventful one, the greater part by far being spent in Clongowes, serving God, the community and the boys. Up to a few short months ago, six of us had the privilege of being taught maths by him in the Castle. When we have long forgotten the maths, we will remember Fr Power's dedication and determination in coming to teach us at the age of 89. Fr Power faithfully gave and corrected six (!) themes a week. We had eight maths classes every week and, in four terms, Fr Power did not miss more than five days though at times his health was far from good.

How can one describe or do justice to such a varied and long life ranging from a distinguished post-graduate career in physics in Cambridge to a professorship of moral theology in Australia; from Rector of Milltown Park to farm manager in Clongowes! As recently as a few weeks ago, Fr Power maintained his keen interest in the College even to the point of being able to suggest a tactic for the Senior XV to adopt against 'Rock!

Fr Power was an integral part of Clongowes, more so than any of us would have realized. Our one regret is that Fr Power did not live to celebrate his 90th birthday with us in Clongowes. After forty years, we bid a sad farewell to a grand old man.

Dara Ryan, Rhetoric

Student card for Cyril Joseph Power (UA/Graduati 12/188), Cambridge (2023)
He matriculated at (that is, formally enrolled in) the University on 22 October 1919, having been admitted as a member of Downing College. He was a research student, did not study for a Tripos (as the Cambridge Honours BA is known), and kept six terms in Cambridge rather than the nine usually required to graduate BA. He wrote a dissertation, which was approved on 21 December 1921 by the Special Board for Physics and Chemistry. The dissertation was deposited at the library on 16 December 1921. A certificate of research was sent to him on 13 February 1922. He graduated BA by proxy (i.e., he was not present at the ceremony) on 11 February 1922, and MA by proxy on 26 January 1926.

From the ‘List of Advanced Students Dissertations Deposited in the University Library’, he submitted two papers, ‘Electrification by friction’, written with J. A. McClelland and printed in 1918, and ‘The electrification of salts by friction’. Power was at Cambridge at a transitional period when people were starting to do research degrees at Cambridge but before the PhD was available, so they took BAs instead.

Potter, Laurence, 1872-1934, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/362
  • Person
  • 24 December 1872-30 November 1934

Born: 24 December 1872, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Entered: 12 November 1890, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1910, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 30 November 1934, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Younger brother of Henry Potter - RIP 1932

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1894 at Exaeten College Limburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1895 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1909 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 4 1926

College of the Sacred Heart Limerick : On May 16th, Fr McCurtin's appointment as Rector was announced. On the same day, his predecessor, Fr L. Potter, took up his new duties as Superior of the Apostolic School. During his seven years' rectorship the Church was considerably extended, a new organ gallery erected, and a new organ installed. A beautiful new Shrine in honour of the Sacred Heart was added, and a marble flooring to the Sanctuary laid down.

Irish Province News 10th Year No 2 1935

Obituary :

Father Laurence Potter

From Father C. Byrne
Father Laurence Potter was born in Kilkenny, 24th December, 1872. He was educated at Clongowes. In 1890 he entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg, and on taking his first Vows went to Milltown for one year as a Junior. He studied Philosophy at Exaeten for one year and at Valkenburg for two. Returning to Ireland he spent three years at Clongowes, three as Master and two as Lower Line Prefect. He was then changed to Mungret, but at the end of the year was brought back to Clongowes for two more years as Higher Line Prefect. He thus spent eight years in the Colleges, an experience not uncommon in those days. In 1904 he began his four years Theology at Milltown, and then went to Tertianship at Tronchiennes.
Soon after his return from Belgium he underwent two serious operations that made the rest of his life one round of suffering. So well did he conceal it that few knew through what an agony he was passing.
'We next find him at Belvedere for two years, the second one as Minister, then Clongowes as Minister for eight years. During that period the Centenary of the College was celebrated, and his good humour, energy, attention to details during the countless difficulties of that big celebration were simply amazing.
In 1919 he became Rector of the Crescent, and for seven and a half years there was a repetition of his Centenary energy. His first act was to have the playground concreted. The next, to build the beautiful shrine of the Sacred Heart, with its marble walls and brass gates. The faithful were so impressed that they subscribed the entire cost, and it amounted to £2,000. And in addition, they made a number of nary beautiful and costly presents , enough to mention a crucifix, candlesticks, charts,all of solid silver, for the altar.
His next effort was the removal of those dark passages at the end of the church, familiarly known as the “Catacombs” The magnitude of this undertaking may be gathered from the fact that the walls that had to be removed were the main walls that supported the organ gallery and part of the house. The result was that the Nave of the church was as lengthened by about one third. A handsome wooden partition with glass panels now forms the porch.
He also widened the side passages by recessing the confessionals into the walls, had the sanctuary floor laid down at a cost of £800, and made a number of other improvements that space prevents our detailing. The Electric lighting of the house should not be passed over.
All this involved immense expense which Father Potter faced with great courage. He set in action ever so many ways of collecting money, in which he got invaluable help from Father W. P. O'Reilly. The people, on their side, behaved splendidly, so that the big work was done without serious financial trouble. This was all the more remarkable because at the sane time Father R. Dillon-Kelly and his choir were making strenuous efforts collecting funds to put up a new organ. Complete success crowned their efforts, but at a cost of nearly £3,500.
Father Potter went through all this work although he was a decidedly sick man. Yet he never complained. His friends wondered at his fortitude, but could do nothing, for every suggestion of rest would be smilingly brushed aside. That smile was constant. He was always bright and gay, and most easy of approach. One who lived with him in Clongowes for five years and in Limerick for six, and who had much to do with him, testifies that never, even once, did he experience anything from him but the greatest courtesy. Father Potter was certainly built of sterner stuff than most ordinary mortals, otherwise he could not have gone through all these years, doing the work he did so cheerfully, without giving quarter to his ailing body.
His departure from Limerick, in 1926, was universally regretted. He spent one year in Rathfarnham as Minister, and was then sent to Gardiner Street, still as Minister. Here he worked till his death, seven years later. As in Clongowes they had their Centenary Celebrations while he was Minister, so in Gardiner Street they had similar celebrations, and not long after came the Eucharistic Congress. Both these events called forth yet again all his old time energy and attention to details.
His health was gradually getting worse, still he took on, in addition to his ordinary work, the management of the Penny Dinners for the Poor. He built a new hall fitted with all modern improvements for cooking.
At last he grew so ill that he was relieved of his duties as Minister. He did not survive long. He suffered greatly towards the end, and passing away on the 30th November, was buried on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Church.
Father Potter had great gifts of body and mind. His power of endurance was wonderful, his mind was always active. His practical judgment was sound and shrewd. As already stated, he was always bright and cheerful, and he never seemed to lose his peace of mind. This was very much in evidence in the Black and Tan days, when Limerick was in a ferment. In spite of night patrols, masked raiders, etc., he never lost his equanimity. His cheerful outlook and helpful encouragement gave great support to his community. The example of his constant work was an inspiration. Hard on himself, he was never hard onI others, and towards the sick he was always most attentive, sparing no expense or trouble in their behalf. His tender charity towards the poor was on a par with his energy towards every work to which he put his hand.
The crowds of all classes that attended his funeral gave ample proof, fi such were needed, of the degree to which he had endeared himself to those with whom he had come in contact in the course of his varied and active life.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Laurence Potter 1872-1945
Fr Laurence Potter was born in Kilkenny in 1872, was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society at 18 years of age. He is a brother of Fr Henry, also a Jesuit.

Fr Larry was the Rector responsible for the beautifying and enlargement of our Church at the Crescent Limerick. He built the beautiful shrine to the Sacred Heart, he removed the catacombs at the end of the Church, thereby lengthening the nave by a third. All these improvements entailed endless worried, both financial and otherwise. Yet he invariably retained his equanimity, in spite of a life of suffering following two serious operations in his early life.

His period of office in Limerick coincided with “the troubled times”, a time which called for great tact and courage in a Rector. Transferred to Gardiner Street, he had charge of the “Penny Dinners” and built a new hall for this purpose in Cumberland Street.

In spite of ill health, he was outstanding in physical and moral courage, which was rooted in a deep and manly spirituality. He died a happy death on November 30th 1935.

◆ The Clongownian, 1935
Father Laurence Potter SJ

I first met the late Father Potter when I went to Clongowes as a very small boy, over twenty years ago. It was my first time away from home, and my father had accompanied me to see me safely installed. We were shown into the Reception Room, while the butler departed to announce our arrival. For me the moment was one of trepidation. I was embarking on a new life - under the care no longer of my father and mother, but of strangers. What would those strangers be like? You can judge with what tremulous interest I awaited my first encounter with one of them. A small, grey-haired man, turning slightly bald, came into the room. He introduced him self as “that much harried man - the Minister”. It was Father Potter. I confess he did not seem to show any signs of the “harrying” of which he complained. Never have I met a merrier, more amusing companion. In a short time my father and he were laughing and yarning like old friends, while I felt all my shyness dis appearing completely.

When evening came and with it the dread moment when I parted from my father, I had one consoling thought - “If they are all like Father Potter, things won't be too bad”. What greater tribute could one of “those old Jesuits of Clongowes” receive from the heart of a very lonely, small, new boy?

Those first impressions that I formed of Father Potter I never had occasion to revise in all the years that have passed since. For two years and a half I remained under his care as Minister. For a Minister it was an eventful period. Into it was crowded the last two years of the Great War. The submarine campaign was at its height, and food, even at Clongowes, with its magnificent resources, was difficult to obtain. We boys thought little of it at the time, but looking back now I can see what an anxious time it must have been for the man who had. charge of the food and the health of the House.

Into that period also came another epoch-making event-epoch-making for the boys at any rate. We came down from the Study Hall one night - I think it was in the Spring of 1918 - to find that the Refectory servants had declared a lightning strike. It was a situation full of unpleasant potentialities. How it might have developed with a less popular Minister it is hard, at this stage, to say. But Father Potter was the friend of the boys to an extent that neither he nor the strikers realised. The Captains of the House went to him and spontaneously offered him the services of the boys in any way he saw fit to make use of them. From that moment out squads of boys washed up, cleared tables, re-set them again and generally aided the Community to “carry on”. The difficulties were tided over and eventually disappeared.

Finally, into those years came the most tremendous event of all as well for the peril of the visitation as for the burden it placed on Father Potter. This was the terrible influenza epidemic of 1918. In Clongowes 170 of the boys - not to mention the Community, the staff, and the nurses - who went down as quickly as they arrived - developed it. The grand total, I believe, was over two hundred. The Infirmary, the Gymnasium, the two Third Line Dormitories, and the Lower Line Dormitory were all full of patients. 170 sick boys had to be nursed, and more troublesome still - to be minded during convalescence. One hundred and seventy “sets” of parents notified of the progress of the only patient that mattered to them and this in a House with a depleted staff, with nurses almost impossible to obtain, and doctors worked off their legs.

One man did not develop influenza because, as he said laughingly, “he had not time”. That was Father Potter. The main brunt of that battle with sickness and death fell on him. Even to our eyes, and the eyes of boys are not very observant of these matters, Father Potter visibly aged during those days. Indeed he seemed to get smaller and much more grey, not merely as to his hair, but even his face. Physically he wilted, but his good spirits never faltered. His cheery presence in the dormitories was the most longed-for sight throughout the day. It is, perhaps, not the least tribute to him that out of all the cases at Clongowes - Over three hundred all told - only one proved fatal. To those who remember the severity of that epidemic this may seem nothing short of a miracle.

At the close of the War many changes took place, and amongst them was the transfer of Father Potter to the Crescent. I can still recall the utter consternation with which we boys heard the news. We were losing an old and valued friend, and what does not always happen with schoolboys, we knew and appreciated the fact. The night before he left, the Captain of the House made a speech in the Refectory. Three cheers were called for him and three more - such cheers! Father Potter ran out very much overcome with emotion and as the Refectory door closed behind him, there ended for ever Father Potter's official connection with Clongowes.

From time to time we saw him again; but only on flying visits. From the Crescent he went to Gardiner Street, where, after leaving Clongowes, I often saw him and talked over old times. He preserved for all the boys he knew at Clongowes the kindliest feelings. He was always delighted to hear of them or receive a visit from them. And, when he was laid to rest in November last, many generations of Clongownians mourned the death of a sincere friend.

Genial, merry, a good raconteur, a keen fisherman, Father Potter's dominant characteristic was his serenity. No matter how grave the situation, he always faced it with a smile. He was a man like Tennyson's Ulysses, of whom it could truly be said that he “ever with a frolic welcome took the thunder and the sunshine”. But his serenity was not the outcome of any pagan philosophy, but of a deep-seated faith and profound trust in that God to Whose service he had dedicated his life. RIP

D Murtagh

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Laurence Potter (1872-1934)

A brother of Father Henry (supra) was educated in Clongowes and entered the Society in 1890. He pursued his higher studies at Exaeten, Valkenburg and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1907. Until his arrival at the Crescent in 1919 (January), Father Potter had served some nine years as minister between Belvedere and Clongowes. Appointed rector, Father Potter set himself to work on carrying out long needed improvements to the church and school: the erection of the Sacred Heart shrine, the lengthening of the nave of the church; the installation of the new organ to mention but a few of his schemes brought to a successful conclusion. Father Potter left Limerick, universally regretted, in 1926. His tenure of office marked the inception of the “modern” Crescent. With the exception of one year at Rathfarnham, 1926-27, the last years of his life were passed at Gardiner St.

Phillips, John A, 1904-1987, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1984
  • Person
  • 30 January 1904-18 September 1987

Born: 30 January 1904, Campbell Town, Tasmania
Entered: 10 March 1924, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained 07 September 1939, Heythrop, Oxford, England
Final vows: 15 August 1946
Died: 18 September 1987, Newman College, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1930 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Phillips received his early education in Tasmania before entering the Jesuit noviceship at Greenwich, Sydney, 10 March 1924. He did his university studies at University College,
Dublin, where his interest in history was enkindled. He then studied philosophy at Chieri, Turin, Italy.
Regency was at Riverview, where, with Gerald Lawlor, he produced a notebook called “Notes on European History”, designed to remedy deficiencies in the presentation of Catholic aspects of history. He is also credited for being the first Riverview debating master to admit that the GPS competition was the most important phase of the Debating Society. In this aim, Phillips was the first “team coach” of Riverview debating in the modern sense. It was during his term of office that the Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition was established. In all three years of his leadership Riverview reached the final of the GPS competition and won two of them, 1935-36, and it also won the oratory competition.
It was during his theological studies at Heythrop College in England that his predilection for scriptural studies appeared. However, he was not able to return to Australia immediately after ordination because of the war. En route to Australia, a German torpedo hit his ship but it did not explode.
He began to teach scripture, but had no special training for it. He spent many years at Werribee and Glen Waverley. His grasp of biblical studies eventually became quite encyclopaedic, and he was rated highly among professional scholars.
In 1954 Phillips was asked to take over the Catholic Central Library after the death of William Hackett. Under his management it became more a bookshop than a lending library.
After his retirement from teaching, he gave his full attention to the library, working long hours into the night, catching the last tram home to the Jesuit Theological College. He became notorious for preparing his own meals, and eventually from malnutrition. His contemporaries had always respected his learning and zeal. As he aged, he mellowed, and a wide circle of friends genuinely mourned him.

Peyton, Cyril, 1911-1955, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/357
  • Person
  • 29 March 1911-27 July 1955

Born: 29 March 1911, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 06 January 1945, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 27 July 1955, Crescent College, Limerick

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1939 at Loyola Hong Kong - studying
by 1948 at Australia (ASL)

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Cyril Peyton entered the Society at Emo Park, Ireland, 12 November 1932, was a junior at Rathfarnham, philosopher at Tullabeg, and then went to Hong Kong, 1938, to study Chinese. He went to Australia and Canisius College, Pyrnble, for theology, 1941-44, and then returned to Ireland where he did tertianship at Rathfarnharn, 1946-47.
He returned to Australia and the parish of Hawthorn in 1948, did pastoral work residing at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1949, spent a few years teaching at Riverview and then returned to Ireland in 1953. He was stationed at the Crescent, Limerick, and died when he took some medicine, intended for external application, internally.
Peyton was a,very eccentric person, though this was not obvious in his outward appearance or behaviour. When at Riverview he seemed to be altogether erratic and unreliable. He was a man who found ordinary living difficult.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. John Carroll, Kevin O'Dwyer and Cyril Peyton, of the Hong Kong Mission, who completed their theology at Pymble recently, left, Sydney on December 9th on the Aquitania for England via the Cape. They hope to be home by the end of January. They are accompanied by Fr.. Vincent Conway, an old Mungret boy, member of the Vice Province. All four will make their tertianship in Rathfarnham next autumn.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

Fr. Peyton left for Australia on the “Mauretania” on 31st October in company with Fr. Conway, a member of the Viceprovince. Fr. Kevin Carroll, also a member of the Viceprovince, left Shannon Airport on 3rd November for New York, bound for San Francisco and Sydney. Mr. Monahan left Southampton on the “Queen Mary” on 20th November for New York; he took boat at San Francisco on 12th December for Sydney which he reached on 4th January. He will be doing his first year's philosophy at Loyola, Watsonia in the coming year.

Irish Province News 30th Year No 4 1955

Obituary :

Father Cyril Peyton 1911-1955

Cyril Peyton was born in Dublin on 29th March, 1911. He was an only son and had only one sister, whom he predeceased. He spent six years at the Dominican Preparatory School, Wicklow, before going to Clongowes, where he remained for five years. In 1928 he went to Trinity College, Dublin, where for two years he studied Experimental Science and where he obtained Honours in all his exams,
He entered the Society on 12th November, 1932. He finished his Science Degree in Rathfarnham in two years and after two years Philosophy he was sent on the Chinese Mission. While he was in Hong Kong, war broke out, so that he went to Australia for Theology and Ordination. Returning to Ireland after the war, he spent some time in Belvedere before Tertianship, after which he returned to Australia to labour as operarius and master in Melbourne and Sydney. He came back to Ireland in 1952, and was assigned to the teaching staff of the Crescent, where he remained till his untimely death on 27th July, 1955, at the age of 44.
On the Sunday morning on which he was taken ill, Fr. Peyton had said the seven o'clock Mass in the Church. After his thanksgiving he came to the refectory as usual to tell the servant that he would be back in ten minutes for his breakfast. He did not come back until half an hour later, when he told some of the Fathers that he was feeling very ill. They helped him back to his room, and summoned the doctor and Fr. Minister. He was anointed before being brought to hospital, where in spite of every medical attention he died on Wednesday, fortified by the rites of the Church. From what Fr. Peyton told the doctor and Fr. Minister, it is clear that a tragic mistake had caused his death. Instead of his morning dose of salts he had selected from the many powders on his shelf an irritant disinfectant powder, which quickly caused the uncontrollable haemorrhages from which he died.
Fr. Peyton's death came as a great shock to his community. For though he never was one to shine in community life, he was always kindly, quiet and reserved, considerate and sympathetic to those in difficulties. Always most regular in his observance, he was an early riser, and was frequently to be seen in the chapel at odd moments during the day. He was zealous for the honour of Our Lady and was very devoted to Our Lady of Fatima. Up to his death he was chaplain to a Praesidium of the Legion of Mary. Ever eager to do spiritual work, he was ready at any time to hear confessions in the church. In his work in the classroom, he was patient and kind, well liked and respected by the boys.
Fr. Peyton was a fine athlete, and an expert at tennis and golf. Golf was his chief recreation, and we may quote from the Limerick Leader to show how he was appreciated by his fellow golfers :
“Fr. Peyton was an enthusiastic member of the Limerick Golf Club, with whose members he was highly popular and respected, for his courteous, gentle and amiable disposition. No more pleasant partner nor opponent could be found, and he brought all the great characteristics that were his in private life on to the course. His company was eagerly sought and time passed speedily and pleasantly during a game with Fr. Peyton. His absence will long be felt by those fortunate to have known him”.
One of the priests of St. Munchin's College said that there was no member of the Crescent community so well known and liked in St. Munchin's as Fr. Peyton. Indeed it was only after his death that one realised how many friends he had made during his few years in Limerick. And we may add that many of his friends were poor and simple people. One poor man and his wife said that they would pray for him to the end of their days, for his great kindness to them for the last few years.
Fr. Peyton's funeral was attended by great crowds of both clergy and laity, and by most of the boys of the College. He was laid to rest in Mungret by the old Abbey of St. Nessan. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Clongownian, 1956


Father Cyril Peyton SJ

Cyril Peyton came to Clongowes in 1923, from the Dominican Preparatory School, Wicklow. He spent five years in Clongowes, before going to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1928. There he studied Experimental Science, obtaining Honours in all his examinations.

He entered the Society of Jesus in November, 1932, and after having finished his Science Degree and done two years Philosophy, he went on the Chinese Mission. While he was in Hong Kong, war broke out, so that he went to Australia for Theology and Ordination. Returning to Ireland after the war, he spent some time in Belvedere and later went back to Australia to labour as master in Melbourne and Sydney. He came home in 1952 and was assigned to the teaching staff of the Crescent, where he remained until his untimely death on 27th July, 1955, at the age of forty-four.

Fr Peyton's death came as a great shock to his community. For though he was never one to shine in community life, he was always kindly, quiet and reserved, considerate and sympathetic to those in difficulties. He was an early riser and was frequently to be seen in the chapel at odd moments during the day. He was zealous for the honour of Our Lady and was very devoted to Our Lady of Fatima. Up to his death he was chaplain to a Praesidium of the Legion of Mary. Ever eager to do spiritual work, he was ready at any time to hear confessions in the church. In his work in the classroom he was patient and kind, well liked and respected by the boys. Fr Peyton was a fine athlete, and an expert at tennis and golf. Golf was his chief recreation, and we may quote from the Limerick Leader to show how he was appreciated by his many friends.

“Fr Peyton was an enthusiastic member of the Limerick Golf Club, with whose members he was highly popular and respected, for his courteous, gentle and amiable disposition. No more pleasant partner or opponent could be found, and he brought all the great characteristics that were his in private life on to the course. His company was eagerly sought and time passed speedily and pleasantly during a game with Fr Peyton. His absence will long be felt by those fortunate to have known him”.

One of the priests of St Munchin's College said that there was no member of the Crescent Community so well known and liked in St. Munchin's as Fr Peyton. Indeed, it was only after his death that one realised how many friends he had made during his short time in Limerick. And we may add that many of his friends were poor and simple people, One poor man and his wife said that they would pray for him to the end of their days, for this great kindness to them for the last few years.

Fr Peyton's funeral was attended by great crowds of both clergy and laity, and by most of the boys of the College. He was laid to rest in Mungret by the old Abbey of St Nessan. May he rest in peace.

Perry, Bernard, 1911-1948, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1977
  • Person
  • 24 April 1911-13 October 1948

Born: 24 April 1911, Bradford, Yorkshire, England
Entered: 02 March 1928, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 15 August 1947
Died: 13 October 1948, St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia- Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Bernard Perry was educated at St Bede's Grammar School, Bradford, and St Patrick's College, East Melbourne. He entered fully into the life of the school, being among the first in his class each year, and he took part in football and athletics. He was also a member of the Sodality of Our Lady. He entered the Society at Loyola College, Greenwich, 2 March 1928, and then went abroad for his juniorate at Rathfarnham, 1930-33, gaining a science degree. Philosophy was at Jersey, 1933-36.
He was back in Australia for regency at St Aloysius' College, 1936-40, and was also prefect of discipline. Theology studies were taken at Canisius College, Pymble, 1941=44. Tertianship was at Loyola College, Watsonia, 1946, and then he returned to St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, for the last two years of his life.
From the time that he studied at Jersey he suffered from an ulcer that caused him much pain and distress. lt seems that doctors did not diagnose the trouble, and superiors believed that his problems were more nervous than physical. He was by nature a big, athletic, active man, and found it hardly possible to restrain his activity as the doctors prescribed. His superiors were no wiser. His life became a series of recoveries and relapses until at last the ulceration killed him. He was a generous man, unselfish and loving. He shunned any sign of sentimentality, or any trace of affected piety He was a great example of much patience amid prolonged suffering.

Perrott, Gerard P, 1909-1985, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/356
  • Person
  • 16 March 1909-20 September 1985

Born: 16 March 1909, Mayfield, Cork City
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 20 September 1985, Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park, Dublin

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

Youngest brother of Thomas - RIP 1964 and Cyril - RIP 1952

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 60th Year No 4 1985


Fr Gerard Patrick Perrott (1909-1926-1985)

Born on 16th March 1909. Ist Septem ber 1926: entered SJ. 1926-28 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1928-31 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1931-34 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1934-37 Galway, regency. 1937-41 Milltown, theology. 1941-42 Rathfarnham, tertianship
1942-53 Clongowes, teaching. 1953-56 Galway, minister, prefect of church. 1956-66 Mungret, rector. 1968-85 Leeson street: 1968-82 bursar of S H Messenger; 1975-85 editorial assistant, SHM. 1985 Cherryfield. Died on 20th September 1985.

These are but a few personal reflections on the life of Fr Gerry Perrott, whose death we mourned this last September.
I knew him since September 1924, 61 years ago, when he and I were at school together. During the intervening time he was an unfailing friend; always a friendly happy person.
One outstanding feature of Gerry was his fidelity to his work, no matter what it was.
As a teacher, and indeed as minister and rector, he was a very good disciplinarian, yet showed himself nonetheless kindly and approachable to all.
What I always enjoyed in Fr Gerry was his good humour. No matter what the time of day - and he was a man of very set routine - he always had a moment to spare.
In the years after ordination, when he and I lived under one roof, he worked hard even in summer, when he would set off and give three or even four retreats to Sisters in large communities or small, Similarly at Christmastime he would give one triduum if not two.
His versatility was often the subject of my conversation with him. He laughingly glossed it over and put it down to a family gift.
No matter what problem cropped up under his administration, I never saw him in a state of real worry over anything.
The past pupils of Mungret were very devoted to him and he to them. I would venture to say that the new life of their Union dated from Gerry's time as rector there.
Thank God and Saint Ignatius for such a Jesuit. May he now once again enjoy the company of his two Jesuit brothers, Frs Tom and Cyril, who Tom 1964). God rest his happy soul.

◆ The Clongownian, 1985


Father Gerard Perrott SJ

Gerard Perrott was one of seven who entered the Society of Jesus in Tullabeg from Clongowes in 1926. He is the fourth to finish his course; the remaining three are soldiering on. He was also the third member of his family to become a Jesuit. His brother Tom entered in 1916 and his brother Cyril in 1922. Both of them died before him; Cyril as a young priest in St Ignatius, Galway; Thomas at a good age in Australia where he spent most of his life as a priest. He was founder of the Jesuit school in Perth. Fr Gerard with his kindly nature felt their loss very deeply, Indeed, he suffered an unusual number of bereavements in his family.

He had lost his father, a victim of an ambush during the Black and Tan war and as a novice he lost his brother Paul, killed in a motor-cycle accident. Much later he was to lose his much loved sister, Mother St Thomas of Hereford of the Society of Mary Reparatrix.

If the novice Gerry from the pleasant waters of the River Lee' found the then bare and desolate aspect of his surroundings anyway depressing, he never showed it. He went through the noviceship in the resolute and regulated way that was standard, but always there was about him a gentle geniality and friendliness which won him many friends. It made him a 'good companion' all through the hard years of studies, and was a very pleasing quality later on when he was Rector in Mungret College and in St Ignatius, Galway. His ready friendliness and his deep genial laugh were a pleasure to his community and to the many who enjoyed his pleasant company,

In his person he was very neat, and he had a neat and effective way of doing things which probably came from the business of his family who were house painters and decorators in Cork.

In studies he might, perhaps, be described as an easy-going all-rounder who could get what mastery of his subjects he required without great difficulty or stress. He was very good at Irish, but did not become highly specialised in any subject, though, doubtless, he could have had he been required to. He could deal easily and competently with any task he was given.

As Rector he trusted his subjects and had a good practical commonsense wisdom. He tended to let things sort themselves out rather than impose a decision - part, perhaps, of his wisdom!
In later years he was Secretary to the Irish Messenger Office where he dealt with a large daily correspondence efficiently and with a warm personal touch that was greatly appreciated by the recipients. He was in failing health for some years before he died but carried on with quiet determination until shortly before the final phase of his illness.

His many Jesuit friends will miss his genial presence and will cherish his memory. To his nephews and nieces and other relatives, we offer our sincere sympathy.


Perrott, Cyril, 1904-1952, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1975
  • Person
  • 27 December 1904-24 April 1952

Born: 27 December 1904, Mayfield, Cork City
Entered: 31 October 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1939, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 24 April 1952, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Middle brother of Thomas - RIP 1964 and Gerard - RIP 1985
Chaplain in the Second World War.
by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 2 1941

General News :
The Irish Province has to date sent 4 chaplains to England for home or foreign service for the duration of the war. They are Frs. Richard Kennedy, Michael Morrison, Conor Naughton and Cyril Perrott. The first three were doing their 3rd year's probation under Fr. Henry Keane at the Castle, Rathfarnham, while Fr. Perrott was Minister at Mungret College. They left Dublin on the afternoon of 26th May for Belfast en-route for London. Fr. Richard Clarke reported a few days later seeing them off safely from Victoria. Both he and Fr. Guilly, Senior Chaplain to British Forces in N. Ireland, had been most helpful and kind in getting them under way.

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946
Frs. Guinane, Pelly and Perrott C. have been released from the Army. Fr. Guinane is now Minister at Mungret, Fr. Perrott is posted to Galway, and Fr. Pelly is awaiting travelling facilities to go to our Hong Kong Mission. Fr. Martin, a member also of the Mission, was to have been released from the Army on December 12th, but on the 11th be met with a serious accident in Belfast (see letter below). Fr. Provincial went to Belfast on Wednesday, January 9th, to visit him at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Fr. C. Murphy hopes to start on his homeward journey from Austria on January 14th and to be released from the Army by the end of January.

Irish Province News 27th Year No 3 1952
Coláiste Iognáid :
The deaths of Fr. Cyril Perrott and Brother G. Lynch, within a week of one another, on April 24th and May 1st, came as a great sorrow to us. Fr. Perrott's death, in particular, being quite unexpected. On April 22nd, he entered hospital for a duodenal operation, and, having come successfully through, as it appeared, he suddenly collapsed on the 23rd, and died the following morning. The Office and funeral, of which details appear elsewhere, were a remarkable tribute. Messages of sympathy and offerings for Mass poured into the house. The school was closed from the time we received news of his death until after the funeral. The boys gave a wreath, and each class an offering to have Mass said, whilst the entire school walked in the funeral.
Brother Lynch died in Dublin, after a long illness. His death was not unexpected, but he was sincerely mourned by the Community and the people of Galway to whom he had endeared himself by his quiet courtesy and unfailing good humour.

Obituary :
Father Cyril Perrott
Father Cyril Perrott was born in Cork on December 27th, 1904. He was one of six brothers, of whom two besides himself entered the Society, Father Tom Perrott, Norwood, South Australia, and Father Gerard Perrott, Clongowes Wood College. Their only sister is Mother Mary of St. Thomas, Convent of Mary Reparatrix, Merrion Square, Dublin. Cyril Perrott was educated in the Christian Brothers' School, Sullivan's Quay, and the Presentation College, Cork, and entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on October 31st, 1922. After his Juniorate at Rathfarnham and Philosophy at Milltown Park, he went to Mungret in 1930 as master and Prefect of Second Club. He was ordained in Milltown Park in 1936 by the late Archbishop Goodier, S.J., and, after Tertianship at St. Beuno's, returned to Mungret as Minister, which post he held until his appointment as military chaplain in May, 1941. During the next three years he worked in war camps in the vicinity of Palmer's Green, London, and Litchfield, Hampshire. He was sent Overseas in 1944, and saw active service in India and Burma, being attached to the South East Asia Command,
At the end of 1945, he was demobilised, and came to Galway to work in the Church and take charge of the Men's and Women's Sodalities and of the Boys and Girls' Clubs. From 1947 on, he relinquished the Men's Sodality and Boys' Club, but continued to take a great interest in both. He was also a member of the Committee of the Galway branch of the National Council for the Blind.
For a good many years he had been suffering from duodenal trouble, and during the past year it had become intensified, causing him considerable pain and loss of sleep. He was finally advised that a remedial operation was advisable, and would become absolutely necessary within a year or two. The operation was apparently successful, but on the afternoon of the following day his heart suddenly failed. He was anointed immediately by Fr. Mallin, who was at hand, and his brothers, Fr. Gerard Perrott and Mr. Robert Perrott were summoned. The surgeon and two other doctors made every effort to save his life, but he died early on the morning of April 24th. The sad news came as a terrible shock to the community and to the people of the city, many of whom were in tears when they heard it.
The funeral, which took place on April 26th, was a striking testimony to the esteem and affection in which Fr. Perrott was held. His Lordship, the Bishop of Galway, presided at the Requiem Mass, and almost all the parish priests, clergy and religious of the city and surroundings took part in the Office. The Mass was sung by Fr. Gerard Perrott, Fathers Cashman and Diffely being deacon and sub-deacon, and the cantors at the Office were Rev, J. Kelly, C.C., Rahoon and Rev. F. Heneghan, C.C., Salthill. Fr. Provincial, who had just left for Rhodesia, was represented by Fr. W. Dargan, Fathers M. O'Grady, Rector, Milltown Park; D. P. Kennedy, Rector, Belvedere College and O'Catháin, representing Leeson St., came from Dublin, and Fr. C. Naughton from Limerick.
The church was crowded with the laity, among them the Mayor, members of the Corporation, civic officials and representatives of every walk in life. The coffin was carried to the hearse by members of the Men's Sodality, and a guard of honour was provided by the Boys' Club, whilst large contingents from the Women's Sodality and Girls' Club were prominent in the procession to the burial place in the New Cemetery.
After the Mass, His Lordship, the Bishop, delivered a moving address, from which the following are a few passages :
“The life which we mourn today was at first spent in a period of quiet and tranquillity. In the long period in College which the Church prescribes for those who have aspired to the priesthood, Fr. Cyril Perrott went steadily through the preparation of prayer and study, and his life was spent in tranquillity among the young like himself. When war broke out, he joined that great and gallant company of chaplains who gave honour to the Catholic Church, and then he was called to serve under the terrible conditions of war, and saw human nature suffering under severe trials for body and soul. Then was seen the profit of his long years of prayer and study, and the soul which had been tempered by years of meditation and mortification proved its worth, and he was able to bring the truth of Jesus Christ to men fighting and dying, and to seal their wounded lips and their tortured souls with the peace of Jesus Christ.
We cannot calculate what inestimable good he was able to do, but the strain of these years, short though they were, was very great. It was greater probably than he himself acknowledged. For his is not the only case we have known of priests who have been undermined by the terrible privations of these years, and so, when the trial came, although be received the best medical attention, the strain had been too great, and death came. But it was death in the Lord, death accepted, death surrounded by all the consolations of the sacraments of the Church and the prayers of his brethren, and he went forth gladly: and bravely to meet the creator of his soul,
Today we offer our deep sympathy to his family and to the Company of Jesus to which he belonged. We join our prayers with theirs that God may give him the reward of the faithful servant. I am sure he has the prayers of the members of the Sodality which he taught, and also the prayers of the blind, in whose interest he was most zealous and attentive. He has rested in the Lord, for the works of his sacred priest hood follow him”.
When one attempts to pay a fitting tribute to the memory of Father Cyril Perrott, the first thing that stands out is that he was a splendid community man, one with whom it was a real happiness to live. He had a very pleasant, even temperament, and always appeared to be in good humour. This came partly from his natural cheerfulness. He could always see the amusing side of even the most difficult situation, enjoyed a joke, and a rarer gift - took a joke against himself with the greatest enjoyment, though his keen wit often enabled him to have the last word. But there was a deeper foundation for his calmness of temperament, and that was his admirable courage. It was related by those who were associated with him in his work as a chaplain in London that he showed the most remarkable indifference to danger during the air raids, and often would not even trouble to take shelter. This courage showed itself in the less violent, but no less trying difficulties of ordinary life. Anything he took charge of seemed to go smoothly, because he faced every situation calmly, and rarely had need to call on others to give him encouragement. Like most courageous men, he was also very unassuming. Though he had a fine war record, and was evidently a great success as an organiser, he never referred to his work as a chaplain except in the most passing way. It was the same with regard to his priestly work. He was most successful and universally popular, but he never spoke of his success except in a half-joking and deprecatory manner.
His great popularity with the laity was in large measure due to the the qualities already mentioned, but he owed it also to his tact and gift of never giving offence, to his untiring energy in helping anyone who appealed to him, and to the quiet efficiency with which he carried out his duties. It was God's Will that his life should be cut short at a comparatively early age, but the crowds who came to pray beside his remains, who thronged the church for his Requiem, and who walked in an immense procession to his grave, were a striking proof that in his short life he had won for himself the reputation that is the ambition of every good priest, of being not only a sincere friend, but also a source of consolation and inspiration. Over two hundred Mass cards were laid on his coffin, and he will long be remembered by the members of the Sodalities and the Boys and Girls' Clubs, who owe so much to his quiet, unceasing work during so many years.
To his brothers, Fathers Tom and Gerard Perrott, is offered the sincerest sympathy of the Province and especially of the community of St. Ignatius', Galway.

Owens, James, 1913-1978, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/349
  • Person
  • 14 August 1913-15 August 1978

Born: 14 August 1913, Laurel Villas, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 12 March 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 15 August 1978, Croom Hospital, Croom, Co. Limerick

Part of the Sacred Heart community, Limerick at the time of death.

Educated at Crescent College SJ

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 53rd Year No 4 1978

Crescent Church, Limerick
This summer will be remembered as the one in which we lost two of our Community within a few short hours. Brother James Owens died on the evening of August 15th, and Father William Hogan in the early hours of the following morning. Both deaths were quite unexpected. Brother Owens sustained a heart attack while undergoing a slight leg-operation in Croom Hospital. Father Hogan, while doing a holiday supply with Fr Bernard Rowley in Frimly, Surrey also had a severe heart attack, and died within a few hours.
The funeral Mass of Brother Owens, on August 17th was concelebrated by a large number of Jesuits, religious and secular priests. On the 23rd August the concelebrated Mass and funeral to Mungret cemetery of Father Hogan took place. At the Mass for Br Owens Fr J Dargan represented the provincial; at the Mass for Fr Hogan the Provincial was present. On both occasions Father Superior preached the homily. In both cases the Bishop was represented by Canon Tynan. Father Hogan’s work in the Crescent brought its special “tone” to the ceremonies: the funeral procession through the Church to the muted tones of the dead march was very impressive. The procession was comprised of large numbers of clergy, relatives, the members of the Sodality in their blue cloaks, and the general public. Later we learned that at the time when Fr Bill’s remains were being taken to London Airport a Mass was being concelebrated at Fr Rowley’s church in Kent: among the concelebrants were the English Provincial, two members of the English Province and two members of the Irish Province.

Obituary :

Br James Owens (1913-1978)

A letter from the Sacred Heart Church, the Crescent, Limerick, included the following:
"On August 17th 1978 the Funeral Mass of Br Jimmy Owens was concelebrated by a large number of Jesuit, religious and secular priests. The Congregation included a large number of Brothers, as well as family friends and members of the general public, Father J Dargan represented Father Provincial, and the Bishop was represented by Canon Tynan. Father Superior was the chief concelebrant; and the funeral took place to the cemetery in Mungret.
Brother Jimmy Ownes died unexpectedly at Croom Hospital, Limerick, on August 15th, 1978.
He was born in Limerick on August 14th 1913. He entered the Noviceship in Emo on March 12th 1932, and pronounced his First Vows there on March 13th 1934.
From 1934 to 1951 he was Refectorian at Milltown Park. Those of us who studied Theology there remember well his quiet, cheerful character. His devotion to his job and his efficiency in performing it are best attested by the fact that they went almost unnoticed. The dining room - the ‘Refectory’ - is, unhappily, a place we become really aware of only if it is neglected or inefficiently managed. In Jimmy’s day you just went into the Refectory, sat down without reflection, and ‘got down to it’: everything needed ready at hand in the cleanest of environments.
On August 15th 1946 Brother Owens pronounced his Final Vows in Milltown Park. He was Refectorian in Clongowes for almost nine years: 1951-1957 and 1959-1962. The two years 1957-1959 were spent as Refectorian in Rathfarnham Castle. The years 1964-1967 were also spent at Clongowes and he was in Galway 1967-1975.
The last years of his life were spent in his native city, Limerick: in the Crescent from 1975-1978; and he died unexpectedly there in Croom Hospital on August 15th, 1978”.

Father Cassidy writes from the Crescent:
“Brother Jimmy Owens came to the Crescent three years ago - where he had, as a boy, completed his Secondary Education up to Leaving Certificate. From his arrival in 1975, although his health was already greatly impaired, he carried out his duties, spiritual and practical with an affability and cheerfulness that gave no intimation of his physical troubles. He had an established ability to deal with all problems with peace and acceptance. When he died one felt that he had done well the particular work given him in this world, and slipped away as quietly and unobtrusively as he would have wished. The tender and affectionate regard with which he was held by the public and by members of his own family was abundantly evident at his death. May such gentle and good men be always with us”.

O'Sullivan, Thomas F, 1908-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/348
  • Person
  • 01 April 1908-31 August 1983

Born: 01 April 1908, Galway City, County Galway
Entered: 14 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1942, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 31 August 1983, Milltown Park, Dublin

Rockwell College, Carrigeen, Rockwell College, Co. Tipperary student

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983


Fr Thomas O’Sullivan (1908-1927-1983)

Tommy O'Sullivan entered the noviceship in Tullabeg in 1927, a fortnight later than the main body which entered on 1st September. All those who entered late that year are
gone to Heaven now, and most of the others.
Brother O'Sullivan did not make himself noticeable in the noviceship nor later. He was always quiet and humble and good-humoured. The solid thing was there which made him so useful in Limerick for many years and then in Rathmines.
Being slightly older, he was given a home juniorate with several others instead of university. There he was fortunate to have forming him Fr Fergal McGrath and Fr Alan P Farrell (America). After two years he was sent to Tullabeg for philosophy, He slipping a year ahead of those who entered with him. In Tullabeg he helped to mould the happy life that the new philosophate there became.
Colleges were done in Limerick, theology in Milltown ("shorts', under Frs Fr Joey Canavan, an excellent course), ordination in 1940 in the war, tertianship in Rathfarnham under Fr Henry Keane, then back to Limerick (194 1-71), until age retired him to parish work in Rathmines.
We are meant to be insignes. With him it meant that quiet solidity that makes a college or church the successful apostolate which the Society expects. Heart attacks in his last years were taken in the same quiet way, slightly interrupting his routine of church work. One would altogether take for granted that it was: Come, good and faithful servant, the night the Lord called him Home after another heart attack.

In a letter written by His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, addressed to Fr Provincial and transmitted to Fr O’Sullivan's community, Milltown Park, Dr Dermot Ryan regretted that he had not been represented at the funeral. He himself had been away. and Archbishop’s House did not become aware of Fr O’Sullivan's death till some days had elapsed. added: “The diocesan clergy knew Father O’Sullivan well. He was very devoted in his attendance at deanery meetings. He will be missed by the priests and people in Rathmines.”
Fr O’Sullivan died on 31st August 1983.

Fr Thomas O'Sullivan : continued
† 31st August 1983

To our obituary notice of Fr Thomas O'Sullivan in the October issue of the Province News, we append the following details submitted by his contemporary an tAthair Proinsias O Fionnagáin:

Thomas (he resented deeply the diminutive “Tommy”) O'Sullivan from his earliest days at Tullabeg gave advance notice of that self-effacement which so characterised his scholastic years and priestly life. Yet he was one of the few of the 1927 intake of novices to be admitted to the “vows of devotion” - surely an indication of the esteem he had earned with Fr Martin Maher and the Provincial of the time, Fr John Fahy.
Shortly after his arrival in Rathfarnhan it was discovered that he had not presented Latin in his Leaving Certificate and so was ineligible for admission to the Arts faculty of the NUI. As a result, Fr Fahy decided he should do one year of the home juniorate and then go on to philosophy. But we, his contemporaries, knew that he might have read a most distinguished course at UCD. The present writer recalls that in Fr Maher's Latin classes for second-year novices, Thomas could give a penetratingly good account of the subtleties of Latin syntax. I think he felt passed over when no arrangement was made to allow him to go to College. He never complained but we knew that deep down he felt hurt. He gave a poor account of himself in his philosophy exams.; perhaps his ingrained disposition to self-effacement gave the wrong impression to his examiners. In any event he was appointed to the short course in theology.
When I arrived in Milltown in 1938, Fr Frank Shaw asked me one day, “Aren't you a contemporary of Tom O'Sullivan's?” I agreed. Then Shaw, no mean judge of intellectual ability in a man, remarked, “Well, O'Sullivan is one man at least who is well fit to be in the ‘longs’.”
After his tertianship he was sent to the Crescent where he was to spend so many years. Here, his fellows realised that Thomas was a man gifted beyond the common run, this self-effacing man who shunned the limelight. I wonder how many in the province today, who knew him, are aware that he was a violinist of ability who had won the approval of Fr Arthur Little, a musician of uncommon sensitivity. He was a welcome member of the teaching staff and proved a capable master in Latin, Irish and other subjects. But as the school began to increase towards the middle 1940s he felt less and less at home in the classrooms that were now crowded with tall hefty youth. Bit by bit he eased himself out of the secondary school except for a couple of classes and established himself in the junior school. His credit with the parents of his pupils was simply immense.
Meantime he was being prepared for the really great work of his life in Limerick - the church choir. In 1943. Fr Robert Dillon-Kelly, choirmaster since 1914, was transferred to Galway and Fr Thomas was presented with his baton. The first few years in command must have tested his diplomacy and patience to the limit. In the choir-room he was faced by a formidable array of faithful old-timers, voluble prima donnas and operatically-voiced gentlemen of a more gracious age. Their répertoire, Mercadante et al, was all very well for a vanished generation that wanted their sermons long ... thirty, preferably forty minutes ... and luscious intervals of devotional bombastic music. Thomas had to bring a sense of reality into the choir-room and the organ loft.
He had also to provide a choir for ordinary Benediction services, of which there were very many, and to meet this need he formed a young girls' choir from amongst the sisters of our lads whose voices inclined to break, alas, too soon. Year after year this Crescent girls' choir had an audition on Radio Éireann that won acclaim throughout the country.
The reformed senior choir was meticulously trained to render worthy programmes at the sung Mass on Sundays and the greater feasts. Such was Fr Thomas's devotion to duty as choir master that it can be safely said he was absent for only three weeks out of fifty two: to make his retreat and spend a fort night near his family in Galway
Like the late Fr Peter Troddyn, Thomas was a very well-informed man. Uninvited he never advanced his views on anything. Likewise he never started an argument. If you found yourself arguing with him, then you had already lost.
During my father's last illness in 1944 I had to pay a number of visits home. As often as I returned to Limerick, an apologetic knock at my door told me it was Thomas or Fr McWilliams who had come to express sympathy and promise continued prayers. Thomas was then a young man, Fr McWilliams was into his eighties, but both priests had so much in common: an unobtrusive capacity for Sympathy and an exemplary gift of discretion. It is safe to say that no man living can recall a rash judgment, an uncharitable word, expressed by Fr Thomas.
Like Zachaeus, Thomas was a man of small physical stature ... so was St lgnatius himself ... so also were such celebrities of the Irish province as Fr Albert Power (”the mighty atom”), Fr Patrick Gannon and Thomas's own contemporary, Fr Terry Sheridan. You don't judge a man's worth by his physical stature, as David Lloyd George once said to an elongated nit-wit who referred to him as “the little man”: “In my country (Wales) a man's stature is measured from the chin up”.
Gaeilgeoir dúthrachtach ab ea an tAthair Tomás. I measc sluaite na nGael i bhfaitheas De, faoi bhrat Mhuire, go raibh a anam caomh, cneasta, cróga.

O'Sullivan, Francis X, 1913-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/536
  • Person
  • 17 May 1913-18 May 1996

Born: 17 May 1913, Inchicore, Dublin
Entered: 07 October 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 18 May 1996, Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown, Dublin

Part of the Belvedere College SJ, Dublin community at the time of death.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/evening-prayer-chad-and-belvedere/

Evening Prayer: Chad and Belvedere
Fr Gerry Clarke, a member of the Rapid Response Unit of the Jesuit Refugee Service, has just been appointed National Director of the JRS in Chad, where he has been working for some month. When we asked him what it was like, he gave an atmospheric reply:

..........I turn into the gates of the Catholic Mission. The last basketball players drift past me in groups of chatter and exhaustion; some wash the dust off and drink long draughts from the water jars at the gates of the residence, like Greek warriors after battle or the games. I’m hoping that the electricity will be running to give me light for my own shower. Did I remember to fill the water buckets? And in the near quiet of my room broken only by the whirr of the fan above my head, I retreat into the sanctuary of mosquito net and head-torch and recall a moment in Belvedere College community where I spent two years during Jesuit formation. Fr. FX O’Sullivan sits quietly before the Blessed Sacrament. The feeble light of four o’clock on a December afternoon barely penetrates the darkened chapel. He doesn’t stir but sits silently as my eyes and ears adapt to this place of prayer. In the yard outside the voices of the last schoolboys rise and fall indistinctly; not a disturbance, more a confirmation of the outside and the inside, the inner and the outer. By his reverence and stillness Fr. FX is my leader in prayer, and we enter into a communion of silence, of listening and learning from which both of us depart more quietly than we came.

◆ Interfuse No 92 : August 1996 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1996

Fr F X O’Sullivan (1913-1996)

17th May 1913: Born in Dublin
Educated at Belvedere College
7th Oct. 1931: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Oct. 1933: First Vows at Emo
1933 - 1935: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD.
1935 - 1938: Tullabeg, Study of Philosophy
1938 - 1941: Mungret College, Regency
1941 - 1945: Milltown Park, Theology
31st July 1944: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1945 - 1946: Rathfarnham, Tertianship
1946 - 1994: Belvedere - Teacher, Spiritual Director in Junior School
1994 - 1996: Pastoral care of Staff in Junior School

Fr. F.X. O'Sullivan was the Great Old Man of Belvedere. A doctor's son and close neighbour of the late Dr. Dermot Ryan, Archbishop of Dublin, Frank was born and reared in Inchicore. He was educated at Belvedere College and except for his years of study as a Jesuit and a short spell in Mungret College, he spent all of his teaching life in the Junior School in his old school. Mindful of the words of Jesus, “suffer little children to come unto me”.

F.X. ensured that all the thousands of young Belvederians entrusted to his care knew who their true friends were. His great devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Virgin was crystal clear to all who had the privilege of being taught by him. Every boy was cared for individually and his ability to quietly expose, praise and develop their latent talents endeared him to all, but particularly to the shy and diffident young pupils. The super academic teenage sophisticates were expertly taught the virtue of humility and the art of tactfully and charitably assisting the slower learners among their peers. Many of his pupils owe a keen interest in reading to him as he was an assiduous reader. For many years he stocked the Junior School Library with the type of books that even the most reluctant readers could not resist.

My first clear recollection of Fr. F.X. O'Sullivan was during one of his lively geography classes in Rudiments, when he engaged us in naming all the stations on the railway line from Dublin to Cork. “At least one of you know, what's at Limerick Junction. Isn't that so Eddie?”

That remark started our favourite subject of conversation, which brightened many days for both of us over the next fifty years. It was a great boost for me, a raw recruit to this very big city centre school, to realise that even Jesuits could be interested in horses.

He taught us the importance of accepting God's will in everything and doing the very ordinary daily assignments extraordinarily well. His pupils in the 40's and 50's will always remember with joy his many visits to Dublin factories, when, every Wednesday he brought them to visit them. His meticulous preparation and organisation of educational tours to Shannon, Cobh, Armagh and other such places ensured his pupils full enjoyment of these never to be forgotten days. Mindful of the importance of having happy staff colleagues he was warm in his welcome for new members of staff and deeply appreciated their friendship and loyalty and attended all their social functions.

In addition to teaching, he was confessor to the Christian Brothers in Marino and for many years in O'Connells' schools where his kindness and understanding were treasured. For some thirty years he took a supply in Worthing for approximately three months. He endeared himself to both the parishioners and clergy in Worthing and always availed of generous offers to visit Plumpton, Fortwell and Glorious Goodwood! Away from the crowds on the beach near Worthing he daringly wore his “sin suit”, as he called the jeans he purchased much to the wonder of many who admired this gentle conservative. Working in Worthing he developed an understanding of family difficulties which helped him in his counselling ministry to past pupils who frequently sought his advice and prayers in their hour of need.

God gave him excellent health and up to his illness some years ago he seemed to have the gift of perpetual youth. Always an avid walker even in old age, he thoroughly enjoyed his “canters” in Dun Laoghaire, the Phoenix Park and Dollymount. He had great taste for good music and frequently visited the theatre. Early lunches on Saturday graciously supplied by his great friend Br. Pat McNamara, SJ, enabled him for many years to attend “devotions” as he jocosely described his visits to Naas, the Curragh, Punchestown, Fairyhouse and Kilbeggin. Fifty years in the Society of Jesus called for something very special and we were happy to bring him on a never to be forgotten visit to Cheltenham. The opportunity to meet top trainers and racing personalities, from both sides of the pond, was way beyond his wildest dreams. God was good to his faithful servant!

Though very friendly to everyone F.X. would not allow anyone to encroach on his privacy. He always needed his own space and particularly his long prayerful sessions where he remembered all of us daily. Death came peacefully after some two years of constant illness very patiently and courageously borne. It was terrible to see the once so agile F.X, an invalid. He was heroic in his illness. A true Jesuit, he welcomed worthwhile changes in both the Society of Jesus and the Church which he judged would help to get more people nearer to the God he loved so well.

To his brother David and sister-in-law Paddy we extend our deepest sympathy on the loss of a loyal and devoted teacher for over fifty years.


O'Shaughnessy, John, 1909-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1957
  • Person
  • 15 August 1909-11 November 1962

Born: 15 August 1909, Ballygawley, County Tyrone
Entered: 14 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1943
Died: 11 November 1962, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John O'Shaughnessy was educated by the Marist Fathers at St Mary's College, Dundalk, and entered the Society 14 September 1927, at Tullamore. There he was described as energetic, strong and cheerful, but not much given to speculation and anxious to be always active.
After his vows he completed his juniorate at Rathfarnham, 1929, and in the course of his first year was involved in a motor accident. He received head injuries. It is possible that this affected him for the rest of his life. He studied philosophy at Tullabeg, 1930-33. lt was during this time that he was transferred to the Australian vice-province. Regency was completed at Riverview, 1934-37, and theology at Milltown Park, 1937-42. Tertianship followed at Rathfarnham.
Before returning to Australia, O'Shaughnessy was engaged in parish ministry at St Walburge's, Preston, UK, and he then taught at Riverview, 1945-48. He was minister at North Sydney, 1949 and 1954-57, and Lavender Bay 1950-53. For a few years he was the mission promoter for Sydney. Then followed yearly appointments to Hawthorn, Richmond, Glen Waverley, St Aloysius' College and Xavier College. He did not take to teaching easily, finding it taxed his concentration, but this only made him more painstaking in the preparation of his classes.
He was a lively, cheerful, generous, energetic and conscientious man. He was scrupulously careful in his work and perhaps became over-scrupulous towards the end of his life. He was a good worker. pleasant companion and exemplary religious. He had special interest in the Apostleship of Prayer, and worked hard at organising it, even among the community! He was devoted to the sick and appreciated for his kindness. He was a pastoral priest, and enjoyed doing Sunday supplies and giving retreats. lt was while he was giving one of these retreats that he took ill and died.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 38th Year No 1 1963
Obituary :
Fr John O’Shaughnessy SJ
Prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Fr. John O'Shaughnessy whose happy death took place at Melbourne on 11th November 1962. Fr. O'Shaughnessy was a member of the Irish Province until his assignment to the newly-established Vice-Province of Australia in 1931, while he was still a Junior at Rathfarnham. He had entered the Society at Emo in 1927. At the time of his death he was a master at Xavier College, Melbourne, previous to which he had been engaged at parish work for several years. May he rest in peace.

Orr, George, 1918-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1955
  • Person
  • 30 October 1918-04 May 2006

Born: 30 October 1918, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1946, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 08 September 1955
Final Vows: 03 February 1958
Died: 04 May 2006, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1957 came to Rathfarnham (HIB) making Tertianship

O'Rourke, Patrick, 1924-2003, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/692
  • Person
  • 22 May 1924-17 December 2003

Born: 22 May 1924, Kildimo, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1982, Hong Kong
Died: 17 December 2003, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to HIB : 15 September 1992

by 1951 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Patrick O’Rourke, SJ

Father Patrick O’Rourke, SJ died rather suddenly but peacefully on 17 December 2003, aged 79 years.

He died, appropriately, in Wah Yan College Hong Kong, where he had lived and taught for 45 years, and in the college chapel, of which he was the prefect in recent years.

In many ways a quiet-spoken man of simple tastes, but coming from a farming background in his native Ireland, he was also shrewd and somewhat skeptical by nature, not suffering fools gladly. He lived very simply, his room was left almost bare.

He possessed a well-developed sense of humour and enjoyed having a good laugh and also causing a good laugh.

A keen sportsman in earlier days, he enjoyed football, playing left-wing and, like many of his students, was a keen fan of Manchester United and latterly played a useful game of tennis in the school yard.

In his 45 years of teaching in Wah Yan College, he certainly taught hundreds, perhaps thousands of boys, in successive generations.

Many of his students returned to their mother school for his funeral Mass on 21 December 2003, presided over by Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun SDB and Bishop John Tong Hon and followed by burial in the Catholic cemetery in Happy Valley.

Just as his patron, St. Patrick, was called by God from being a shepherd boy to bring the Gospel of Christ to the pagan Irish in the 5th century AD, his 20th century namesake, a farmer’s son from Limerick, was also called to devote his long life to offering a sound education and the same Gospel to the Chinese youth of this sophisticated city with its age-old culture and yearnings for the infinite.

May God richly reward this latter day “Mr. Chips” and bring him quickly to Heaven, if he is not already there.

May Father Patrick O’Rourke have many Hong Kong Jesuit successors to continue the Wah Yan tradition into the future. May his gentle soul rest in the peace of Christ!
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 January 2004

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He first came to Hong Kong as a Regent in 1952 to study Cantonese at Cheung Chau. He then returned to Ireland for Theology

1958-1989 He returned to Hong Kong to teach English and religious Knowledge at Wah Yan College Hong Kong and lived there for over 40 years. During this time he also helped with pastoral work on weekends with Sunday Masses, and he was Chaplain to the Hong Kong Volunteers for 20 years.

He was known for his humour and was very popular with his fellow Jesuits.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005


Fr Patrick (Paddy) O’Rourke (1924-2003)

May 22nd 1924: Born in Kildimo, Co. Limerick
Early education at Kildimo National School and Sacred Heart College, The Crescent, Co. Limerick
Sept. 7th 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
1944 - 1947: Studied Arts UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1952: Hong Kong - Language School
1952 - 1953: Wah Yan College - Regency
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
July 31st 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1958 - 1959: Tertianship at Rathfamham
1959 - 2003: Wah Yan , Hong Kong - Prefect of the church, Spiritual Director (SJ), Treasurer, Teacher.
Feb. 2nd 1982: Final Vows in Hong Kong
Dec.17th 2003: Died in Hong Kong.

Fr Paddy O'Rourke died in the chapel in his community at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. His death was completely unexpected. The cause of his death is believed to have been a heart attack. He had been in fair health right to the end. Another member of the community spoke to him on the phone an hour before he died.

Homily preached by Fr. Seán Coghlan on December 21st at a Vigil Mass, the night before his funeral:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, instead of speaking about Advent or the fast approaching feast of Christmas I want to share with you some thoughts about Fr. Paddy O'Rourke who died last Wednesday in this chapel and who will be buried from here tomorrow.

Wah Yan College moved from Robinson Road to this site on Mount Parrish in 1955. Fr. O'Rourke took up residence here in August or September 1958 and has lived here ever since. Before his ordination in Ireland he taught for one year in Robinson Road after two years of Cantonese studies in Battery Path. 48 years of Fr. O'Rourke's nearly 80 years of life were spent in Hong Kong, 46 of them in Wah Yan.

He will be remembered by generations of Wah Yan students. Many of you will remember him too. For the last few years of his life his health made it impossible for him to go out for Mass on Sundays. Instead, he looked after this chapel with great care. He was always standing down there at the back of the chapel or hearing Confessions and then he would come up to the altar to help the celebrant distribute Holy Communion.

Fr. O'Rourke taught for most of his life, and even after his retirement he assisted the teachers and students in a wide variety of extra curricular activities. He was Minister of the community for many years. That is, he looked after the material needs of his fellow Jesuits.

He knew where every pipe in the building was. He did the jobs that needed to be done. He was that essential person in a religious community who can be relied on to be around, keeping an eye on things.

Fr. O'Rourke was chaplain to the Hong Kong Regiment (”The Volunteers”). Until quite recently he would offer Sunday Mass and preach in St. Margaret's and St. Jude's Parishes and Christ the King Chapel. Fr. O'Rourke was a good footballer in his younger days and played tennis on Sunday afternoons on the court beside the chapel, just a few yards away from where we are now. His partners were Mr. Frank Yung, Mr. Anthony Ip and Fr. Derek Reid.

He was a simple man but shrewd and somewhat skeptical by nature. He did not get wildly enthusiastic about new ideas but was absolutely reliable in all his commitments. He lived very simply. His room was almost bare. It will be very easy to clean up. Some Jesuit rooms take much time and energy to clean up after the occupant has left us for the Lord. Remember Fr. O' Rourke was 45 years in the some room!

Fr. Deignan was speaking to Fr. O'Rourke's nephew on the phone last Thursday. His nephew said too that he was a very simple man. He was quite content to stay around the old home, wandering about the farm and cycling on the bicycle which is still there. Fr. O'Rourke was very interested in local history. On holidays in Ireland he would visit the local parish churches and look up the publicly available marriage and baptismal registers. He would go to the local government offices and study the title deeds to the local farms and properties. These records stretched back many years.

On one occasion I asked him to look up some details about my family. When I asked him about his findings he said with a twinkle in his eyes. “If I were you I wouldn't look too deeply into the matter, some of the dates are a bit difficult to reconcile”. Fr. O'Rourke was very humorous and enjoyed having a good laugh and causing a good laugh.

Fr. O'Rourke lived in the country. His home was nine or ten miles from the nearest town where there was a Jesuit school, He cycled to school and back home in all kinds of weather. That was hard at times.

When Fr. O' Rourke was in school, Ireland was going through difficult years. It had recently become independent. The economy, nationally and internationally, was bad. Farmers in particular faced difficult problems. But Ireland was a Catholic country. It had a tremendous missionary tradition. Young women and young men like Fr. O' Rourke became priests and nuns and went to bring God's light to many different parts of the would. Fr. O' Rourke was one of those who, despite very difficult economic conditions, received a good education. He was available for God's work.

Now life is very different in Ireland. The economy is booming. But Ireland has not adapted well to prosperity. There is a crisis in the religious life of the people. The number of practicing Catholics has dropped drastically. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life have diminished correspondingly. It has to be said, too, that the Church has not coped well with the crisis. It is a very different scene from the one Fr. O' Rourke was familiar with. I would ask you to pray that God will recall his people to a richer and more mature faith.

I think that Ireland is at one with the rest of the Western world in a certain tiredness and sickness. It seems to lack creativity and imagination in finding spiritual and humane answers to the challenges of a new world.

If one reads the financial and business pages of our newspapers and journals one finds that the experts are divided as to whether India or China will be the great economic force of the world in the not too distant future. Are the countries of the East emerging as the power houses of the world?

Prosperity and a spiritual outlook on life do not always go hand in hand. However, a general awakening and growth in one area of life may be accompanied by a growth in other areas. There is a hunger for spiritual meaning in many Eastern countries. Religious novitiates in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India and Korea have many candidates. In China there are many young men and women preparing for the priesthood and religious life.

Lay Christians are active and confident. Recently I met a young Hong Kong woman who has already spent seven years with a Catholic refugee service in South East Asia. She is now preparing to commit herself for life to the work. She is one among many lay people from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia who are “on mission” to the world. In God's loving plan the Western world brought his light to the world for many centuries. Could it not now be the tum of the Eastern world to bring spiritual values to a world which thirsts for meaning?

Fr. O'Rourke came from a farming community, fields stretching down to the River Shannon, the hills of Clare rising from the fields on the other side of the river. Now it may be the time for a young man or woman from the green fields of Korea or from one of the immense bustling cities of China to bring God's light to those who long for it.


Homily preached at the Requiem Mass for Fr. O'Rourke by Fr. Robert Ng Chi-fan:

My dear Wah Yan friends,

We have gathered here today to celebrate a Requiem Mass for Fr. Paddy O'Rourke who died last Wednesday. For most of you he was either a teacher, a colleague or a good friend.... Hong Kong people appreciate stability greatly. Fr. O' Rourke was a very stable person indeed! He believed that things shouldn't be changed if they were good, so he stayed in Wah Yan for 45 years and never left it. He lived in the same room for those 45 years and every morning had his breakfast at 6:45. Then he started his day's work. His main responsibility was teaching, especially teaching English. He had his own special way of teaching. For the first few minutes of each class he asked his students to repeat again and again words which could be easily mispelt. Then he would ask them to memorize some proverbs. Fr, O'Rourke was the teacher who helped me most to improve my English. If a student couldn't answer his questions he would poke him with his finger until the right answer came. But he didn't confine himself to helping the students in class. He trained them to take part in English debates and verse-speaking competitions. He continued to do so almost to the very end of his life. Shortly before he died he acted as judge in one of the competitions. It can truly be said that he worked humbly and simply until his death.

Many people can be good teachers but, as a Jesuit and priest, Fr. O'Rourke came to Hong Kong from Ireland to fulfil a further mission. He wanted people to know God. He liked teaching English but he liked teaching religion even more. He gave religious instruction and was spiritual director of a Catholic society. He was very happy when a student was baptized. His apostolate extended beyond the school. He was chaplain to the locally enlisted Hong Kong Regiment (”The Volunteers”) On Sundays he went for many years to St Margaret's Parish and Christ the King Chapel to offer Mass.

As a Jesuit and missionary he was a traditional type. He followed the rules carefully. He was obedient. He led a simple life and was generous in sharing with others. When I was a student I used to see poor people coming up to Wah Yan every Saturday to look for help. It was always Fr. O'Rourke who came downstairs to talk to them and give them some money. For many years he was the Minister of the Jesuit community and as Minister was very willing to share with those in need. In St. Mathew's Gospel Jesus speaks of the criteria for judgment on the Last Day. The criteria are almost exclusively concerned with helping those who need our help. Fr, O'Rourke will get high marks in this area.

Those who know Fr, O'Rourke were well aware of how much he liked football. He played football when he was young. In the 60's, the "Fathers' team" always beat the students' team. A few of the Fathers played for the Hong Kong Football Club. Fr. O'Rourke played on the left wing and the students found it very hard to block his very accurate centering of the ball. When football was mentioned, one could see a big smile on his face. Friends know that the Fathers liked football so they generously installed Cable TV for them. This gave Fr, O'Rourke the entertainment he loved. His favourite team was Manchester United, probably because there were always Irish players on the Manchester United team. The reason why I mention his love of football is to show that Fr. O'Rourke was not a rather remote, distant priest and missionary. On the contrary, he mixed with ordinary people and shared their likes and interests. He insisted, however that entertainment should be healthy. This reflects his character. He was an upright man, but a humorous one too.

Since Fr. O'Rourke loved games and sporting activities it would be appropriate and the truth to quote of him St. Paul's words. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”. (2 Tim 4:7 & 8)

When Jesuits die, they wish to go to the Lord quickly. They envy those who manage not to delay on their way to Him! Fr. Corbally died while eating his breakfast, Fr. Doody while offering Mass. Last year Fr. McLoughlin died in his sleep. The Lord was merciful to Fr. O'Rourke. At noon on Wednesday 17th Fr. O' Rourke arranged with a colleague to have some Masses offered. Before 5:00 p.m. he died while praying in the chapel.

We chose to have Fr. O'Rourke's Requiem Mass in the school chapel because it has a special meaning for him and for us. He served Wah Yan for 45 years. This is the chapel he loved and looked after. Here he offered numerous Masses. Here he prayed for the students. I am sure he will be happy to say “good bye” to the teachers and students in this place. He must be happy to have two Bishops and many priests offering Mass for him, his student to preach about him, and so many teachers and students, past and present, to pray for him.

Those who spoke to him recently must feel a little sad at his passing. But for a Jesuit to die in the bosom of the Lord is a consoling thing. Let us unite in praying for him who offered his life to God by his work of education among the students of Wah Van. May he hear the words of to-days Gospel being addressed to him by Our Lord himself. “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

O'Reilly, Andrew, 1903-1979, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/673
  • Person
  • 24 November 1903-26 February 1979

Born: 24 November 1903, Galway City, County Galway
Entered: 01 September 1919, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1934, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 26 February 1979, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Educated at Mungret College SJ

Studied for BA at UCD

by 1936 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 54th Year No 2 1979

Fr Andrew O’Reilly RIP
It is with sincere regret that we have to record the death of one of the most respected and revered members of our community. Fr Andrew O’Reilly died on February 26 of an incurable illness, leukemia. His funeral Mass on Ash Wednesday, February 28, was concelebrated and attended by a very representative gathering of members of the Province. The chief concelebrant was his Rector, Fr Robert McGoran, assisted by the Vice-Principal, Fr Joseph Dargan, and Fr Bernard Murray.
Of Fr Andy we in the community could say “He was all things to all of us”. Always a friend to whom you could go when you wanted anything done. Elsewhere in this issue is an obituary notice. It was written by Fr Michael McGrath. Sincere thanks to him for such a fitting tribute. We include also two appreciations from dear friends, Maurice Semple, author of two books, “Some Galway Memories” and “Reflections on Lough Corrib”, and owner of the boat on which Fr O’Reilly spent his summer vacation, and Seán Beatty of the Columban Badminton Club, of which Fr O'Reilly was president.

Obituary :

Fr Andrew O’Reilly (1904-1979)

Fr Andy, as he was known by all, was a man without a spark of pride in him, yet in the last few years of his life, urged on and prompted by an American cousin, he did quite an amount of research on the family tree. Though three generations of O’Reillys have lived in Co Galway and Galway city, the O’Reillys were of Cavan origin. His greatgrandfather was Edward O’Reilly of Killanne between Shercock and Bailieborough. This Edward, who was a farmer, had a family of two sons and two daughters. One of his sons, Edward, became a teacher, moved south, and taught in Knockroon school between Headford and Shrule and lived in Headford. He married a Miss Kyne and had three children, a daughter Margaret and two sons, Alfred, who followed his father's footsteps and became a teacher, and Augustus, who moved to Galway and worked in the “Connacht Tribune”. Later, Augustus met and married a Catherine Nestor, whose family came originally from Gort. Augustus and Catherine had six children, Eddie, Andrew (our Fr Andy), George, Jack, Patrick and May. Both parents died whilst the family was still very young. The mother died in 1909 and the father in 1912, so their uncle, Father, later Canon, Andrew Nestor took charge of them. It meant however that the young OReillys hardly knew family life and had to be educated in boarding schools. So Fr Andy was in Banagher Convent, Blackrock College and Mungret. Andy felt the call to the priesthood and the Society. This was not surprising as the Nestor family had a tradition of giving sons to the priesthood. Fr Andy's granduncle, Fr John, was a priest of the diocese and died in Gort in 1853. Then as well as Fr Andrew Nestor, Fr Andy had another uncle, Fr John, who became a Jesuit in America where he died in 1942. Following therefore in their footsteps Fr. Andy entered the novitiate on September 1st 1919 before he had completed his sixteenth year.
He followed what was then the strict routine of formation and studies:
Noviceship 1919-1921 at Tullabeg
Home Juniorate 1921-1922 also at Tullabeg
University 1922-25 from Rathfarnham
Philosophy 1925-28 at Milltown
Regency 1928-31 at Clongowes
Theology 1931-35 with ordination 1934
Tertianship 1935-36 at St. Beuno's College, Wales
His first assignement after Tertianship was to St Ignatius College, Galway where he was to spend the rest of his life. For two years, he was Adj Praef Stud, Doc and Praef Spir Alumn, among other things. On August 3rd, 1938 he was appointed Rector but was also Doc and Operarius in the Church. Because the war intervened he held the office of Rector until 1947, a period of nine years. They were difficult years as finance was very tight because school fees were low and prices were rising. Yet he managed to save the wood panelling of the Church ceiling which was found to be infested with woodworm, as well as keeping the complex solvent. Whilst he fulfilled his duties as Rector most faithfully and conscientiously, with sound judgement and with kindness and consideration for everyone, I think it can be truthfully stated that he was never quite happy in the position and looked forward to the day his term of office would be finished. Being an essentially humble and self-effacing man, he disliked the limelight.
It was during his term of office that the Old Boys’ Union was founded and he also managed the affairs of the Columban Hall. This was because a Provincial had said that unless it paid its way it would have to be sold. By careful management and by doing most of the work himself, he managed to keep it afloat. In this way, he fostered music and dramatics in the city, for the Columban Hall was the only hall for such functions at the time. In his own strange way, he was very interested in these functions and made his contribution behind the scenes by acting as stage manager. His connection with the same hall continued to the end. Since the new School Hall was built, most of the former activities of the Columban Hall have been transferred to it, but Fr Andy continued to maintain the old Columban Hall. There had grown up a love-hate relationship between himself and that old building. From time to time, he would declare that he would gladly be rid of it, but at the same time all felt that he would be lonely without it.
When he ceased to be Rector, he returned to fulltime teaching, being the principal Latin teacher, through the medium of Irish, for many a long year. He was a man of tremendous practical abilities and skills and as well as his teaching, he was prepared to exercise his talents as electrician, carpenter, welder and general handyman in the house in his spare time. He even installed our first interphone system and did the same in Belvedere and the Crescent. Although he found preaching and public speaking difficult, he was always willing to step into the breach in the Church when help was needed. His whole life, though a rather hidden one, was nevertheless a very fulll one and one of service to others. He did not find it easy to mix with people, but when occasion demanded he was a most pleasant companion in any group. When he made friends his friendship was very sincere and loyal and again one of service. In return, his circle of friends was very loyal to him and truly loved him,
He was a man of prayer and most exact in the performance of all his religious duties but there was no outward show. He was a man who strictly interpreted his vow of poverty, sough permission for the gifts he received, never had superflua, never wasted, and used what he needed for his life and work with great care.
He was a man of great patience, self control and toleration and whilst he could get irritated and slightly annoyed, I don’t think anyone ever saw him lose his temper or get angry.
If he had one passion, it was his love of the Corrib River and Lake. He was never a great talker, but when he spoke of his trips and holidays on the lake he waxed eloquent. The Lake was obviously his earthly paradise. I think it was the peace, quiet and solitude of the lake that appealed to him, that and the companionship of those very dear friends, who shared these holidays and trips with him. May the Lord bless the Provincial who first granted him permission for such a holiday. He gave much happiness to Fr Andy. For whilst Andy gave unremitting service to the Society in Galway, apart from this pleasure we did not give him back much in return. Whilst he was teaching the Latin Classics down through the long years, from time to time he said he would like to visit Rome and Italy. Being the man he was, he would not ask for such a trip, but now it seems a pity that no one in authority ever said, “Andy, here is the money, Go”. Andy however did not look for earthly rewards.
His end was like the rest of his life, quiet, unobtrusive and without causing any trouble. He had been failing slightly for some months but no one paid much attention. He had always been so active, so sprightly, we thought that now in his 75th year, the years were catching up on him. However at the end of January it became apparent that it was something more than age. He was sent to the doctor who diagnosed leukaemia and he was put into hospital. There it was discovered after tests that he had one of the worst forms of that disease. Because his poor blood condition left him wide open to every and any infection he had to be pretty well isolated and his illness had to be kept quiet. Only the Rector and Fr Murray were allowed to visit him and then only for brief visits. He found the blood transfusions and drugs distressing and the haemorrhages and other side effects of his disease humiliating and then there was the loneliness of his isolation. As the month of February passed and he did not respond to the treatment it became obvious that there was little hope of his recovery. The Community arranged to say a Novena of Masses for him. The end came quicker than was expected on the morning of February 26th, the day the first Mass of the Novena was said. The Lord had answered but in a way we did not expect. Thus he entered his reward for his life of truly faithful service, and we can be certain he was welcomed by his Lord and Master with the words “Well done good and faithful servant: enter into the joy of the Lord”.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam gléigeal.

An Appreciation
It is only when one loses a friend to Death that the impact of his personality can be appreciated objectively. And so, with the passing to his Eternal Reward of Father Andrew O'Reilly, it is possible to consider him both as a priest and as a friend.
"Father Andy", as he was affectionately known to his friends, was firstly - and finally - a man of God, a faithful observer of the Rule of Saint Ignatius. This was reflected in his profound trust in Divine Providence and in his extraordinary sense of obedience and humility, Those of us who were fortunate to be close to him can truthfully and sincerely confirm that he was an inspiration - an example – on how to co-operate with Our Lord, and so, come closer to Him. And we are deeply, deeply grateful to Father Andy for this.
Who would expect that an expert in the Classics (having taught so many boys at Saint Ignatius College down the years the idiosyncrasies of Vergil and Homer) could also write to his friends in verse, while, in his unassuming manner, revealing himself as a skilled carpenter, electrician, and general handyman, whose talents were so freely made available to his Community and his friends ?
Father Andy had one particular interest, apart from his priestly vocation - his love for the Corrib country. Being a Galwayman, he had opportunity to visit it. For 21 years he sailed Lough Corrib from end to end, fishing, exploring and enjoying that peace and beauty so peculiar to that lake. In addition to his weekly visits during each season, he spent his annual fortnight's vacation in a boat, offering the Divine Sacrifice daily, on the lake. When he celebrated Mass on the 3rd August 1958 on a boat on the Corrib, it was the first time ever that such an event took place not alone on the Corrib but on any other lake in these islands. It was an historic occasion which pleased him greatly.
His ability to adapt himself in every company, his gentleness and his deep Christian convictions were an inspiration to many people around the lake. His passing has not only been a tremendous loss to his friends and Community but also a void on the Corrib scene.
May his gentle Soul find peace in his Divine Master and joy in the Happy Fishing Grounds.
(William F.) Maurice Semple

An Appreciation
Fr Andrew O’Reilly SJ, a Galway man, a community man, a priest, a friend and companion, slipped out of this world last month leaving with his friends and all who knew him wonderful and cherished memories.
Born in Galway 76 years ago. Went to school in Galway. Entered the Society of Jesus in 1919. Appointed to the teaching staff of Clongowes Wood College and ordained in 1934,
Returned to St. Ignatius College, Sea Road, Galway 43 years ago. Two years later he was appointed Rector. This position he held for 9 years and was also attached to the teaching staff of the College. He being a native Irish speaker, specialised in Irish, also Mathematics and Latin.
He was a quiet and unassuming man. A man of extraordinary and wonderful talent and ability.
Having attended to his priestly duties, he looked forward to overcoming any task great or small. He loved work and took delight and enjoyment in whatever he turned his hands to. His workshop was his paradise.
He was a builder, carpenter, decorator, electrician, painter, plumber, welder, in fact no task was too great and every job was a challenge.
He was associated with the management of the Columban Hall, Sea Road, and its activities including the Columban Players; Penny Dinners and Sewing Guild; Pantomimes (C.H.E.C.); Our Lady’s Boys' Club; Our Lady's Girls' Club; Irish Plays; Irish Dancing and the Columban Badminton club; the latter of which he was Honorary President of at the time of his death. : He was instrumental in reviving badminton in Galway in 1953 and his help and generosity were outstanding.
As a member of Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club, he was a navigator, an angler and above all he was a man of the Corrib. He loved the River Corrib and the Lake. He looked forward to cast off time on board the “Lady Corrib” each summer. For the first fortnight in August each morning he celebrated Mass on board the “Lady Corrib” in Golden Bay, Cong, where friends and neighbours and anglers prayed with him on board, on water and on land.
He has now cast off for his final voyage. His destination in his Final Reward.
He has left on the shore a multitude of friends. His hands will guide the rudder of each of us.
His guidance will be from the Higher Bridge. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.
Always remembered,
Seán Beatty

O'Neill, Niall, 1926-2009, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/793
  • Person
  • 23 February 1926-19 November 2009

Born: 23 February 1926, North Circular Road, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1962, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 19 November 2009, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Educated at Crescent College SJ

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 142 : Spring 2010

Fr Niall O’Neill (1926-2009)

23rd February 1926: Born in Limerick
Early education at Crescent College
7th September 1944: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1946: First Vows at Emo
1946 - 1950: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1950 - 1953: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1953 - 1956: Belvedere - Teacher
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1959: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1960 - 1961: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1961 - 1962: Clongowes- Lower Line Prefect; Teacher
2nd February 1962: Final Vows
1962 - 1967: Crescent College, Limerick - Spiritual Director (pupils); Confessor; Teacher
1967 - 1973: Tullabeg - Missions / Retreat Staff
1973 - 1989: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick
1973 - 1984: Missions / Retreat staff
1984 - 1989: Missions / Retreat staff; Promoted the Apostleship of Prayer and the Messenger
1989 - 2000: Tory Island - Parish Curate
2000 - 2001: Gort an Choirce - LeitirCeanainn, Dun na nGall
2001 - 2006: Gallen Priory Nursing and Retirement Home, Ferbane - Residential Chaplain
2006 - 2009: Della Strada, Limerick - Prayed for Church and Society
19th November, 2009: Died in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Liam O'Connell writes:
Niall O'Neill grew up on the North Circular Road, Limerick. His family was important to Niall, and he remained close to his brother and three sisters. His father, Dick, died in his 40's, and a photograph from the ordination day of Niall and his mother, whom the family called Mater, had pride of place in Niall's room. All of his family shared a devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, and a commitment to the care of the sick, and over the years their annual pilgrimages there also became a family reunion.

Niall took great pleasure in the achievements of his nieces and nephews, and they in turn were great at keeping in touch with him. He introduced them to music at an early age, buying guitars and a set of uileann pipes for them. They were most grateful to him for this, and many of them followed musical careers.

In 1944, during the World War, Niall left the Crescent and began his life as a Jesuit, when he went to Emo. Years later when Emo closed, Niall salvaged the bell from there, called the Challenger, and he used it to summon people to Mass on Tory Island. After studies in UCD and in Tullabeg, Niall taught as a scholastic in Belvedere where he also ran the Field Club, and he became a lifelong friend and supporter of the Belvedere Youth Club. In later years he went as chaplain with them on their annual seaside camp in County Meath.

During the years of study Niall belonged to a great group of Jesuit companions. These included Tom McGivern and Gerry Keane, who later worked in Zambia and Singapore, but they still remained his steadfast friends. Contemporaries enjoyed Niall's personal qualities, his rugged determination, his patriotism, his good humour, his talent as a musician, as a sportsman, as an actor, and as one of the authors of the pantomimes and reviews they produced regularly. In these they poked gentle fun at everybody and everything, and they maintained a sense of balance and good humour at a time of Spartan living conditions.

As a schoolboy Niall and a friend cycled from Limerick to Portlaoise on a bird watching expedition, to see the first collared doves in Ireland, and as a Jesuit this love of nature continued to enrich his life. Years later he attracted hundreds of 'twitchers' to Tory, by alerting the BBC to the presence on the island of a bird rarely seen in Europe. He amassed a specialised collection of Irish bird books, and even when in Cherryfield be sent for his binoculars so that he could continue to be close to the natural world.

After Tertianship Niall became Lower Liner Prefect at Clongowes. Then in 1962 he went to Limerick, to Crescent College as a teacher and Spiritual Father. In 1967 he joined the Retreat and Parish Mission staff. This new work brought him to every diocese in Ireland, giving parish missions that lasted up to two weeks at a time, and he worked closely with Seán Noonan and Kevin Laheen and Noel Holden. Niall had a great love of the lore of country places, and took many fine slide photographs of the places he visited.

For much of this time Niall continued to live in the Crescent, until he went in 1989 to live as the resident priest in Tory Island off the Donegal coast. He described this as the happiest period of his life, and he adapted his Munster Irish to Caighdeán Cuige Ulaidh. At this time he began to say the Divine Office and Mass in Irish, a practice he continued till the end. On Tory he also visited the sick, worked as a peacemaker, welcomed visitors, and brought encouragement and friendship to many, especially the housebound. He also had time to fish for his supper, and to wander in all weathers all over the island. In recent years he used to look at his collection of videos of life on Tory. These included pictures of the Ferry journey to Tory, programmes about Tory recorded from TG4, homemade videos that recorded the island way of life, and some great Atlantic storms.

We also have some beautiful photographs of Niall from Tory; processing outside the church with altar servers, with their vestments blowing in the wind; bounding over rocky outcrops with two beautiful dogs; ringing the bell for Mass, and smiling with delight as he greeted friends. In recent Niall used to receive a large post every day, and the Donegal postmarks on many of these letters were a sign of strong and lasting friendships formed on Tory.

In the year 2000 Niall had a stroke, and had to leave his beloved Tory. He always was a determined person, and entered into his rehabilitation programme with great resolve. He lived for a year in Cherryfield and then in Gort an Choirce, Letterkenny, before becoming Resident Chaplain, in Gallen Priory Nursing and Retirement Home, Ferbane, Co. Offaly. Gallen Priory is the site of a 5th century hermitage of Saint Canoc, on the River Brosna, and it is one of the oldest Christian sites in Ireland. Niall loved his time here, and became great friends with the sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny who lived there, and with the staff and the patients of the Priory. Again Niall was a constant friend the these people visited him often in Limerick for his last three years.

And every morning he spent two hours in his own little sanctuary, down by a bend in the River Brosna. Here he built a shaded seat at the base of an ivy clad tree, and trained the ivy so that it formed a canopy that gave shelter from the wind and rain. He prayed here, surrounded by a beauty that only comes slowly to those who know how to sit and wait. Here among the wildlife, including all the songbirds and otters and kingfishers, and other rare species he said his prayers. Ignatius of Loyola asks us to consider how God works and labours for us in all things created on the face of the earth. On this bend on the River Brosna, where the sky is constantly changing, Niall made time for God, and allowed God to touch his heart. Here he was like the person in Coleridge's poem:
“He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all...”
In 2006 Niall had to move again, because of ill health, this time back to Limerick, to Della Strada, Dooradoyle. He became a regular patient and visitor to Ward 2C in the Regional Hospital. Here he established a strong friendship with the nurses and doctors.

Niall was blessed by their professional and personal care, and by their friendship. Later Niall was to receive the same loving care at the Jesuit nursing home, at Cherryfield Lodge in Dublin.
Niall was stubborn and determined, and during national elections his trenchant views might not have been shared by many of his colleagues. But everybody who got to know him learned to have enormous respect for his integrity and his faithfulness to the Gospel, and they were grateful for the prayerful support we received from him. He had a public disagreement with another Jesuit colleague about Tory Island affairs, but in his final months Niall used this colleague's mortuary card as a bookmark and he became reconciled with him through in prayer.

People were struck by Niall's happiness. His faith and his Jesuit vocation brought him great joy, deep down contentment, the sort of joy that is bigger than any of life's difficulties. This was true especially in the last three years, when he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, which at first made speech difficult, and then impossible. However Niall never seemed to be wrapped up in himself. He was a great host to visitors to Della Strada, and even in illness he became their willing chauffeur. And whenever colleagues and friends faced a difficulty, they valued his prayers and his support.
During these three years of sickness, Niall spent much of this time praying, in the chapel with the curtains to the outside world drawn back, to let the world of nature in. God works and labours for us in all things created on the face of the earth. Every morning he put an apple on the ground outside the window of his room, to feed two blackbirds who became his companions. Then for much of the day he put a cushion on his lap, used his bad hand to steady a writing pad, and he proceeded to write long letters to his friends.

Niall O'Neill was closely connected to God, to God's creation and to his family and his Jesuit friends in the Lord. And that's not taken away by death. That faithful life and prayerful support is stronger than death, and we continue to be enriched by his faith and his hope and his love.

O'Neill, James, 1901-1958, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/343
  • Person
  • 28 February 1901-05 March 1958

Born: 28 February 1901, Kilsallagh, Fethard, County Tipperary
Entered: 21 October 1939, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 05 March 1958, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of St Mary’s community, Emo, County Laois at time of his death.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Farmer before entry

◆ Irish Province News
Province News 33rd Year No 2 1958
Obituary :
Br James O’Neill (1901-1958)
Br. James O'Neill died at St. Vincent's Private Hospital on 5th March after a lingering and fairly painful illness of nearly five months. He had been sent into hospital in October and about Christmas he. was allowed to go to a Nursing Home; but he was not restored to health. He had to return to hospital after about a week for an operation, which was not expected to make him well but which saved him from severe pain for the remaining time of his illness. For weeks he grew steadily worse and as he could take practically no food he was reduced at the end to the last stage of emaciation. But during all these weeks he displayed unfailing patience and a holy resignation to God's will. Al who came to visit him were struck by his genuine Catholic spirit; and the nurses were edified by the virtuous way in which he met his sufferings and growing weakness and especially the strong simple Faith in which he approached his death.
He was a late vocation, being thirty-eight when he entered Emo in 1939, He was born at Fethard in County Tipperary, where he owned a farm left him by his father, which he worked with the assistance of his brother. For a good length of time he had a feeling that God wanted him in religious life. He spoke of this to the curate of his parish, Fr. Meaney, a past pupil of the Crescent College, Limerick, who advised him to enter the Society as a Brother and brought him to meet Fr. Gubbins, who at that time was Rector of the Crescent. Fr. Gubbins agreed at once with the opinion of Fr. Meaney and wrote recommending him to the Provincial, Fr. Kieran. When some time after, Fr. Kieran went to Emo on Visitation, Fr. Meaney brought James O'Neill to meet him and Fr. Provincial promptly admitted him to the Society. When James left home he made over his farm to his brother.
From the first he fitted into the new life on which he had entered much older in years than the companions he found in the noviceship. Straight away he showed a real affinity with the religious life; he was humble, docile, hard working, devout. He felt that he was where God wished him to be and had from the beginning peace in his vocation. During all his life in the Society he was given the work he bad been trained for and which he liked-work on the land. In 1943, shortly after his First Vows, he was sent to Rathfarnham Castle to take charge of the farm, where he worked for nearly seven years. In 1949 he was appointed to the same office in Milltown Park. After some years his health began to fail and he was changed again to Emo in 1956, where he was appointed to help in the running of the farm. But the change did not restore his health, He found that he had not his old energy - that he quickly grew tired. These were the first unrecognised symptoms of the disease which was to be fatal. But in spite of his weakness he worked on uncomplainingly until he could work no longer. Br. O'Neill remained all his life long what he had been in his noviceship, a humble devout Religious. He was always industrious and was devoted to his work as a farmer. Wherever he went he won the esteem and liking of his lay-helpers. He was always just and considerate with them, and he set them an example of hard work. With the different communities of Brothers he was always a favourite as he was invariably kind, friendly and easy to get on with. Indeed, with all members of the communities to which he was attached he was esteemed for his humility and devotion to work, and his religious duties.
His Religious life was relatively brief, lasting only 18 years; but he showed that he had a true Jesuit vocation; be gave all he had to God and the Society. He gave the years of quiet conscientious work; but he gave something more valuable in the example of simple, unobtrusive piety and religious observance which his life presented. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother James O’Neill SJ 1901-1958
Br James O’Neill was a late vocation, being 38 when he entered Emo in 1939. Born at Fethard County Tipperary, he was the owner of a farm inherited from his father. But feeling the call to follow the Lord closer, he resigned his farm in favour of his brother and became a Jesuit.

In the Society he worked on the farms attached to our houses, first in Rathfarnham, then in Milltown and finally in Emo. But ill-health overtook him and he died after a painful illness on March 5th 1958.

He was only 18 years a Jesuit, but he showed he had a genuine Jesuit vocation – he gave all he had to God and the Society, years of quiet conscientious work, and an example of simple, unobtrusive piety and religious observance.

O'Neill, Ignatius, 1905-1934, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/342
  • Person
  • 11 June 1905-01 July 1934

Born: 11 June 1905, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 01 July 1934, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Stanislaus College community, Tullabeg, County Offaly at the time of death.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 9th Year No 4 1934
Obituary :

Mr Ignatius O’Neill
Mr. M. McCarthy -
On the 2nd July Mr. Ignatius O'Neill died at St. Vincent's Hospital. He had come up from Tullabeg with the intention of undergoing an operation if it were considered necessary by the doctors. Then he was to use the summer vacation to fit himself to begin theology at Milltown in the autumn. In spite of his weak state, and the pain he suffered, the operation appeared successful, but suddenly his heart gave way under the strain. Early on Monday morning he began to sink rapidly, dying about four o’clock that evening.

Mr. O' Neill was born on the 11th June, 1905, and was educated at the O'Connell Schools, Dublin. He entered the Society in 1923 at Tullabeg, studied at Rathfarnham for three years and then, owing to the state of his health, was sent to Belvedere. Here he had to spend two long periods in hospital. He was liked by the boys and the Community, and was very capable at his work. In 1931 he went to philosophy in Tullabeg, where his health seemed to improve. Then, when he had finished the third year, the end came with tragic suddenness.
The illness of which he died had, all his time in the Society , caused him trouble, the extent of which one could not easily guess by just living with him. For this was most characteristic of him that he was always of an even, pleasant temperament. Though living under difficulties which would have upset most, he lived with that unconscious simplicity and courage which does the right thing without having to think very much about what it is, or urge itself in the doing. His religious life was unobtrusive, natural, and deep. One of his superiors said of him that this extended to those simple devotions and observances which can go easily out of a scholastics life under pressure of study or class work, and which are the result of an unaffected piety of mind. The manner in which he bore his ill-health was typical of all this. He finished up his school life in 1923 by winning a triple scholarship, yet at the University he did not do at all as well as this gave one reason to expect. However, he neither complained nor explained. He had done what he could under the disadvantage of health, and he left it at that. In fact he never complained at all of the suffering that was to bring him to an early death. One knew that he was delicate and under the care of doctors, but how much pain or weariness he felt can only be judged from his premature death. No one could estimate it from his own account, for he give no account of it. Nor could anyone estimate it from his behaviour towards others
In community life he was always kind end pleasant, with that kindness of heart which thinks no evil and feels no bitterness.
He died as any one of us would wish to die, in peace in spite of his pain and completely resigned to God's choice. He seemed to be disturbed by the suffering his death would cause his family and not at all by what it meant to himself. “You should be smoking,” he said to his brother, “there are some cigarettes in the drawer.” This incident is typical of all his life - pleasant kindness to others. silence about himself. This was his outstanding characteristic, and for this he is remembered with affection by those who knew him.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Scholastic Ignatius O’Neill 1905-1934
The early and unexpected death of Mr Ignatius O’Neill came as a shock to his Jesuit contemporaries and friends. He was only 29 years of age, and he had managed. in spite of poor health, to go through the ordinary stages of training up to Theology.

An operation was advised, more to improve his health than to avert serious development. As an operation it was successful, but it proved too much for his heart, and he died on July 2nd 1934.

He was always of an even and pleasant temperament, and he went through his years in the Society with an unconscious simplicity and courage, which does the right thing without having to think very much about what it is or the urge itself in the doing. Such a character with such equanimity gave promise of great work for God, by He thought otherwise. “For My Ways are not your ways, nor your thoughts my thoughts”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1935


Ignatius O’Neill SJ

Any of our present and not a few of our past will remember Mr O'Neill, who was on the teaching staff, in Belvedere but a few years ago. It is with deep regret that we publish the news of his death, after a brief illness. Educated at O'Connell Schools, Mr O'Neill entered the Society of Jesus in 1923. He spent three years at Rathfarnham Castle, and then joined the Community at Belvedere. His health always gave cause for anxiety, but the cheerful manner in which he endured the difficulties which this brought was a source of great edification to all. At Belvedere he was noted for his gentleness and serenity, and for this will lie be remembered. We offer our sincere sympathy to his family.

O'Neill, Hugh, 1927-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/830
  • Person
  • 20 May 1927-12 February 2017

Born: 20 May 1927, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961, Crescent College SJ, Limerick
Died: 12 February 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.
Early Education at St.Mary's College Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Clongowes Wood College SJ

1946-1949 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1949-1952 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1952-1955 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Regency : Teacher; Studying for H Dip in Education
1955-1959 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1959-1960 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1960-1961 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Teacher
1961-1962 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Lower Line Prefect; Teacher
1962-1973 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Teacher; Pioneers
1973-1975 Gonzaga College SJ - Secretary to Headmaster
1974 Assistant Province Treasurer
1975-1979 Loyola House - Assistant Province Treasurer; Editor “Ordo”
1976 Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1979-1984 Leeson St - Subminister; Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1984-1989 Crescent Church, Limerick - Assists in Church; Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1989-1991 Tullabeg - Assists in Church; Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1991-2017 Milltown Park - Editor of “Liturgical Calendar”; Chaplain
1992 Chaplain Maryville Nursing Home, Donnybrook, Dublin
2011 Editor of “Liturgical Calendar”; Assists Co-ordination of Community Liturgy
2013 Editor of “Liturgical Calendar”
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/life-quiet-faithfulness/

A life of quiet faithfulness
Jesuits, family and friends bid a final farewell to Hugh O’ Neill SJ, who died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge in the early hours of Sunday morning, 12 February. He would have been 90 on 20 May this year. He was a native of Dugarvan, Co Waterford and as a Jesuit, taught in Crescent, Clongowes and Gonzaga colleges. He was a keen environmentalist and ahead of his time in that respect. In his later years he worked on the ‘Liturgical Calendar’ for the Irish Province and edited ‘Province News’.
Fr Bill Callan, rector of Milltown Park, gave the homily at his funeral mass place in Milltown Park Chapel, Ranelagh, on the Wednesday after his passing. Fr Hugh was remarkable for his courtesy he said, noting how many of the nurses and staff of Cherryfield Lodge referred to him as ‘a true gentle man’. He quoted Ella, the Polish nurse who spoke of her sadness at his death saying,“O Father, so sad: he was beautiful man, – so grateful. No matter how small the thing you do for him he always says ‘Thank you’.” This sentiment was echoed even by the Jesuits whom he taught. David Coghlan was in his class and remembered the high jinks he and his fellow students would get up to. No matter what their behaviour, Fr Hugh’s toughest form of discipline was the admonishment – “Better remain standing”.
The Provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney also remembered his school days being taught by Fr Hugh. He shared about the real impression he made on him and the boys when Fr Hugh inculcated in them a sense of caring for the environment, especially the trees that provided the paper they so took for granted. To this day, the Provincial said, he was always mindful not to be wasteful of paper.
An anecdote from Bill also underlined Fr Hugh’s sensitivity to the environment. “Hugh immensely enjoyed his walks, taking a bus to some remote destination at weekends and doing a circuit locally on weekdays. On these daily outings if he saw any offending litter strewn on the ground he had no hesitation in collecting it and bringing it home for disposal in the house bins. The sight of a Jesuit coming up Eglington Road and stooping to pick up litter as he went, is not seen all that often! However what might strike us as incongruous made perfect sense to Hugh: Such rubbish was a blot on the landscape and as he was passing why should he not be the one to put this to rights.”
But in the end, according to Bill, what stood out most regarding Fr Hugh and his life as a Jesuit priest was his faithful service to the God he believed in. The life he lived was sustained by quiet faithfulness, and the strong love he had for his country and his religion, he said. This was “the key to understanding Hugh’s life: His fidelity would not make sense if God did not exist.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

O'Neill, Frank, 1928-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/791
  • Person
  • 11 July 1928-06 April 2011

Born: 11 July 1928, Castletownbere, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 06 April 2011, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1957 at Chivuna, N Rhodesia - Regency
by 1958 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia - Regency

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-frank-oneill-r-i-p/

Fr Frank O’Neill, R.I.P.
Fr Frank O’Neill, who died on 6 April, grew up on a farm in Allihies, West Cork, in peaceful days when living was simple and you knew your neighbours. After school in Mungret he entered the Jesuits and volunteered for the Zambia mission. He loved the Tonga people – the gentlest he had ever met, he said; and he attained real fluency in their language. He was attuned to country people and worked mostly in parishes in the bush, living austerely, with no creature comforts. What made him a great missionary was that he was able to enter into the rhythm of the Africans. He revelled in their music and dance, and they loved him, a happy man, always positive and hopeful, with a deep trust in God’s Providence.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 145 : Summer 2011


Fr Frank O’Neill (1928-2011) : Zambia-Malawi Province

11 July 1928: Born in Castletownbere, Co Cork.
Early education in Castletownbere National School and Apostolic School, Mungret,
7 September 1948: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1950: First Vows at Emo
1950 -1953: Rathfarnham - BA Degree, UCD
1953 - 1956: Studied Philosophy, Tullabeg
1956 - 1959: Regency, Chikuni Mission -learning language, teaching
1959 - 1963: Milltown Park, studying theology
31 July, 1962: Ordained at Miltown Park, Dublin
1963 - 1964: Tertianship at Rathfarnham

1964 - 1966: Namwala pastoral work
1966 - 1968: Kasiya parish priest
1968 - 1982: Chivuna parish priest
1969: Transcribed to Zambia Province
5 November, 1977: Final vows in Chikuni
1982 - 1983: Sabbatical in Toronto
1983 - 1993: Namwala parish priest
1993 - 1998: Mazabuka, Nakumbala: superior, parish priest

1998 - 2007: Limerick, Sacred Heart Church, pastoral work.
2000: Superior
2007 - 2008: Della Strada, Asst. Chaplain, Dooradoyle Shopping Centre
2008 - 2009: Gardiner Street -- Chaplain, St. Monica's.
2009 - 2011: Residing in Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home
6th April 2011: Died at Cherryfield

Frank settled in very well to Cherryfield and made a significant contribution to the liturgical music, which was much appreciated and enjoyed by all. His condition deteriorated over the last year and he died peacefully on 6th April 2011. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.

Obituary by Jim McGloin
Frank O'Neill was born on 11 July, 1928 to Michael and Margaret (O'Donovan) O'Neill in Eyeries village on the Beara Peninsula in County Cork. He did his early education in the area and then went to the Jesuit-run Mungret College near Limerick for his secondary schooling. In his youth he was called “Ollie”, short for Oliver. (My grandfather was from the same Eyeries village. Whenever I visited my cousins who still live there and who were his age-mates, they always asked me, “How is Father Ollie?” He told me that it was only when he entered the novitiate, the Jesuits started calling him by his other name, Francis, “Frank”.)

Frank entered the Jesuit novitiate at Emo Park in 1948. After completing his philosophy studies in Dublin in 1956, Frank was sent to Northern Rhodesia for regency. During his three years here, he studied Chitonga and taught at Canisius College in Chikuni. He returned to Ireland for theology and was ordained in 1962. Following tertianship in 1964, he returned to Zambia and began his many years of pastoral service for the people of the Monze diocese.

As a side note, while Frank was doing theology, Arthur Cox, a famou