Born: 08 November 1889, Tullamore, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1909, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 17 March 1973, Our Lady’s Hospice, 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
Nephew of Timothy Kenny - RIP 1917 and Peter Kenny - RIP 1912
by 1913 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1924 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 48th Year No 2 1973
Fr Patrick Kenny (1889-1973)
Our Church in Gardiner St, can have witnessed in its long history, few if any more impressive tributes to one of our dead than was paid there recently at the funeral of Fr Kenny. The Church was well filled with members of the Faithful who were joined on the occasion by an especially large number of members of the province. Some twelve or fourteen priests joined to concelebrate the Mass amongst whom Fr Eric Guiry, Fr Kenny’s Rector was principal concelebrant. The Choir from Milltown Park ably conducted by Michael McGuckian added solemnity to the funeral liturgy of the day.
After a long life of sixty four years in the Society and a rather long period of failing health prior to his death, Fr Kenny died in the late evening of St Patrick's Day, in the Rehabilitation unit of the Irish Sisters of Charity at Harold’s Cross. The tribute paid by Fr Guiry at the beginning of the Mass to Fr Kenny’s life and work in the Province - simple and straightforward - emphasised the ministry of service to the Province and the members of the Province which had been the dominant note in the appointments he had had. The same theme was reflected in the Prayers of the Faithful which were so thoughtfully composed and movingly expressed.
Service of the Province in its own members was indeed Fr Kenny's life’s work from the time of his ordination onwards. It was a service self-effacingly rendered in a well-founded spirit of faith and supported by a conscientiousness in religious observance which added to precept the support of personal example.
Fr Kenny was born in Tullamore 1890. His father, another Patrick, was a brother of two members of the Irish Australian Province (as it then was) of the Society - Fr Timothy Kenny, who was successively Irish Provincial and Australian Superior in the 1880s-90s and Fr Peter Kenny who died in Dublin in 1912. Fr Kenny’s father died while Paddy was a young boy. The family moved to Dublin and it was natural enough that he should go for schooling to Clongowes. He was on the roll of the College from 1901-09. During an interval of that period he was threatened with a delicacy and spent a year in the South of France for the benefit of the air; the remedy apparently was effective, - the symptoms did not recur.
He entered the Society at the age of twenty in the year 1909. He did his noviceship in Tullabeg and after that spent a year as a Junior studying at Milltown Park. His next move was to St Mary’s Hall Stonyhurst for philosophy. He was then appointed in 1916 to the prefectorial and teaching staff at Clongowes. In 1920 he proceeded to Milltown Park for theology returning to Tullabeg for Tertianship in 1924. In 1925 he remained there as Minister of the House and Socius to the Master of Novices.
In 1927 he succeeded Fr Larry Potter as Minister at Rathfarnham Castle where he did a great deal to put into shape the new Juniorate wing occupied for the first time twelve months earlier. From the first, he showed a concern and kindness for the aged and infirm which remained characteristic of him throughout his life.
On his arrival at Rathfarnham he was already of course well acquainted with practically all the younger members of his community, initiating that kindly interest in them that he maintained to the end. In 1930, he was appointed first Superior of the new noviceship house at Emo. Here as with the setting up of the new Juniorate quarters in Rathfarnham he took an immense interest in organising the house and in endeavouring to restore the grounds which had been neglected previously while the house was unoccupied. Later on he was Minister at Clongowes for a term of years, Minister at Milltown Park, Vice-Rector there, Rector at Rathfarnham Castle, Economus at Leeson Street and in his later years operarius in Gardiner St. In all these occupations service of Ours was his principal commitment. The years add up to an imposing total, punctuated here and there by historic incidents of one kind or another for Fr Kenny had a disconcerting charism of being at times in just the places where he was least expected to be found. Some of these incidents, to the recalling of which he was later a listener and into which he entered with a wry smile, centred on the summary judgment delivered, on occasion, with a gleam of grim humour that discouraged further debate!
But while we pay well merited tribute to his work within the Province as such, we would be mistaken if we considered that his activities were wholly thus confined. Fr Kenny was interested in helping those in need whoever they might be: he was interested also and took his share in the work of retreats and triduums. For some years he was official Director of Mission and Retreats for the Province. In Gardiner Street he was most conscientious in regard to his duties in the Church where his absence will assuredly be mourned. His was a well-filled and well-spent life.
His interest in the work for poor churches was engrossing and persisted in sedulously even in declining health; the members of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference with which he was associated practically from his arrival at Gardiner St, and which devolved to Fr John Neary when Fr. Kenny's energies were failing were eloquent witnesses of what was possibly Fr Kenny's most abiding interest in the poor.
We offer sincerest sympathies to his two devoted sisters Mrs Matson and Mrs Martin in their loss. RIP