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  • UF Vals

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39 Name results for Vals-près-le-Puy

39 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Bellew, Christopher, 1818-1867, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/63
  • Person
  • 25 July 1818-18 March 1867

Born: 25 July 1818, Mountbellew, County Galway
Entered: 11 February 1850, Issenheim, Alsace, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1856, Montauban, France
Final Vows: 03 December 1866
Died: 18 March 1867, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin

Older brother of Michael RIP 1868

by 1853 at Vals, France (TOLO)
by 1854 in Cologne, Germany (GER) studying Theology 1
by 1855 at Malta College (ANG) for Regency
by 1857 at Montauban, France (TOLO) studying Theology
by 1860 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Son of an Irish Baronet (probably the Galway Parliamentarians of the 18th and 19th Centuries). Older brother of Michael RIP 1868. Their home was frequently visited by Jesuits, and this helped develop a great love in Christopher for the Society.
After his early education in Grammar and Humanities, he went to Trinity. As he was an eldest so, his family wanted to prepare him as the future representative of the family in an understanding of Society and Politics. So he also travelled much in Europe for that purpose.
In about 1840 a “fashionable marriage” was announced in the Press between the eldest son of and old Catholic Baronet, and the eldest daughter of an old Protestant Baronet, Sir John Burke of Marble Hall. All preparations were in place and the bridegroom went to Clongowes to make a Retreat before his marriage. His younger brother Michael, already being in the Society, meant that the interest of the Community is Christopher was higher than usual. he impressed all with his piety. Waiting for news of the marriage, it seemed to have been delayed, and after a while, there was a rumour that he was in a Novitiate on the Continent. Apparently an issue had arisen which had proven a stumbling block, namely Christopher’s insistence that any children should be raised Catholic. He communicated this to his bride whilst on retreat. A suggestion came back from her family that perhaps any girls would stay with the mother’s religion. Christopher responded by saying that he could not accept this arrangement. He wrote again indicating that the only solution was to relieve her of her promise, and to declare arrangements at an end. Her family wrote back acceding to his request that the children would all be Catholics, but this letter arrived too late - he had left Clongowes, and nobody knew where he was. For some years he did not return to Ireland, and when he did, he was Rev Christopher Bellew SJ. In the meantime, Miss Burke had herself become a Catholic, and lead a very holy life, remaining single, and devoting her life to charitable works.
Christopher joined the Society at Issenheim in France, and after First Vows, began studies in Philosophy at Vals, France. He was later sent to teach Grammar at a TOLO College. While there he became ill, and so was sent to Malta, where he remained as a Teacher for two years. He then returned to France and was Ordained there 1856 at Montaubon.
He then returned to Ireland and spent three years teaching at Colleges.
1859 He was sent to the Dublin Residence as Operarius, and remained there until his death 18 March 1867. He had been very zealous in the hard work of the Confessional.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Christopher Bellew 1818-1867
The life of Christopher Bellew reads like some edifying romantic tale. He was born in Mount Bellew County Galway, the eldest son of Sir Michael Bellew, Baronet. From his earliest years he had a great knowledge and love of the Society, for during his father’s lifetime “Ours” used frequently visit the family mansion, and stay a few days there.
Having completed his early studies, he was sent by his family to Trinity College Dublin, where he went through a distinguished course. He then travelled extensively on the continent to complete his education.
About the year 1840, his forthcoming marriage to the eldest daughter of Sir John Burke of Marble Hall, was announced in the Press. The bridegroom came to Clongowes to make a retreat prior to his marriage. Needless to say the Community at Clongowes were intensely interested in the matter, especially as Christopher’s younger brother Michael was already a Jesuit. Weeks passed, and still no account in the papers of this fashionable marriage. At length a rumour started which grew into a certainty, that the bridegroom was in a Jesuit noviceship somewhere on the continent.

What had happened was this : All the preliminaries to the marriage had been settled except one, the religion of the children, as the intended bride was a Protestant. According to a custom, which rightly or wrongly existed at the time, the bride’s family insisted that the girls of the marriage should follow the religion of their mother. To this condition the bridegroom would not agree, and he wrote to say that he released the young lade from her promise and that the negotiations were at an end.

The upshot of this was that the young lade became a Catholic and led a holy life in single blessedness, devoting her time to works of charity.

Christopher entered the noviceship at Issenheim in Alsace. He was ordained priest at Montaubon in 1856. Recalled to Ireland, he taught for three years in the Colleges, and then was stationed for the rest of his life at Gardiner Street. There he was an outstanding operarius, zealous and untiring in the confessional.

He died on March 18th 1867. He succeeded his father Sir Michael Bellew in 1855, and is listed in Burke’s Peerage as the Reverend Sir Christopher Bellew.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Christopher Bellew (1818-1867)

Was master at the Crescent from 1860 to 1861 and again from 1862- to 1864. He was the eldest son of Sir Michael Bellew, Bart, of Mountbellew Bridge, Co Galway. After his studies at Clongowes, he entered Trinity College, Dublin and later got a commission in the army. He was heir to the title and family property but resigned his claims in 1850 to enter the Society. The story of his call to the religious life is curious, if not even romantic. From his family's viewpoint, he had made an excellent match in becoming engaged to the daughter of Sir John Burke of Marble Hall, Co Galway. Unfortunately, his bride-to-be was a Protestant, and her family insisted, according to the custom of the time, that any daughters born of the marriage should follow their mother's religious beliefs. Young Bellew, as the time for the marriage-ceremony approached, decided to return to Clongowes to make a retreat under one of his old masters. During his stay at Clongowes, he wrote to Sir John Burke, insisting that all children of the marriage must be Catholics. The Burkes replied that they could not accede to his demands. Bellew now intimated that he felt bound in conscience to terminate the engagement. This time, the Burkes, anxious that the marriage should be gone on with, waived their demands on the religion of their future grand-daughters. But the letter arrived too late to find him. Christopher Bellew had gone abroad. Later it was learned that he had entered the Society in Alsace. On the completion of his noviceship, he entered on his philosophy studies at Vals in the Lyons Province of the Society, and is next heard of as master in a Jesuit College of the Toulouse Province and later in Malta. He returned to France for the study of theology and was ordained at Montauban. Here, it can be recalled, that his former bride-to-be, Miss Burke of Marble Hall, on learning of Christopher's vocation, became a Catholic herself. She never married but spent her life in works of zeal and charity.

Father Bellew's priestly life was short. After his time in the Crescent, he was transferred to Gardiner St Church where he died three years later. Old newspapers of the time refer to him as “The Rev Sir Christopher Bellew, Bart, SJ”. He never used the title himself, although he could not legally renounce it. He was long remembered at Gardiner St Church as a zealous priest, especially in the laborious work of the confessional.

Blakeney, George, 1819-1854, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/924
  • Person
  • 23 August 1819-07 December 1854

Born: 23 August 1819, Ballyellen, County Carlow
Entered: 06 November 1839, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM for HIB)
Ordained: 1851
Died: 07 December 1854, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)

by 1844 in Rome studying
by 1847 at Vals (LUGD) studying
by 1851 at New Orleans College LA, USA (LUGD)

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
1847 Studied at Vals with Joseph Dalton, Joseph Lentaigne and John Grehan.
c 1851 He was loaned to the New Orleans Mission, and had as a companion the famous Theobald Butler.
He died suddenly while preaching at Louisiana 07 December 1854.

Brady, Philip, 1846-1917, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/945
  • Person
  • 08 July 1846-05 January 1917

Born: 08 July 1846, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1868, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880, St Beuno's, Wales
Final Vows: 02 February 1889, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 05 January 1917, St Vincent's Hospital, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

Part of the Tullabeg, Co Offaly community at the time of death

Older Brother of Thomas - LEFT 1872

Early education at Castleknock College, St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg, Belvedere College SJ and Clonliffe

Ent Milltown; Ord 1880;
by 1871 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1873 At Vals France (TOLO) studying
by 1874 at Brussels College Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1875 at Mount St Mary’s (ANG) Regency
by 1877 at St Francis Xavier Liverpool (ANG) Regency
by 1879 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1886 at Roehampton London (ANG) Making tertianship
by 1904 at St Mary’s Rhyl (ANG) working
by 1905 at St Wilfred’s Preston (ANG) working
by 1907 at Lowe House, St Helen’s (ANG) working

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had a younger brother Thomas who also Entered, but left for the Dublin Diocese and was Ordained, but unfortunately at his parish in Dundrum he was thrown from his horse and killed instantly. He also had a half-brother John Brady CM, a Vincentian based at Phibsborough.

Early Education was at Castleknock College.

After his Noviceship he studied Rhetoric at Roehampton, and Philosophy at Vals, France.
He did his Regency at Mount St Mary’s (ANG)
1879 He was sent to St Beuno’s for Theology and was Ordained there.
After Ordination he was sent to Belvedere and Clongowes teaching for some years. He also taught for many years at Mungret and Galway.
He then joined the Mission Staff, and then went to work in the ANG Parish at Preston.
His last year was spent at Tullabeg. he had a serious deafness problem and an operation was advised. he died at the Leeson Street Hospital 05 January 1917, and buried from Gardiner St. A large number of Vincentians attended his funeral out of respect for his half-brother John Brady CM of Phibsborough.

Byrne, George, 1879-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/708
  • Person
  • 07 February 1879-03 January 1962

Born: 07 February 1879, Blackrock, Cork City, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1894, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 30 July 1911, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 03 January 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin

Younger brother of William Byrne - RIP 1943

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Came to Australia for Regency 1902
by 1899 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong Mission : 02 December 1926
by 1927 first Hong Kong Missioner with John Neary
by 1931 Hong Kong Mission Superior 02 December 1926

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
1894-1898 After his First Vows at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, he remained there for two further years of Juniorate
1898-1901 He was sent to Valkenburk Netherlands for Philosophy.
1901-1908 He was sent to Australia and St Ignatius College Riverview for Regency, where he taught and was Third Division Prefect. He was also in charge charge of Senior Debating (1905-1908) and in 1904 was elected to the Council of the Teachers Association of New South Wales.
1908-1912 he returned to Ireland and Milltown Park Dublin for Theology
1912-1914 He made Tertianship at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, and the following year appointed Socius to the Novice Master.
1914-1919 He was sent to Australia as Superior and Master of Novices at Loyola College Greenwich. He was also a Consultor of the Sydney Mission and gave Retreats and taught the Juniors. This occurred at a time when it was decided to reopen the Noviceship in Australia. As such he was “lent” to the Australian Mission for three years, but the outbreak of war and some delaying tactics on the part of the Mission Superior William Lockington, he remained longer than expected.
1919-1923 On his return to Ireland he became Novice Master again.
1930 He went to the Irish Mission in Hong Kong and worked there for many years, before returning to Ireland and Milltown Park, where he died.

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father George Byrne

Father George Byrne, S.J., the first Regional Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and for many years one of the best Known priests in Hong Kong, died in Ireland on Thursday, 4 January 1962, aged 83.

Father Byrne arrived in Hong Kong from Ireland, with one other Jesuit Father, on 2 December 1926, and at once started to look for work, both for himself and for the Jesuits who would soon follow him to Hong Kong. He found abundant work for both. Within a decade, though always very short of men, he had staffed the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, built and opened Ricci hall, a Catholic hostel for students in the University of Hong Kong, taken over Wah Yan College from its founders, restarted as a monthly the Hong Kong Catholic review, The Rock, which had ceased publication shortly before his arrival, and provided for a time Jesuit teachers for Sacred Heart College, Canton.

These were the works he did through others. His own personal work was infinitely varied, as might have been expected from one of his many-sided character - at once scholarly and practical. At the time of his ordination he had been informed that he was destined a specialist’s life as a professor of theology. This plan was later changed and for the rest of his life he was to be, not a specialist, but one ready for anything. Nevertheless he retained some of the marks of the savant.

He was always a voracious reader, able to pour out an astonishing variety of information on almost any subject at a moment’s notice in English, French, or Latin. This gift, joined to a strong personality, a commanding appearance, and a powerful and very flexible voice, made him an admirable public speaker, whether in the pulpit, at retreats and conferences, at meetings of societies and associations, or in the lecturer’s chair in the University of Hong Kong. Where he readily deputised during the furloughs of the professors of education and of history. As a broadcaster, he had the rare gift of being able to project his personality across the ether and so hold the attention of his unseen audience.

As a writer, and he wrote much, he was primarily a discursive essayist, a member of a literary tribe that seems to have disappeared during World War II. His monthly articles in The Rock and the weekly column that he contributed for years to the South China Morning Post under the title ‘The Student’s Window’ might be in turn grimly earnest, genially informative, and gaily trivial, but they were always written in urbane and rhythmic English that carried the reader unprotestingly to the last full stop.

Despite these numerous public activities, he was probably best known as an adviser. During the many years he spent in Ricci Hall, he was always at home to the great numbers of people of all kinds - lay and cleric, Catholic and non-Catholic, men and women, young and old - who came seeking the solution of intellectual, religious, or personal problems from one who they knew would be both wise and kind.

Father Byrne was in Hong Kong in the early days of the war and displayed remarkable courage and physical energy in defending Ricci Hall against a band of marauders. By this time he was no longer superior, and he was already over 60. He went, therefore, to Dalat, Vietnam, where he spent the rest of the war years, Soon after the war, he went to Ireland for medical treatment and, though still capable of a hard day’s work, was advised on medical grounds that he must not return to the Far East.

This was a blow, but he did not repine. He retained his interest in and affection for Hong Kong, but he quickly set about finding an abundance of work in Ireland. Once again he found it. Not long after his arrival the director of retreats in Ireland was heard to say that if he could cut Father George Byrne in four and sent each part to give a retreat, he would still be unable to satisfy all the convents that were clamouring for him.

He still wrote and he still lectured and he still gave advice. Only very gradually did he allow advancing old age to cut down his work. As he had always wished, he worked to the end.

Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in Ricci Hall chapel by the warden Father R. Harris, S.J., on Monday, 8 January. In the congregation that filled the chapel, in addition to his fellow Jesuits, there were many who still remember Father Byrne even in the city of short memories. Those present included Father A. Granelli, P.I.M.E., P.P., representing His Lordship the Bishop; Bishop Donahy, M.M., Father McKiernan M.M, Father B. Tohill, S.D.B., Provincial, Father Vircondalet, M.E.M., Brother Felix, F.S.C., Father P. O’Connor, S.S.C., representative groups of Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres of the Maryknoll Sisters, of the Colomban Sisters, and many others. The Mass was served by Dr. George Choa.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 12 January 1962

RICCI Souvenir Record of the Silver Jubilee of Ricci Hall Hong Kong University 1929-1954

Note from John Neary Entry
He has nevertheless his little niche in our history. He was one of the two Jesuits - Father George Byrne was the other - who came here on 2 December 1926, to start Jesuit work in Hong Kong. Their early decisions have influenced all later Jesuit work here.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He could be called the founder of the Irish Jesuits in Hong Kong, as most of the older institutions in Hong Kong were started under him at Ricci (1929), Aberdeen (1931 and Wah Yan Hong Kong (1933).
After his term as Mission Superior (1926-1935) he lectured, preached and wrote. He had a weekly column in the “South China Morning Post” called “The Philosophers Chair”. During the Japanese occupation he went to a French Convent School to teach Philosophy. After 1946 he returned to Ireland and taught Ascetical and Mystical Theology yo Jesuits in Dublin.
Imaginative and versatile, pastoral and intellectual, he gave 20 of his peak years to Hong Kong (1926-1946) after which he returned to Ireland to give another 20 years service.

Note from John Neary Entry
In 1926 Fr John Fahy appointed him and George Byrne to respond to the request from Bishop Valtora of Hong Kong for Jesuit help.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

Fr Pigot attended the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo as a delegate representing the Australian Commonwealth Government. He was Secretary to the Seismological Section, and read two important papers. On the journey home he spent some time in hospital in Shanghai, and later touched at Hong Kong where he met Frs. Byrne and Neary.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Leeson St :
We were very glad to have several members of the Hong Kong Mission with us for some time: Frs. P. Joy, T. Fitzgerald, and H. O'Brien, while Fr. George Byrne has joined us as one of the community.

Irish Province News 37th Year No 2 1962

Obituary :

Fr George Byrne (1879-1962)

Few men in the history of the Irish Province for the last sixty years have seen so many aspects of the life and development of the Province as did Fr. George Byrne, who died in Dublin on 4th January at the ripe age of 83, of which 67 were spent in the Society. Born in Cork in 1879, he received his early education first at Clongowes (where he was in the Third Line with a boy three years younger than him called James Joyce!) and later at Mungret. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1894; made his philosophy at Vals, in France, taught for seven years as a scholastic in Riverview College, Australia; then back to Milltown Park, Dublin, for theology where he was ordained in 1911. His tertianship was made in Tullabeg, and he remained on there in the following year as Socius to the Master of Novices, but after a few months Australia claimed him again.
Early in 1914 he was named Master of Novices of the resuscitated Australian novitiate at Loyola, Sydney, combining this with the office of Superior of the House until 1918. A year later, in 1919, he is on the high seas again, this time returning to be Master of Novices at Tullabeg from 1919 to 1922,
In 1922 he became an operarius at St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, and during the next four years, among his other ministeria, was the first chaplain to the first Governor-General of the newly-established Irish Free State, Mr. Timothy Healy, K.C.
With 1926 came the decision that the Irish Province establish a Jesuit mission in Hong Kong at the invitation of the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Henry Valtorta. Fr. Byrne, with Fr. John Neary, arrived in Hong Kong on 2nd December of the same year. Shortly afterwards Fr. Byrne became the Superior of the young mission. The years that followed, until his retirement to Ireland for health reasons in 1946, will undoubtedly be the period of Fr. Byrne's life that will establish his important standing in the recent history of the Irish Province. It is therefore fitting that we should allow them to be dealt with from Hong Kong sources. We take the following from The South China Morning Post for 5th January, 1962:
“News has just been received from Dublin, Ireland, of the death there of Fr. George Byrne, S.J., who was well known in Hong Kong for many years. He was the first Superior here of the Irish Jesuits. He was 83.
Fr, Byrne, with one other Jesuit priest, came to Hong Kong in Dec ember 1926. It was under his direction that arrangements were made for the various forms of work undertaken by the Jesuits in the Colony. The first of these was the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen, which was under the direction of the bishops of South China, and was intended for the education and training of candidates for the priesthood in their dioceses. The staffing of it was entrusted to the Jesuits.
Fr. Byrne also arranged for the building of Ricci Hall, a Catholic hostel of the University of Hong Kong. He lived there for many years and always maintained a close contact with the university. He was a member of the Court and deputised, during periods of leave, for the Professor of Education and the Professor of History,
He was prominent in the years before the war as a lecturer and broadcaster and writer. He re-started the publication of the Catholic monthly magazine, The Rock, to which he was a regular contributor. He also for a long time contributed a weekly article, "The Student's Window", to The South China Morning Post.
He took an active part also in educational matters. He was a member of the Board of Education, and he arranged for the taking over of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, from its original founders. He had many associations with the religious institutions, where he was much in demand for conferences and retreats, He spoke with equal fluency in English, French and Latin.
During the war he was in Dalat, Indo-China, and soon after his return to Hong Kong got into bad health and returned to Europe for medical treatment. His recovery was more complete than was expected, but medical advice was against his return to the East.
During recent years, though old and in failing health, he was still very active as a writer in Catholic periodicals, and he always maintained his interest in Hong Kong. He left here many friends who remember him as a man of great kindness and universal sympathy, who carried lightly his wide scholarship, and who was always unchanged in his urbanity and good humour. Many professional men remember him too for his wise guidance in their student days and they, with a host of others, will always recall him with respect and affection”.
It only remains to say that though medical authorities refused to allow his return to Hong Kong, the years from 1946 until his death were as full of activities as ever. He continued to write and to lecture and to direct souls as of old. He filled the important post of Instructor of Tertians for years at Rathfarnham and from than until his death he was Professor of Ascetical Theology and spiritual director to the theologians at Milltown Park. Only very gradually did he allow advancing years to cut down his work. As he had always wished, he worked to the end.

From the Bishop of Hong Kong

16 Caine Road,
Hong Kong
10th January, 1962.

Dear Fr. O'Conor,
The news of the death of Rev. Fr. George Byrne, S.J., caused deep regret among all the many friends he left in Hong Kong, among whom I am proud to count myself.
His pioneer work here was that of a great missionary and of a far sighted organiser. His memory and the example of his zeal will be cherished in Hong Kong.
While expressing to you, Very Reverend Father, my sympathy for the great loss of your Province and your Society, I wish to take the opportunity of assuring you of tne grateful appreciation by the clergy and laity of Hong Kong for the generous collaboration your Fathers are offering to us in carrying the burden of this diocese.
Asking for the blessing of Our Lord on your apostolic work,
Yours very sincerely in Christ,
+Lawrence Bianchi,
Bishop of Hong Kong.

The Very Rev. Charles O'Conor, S.J.,
87 Eglinton Road,

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father George Byrne SJ 1879-1962
Few men in the history of the Province for the last 60 years have seen and contributed to so many aspects of the life and development of our Province than Fr George Byrne, who died in Dublin on January 4th 1962.

He was born in Cork in 1879, educated at Mungret at Clongowes, and he entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1894.

In 1914 he was named Master of Novices to the resuscitated Novitiate at Loyola, Sydney, Australia, returning from that post to take up a similar one at Tullabeg from 1919 to 1922.

On the foundation of the Irish Free State he became chaplain to the first Governor-General, Mr Tim Healy.

When we started our Mission in Hong Kong, Fr Byrne went out as founder and first Superior. These were creative days,. He built Ricci Hall, negotiated the taking over of the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen, and he took over Wah Yan College from its original owners. At the same time he was prominent as a lecturer, broadcaster and writer, as well as part-time Professor in the University. He started the Catholic magazine “The Rock”, and for a long time contributed to the “South China Morning Post”

For health reasons he returned to Ireland in 1946. During the remaining years of his life he was Tertian-Instructor at Rathfarnham and Spiritual Father at Milltown. He continued to write, give retreats, thus keeping in harness till the end, as he himself wished.

Truly a rich life in achievement and of untold spiritual good to many souls. As a religious, he enjoyed gifts of higher prayer and was endowed with the gift of tears.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1929

Our Past

Father George Byrne SJ

Fr George Byrne SJ, who was in Mungret for some years in the nineties, is bringing glory to the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus. Under him as Superior the little band of pioneer missionaries of the Irish Jesuits at Hong Kong, Canton, and Shiuhing are doing wonderful work for the Church. In addition to his business of organisation, Fr George frequently contributes to “The Rock” and to a new Chinese monthly, the “Kung Kao Po”. His articles are usually reprinted in many of the local papers, with the result that Fr Byrne has gained a great reputation in Hong Kong. He is constantly giving retreats and missions. Two retreats were given by him in Latin to groups of Chinese priests, Fr Byrne is at present attending to the building of Ricci Hall, the new Hostel for Chinese University students. At the laying of the foundation stone by the Governor General, Fr George made a brilliant speech. Plans are being drawn up for the building of a new Regional Seminary. This building will be completed in 1930, and Fr Byrne will have an additional burden thrust upon him. May God give him strength to continue his wonderful work.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1930

Three Years in China : Impressions and Hopes

Father George Byrne SJ

The Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to China, Very Rev George Byrne SJ, visited us in March, and gave us a very interesting lecture. We expected great things from Father George, and were not disappointed. He gave a very clear account of the present position in China, of the Customs and mentality of its people, and of the working of grace amongst them. The many anecdotes told by Father Byrne and the beautiful illustrations he showed us kept our interest alive. Throughout the lecture We heard the call of China - the call of Christ the Redeemer of the world, appealing for helpers to bring those who are in the valley of the shadow of death to the Life that comes by knowledge and love of the Son of God.

We experienced no little joy when we heard of the work that has already been accomplished by the thirteen missionaries who have gone to China during the past three years. Their first task was, of course, study of the Chinese language, and in this they have already made progress sufficient to enable them to under take some missionary work through the medium of that language. The work of editing a Catholic monthly magazine called”The Rock” was entrusted to them by His Lordship the Bishop of Hong Kong; but their biggest undertaking has been the erection of Ricci Hall, a hostel for students attending the University of Hong Kong. When their numbers and resources increase, they hope to undertake a still more important work, namely, the management of the new Regional Seminary which is at present in course of erection, and in which the native clergy of Southern China will be educated and prepared for the priesthood. God's grace is manifestly assisting them in their labours.

Mungret rejoices in these achievements, especially as three of her old pupils and one old master are amongst the thirteen. Father G Byrne SJ, the Superior, was here in the nineties. Father J McCullough SJ, a boy of 1912-14 and a master here a few years ago, is working in Canton. Rev R Harris SJ, who left us in 1922, is teaching in Shiu Hing. Father R Gallagher SJ, who is remembered by many Old Boys, is the zealous Editor of “The Rock”. Anyone who knew Father Dick will not be surprised to hear that in addition to the burden of editorship, he cheerfully shoulders many other burdens.

The interest of Mungret boys in the Mission can be very practical. Help is needed. Perhaps those who read may help in one or many of the following ways: (1) By prayer ; (2) by sending books to stock the libraries of the Hostel or Seminary (Ricci Hall, Hong Kong, China); (3) by collecting old stamps and tin-foil, and forwarding them to Treasurer, Ricci Mission, Milltown Park, Dublin ; (4) by subscribing to The Rock (Editor, PO Box 28, Hong Kong); (5) by contributing to the Ricci Mission Fund (The Treasurer, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin). Those who cannot be with their friends in the front trench, as it were, where Paganism meets Christianity, can help them greatly. Spiritual and material help are necessary. By helping them, you give them strength and courage, and will have the privilege of consoling your Greatest Friend.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1962


Father George Byrne SJ

It is with great regret we chronicle the death of Father George Byrne, which took place in Dublin on January 4, at the 1 age of 83.

Father Byrne was born in Cork. After leaving Mungret he entered the Society of Jesus. He taught in Australia for seven years as a scholastic, and then returned to Milltown Park for his theological studies.

After ordination, he was recalled to Austrialia, where he became Master of Novices and Superior of the House. After a few years he was back in Ire land again, this time to Gardiner St, While in Gardiner St he became first Chaplain to the first Governor-General of the Free State, Mr Tim Healy, KC.

In 1926 came the decision to establish a Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong, Father Byrne was appointed Superior of the newly-formed Mission. On him fell the burden of much of the organisation. He arranged for the staffing of the Regional Seminary. He also arranged for the building of Ricci Hall, a University Hostel. He was also instrumental in taking over Wah Yan College from its original founders.

In Hong Kong he was a well-known broadcaster, writer and lecturer. He was always prominently associated with education.

In 1946 he returned to Ireland for health reasons. He continued active work. He was Instructor of Tertians for a number of years and after that, until his death, he was Professor of Ascetical Theology and Spiritual Director of the Theologians at Milltown Park, He worked until the end. RIP

Byrne, John A, 1878-1961, Jesuit priest

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

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

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

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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

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

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

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

◆ The Clongownian, 1961


Father John Byrne SJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Coakley, Gerard, 1895-1967, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1060
  • Person
  • 05 February 1895-16 February 1967

Born: 05 February 1895, Waiau, North Canterbury, New Zealand
Entered: 15 August 1914, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 31 July 1927, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1931
Died: 16 February 1967, St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1920 in Australia - Regency
by 1924 in Le Puy, Haute-Loire, France (TOLO) studying
by 1928 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1930 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 :
Having Entered at Loyola Greenwich, he remained there for two years Juniorate after First Vows.
1919-1920 He was sent for a year teaching at St Aloysius College, Milsons Point
1920-1922 He was sent to Milltown Park Dublin for Philosophy
1922-1925 He went to Vals, France for further Philosophy
1925-1929 He was sent to Valkenburg Netherlands for Theology
1929-1930 He made Tertianship at St Beuno’s Wales
1931-1945 He returned to Australia and St Patrick’s College Melbourne where he taught Science and during that time was also Editor of the “Patrician” (1936-1939). He was an avid reader and had a good memory for many facts, especially in matters scientific. This, combined with a gift for seeing the unusual and less obvious angle made him a most interesting controversialist.
1945-1947 He went to work at the Norwood Parish
1947-1958 He was sent to the Holy Name Seminary at Christchurch, New Zealand, where he was Minister responsible for the house and farm. He also taught History of Philosophy and Chemistry at various times there.
1958 His last appointment was to St Aloysius College, Milsons Point, where he taught junior Religion, and did much work with the financial planning for the College re-development in 1962. He worked at this task with much enthusiasm and spent many hours filling in documents, checking records, and making out receipts, whilst also taking a keen interest in every stage of the redevelopment.. He took great pride in the establishment of every stage.

He became quite depressed during the last dew years of his life, and towards the end, when he developed heart and lung problems, he decided not to keep fighting to stay alive. He was buried from the College with the boys forming a guard of honour.

Connolly, Patrick J, 1875-1951 Jesuit priest and editor

  • IE IJA J/31
  • Person
  • 14 December 1875-07 March 1951

Born: 14 December 1875, Killomoran, Gort, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1893, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1910, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1913, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 07 March 1951, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson St, Dublin

by 1896 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1898 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1900 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1912 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online
Connolly, Patrick J.
by C. J. Woods

Connolly, Patrick J. (1875–1951), Jesuit priest and journal editor, was born 23 November 1875 at Killomoran, near Gort, Co. Galway, a son of Patrick Connolly, an illiterate farmer, and his wife, Mary (née Connors). He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick. After entering the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg in 1893, he studied in England, at Roehampton, and France, at Vals. He then taught at Mungret, Belvedere and Clongowes, and was ordained priest in 1910.

From July 1914 until September 1950 he was editor of the new Irish Jesuit quarterly, Studies, which he made the most important catholic periodical read by Irish intellectuals. It contained articles on social issues, philosophy, history, economics (all pertaining directly or indirectly to Ireland), and on the state of continental Europe. An example from 1933 is a perceptive assessment of Hitler by D. A. Binchy (qv). Connolly's only original contribution was a two-part article, ‘Karl Lueger’, on the militantly catholic mayor of Vienna (Studies, iii, 1914, 280–91, iv, 1915, 226–49). Having spent a year in Austria after ordination, he greatly admired Lueger, a man of humble origins supported by the petty bourgeoisie and industrial workers, as a daring social reformer and as an opponent of ‘the Liberals and the Jews’. From 1924 until 1949 Connolly was spiritual director of St Joseph's Young Priests Society. On 7 December 1939 he was awarded an honorary D.Litt. by the NUI. Attached, for almost all his career, to the Jesuit house at 35 Lower Leeson St., Dublin, he died 7 March 1951 in Dublin.

GRO; Ir. Times, 8 Dec. 1939, 8 Mar. 1951; Irish Independent, 8 Mar. 1951; Irish Provincial News, vii, no. 3 (July 1951), 76–9; Michael Tierney, ‘Looking back’, Studies, xxxix (1950), 369–72; Michael Tierney, ‘Studies, 1912–1962’, Studies, li (1962), 1–8 (with portrait); J. A. Gaughan, Olivia Mary Taaffe, 1832–1918, foundress of St Joseph's Young Priests Society (1995) (with portrait)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 26th Year No 3 1951

Obituary :

Father PJ Connolly

Father Patrick Connolly died on Wednesday morning, March 7th, just four weeks after an operation which had seemed to promise complete recovery. His sudden death came as a shock to many of his friends who had been expecting to see him back again in his familiar haunts. To the members of his own community it was the breaking of a very much cherished link with the past. For Father Connolly had come to Leeson Street in the summer of 1914, and had been Editor of Studies for the long and unbroken period of thirty-six years. Though his name no longer appeared as Editor in the status of 1950, he was asked to see the September issue through the press since he had in fact planned it. That was the last issue which came out under his supervişion. In December the new Editor very suitably produced an issue which opened with a most generous and sympathetic notice of Father Connolly's achievement from Dr. Michael Tierney, now President of University College, Dublin and for many years his most faithful and valued contributor. The issue for March had not yet appeared when the final call came. Fittingly enough, life ended within a few months of the end of an unusually long and fruitful editorship.
Father Connolly was a Galwayman, a native of Gort. On the day that he died Sir Joseph Glynn, another native of Gort, died after a long illness in Dublin. The two men, priest and layman, had been associated for many years in the work of Saint Joseph's Young Priests' Society, and their common interest in their native county may well have held them together in this good work for the education of young boys who wished to study for the priesthood. But Father Connolly had another motive for his life-long interest in this work. He himself had been educated in Mungret College, in the great days of Father Vincent Byrne's rectorship, and he never lost an opportunity of helping his Alma Mater when there was question of finding a suitable school for the education of some young aspirant to the priesthood. In later years it was a standing joke in the community to reproach him with having been the Rector's favourite boy during his years at school. He left Mungret in the summer of 1893, and entered the novitiate at Tullabeg in the following September. As a Junior he was sent for two years to the English Juniorate at Manresa, Roehampton, even then it was thought probable that his work would lie in literary activity. From Manresa he went to Vals as a philosopher, then to Mungret, Belvedere and Clongowes for the years of his regency. He was in Milltown Park from 1907 to 1911, being ordained in the summer of 1910. After a year in a Tertian in Austria, he came back to Clongowes as Master of English as 1912.
The Fathers of the Leeson Street community had begun to publish Studies in the Spring of 1912, with Father Corcoran as Editor. It was a false start - so false that it came near to being fatal. At the visitation of 1914 the abandonment of the whole enterprise was seriously considered, and one of the debts which the Irish Province owes to Father T. V. Nolan is that he decided to continue publication, bringing Father Connolly from Clongowes to Dublin for that purpose. Hitherto the Leeson Street community had been responsible for the finances of the new Quarterly. Henceforward the Province made itself responsible for any possible loss. But the appointment of the new Editor soon turned loss into gain.
The first ten or twelve years were the most successful of Father Connolly's long tenure of office as Editor of Studies. They were the years when the first World War was opening new horizons in social and international questions abroad. At home Sinn Fein was sweeping the country, and the Anglo-Irish literary movement of the first two decades of the century was giving place to a more actively political and national campaign. It was an opportunity for any Editor with vision, and Father Connolly's fellow-workers were never slow to remind him that vision was his special gift. Beyond all doubt the quarterly issues of Studies from 1914 to the early 'thirties were a fine achievement, of which lay Editor might be proud. Hardly a name that was known in .the country as writer or thinker is missing from the title-pages of those years. The Civil War took the heart out of the national movement from 1922 onwards, but there was still enough mental energy in the country to make men eager to plan, and put their thoughts on paper. Eoin MacNeill and his pupils had set men studying the history of Ireland from a new angle, and Father Connolly was always willing to print any article that could fairly be described as a serious contribution to the study of Irish history.
As the years went on, the split between the two sections of what had once been the Sinn Fein party tended to harden on party lines, and an Editor was less free in his choice of contributors. During the 'thirties the European scene was intensely dramatic in its swift movements, with the clash of strong personalities and the ever-growing challenge to Catholic principles. Some of the best articles printed in these years dealt rather with European than Irish politics, though there was always a steady stream of articles on Irish social and economic problems as well as on various aspects of Irish history. Then came the second World War, with the declaration of Irish neutrality. No Irish Editor found those years easy to negotiate, and Father Connolly's own mental and physical energies were beginning to fail. The astonishing thing is that he continued for so long to produce, four times a year, new issues of Studies which - though some of them lacked the old brilliance and effervescence - had still a wide range of interest for many readers. The end of the War brought the problems of the post-war world in which we are still struggling to live. It did nothing to lessen the economic difficulties which face all editors and publishers today. Father Connolly struggled manfully against failing health and ever increasing external handicaps. His successor inherits a fine tradition, and may be sure that he inherits also the good-will of many readers and contributors to what has become a national institution.
Father Connolly had been a member of the Leeson Street community for almost forty years at the time of his death, and his well-marked habits and mannerisms had come to be accepted as part of the permanent background of the community's life. In the city his friends were numerous, and they were most loyal to him as he was always loyal to them. It was at the suggestion of a group of these friends that the National University of Ireland conferred the degree of Doctor of Literature Honoris causa on Father Connolly in recognition of his services to Irish letters in the past thirty years. The ceremony took place on December 7th, 1939. In the December issue of Studies Dr. Tierney gave a rapid sketch of the various journalistic ventures that have been associated, at one time or another, with the long history of University College, Dublin. He ended as follows : “Though there has recently been a welcome revival in the kind of serious journalism of which Father Connolly is such a master, the last thirty years has been a hard period for quarterlies. Our present world is far less favourable to their survival than the very different one into which Studies was born. ... The continued existence of Studies at the level at once of scholarly inquiry and of appeal to an educated intelligence to which Father Connolly brought it under unceasing difficulties is a necessity both for the College and the nation it serves. He will, I am sure, ask for no better acknowledgement of the value of his work than the determination to continue it in the spirit he inherited from predecessors stretching back to Newman, and has handed on invigorated and enriched by his own long years of unselfish devotion”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Connolly SJ 1875-1951
Fr Patrick Connolly was born in Gort, County Galway on December 14th 1875. He received his early education at Mungret College and after he entered the Society.

As a scholastic and as a priest he taught English at Clongowes, where he showed his fine literary taste, and high standard of writing. “Studies, the contemporary Review of the National University had been founded in 1912, and for some years run an editorial board with no great success. Indeed, things had come to such an impasse, that there was question of ceasing publication. To the credit of the Provincial FR TV Nolan was the decision to carry on, and to his greater credit and discernment was his appointment of Fr Connolly as Editor in chief. Almost immediately it began its course as a high class review, which was to have a great place, not only in the cultural life of Ireland, but also to be accepted by the leading Universities of the world.

Fr Connolly was a born Editor. He made the maintenance and advance of Studies is life-work. Questions of Irish interest, political, historical, economic predominated, but it remained a Catholic review and had articles of Church interest. This good wrk that Fr Connolly kept going through the gravest of crises – two world ward, the struggle for independence at home, the economic war and various smaller domestic storms. He did all of this for well nigh 40 years.

But Studies did not absorb all his energies. For many years he had a deep and practical interest in St Joseph’s Young Priests Society. He was the Spiritual Father and examined candidates and was accustomed to visit students in their various colleges. Personally he was a bit odd, but a great favourite, especially in Leeson Street, where he was somewhat of an institution. When he explained that the old “characters” of the Province had disappeared, his hearers would smile and remark to one another, that while he lived, the race of “characters”would not be extinct. He had a genuine affective love for the Society. As an appreciation of his distinguished services he received an honorary degree of Litt from the National University.

He died on March 7th 1951, after an operation which seemed to promise complete recovery.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1951


Father PJ Connolly SJ

On March 7th we learned with regret of the death, in a Dublin Nursing Home, of Rev P J Connolly SJ. Born in Gort, Co. Galway, he was educated in Mungret, leaving here for the Noviciate of the Society of Jesus in the autumn of 1893. After he had completed his noviceship, he was sent to Manresa House, Roehampton, to pursue his studies in humanities, and upon leaving there, he continued his studies on the Continent, more particularly in France and Austria.

Upon his return to Ireland, he taught for some years at Clongowes, and in Mungret, leaving to begin his Theology at Milltown Park, Dublin in 1907. He was ordained at Milltown in 1910.
Two years after the foundation by the Jesuit Fathers of the quarterly review, “Studies”, Father Connolly was entrusted with its editorship in 1914. From the very first he brought new life to the pages of “Studies”, changing its rather severe academic tone to make it at once scholarly and topical. Almost every well-known writer and thinker in the Ireland of 1914 to 1950 contributed to it at one time or another, as well as a surprising number of writers famous all over the world. One cannot but admire the powers of persuasion he displayed suc cessfully for so long, as well as the tact and skill required from him in his exact ing task.

Like many great editors, he wrote little himself, but no one could excel the exactness with which he judged just what treatment a subject required, or the skill with he guided the first faltering steps in authorship of younger writers and castigated their literary efforts with a zeal no less kindly for its apparent sterness.

On 7th December 1939, the National University conferred on Father Connolly to the degree of Doctor of Literature, Honoris Causa.

After thirty-six years of devoted, un remitting, and immeasurably skilful labour, Father Connolly relinquished the editorship of “Studies” in August 1950, and his death only a few months later was a loss, not only to “Studies”, but to the service of Irish literature, not easily repaired. RIP

Cooney, Albert, 1905-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/649
  • Person
  • 31 August 1905-06 December 1997

Born: 31 August 1905, Clarinda Park, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1938, Loyola, Tai Lam Chung, Hong Kong
Died: 06 December 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death

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

Parents resided at Healthfield Road, Terenure, Dublin

Older of two boys.

Educated at St Dominics Preparatory College, Cabra and then to Belvedere College SJ. In 1920 he went to Mungret College.

by 1927 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1960 at St Aloysius College Birkirkara, Malta (MEL) teaching

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Albert Cooney, S.J.

Father Albert Cooney died in Dublin on 6 December 1997. He was 92 years old and had been a Jesuit priest for 62 years.

Albert Cooney was born in Ireland on 31 August 1905 and as a young man became very interested in the performing arts.

Before entering the Society of Jesus on 31 August 1923 he toured Ireland with a drama group. He was ordained on 31 July 1935.

On completing his formal training in the Society he was sent, in 1937, to the Hong Kong Mission where he immediately went to Tai Laam Chung, a language school in the New Territories, to study Cantonese.

At the end of two years of language study he was sent to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, where he was in charge of providing for the material needs of the community when the Pacific War began on 8 December 1941.

With the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, Wah Yan became a Chinese middle school and Father Cooney joined his confreres who set out for free China in April 1942. First they went to Macau and from there on to fort Bayard (Kwangchowan). Towards the end of May he set out from Fort Bayard on the carrier of a bicycle for Pak Hoi in Southern china where he worked in a parish before moving on to Hanoi for a spell. Eventually he came back again to Pak Hoi but in less than a year he was recalled from there to join a new Jesuit venture in Macau.

With the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, about 4000 Portuguese families returned to Macau. To look after the youth, the Macau governor asked the Hong Kong Jesuits to set up a school with all expense paid. The school, St. Luiz Gonzaga, began in January 1943 and Father Albert Cooney was called back from Pak Hoi when the school was well under way. He always looked back to the time that he spent in Macau and happily remembered the boys he taught there.

The war over, St. Luiz Gonzage College closed its doors in December 1945 and Father Albert returned to Hong Kong Wah Yan College. He worked on several committee dealing with social work, helping the Boys and Girls Clubs Association, saying Mass for the US naval forces, and helping students to get into US universities.

In 1947 while on home leave in Ireland, he was informed of his appointment as Rector of Wah Yan. Before returning to Hong Kong he went to the US to collect information about school buildings and equipment for possible Jesuit schools both in Hong Kong and Canton and made arrangements with universities to take students on graduating from Wah Yan College.

Although administration was not his forte, he was well-beloved by the community and was noted for his kindness and thoughtfulness.

On 31 July 1951 he was transferred to Wah Yan College, Kowloon. In October of that year he suddenly suffered a stroke. Although he survived the crisis, a long convalescence kept him in Ireland for the next 10 years.

In November 1962 he arrived back in the Orient, this time to Singapore to take up parish work. The following year he was transferred to St. Francis Xavier’s Church in Petaling Java, Malaysia to work in the church giving retreats and conferences. He was also warden of Xavier Hall. But in 1969, the “right of abode” issue for foreign missionaries in Malaysia forced him to move on.

Early in 1970, he arrived back in Wah Yan College, Kowloon. He was to spend the next 22 years of his life here doing light work and keeping in contact with his former students of St. Luiz Gonzaga College.

In September 1992 he finally said good-bye to the Orient when he returned home to Ireland.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 January 1998

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He came from a wealthy family and a brother of his became a Carmelite priest. He had a keen interest in the performing arts and toured with a group in Ireland.

When he came to Hong Kong after Ordination in 1937, he went to Tai Lam Chung to study Cantonese. He taught at Wah Yan College Hong Kong and became involved in various social work committees. He also worked with the Girls and Boys Clubs and said Mass for the US Naval forces.

In August 1942 he moved to Luis Gonzaga College in Macau. He also went to Singapore for parish work, and he spent time at St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, working in the church and giving retreats and conferences.He enjoyed producing English plays acted by students, and had a great love of drama and poetry..

He left Hong Kong in 1951 and returned again in 1969 until 1996. At one time he was Principal at Wah Yan College Hong Kong.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

On 22nd October were announced the appointments of Frs. Albert Cooney and Harris as Rectors of Wah Yan College and the Regional Seminary, Hong Kong respectively. The former who is still in Ireland will be returning soon to the Mission via the United States.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 97 : Special Edition Summer 1998


Fr Albert Cooney (1905-1997)

31st Aug. 1905: Born in Dublin
Education: Belvedere and Mungret
31st Aug. 1923: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
1925 - 1926: Rathfarnham: Juniorate
1926 - 1929: Vals: Philosophy
1929 - 1932: Belvedere College: Regency
1932 - 1936: Milltown Park: Theology
31st July 1935: Ordination
1936 - 1937: Tertianship St. Beuno's:
1937 - 1939: Hong Kong studying Cantonese
2nd Feb. 1938: Final Vows
1939 - 1941: Wah Yan Hong Kong: Minister and Teacher
1941 - 1943: Pak Hoi, China: Church work
1943 - 1945: Macau: Minister and Teacher
1947 - 1951: Wah Yan Hong Kong: Rector and Teacher
1951 - 1953: Recuperation from illness
1953 - 1957: Mungret: Teacher
1957 - 1958: Belvedere College: Teacher
1958 - 1959: Gardiner Street: Convalescence
1959 - 1960: Malta: Teacher at St. Aloysius College
1960 - 1962; Loyola Dublin: Librarian
1962 - 1963: Singapore: St. Ignatius Church, Pastoral work
1963 - 1969: Malaysia, Petaling Jaya: Warden of Xavier Hall
1969 - 1992: Wah Yan College Kowloon: Pastoral work, Tutor
1992 - 1997: Cherryfield Lodge.
6th Dec. 1997: Died aged 92.

Fr. Cooney maintained a consistent state of health during his time at Cherryfield. At the end of October concern was expressed at his condition, but he recovered. He made his farewells and left instructions that he was to be laid out in his Hong Kong gown. On December 5th he said he would go to the next life on the following day. He died shortly after prayers for the dead were recited in the early hours of December 6th. May he rest in peace. Albert enjoyed every moment of his five years in Cherryfield Lodge. He appreciated the comfortable lifestyle and especially the great care and attention he received from his Jesuit colleagues and the staff. He could not speak highly enough of the great kindness he received in the declining years of his long life. When one realizes that Albert was quite a demanding patient, the loving care and attention he received was all the more praiseworthy.

I suppose it was only natural that Albert should fully appreciate and thoroughly enjoy the kindness he experienced during those five years in Cherryfield, because he was such an extremely kind person himself so he could graciously accept the care and attention he received. He spoke frequently of the happiness he enjoyed; he was satisfied that he made the right decision when he decided to return to Ireland. I accompanied him when he left Hong Kong in 1992 and I feared that after a little while in Cherryfield he would grow restless and pine for a return to the Orient, but I need not have worried. His heart may still have been in the East, but he was happy and content in Cherryfield.

One of the most prominent traits in Albert's character was his concern for others, and his desire to do all he could to make life more comfortable and agreeable for them. One of my first memories of him goes back to Holy Week of 1948. Four of us, scholastics, were studying Chinese in Canton at the time and Albert, as Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong invited us to join his community during the Easter holidays. I can well remember his sending us out to Repulse Bay - one of Hong Kong's most popular beaches - to enjoy a swim and sunshine on Holy Thursday. Can you imagine, long before the more relaxed days that followed Vatican II, there we were, on Holy Thursday, relaxing in the glorious sunshine. If some of us had qualms about such frivolity during Holy Week, Albert felt that was what we needed and he saw to it that was what we got. That was just one of the many kindnesses Albert showed us as we struggled with the intricacies of the Chinese language. We were always welcome to join his community during our vacations and he frequently sent us cakes, chocolates and other goodies while we were in Canton.

In those days clerics were permitted to go to the cinema in Hong Kong only if they had the express permission of the Bishop granted on each occasion. Albert must have thought this was an unfair position. He used to borrow 16mm films and invite all the Jesuits in Hong Kong to showings in Wah Yan College. Another of his initiatives was to prevail on one of his friends who owned a cinema to have private previews for the convenience of all the clergy in Hong Kong. This was a facility that was much appreciated and well attended. It was just another example of Albert's desire to help all he could.

When the Japanese occupied Hong Kong in 1941 plans that had already been prepared by the government were put into operation. Albert, along with several other Jesuits, was assigned to “billeting” duties. The job consisted mainly in finding quarters for those who were displaced by the fighting, Little more than a year after the occupation, Albert, like many other Hong Kong residents, left the colony. Many Chinese returned to their native villages and many of Portuguese extraction set out for Macau - a Portuguese overseas territory, not far from Hong Kong. After some time Albert made his way first into South China, then Vietnam and then back again to South China, where he worked in a parish.

Then began for him what was probably one of the most interesting periods of his life. The government of Macau invited the Jesuits to open a college for young Portuguese boys who had come to Macau from Hong Kong. Albert seems to have loved the two years he spent there, and up to the end of his life he took an intense interest in the young men he had been teaching. He continued to keep in touch with some of them over the years - one of them even visited him while he was in Cherryfield.

After the end of the war in Asia Albert returned to Ireland on home leave and in 1947 he was informed that he would be the new Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. School administration was not one of Albert's strong points but he was extremely fortunate that during his term of office he had two excellent Prefects of Study - Fr. Harry O'Brien and Fr. John Carroll - who ran the College very efficiently. More or less relieved of the responsibility of running the College, Albert was able to devote much of his time to other activities. He took a special interest in the “Shoeshine Boys Club” - a club started by Fr, Joe Howatson for “Shoeshine Boys” - young lads who earned a meager living by shining shoes in the Central district of Hong Kong. In the Club they were given some basic education, they could play games in the College and they were given a hot, nourishing meal three evenings each week.

In July, 1951 Albert was transferred to Wah Yan College, Kowloon and in less than three months he was taken suddenly ill, due to a blood clot near his brain. For some time he was in a critical condition and eventually had to return to Ireland for a very long period of convalescence. He did not return to the Orient until 1962, this time to Singapore where he did parish work for one year and then was transferred to Petaling Jaya, in Malaysia, where, in addition to parish work he was Warden of a hostel for University students. Immigration restrictions limited his time in Malaysia and he returned to Wah Yan College, Kowloon in 1970. There he helped out in the church engaged in a good deal of tutoring, and kept in touch with past pupils of Wah Yan College and St. Luis Gonzaga College - the College in which he had taught in Macau.

With his health declining, Albert expressed a wish to return to Ireland; thus in September, 1992 he took up residence in Cherryfield. As long as his health continued, he did some tutoring; one of his pupils was a French gentleman to whom he taught French! He also took a keen interest in foreign scholastics who were helping out in Cherryfield, and helped them with their English.

Albert led a full life, active as long as he could be and went peacefully to his reward on 6th December, 1997. May he rest in peace.

Joe Foley, SJ

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1998


Father Albert Cooney SJ (OB 1938)

Fr Albert Cooney died on 6th December 1997 in Cherryfield Lodge. He was educated at Belvedere and taught there in the late 50's. Albert was an extremely kind person. He spoke frequently of the happiness he enjoyed. He had lived so much of his life in Hong Kong but he was satisfied that he made the right decision when he decided to return to Ireland for health reasons. His heart may still have been in the East, but he was happy and content in Cherryfield.

One of the most prominent traits in Albert's character was his concern for others, and his desire to do all he could to make life more comfortable and agreeable for them.

As long as his health continued, he did some tutoring in Cherryfield; one of his pupils was a French gentleman to whom he taught French! He also took a keen interest in the foreign scholastics who were helping out in Cherryfield, and helped them with their English.

Albert led a full life, active as long as he could be and went peacefully to his reward. May he rest in peace.

Corboy, James P, 1880-1922, Jesuit priest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dillon, Edward Joseph, 1874-1969, Jesuit priest

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

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

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

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

Youngest of four brothers and six sisters (3 deceased)

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 3 1957

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

Irish Province News 44th Year No 4 1969

Obituary :

Fr Edward Dillon SJ (1874-1969)

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

Doherty, Patrick Joseph, 1905-1957, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/123
  • Person
  • 26 November 1905-25 September 1957

Born: 26 November 1905, Rusholme Grove, Manchester, Lancashire, England / Glengarriff Parade, Phibsborough, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 25 September 1957, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Born in Manchester and two months later moved to Phibsborough, Dublin with his parents. Father worked for Dublin County Council.

Second of seven boys and he has three sisters.

Educated at Convent and National schools, and then at O’Connells School. He then went to Mungret College SJ

Tertianship at Rathfarnham

by 1930 in Vals France (TOLO) studying
by 1952 in Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Patrick Doherty came to Australia in 1951 to give the priests of Melbourne archdiocese their annual retreat, and to use the retreat to introduce them to the Pioneers Total Abstinence Association. Archbishop Mannix seems at that time to have been keen to get the PTAA established. When he first approached Mannix it is reputed that the Archbishop said that the PTAA was a very good idea, and perhaps Doherty should start with his own brethren.
Doherty came to Australia with a considerable reputation as a successful leader of the PTAA, who had renewed and modernised it, and also as a sought-after retreat director. He was an excellent speaker, engaging and witty He seemed to connect well with the diocesan clergy. He was a man of vivacity and charm and was much liked. He lived at Richmond when he wasn't on the retreat circuit. When he was not giving priests' retreats, he spent quite some time travelling around Australia. visiting Jesuit ministries especially - setting up branches of the PTAA.
He spent part of that year giving retreats to other religious orders. By the time Doherty left Australia, the PTAA was established and reasonably well known in quite a few parts of Australia. He handed over the management of the Australian PTAA to Lou Dando, who drew other Jesuits into the task of spreading the word and the organisation.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 33rd Year No 1 1958

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Doherty

Not long after his ordination, Fr. Doherty confided to a friend: “When I stand at the altar during my Mass I am so overwhelmed by the thought of what is happening that I feel inclined almost to look down and see if my feet are touching the ground!”
This same spirit of faith developed with the years and reached its climax in his last illness. To visit him and pray with him was a spiritual tonic “as good as a retreat”. He was radiantly happy at the thought of the near approach of eternity. “I am interested in nothing only the growth of divine life in my soul. Never think it is hard to die. Often when giving retreats I used to wish I could only do myself what I was telling others to do. At the stage I have now reached God treats you as if you had done it”. Told of a doctor who had some remarkable successes with cancer patients, his comment was : “Thank God he didn't try his treatment on me!”
He described for the writer the plans for his funeral with the same ease as if he was speaking of someone else. Seeing this, I ventured, to hint that I had been asked to do his Obituary. He seized my hand : “Tell them I am the greatest proof of the mercy of God you ever came across”.
He was the edification of doctors and nurses who declared he was dying like a saint. “He is giving the most effective retreat [ ] gave” was the verdict of his Rector. Nor did his sense of humour ever forsake him. After a severe vomiting or a violent spasm of pain he would at once brighten up and show himself eager to continue a conversation. His poor body was wasted away till be weighed only four stone, but his mind was alert right up to the end. When his aged mother came to see him he twitted her : “Mother, what are you fretting for? Sure you'll probably be on the next old bus anyhow, and I'm only going on ahead to open the gate for you!” Later he wrote her a letter of more than three pages, to console her, “in my best handwriting”.
The effort called for something not far from heroism.
Indeed, he “opened the gate” for many a soul. Tributes flowed from all sides to the selfless devotion with which he gave himself to “talks” and the confessional during the many retreats he conducted. He continued this arduous apostolate when those of us who were near him realised that the work was draining every ounce of energy from him. But “he was too concerned for others to be interested in himself” - to quote from his review of The First Jesuit. The words are descriptive, not of our Father Ignatius only, but of this son of his who wrote them. The secret of his success was, in large measure, his gift of sympathy. He really entered into the trials and difficulties of others and suffered them as if they were his own.
That review evoked high encomiums from the censors and a strong recommendation that he should write more. His “Centre Survey” in the Pioneer magazine, where he had a field for poking fun, which never lost sight of the seriousness of his message, ranks with the very popular “Colum's Corner" in another magazine. Had God spared him he could have wielded a doughty pen in the service of souls.
Mention of The Pioneer reminds us that no account would be complete without at least an attempt to tell what he accomplished for the Association. For many years he was Spiritual Director of the Garda Branch. Before me lies a letter from a member, written in 1955, expressing the deep affection he won from the men, and their grief on learning that he had been transferred to other work. He led a group in pilgrimage to Fatima and “we will never forget the thousand and one things he did for us, and, above all, the cheerful manner in which they were done. It was with pardonable pride that we heard his name announced to give the Holy Hour for all the English-speaking pilgrims”.
In 1948 Fr. Doherty represented the Association at Lucerne and it was as a direct result of his presence and influence there that the Pioneer Movement began on the continent. Later he went to Melbourne where he organised the work, and the best comment on his efforts is that today there are eighty centres in Australia. During that year, too, he gave several retreats, including one to the Melbourne priests with many of whom he formed lasting friendships.
Another instance of his mischievous spirit recurs here. A Father had been asked to address his Garda Centre. A week or so before the address, he received a letter from Fr. Doherty, explaining that the men were keenly disappointed to learn that it was not he himself who was coming, and suggesting that perhaps a last-minute switch could be made! For quite a while that Father was completely taken in.
In many ways he always retained in his make-up some elements of the enfant terrible. A picture of him comes to mind in the early days of theology, in which, with many groans of mock grief, he bemoaned the fact that he was like a dog on & chain! He was a great favourite with the older Fathers and would often speak of his affection for them, His youthful ways endeared him to young people inside and outside the Society. No one escaped his sallies at recreation. He was quick at repartee and told a funny story well, obviously enjoying the telling. He had a keen sense of justice and would quickly flare up where he considered wrong was done, nor did he lack eloquence and vigour in defending a difference of opinion.
He would be the last man in the world to wish that these human. traits should be glossed over here.
Fr. Doherty has gone from us, having given “in his whole life and much more in death” an inspiring example of that “living faith and hope and love of those eternal good things which Christ Our Lord has merited and acquired for us”. No one who knew him but will be glad to meet him again. Our consolation is the hope that he is only gone on ahead to open the gate for us.
He was born in Manchester in 1905, went as a boy to O'Connell Schools and to Mungret; entered the Society in 1924 and followed the. usual curriculum University, Philosophy in France, Colleges in Belvedere, and Theology in Milltown. He was ordained by Bishop Wall in 1938; did Tertianship under Fr. Henry Keane at Rathfarnham, after which he taught in Belvedere till 1943 when he was appointed to the Pioneer Association. He died in Dublin on September 25th, 1957. May he rest in peace!

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Doherty 1905-1957
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it” could be aptly applied to Fr Patrick Doherty. It is no exaggeration to say that for many years past, no Jesuit of this Province died so happy and so edifying a death. One might almost envy him the joy, happiness and peace he radiated, while at the same time he was racked with pain, which even drugs had failed to stem. People came from far and near to see him and have a few last words with him. “Now I realise what I have so often spoken of in Retreats, the great happiness which God has reserved for us”. Of each member of his family, he asked what they most urgently needed from God, and he promised to get their request. Each one got his petition, and one of these certainly was a near miracle.

He was a great talker in the pulpit, at the conference table, on the stage and in the community. This gift he used to great advantage as Assistant Director of the Pioneer Association. At the request of Archbishop Mannix, he went to Australia to found the Pioneer Movement there. He was also a writer of no mean merit, as the columns of the Pioneer Magazine prove.

At the early age of 52, he died of rapid cancer on September 25th 1957.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1953

A College of the Church Universal : Australian Experiences

Father Patrick Doherty SJ

“It won’t be so cold as this in Melbourne!” exclaimed the priest who was escorting me to the London plane at Collinstown. The gentleman immediately in front of us wheeled round. “Who's going to Melbourne?” he asked in surprised tone. “I am”, I said eagerly; “are you coming too?” “I have just returned from there”, replied this young doctor, a past pupil of Crescent College; “I hope to go back again soon”. On the way to London he gave me his impressions of Australia. “Once you settle down”, he said, “you will grow to love the Australians”. As the following year unfolded itself, I found myself in full agreement with all his favourable opinions of the “Land of sunshine”. Little did I expect, however, on that evening of December 5th, 1950, that my adieu to Melbourne, some fifteen months later, would be one of the hardest farewells of my life.

Since my return many people have expressed surprise at my admiration for Australia. “They don't all like it”, I am told. Oddly enough, some of these criticisms can be traced to articles in cross-Channel newspapers. England is not always the most affectionate of mothers! Of Irishmen in Australia I met only two who judged harshly the land of their adoption. I met hundreds of Irishmen, and many of other European nationality, whose longing for the home land was strictly limited to a desire “to see the old country before I die”.

No one in Australia was more hospitable, helpful and encouraging to me than Fr. Jim English. I was sitting in his presbytery in Mordialloc, outside Melbourne, drinking his health - in Pepsi Cola of course - on his birthday, when the phone. rang. It was a call from his, home in Tipperary town, to wish him many happy returns. I called in to his people in Tipperary since my return, but I did not like to suggest that we put a call through to Melbourne. Two great pioneer priests who stood by me all the way were Father Eddie Durcan and his brother. Father Eddie still has the same Pioneer badge that he received as a boy in Mungret.

I had many delightful meetings with Mungret priests in the course of my travels. Although everyone of them, without exception, spoke affectionately of the College, I think they all preferred Australia!! When I went from Melbourne to Parkes, to give the retreat to the priests of Wilcania-Forbes, I got out at Tocumwal, New South Wales, first stop in the 800-mile flight, to stretch my limbs. Three priests, on their way to make the retreat, were awaiting the plane. Irishmen all, two of them were educated in Mungret. That night, shortly before the first lecture of the retreat, the last group arrived - another party of three - and they were Mungret men all! They had covered 400 miles by car since morning. First to emerge from the car was Dean Sexton, whose Vincentian nephew, Father Kevin Cronin of Strawberry Hill fame, and whose Jesuit nephew, Father Fergus Cronin of Hong Kong, I knew well. The Dean was very thrilled to learn that I had visited his late sister, in a Dublin hospital, shortly before her saintly death. After the Dean came Father Treacy, a fine man, built on generous lines, and hailing from County Galway. The third man was my old friend of Mungret days, Father John Boylan from “the wee County”. He is the same gentle, soft-spoken John, beloved of the people of his vast Bush parish. I began to realise that Mungret belongs very literally to the Church universal!

Among the audience at a retreat to the Melbourne priests, it took me some time to pick out Father Albert Gilhooly. After all, I had not laid eyes on this mature-looking parish priest, whose hair is beginning to recede from the temples, since he was a youngster in Junior Grade in 1924! Some time later I spent a wonderful week with Father Albert in his country parish of Trentham, Victoria, before his promotion to the Melbourne suburbs. We kept very late hours that week, re-living schooldays separated from the present by a gap of thirty years.

“They gave us a great character training”, Father Albert said of the Apostolic School directors. “Don't ever allow yourself to do things in order to be admired by others”, was one of Father Jerry Kelly's famous sayings that burned themselves into our minds. And Father Gilhooly is one of many who paid remark able tribute to the gentle and refining influence of the late Father Freddy Cuffe SJ.

Many of Mungret's past pupils are Jesuits in the Australian Province. First to greet me, when I reached the land of the sun, was Father Tom Barden, Rector of the Jesuit College in Perth. I reminded Father Tom of the day in Septem ber, 1922, when we both left Dublin, via Athenry, on a roundabout first journey to Mungret during the disturbed days of the Civil War. When, at long last, we had arrived at the gates of Mungret, we felt like travelled men who had seen a bit of life! For both of us it was but the first of many long and roundabout journeys. At the gates of St Louis College, Perth, stood the portly. figure of Father John Williams, Gone indeed are the ascetic lines and emaciated appearance that I had always associated with John! But the welcoming smile is more genial than ever and, when I had my farewell chat with him, just twelve months ago, I found myself talking to the same grand person whom I sat beside for the Junior Apostolics' photo in 1924 and whom, thank God, no passage of time could change.

In Richmond, Victoria, I spent a year under the same roof with Father Michael Morrison. Between army and Australian experiences, Mick has seen quite a lot of life in the past decade, and has been in close contact with death too. He was the first chaplain to enter Belsen concentration camp towards the end of the war. From Father Morrison's room in the Richmond presbytery, one can see the dome of the chapel of Xavier College. At Xavier, Father Michael O'Mahony is now a familiar - I had al most dared to say a “venerable”! figure, for he laboured there as a scholastic in the pre-war years and has been there ever since his return to Australia in 1946. With him is Father Dan Fitzpatrick who is quite an expert at teaching chemistry and does a good deal of preaching in his spare time. With these two men I had a glorious fortnight's holiday along the Victorian seaside shortly after my arrival in Australia. I shall always remember the unremitting feud that went on, day and night, be tween Father O'Mahony and the mosquitoes ! Another great Mungret. man, whom I saw, alas! only too rarely, was Father Con Finn who has made a great name in university circles in Adelaide.

I could chatter on endlessly about these and other Irishmen who came and saw and were conquered by Australia. I might as well end this ramble near its starting point - at Tilbury Docks, in fact. I was not long on board the SS Himalaya, on the way down the English Channel, when I was greeted by a very charming young priest - another Mungret man, Father Dan Boylan of Portlaoighse and Ballarat Cathedral. Father Dan was returning to base after a holiday at home. An ideal companion for a long sea journey, he painted a colourful and very impressive picture of Australia as he had known it for some twelve years. Yet not even the masterpiece of an artist could portray the full splendour of the masterpiece of Divine artistry which I was to see with my own eyes for fifteen wonderful months.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1958


Father Patrick Doherty SJ

Fr Doherty whose death took place in Dublin on September 25th was born in Manchester. Educated at O'Connell Schools and Mungret College. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1924. After completing his studies in various houses of the Society, he was ordained in 1938.

After Ordination he taught in Belvedere College from 1940 till 1943. In that year he was appointed Assistant Director of the Pioneer Association, in which he was to do so much work. During the succeeding years he visited nearly every town in Ireland lecturing on, and enrolling members in, the Pioneer Association. He was for seven years Spiritual Director to the Pioneer Centre at the Garda Depot, where he made many close friends.

In 1948 he represented the Pioneer Association at the Temperance Congress in Lucerne. It was a direct result of his presence there that the First Pioneer Centres were established on the Continent. In 1951, at the Invitation of Archbishop Mannix he went to Australia. Here he spent a year organising Pioneer Centres in inany Dioceses. While there he also gave many Priests Retreats.

In 1955 he joined the Retreat staff at Rathfarnham Castle, and until shortly before his death was engaged in giving retreats around the country.

He had a strong spirit of Faith, and knew well he was going to die. However it was an event he looked forward to, and calmly discussed plans for his funeral with a friend beforehand. All through his life he possessed a strong sense of humour. Of him it might be truly said as was said of another Jesuit, that he was merry in God. RIP

Duffy, John, 1804-1871, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1227
  • Person
  • 24 May 1804-20 December 1871

Born: 24 May 1804, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 28 February 1848, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1855
Died: 20 December 1871, Westminster, London

Part of the St Michael’s College, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England community at the time of death

Older brother of Patrick Duffy - RIP 1901

by 1853 at Vals France (TOLO)
by 1854 in Rome Italy (ROM) studying Theology
by 1865 in St Jospeh’s Glasgow, Scotland (ANG)

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After his Noviceship he studied Philosophy at Toulouse, and then Theology and Tertianship in Rome.
At first he was a Master in Tullabeg and Galway, and then went on the ANG Mission to St Michael’s College, Wakefield. he spent a little time on the Scottish Mission as well.
He died 20 December 1871 at Westminster

Duffy, Patrick J, 1814-1901, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/130
  • Person
  • 22 May 1814-27 July 1901

Born: 22 May 1814, Booterstown, Dublin
Entered: 15 August 1834, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 26 March 1848, Rome, Italy
Final Vows: 15 August 1867
Died: 27 July 1901, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

part of the Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

by 1847 in Rome studying
by 1853 at Vals France (TOLO) studying to 1854
by 1856 in Crimea to 1857
Came to Australia 1888

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After First Vows he was sent to Rome and France for studied, being Ordained in Rome 26 March 1848.
1851 He was Minister at Clongowes under Michael A Kavanagh.
1854 He was sent as Chaplain to the Forces in Crimea, a mission he really liked, and where he had full scope for his zeal and charity.
After he returned from Crimea he was sent teaching at Clongowes for some years, and then sent to Gardiner St, where he worked for 29 years.
At Gardiner St, sinners were converted. Many who were caught up in the world saw a different path, and the sick and destitute were visited with great care. Those who hear him Preach, especially at a “Reception” or “Profession” of a nun were hugely impressed by his sincerity. It was said that when he recited the “Hail Holy Queen” after Mass, it was as though he were speaking directly to the Blessed Virgin.
1879 He got a serious illness, and was ordered by doctors to complete change and rest. So, he was sent abroad for six months. he was a great letter writer, and his letters home during this six months contained glowing accounts of his experiences and vivid descriptions of the places he visited. On visiting Lourdes he spoke of his own delight at saying Mass there and was completely captivated by the Basilica : “Nor could you look at it, and walk through it leisurely, as I did on yesterday, without feeling that it was a work of lover - a work, I mean, of persons who had both the will to do it, the money and the skill, and who, prompted by an irresistible feeling of faith and love, and gratitude, were determined to stop at nothing!” During this six months, he visited Paray-le-Monial, Annecy and Switzerland as well, and eventually returned to Gardiner St, with an immense sense of gratitude for having been given the opportunity. He always communicate gratitude easily, and made good friends. Though some timed thought of as somewhat “rough and ready” he was an immensely sympathetic man, and he was clearly a diamond, who cared for anyone in trouble especially.
Following his experience of illness and the sense of gratitude, he was invited to consider going to Australia. He would have declined at an earlier time, so wrapped in his work and relationships. His response at this relatively late stage in life was “Come soldier! here’s a crowning grace for you - up and at it! Away from your country and friends, away off to the far off battlefield of Australia - a land you won’t like naturally, but in which I wish you to finish the fight! Fear not, I’ll give you the necessary strength, and only be a plucky soldier you, and show me what stuff is in you!”
1888 he arrived in Australia and straight away to St Ignatius, Richmond, and gave a series of Missions from there. He was then sent to St Mary’s North Shore. And so it was until his death, Retreats and Missions were his works.
He was a great enemy to self, and when advising on how to be happy he would say “Forget yourself, this is the secret. Think of Christ and His Cause only and leave the rest to Him!” He had great common sense too. He was entirely military in his ideas, and plenty of military references in his ordinary writing and publications, as seen in “The Eleven-Gun Battery, for the Defence of the Castle of the Soul”.
He had just concluded his own retreat and was conducting one for the Sisters of Mercy at Fitzroy, when he turned on his ankle coming downstairs and fractured his hip. He had an operation, but got up too quickly and had a recurrence, and pneumonia having also set in he declined rapidly. He suffered a lot of pain, but bore it with patience, and his end was calm and peaceful on 27 July 1901 aged 88. His funeral took place at St Ignatius, Richmond with a huge crowd in attendance. His desired epitaph was “Here lies one that did a soldier’s part”.

Note from William Ronan Entry :
A Few years after his Novitiate he went with Fr Patrick J Duffy as a Chaplain in the Crimean War, where he worked for more than a year in the hospitals of Scutari Hospital (of Florence Nightingale Fame in the Istanbul Region) and other Military stations.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Duffy 1814-1901
In Australia on July 27th 1901 died Fr Patrick Duffy in the 88th year of his life and the 67th of his life in the Society. He was born in Dublin on May 22nd 1814 and entered the Society in 1834 at Stonyhurst.

After his ordination he was sent as a chaplain to the British Forces in the Crimean War in 1854, an event which was destined to colour his spiritual life and writings for the rest of his life.

After his return from the War, he spent upwards of 29 years of fruitful and zealous work as Operarius at Gardiner Street. As a preacher he was renowned for his earnestness and sincerity, and it is related of him that he recited the “Hail Holy Queen” after Mass, as if he spoke to the Blessed Virgin there present, so earnest was the tone of his voice.

In 1879 after a severe illness, he was sent by Superiors on a tour of the continent for six months. He had a facile pen and left us lengthy and vivid impressions of the various places he visited.

At the advance age of 74, when most men would be thinking of retiring and preparing fore the end, Fr Duffy volunteered for the Australian Mission. What was it that induced him to take this up. He himself reveals the reason in a letter written to a friend some years later :
“Oh, dear me! Had I hesitated when I got the invitation years ago, to break the remaining ties and quit all, what an unhappy man, comparatively speaking, I should be today! I saw then what I see now, the mercy which said ‘Come Soldier, here’s a crowning grace for you, up and at it. Away from your country and your friends. Away to the battlefield of Australia - a land you won’t like naturally, but in which I wish you to finish the fight”.

For about fourteen years he worked unceaselessly on missions and retreats throughout Australia. He always regarded these as “campaigns” and conducted them as “pitched battles”, due to his experiences as a chaplain.

In 1887 he embodied his ideas of the spiritual life in a booklet entitled “The Eleven Gun Battery for the Defence of the Castle of the Soul”, to which is added “A Day-book for Religious of the Art of leading in Religion a holy and happy life, and dying as a certain consequence a holy and happy death”.

◆ The Clongownian, 1902


Father Patrick Duffy SJ and Father Charles Walshe SJ

We regret to announce the deaths of two Jesuits long connected with Clongowes both as boys and masters-Father Patrick Duffy and Father Charles Walshe.

Father Duffy died at the ripe old age of 88 in Melbourne, Australia. He entered Clongowes as a boy in 1829 and having passed with distinction through the various classes, he joined the Novitate of the Society of Jesus in 1834. Early in his priestly career he was sent out as chaplain to the forces during the Crimean war, a mission which was peculiarly agreeable to him, and to which in after years he often referred with pleasure. He was beloved by the soldiers an Irish regiment - and on one occasion it is said that they refused to march unless their chaplain were allowed to accompany them. He had a fine, manly, soldierly spirit, a most guileless nature, and he was full of ardour. He was for many years on the staff at Clongowes, and later at St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin. As late in life as his 70th year he volunteered to give his Services to the Australian Mission, where he worked till the end with the zeal and zest of a
youthful beginner.

Fahey, John, 1909-1988, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1268
  • Person
  • 17 June 1909-14 September 1988

Born: 17 June 1909, Running Creek, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 23 February 1927, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 30 June 1940, Heythrop, Oxford, England
Final vows: 15 August 1946
Died: 14 September 1988, Nazareth House, Camberwell, Melbourne - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Early education at St Patrick’s College, Melbourne
1929-1931 Juniorate at Rathfarnham Castle

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 :
Early education was at St Patrick’s College Melbourne before entering at Loyola Greenwich 1927. As one of seven children, he seemed to like the quiet and calm of the Society, as it matched his personality, which was quiet and calm and sprang from a deep quality of determination and self-command. He was a powerful athlete and had a keen intelligence.

1929-1932 He was sent to Rathfarnham Castle Dublin to study English Latin and French at University College Dublin, though he did not take a degree.
1932-1934 He was sent to Vals France for Philosophy
1935-1937 He returned to Australia and Xavier College Kew for Regency, teaching Latin, Economics and English, and was also Second Division Prefect and Assistant to the Prefect of Studies.
1937-1940 He was sent back to Europe for Theology at Posillipo Naples and Heythrop College England, being Ordained 30 June 1940
1942-1949 He returned to Australia to teach Theology at Canisius College Pymble to the Jesuit Scholastics, and he also made his Tertianship at Loyola Watsonia (1945) and he went from that for a year to St Aloysius College Sydney. In 1947 he was appointed Chaplain to the Campion Society (a Lay Catholic Action Group founded in Melbourne in 1929 just before the Great Depression and the rise of fascism)
As a Theology lecturer he was greatly appreciated because he spoke slowly and notes could be taken He was also in charge of tones, reading at table and the refectory sermons. he encouraged the initiative of scholastics, but he warned them against heresy! The Scholastics enjoyed his company because he was a good listener and entertaining. His calm and equable manner kept him above any contention or discord. He was recognised particularly for his simplicity of communication and a great shrewdness.
1950-1953 He was appointed to Newman College as a tutor in Philosophy and Experimental Psychology, but after some disagreement with the Provincial Austin Kelly, he was assigned to Belloc House. (1953-1985)
1985-1988 He lived at Xavier College Kew

It was at the Institute of Social Order, Belloc House, Kew that he performed his most memorable and important work as a writer and social scientist. There were times when Catholic Social Teaching was eagerly sought by the faithful, and so John, along with other Jesuit colleagues, James Muirhead and Bill Smith, reacted to an important need. They lectured, organised Summer Schools, and edited and wrote for two periodicals “Twentieth Century” and “Social Survey”. After Vatican II, at the invitation of the Bishops, he travelled New South Wales and Victoria giving lectures of the social apostolate. He was also involve with the “National Catholic Rural Movement”, and lectured at the Mercy Training College on Philosophy in general and Philosophy of Education in particular.

He was highly respected as an academic and a wise priest. He taught Catholic and Social Theology to the students at Genazzano Convent for some years. He had a highly analytical mind, and was noted for his ability to sum up an argument. He was at his most influential when one-on-one with people, especially over a cup of tea. He was good at listening and stimulating thought in others. He was a Socratic educator, heuristic, helping people reflect on ideas.

He could deal with a great variety of people. His happier encounters were with such people as the bread delivery man on a Saturday morning whom he engaged in intellectual discussions. He accepted everyone as they were, and was open to all. There was no notion of self promotion. He only wanted to share his insights, and he did that in a competent and self-effacing manner. In everything he undertook he was effective. he had a passion for truth and a hatred for those who misled others by “easy hopes or lies”. Without rancour, he devoted himself to giving positive and solid instruction to those who would listen. In community, his strong sense of humour and gift of laughter made him good company. He was a humble and spiritual man.

Finucane, James J, 1878-1957, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/153
  • Person
  • 25 December 1878-25 January 1957

Born: 25 December 1878, Carrigparson, Cahirconlish, County Limerick
Entered: 14 August 1895, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1912, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1914, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 25 January 1957, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1900 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 in Saint Stanislaus, Beirut, Syria (LUGD) studying Arabic
by 1903 in Collège Saint-François Xavier, Alexandria, Egypt (LUGD) Teacher
by 1912 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Extracts from a letter of Fr. Patrick McGrath, S. J., St. Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, to Fr. Finucune, 10-9-945. Fr. McGrath is an old Crescent boy who while stationed at the Crescent 34 years ago volunteered for the (then) Australian Mission. :
“Your letter arrived just in time for the celebration of the Golden Jubilee. Besides the House celebration there was a Parish celebration in our Hall. I knew nothing about it till three days before. Since I came to Australia I have spent most of my time between Melbourne and Sydney as Parish Priest. I did some six years' teaching in St. Aloysius, Sydney, twelve year's Parish Priest there, and the rest of my time in Melbourne as assistant, but mostly as Parish Priest. I broke down in Sydney. The hilly land there was too much for my growing years, and after a rest of a few months in our Theologate at Pymble I was sent back here as a Curate and I was very glad of it. I certainly never regretted coming to Australia.
Our Parish here is a very large one, and on the whole a very Catholic one, made up almost entirely of working people, for the most part very sincere and practical Catholics and most generous and easy and pleasant to work with. The same may be said of our Parish in Lavender Bay, North. Sydney,
The church of St. Ignatius in this Parish is a magnificent one, pure Gothic, in a commanding position, with a spire 240 feet high, the most perfect and beautiful spire in Australia. The stone of the church is Blue Stone but the upper part of the spire is white.
Looking up the Irish Catalogue a few days ago I was surprised to find that I know so few there now. Here in Australia the Irish Jesuits are dying out. The Vice-province is going on well. It is fully equipped with everything, novitiate, scholasticate with Juniors and Philosophers, and a special house for Theology, and we have this year a tertianship with 14 Australian Tertians. We want more novices, but there is good hope that there will be an increase this year. Our colleges here are doing very well. Both in Sydney and Melbourne there is a day-school and a boarding-school. The buildings in both places are first class”.

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 2 1957

Obituary :

Fr James Finucane (1878-1957)

Fr. Finucane was born at Carrigparson, Co. Limerick, and educated at the Crescent, entering the Society at Tullabeg in 1895. He studied Philosophy at Vals and then, as his health seemed precarious, he went to the drier climate of the Levant, continuing his studies at Beirut and teaching for two years in our college in Alexandria. Next came five years teaching in Mungret, at a period when higher studies were successfully undertaken there and many entered for university examinations. His first two years of Theology were passed at Milltown Park, and his third year at Ore Place, Hastings, then the theologate of the Paris Province. After his ordination in 1912 he went on at once to his Tertianship, and then spent eight years in Mungret as Prefect, Minister and Procurator of the farm. In 1922 he went to Clongowes where he taught and managed the farm until 1940. Then, after a few years teaching at the Crescent, he went to Leeson St, as Procurator, until his health declined so much that it was thought advisable to send him to Rathfarnham, where he could avoid to a large extent the labour of climbing stairs. He died in St. Vincent's Nursing Home, 96 Lower Leeson St., on 25th January.
It is probable that Fr. Finucane will be best remembered for his long association with Clongowes - and it is both as a farmer and a teacher of French that he will be remembered. The years there were happy years for him; he liked his work on the farm and his classes furnished him with a real interest: it might almost be said, indeed, that his classes were for him a delightful hobby, for though he taught several of them, he was not a full-time teacher. Old loyal workers who served under him on the farm in Clongowes remember him with admiration and affection : “He did not mind what a cow ate, but he hated to see good fodder between her feet”. And he knew good work when he saw it, and his praise was therefore the more appreciated, and he had high standards too : “Whatever he done, he done well!” An agricultural expert might perhaps criticise his policy and practice as being “undercapitalised” and say that production could have been increased: but what was done was indeed well done, and no beast went hungry. Clongowes was a land of sleek cattle and strong fences, and rich grass.
As a teacher he often obtained high places for his best boys in the public examinations, but he was most successful by the soundest criterion of all - his boys became fascinated with the study of French and every year some left his classes with an interest in the language and literature that was to be a source of genuine pleasure to them all their lives. It might be said that he did not take a whole class along with him, that a number of boys dropped out, and that his best boys did well because they worked for themselves. That is true; but the fact that he could lead them to this is a measure of his gifts as a master, gifts that will be always envied by lesser teachers.
Some people thought his interest in French literature, especially classical literature, strange in a man whose work and preoccupations were fundamentally agricultural, But it was a natural direct interest, utterly remote from sophistication and artificiality and jargon. The great authors wrote to be enjoyed, not to afford matter for pedantic lucubrations and university theses. He enjoyed them, and therefore his boys did also. And they enjoyed him, standing before a class, his arm gesturing vaguely like some weed moving gently in a placid stream while he talked of Le Cid or trumpeted nasally his delight in Monsieur Jourdain or Harpagon, Turning so naturally from the cares of ploughing or hay-making to Racine and Molière, he was to them the personification of l’honnete homme - in the seventeenth century sense.
His interest in his boys lasted long after they had left school, but it was an interest generally conditioned by their proficiency at French; that was a touch stone. Once, when he had left Clongowes, he was asked by a former Crescent teacher for news of a boy at the Crescent who was in one of his classes. “Mark my words”, he answered, “that boy will give trouble, he will bring sorrow to his parents! He never learns his irregular verbs!” If a boy did well on the Rugby field, it was often because he was “intelligent”, because he liked Molière; if a proficient student failed to get into the Sodality, there was something seriously wrong with the organisation of the Sodality.
A few days before he died he sent for a former pupil, a very prominent doctor from another hospital. “I am going very soon”, he said, “I have just sent for you to say good-bye”. And he shook hands. It was a symbolic hand-clasp and those who owe him so much would have longed to share it, to bid him a very grateful farewell. They will not forget him in their prayers.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Finucane SJ 1878-1957
Fr James Finucane was born in County Limerick and received his early education at the Crescent. From there he entered the Society in 1895.

For the benefit of his health, he was sent to Beirut as a scholastic, and it was here he acquired that love and mastery of the French language, for which he was renowned afterwards. He also had a great interest in the land, and for most of his life as a Jesuit, he was in charge of our farms, mainly at Mungret and Clongowes.

His association with Clongowes covered many years, and he will long be remembered by generations of old boys, especially for his powers as a French teacher.

After retiring from teaching he spent some time in Leeson Street and Rathfarnham, where he died on January 25th, 1957.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father James Finucane (1878-1957)

Of Carrigparson, Co. Limerick, was educated at the Crescent and entered the Society in 1895. He made his higher studies in France and Beirut, and during his sojourn in the east did part of his regency in the French Jesuit College of Alexandria. On his return to Ireland he continued his regency at Mungret College. He completed his theological studies in Hastings, where the French Jesuits were then in exile, and was ordained in 1912. Father Finucane spent the years 1913-22 as farm procurator in Mungret and occupied the same position in Clongowes until 1940. He came to his old school as master of French the same year and remained here until 1944 when he was appointed bursar at 35 Lower Leeson St.

Forster, John, 1870-1964, Jesuit priest

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

FOSTER initially;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grehan, John, 1820-1865, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/567
  • Person
  • 20 February 1820-30 May 1865

Born: 20 February 1820, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 25 November 1844, Avignon, France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 1853
Final Vows: 15 August 1861
Died: 30 May 1865, Milltown Park, Dublin

by 1847 at Vals (LUGD) studying
by 1851 at Laval (FRA) studying Theology
by 1853 Theology at St Beuno’s

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Came from a very religious family in Dublin, his father Stephen and his mother née Ryan. They were very wealthy, and used it for many charitable purposes.

As a young man John felt a strong calling to Priesthood, and studied hard for two years before Entry in order to be better prepared. In spite of his talent and study, he felt unworthy of such a calling, and thought of becoming a Christian Brother. His confessor encouraged him to apply to the Society.

After First Vows he studied Philosophy, and was then called to Clongowes, where he spent three or four years as a Prefect. He then spent further years in France studying Theology, ending these studies in England, and was Ordained 1853.
After Ordination he worked as a priest, but with failing health, was sent to Milltown Park as Procurator, an office he held until his death. He also was Minister for two of those years.
With poor health and conscious of impending death, he spent a good deal of his last year examining his conscience, slowly finding his fears allayed, and often spoke of God’s mercy and goodness towards him. Though in the last stages of illness his mind wandered, he was able to ask for the Last Rites and Absolution before he died.
A great number of Priests, secular and religious attended his funeral. Dr Whelan, Vicar Apostolic of Bombay presided, assisted by the Vicar General of the Dublin Diocese.

Hackett, William Philip, 1878-1954, Jesuit priest

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

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

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

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

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

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University onlne
Hackett, William Philip (1878–1954)
by James Griffin
James Griffin, 'Hackett, William Philip (1878–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983

Catholic priest; radio religious broadcaster; schoolteacher

Died : 9 July 1954, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 4 1927

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

Irish Province News 6th Year No 2 1931

Australia :

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

Irish Province News 29th Year No 4 1954

Obituary :

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

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 36 : February 1985


Francis J Dennett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And again in 1931:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2019

Belvedere’s Revolutionary Priest

Father William Hackett SJ

Dr Barry Kennerk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hartnett, Cornelius, 1873-1948, Jesuit priest

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Younger brother of Michael - RIP 1899

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

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

Headon, Maurice F, 1912-1960, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/181
  • Person
  • 22 November 1912-06 August 1960

Born: 22 November 1912, Ballyporeen, County Tipperary
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 06 August 1960, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Father was a member of the RIC and they retired to Haddon Road, Clontarf, Dublin

Second eldest of four boys and he has two sisters.

Early education at Convent, National and Christian Brothers schools in County Tipperary and Limerick City then Schoil Mhuire, Marino (1922-1928) and then to O’Connell’s School, and there won a City of Dublin University Scholarship

Studied for BSc at UCD; Tertianship at Rathfarnham

by 1936 at Vals, France (TOLO) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 35th Year No 4 1960
Obituary :
Fr Maurice Headon (1912-1960)
When the news came to Hong Kong that Fr. Maurice Headon would not be returning to the mission people were surprised. When the reason given was that he was in ill-health, there was a temptation to incredulity. It was harder still to believe when it was told that he was suffering from hardening of the arteries, that there was danger of gangrene setting in, that his leg might have to be amputated. He was in the Mater Hospital during last summer, cheerful, unconcerned, yet the doctors said he would never again be able to walk more than a hundred yards. It was all very puzzling. Last autumn he gave a retreat in Galway to the Women's Sodality and he seemed in very good health. One day last August a friend called to see him in Gardiner Street whither he had returned from the Mater. Fr. Headon seemed to be in very good health and spirits; the next day he was found dead in his room. He was never a man to fuss about himself. Unselfishness was outstanding in his life as it was outstanding in the days leading up to his death.
Maurice Headon was born in Ballyporeen in Co. Tipperary in 1912. He finished his secondary studies in O'Connell Schools, Dublin, and in September 1930 he entered the Novitiate, in Emo. It was the first year of the Novitiate in its new surroundings; the Philosophers had taken over Tullabeg. Mr. Headon studied Science in the University and took his degree in 1935. Philosophy in Vals followed and then came three years of teaching in Clongowes. In his first year there he was in charge of the meteorological station and took his Higher Diploma in Education. He was prefect of the Gym for his three years and left a memory among those he taught for his kindness and for the trouble he took to help on those who were weak in their studies; he even gave special classes to those who could not manage their mathematics.
He studied Theology in Milltown Park and was ordained there by the Archbishop of Dublin in the summer of 1944. Tertianship was in Rathfarnham under Fr. Neary, 1945-1946, and then he was sent to the Crescent where he taught Science for three years. Even in his first year he was a favourite with the boys; and it was remarkable how many continued to write to him all during his years in Hong Kong. Prefects of Studies always placed a high value on Fr. Headon's teaching, though his preference was for more directly apostolic work.
The Hong Kong mission was in great need of additional competent Science masters and in the summer of 1949 Fr. Headon left Ireland and his many friends for a few field of labour. He was then thirty-seven years old and the assignment was not an easy one. Fr. Headon on his arrival in the mission did not go to the Language School. He was needed in the Colleges and to Wah Yan, Hong Kong, and to a heavy round of teaching in the “Afternoon School” he now gave himself. For at least three of his teaching years in China he taught Science, but he also found time to begin a study of Chinese which he later used to great effect in preaching and hearing Confessions. Great praise is due to Fr. Headon for the extraordinary diligence with which he studied Chinese. At the end of his ten years in Hong Kong there were few Fathers on the mission who knew as many Chinese characters as he did and all those years he studied with the sole aim of being able to preach better and with a wider vocabulary.
In 1952 Fr. Headon began to work in Wah Yan, Kowloon, first in its temporary quarters in Nelson Street, later in the present fine building. In 1955 he was editor of the college magazine, The Shield, and for his last two years in Hong Kong he was Prefect of Studies in the same college, He kept up an interest in his pupils, even after they had left his care and he undertook the heroic labour of keeping in touch by letter with all the past students of Wah Yan who had gone abroad for further studies. The summer of 1959 saw him on his way back to Ireland after ten busy years to a well-deserved rest. He spent most of his time in St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, and it was there that death found him on Saturday, 6th August. He was forty-eight years old. Unobtrusiveness, perhaps, was the main characteristic of Fr. Headon's work inside the house and out. He rarely referred to either; he rarely made use of the personal pronoun “I”, so if we learned of his apostolate outside, it was from those who benefited from it. In Hong Kong, he was confessor to the Good Shepherd Sisters and their charges after their expulsion by the Communists from Shanghai. His sympathy, his patience and understanding, his personal charm and friendliness, and his readiness to help made him greatly loved by them all, and it was with intense regret they saw him leaving when his canonical period as confessor had ended.
His heart was in this direct apostolic work, so he jumped at the chance of a weekly supply in the parish church of St. Francis of Assisi. Here, again, his friendly spirit, his zeal and his understanding of human nature made him extremely popular. He preached every Sunday in Chinese at the public Masses, drew big crowds to his confessional and was ever at the beck and call of the parish priest who had the greatest esteem for him and the highest appreciation of what he was doing for his Catholic flock. The parish priest was shocked enough when he heard that he was losing Fr. Headon for a year at home; he was overwhelmed when he heard of his death. He is having a special Requiem Mass said for Fr. Headon; and he knows that he will have a packed church. The number of people who have come to the school to ask if it is really true that he is dead has revealed to us the breadth of his hidden apostolate and the number of Masses for his soul asked for shows their affection for him. . Here in the school the boys were boys were utterly shocked when news of his death arrived. He was a good teacher, and as Prefect of Studies had shown himself most approachable, and the boys knew that they would always get a fair and sympathetic hearing in his office. Those boys “in trouble” would present their appeal without any fear, and if they left his office, the “trouble” remaining withal, they recognised at least that they had got a fair hearing. His death will be a great loss to the community. Many, indeed, is the recreation he enlivened with his keen sense of humour and his love of argument. Philosophy, theology, the different methods of the apostolate, the school curriculum and the means of dealing with boys--these were all rich grain to his mental mill, and he enjoyed nothing better than a hammer and tongs discussion about them. After winning an argument, he might be reminded that he had defended the opposite opinion some months before just as vigorously, and he would break out into laughter and state that he “had read another book on the subject since” or that he “had changed his mind as we must march with the times”. Then he would be ready for another discussion on “changing your mind”!

Hollis, John, 1896-1974, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1458
  • Person
  • 06 December 1896-28 June 1974

Born: 06 December 1896, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 01 February 1915, Loyola, Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained 24 July 1928, Oña, Burgos, Spain
Professed: 02 February 1931
Died: 28 June 1974, Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1920 in Australia - Regency
by 1924 in Le Puy, Haute-Loire, France (TOLO) studying
by 1927 at Oña, Burgos, Castile y León, Spain (CAST) studying
by 1930 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
John Michael Hollis, commonly known as “Jock”, lived in Richmond, Vic., for a long time, and was a senior altar boy there. He went to school at St Ignatius', Richmond, and Xavier College, and worked for a year with the public service before entering the Society at Loyola College, Greenwich, 1 February 1915.
After his juniorate at Greenwich, he taught at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, 1919-23, and was also involved with cadets and the junior rowing. He then went overseas to Vals, Toulouse province, 1923-25, for philosophy and to Oña, Castile province, and Milltown Park, for theology, 1925-29. Living in Spain had been too much for him.
Tertianship at St Beuno's followed, 1929-30, and then he returned to Australia and Riverview, 1930-34, teaching Latin and French, and was senior rowing master. He was also the senior debating master and in charge of the Sodality of St Vincent de Paul.
From 1934-36 and 1938-41 he was socius to the master of novices and involved in retreats at Loyola College, Watsonia. Here he had a quieter life, a few classes in Latin, catechism on Fridays points for meditation to the brothers, reading classes, and correcting the reading in the refectory During this time he had a number of books read in the refectory relating to Church and State in Spain. Only he was aware of the classical Spanish pronunciation of many words. To fill in his time he frequently did extended parish supplies, especially to the parish of Diamond Creek. He was not the best of drivers. and the brothers were once called out to repair Mrs Considine's fence. She was the college seamstress. He also went on visitation to the local people of Watsonia, and became a respected friend to many, including the children.
After this time, he taught again at St Louis, Claremont, WA, 1941-44, and then at St Aloysius College, Milsons Point, 1945-47. After a year as minister and teacher of Latin at the diocesan seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, 1948, he did parish work at Richmond, 1948-52. Later years were spent at Canisius College, Pymble, as minister, 1953; parish work at Richmond, 1954; Loyola College, Watsonia, 1955-57, St Patrick's College, 1958-61, as minister, teaching Latin and religion; and parish work at Hawthorn, Norwood and Richmond.
In 1971 he was appointed vice-rector at Loyola College, Watsonia, and in his later years he became chaplain to the Spaniards in Melbourne. It was while returning from a wedding that he was involved in a car accident, and later died from its effects. There would not have been many Jesuits who moved as frequently as Hollis during his long life.

Kane, Robert I, 1848-1929, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/25
  • Person
  • 29 March 1848-21 November 1929

Born: 29 March 1848, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 03 November 1866, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880, Laval, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1888, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 21 November 1929, Milltown Park, Dublin

Oldest brother of T Patrick - RIP 1918 and William V - RIP 1945
Cousin of Joseph McDonnell - RIP 1928

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1869 at Amiens, France (CAMP) studying
by 1870 at Roehampton, London (ANG) studying
by 1875 at Vals, France (TOLO) studying
by 1877 at Laval, France (FRA) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Oldest brother of T Patrick Kane SJ - RIP 1918 and William V Kane SJ - RIP 1945

Paraphrase/Excerpts“Irish Catholic” :
“Father Robert Kane SJ, well known as ‘the Blind Orator’ died at Milltown Park.... The son of William J Kane of Dublin and his wife Mary MacDonnell of Saggart ... he was a nephew of Sir Robert Kane, distinguished Irish scientist, author of “The Industrial Resources of Ireland”, and first cousin to the famous Admiral Henry Kane. He received his early education at Clongowes (1859-1864) and Ushaw (1864-1866).

After First Vows he went to St Acheul and then Roehampton for studies. He then spent three years Regency at Clongowes teaching Classics, and then back to France at le Mans, then two years Philosophy at Laval and followed by three years Theology and he was Ordained in 1880. Ill health forced him back to Ireland where he finished his Theology.
When the Philosophical school was opened at Milltown in 1881 he was appointed Professor of Physics and Ethics, which due to failing sight he was forced to abandon after a couple of years. He made his Tertianship at Roehampton and was then sent to Gardiner St. for two years and where he made his Final Vows. Then the Theology faculty was opened in 1889, and in spite of his disability, he was appointed Professor, and again after three years he had to abandon this post due to poor sight.
He remained at Milltown after he finished as professor, with the exception of two years at Crescent (1901-1903). He now devoted himself to the ministry of Preaching, Confessing and giving Retreats. Though totally blind for almost 30 years he would not abandon work. His strong and determined character would not consider a life of inaction or repose. He was fifty-six when he started teaching Philosophy and an oculist told him his eyes would not stand the strain, but he went ahead anyway. Instead, knowing blindness would come, he resolved to acquire a thorough knowledge of Philosophy and Theology, a store on which he would have to draw in the future. In the darkness of his blindness he sat composing his sermons and committing them to memory. He was then continuously sought after as a Preacher both in Ireland and England. His style was florid and rhetorical, but the matter was solid and profound. He could make dry scholastic argument live by the touch of his poetic mind.
Although blind he was able to prepare many works for publication, ad so he kept working right until the end. His last illness lasted 10 days and he died peacefully at Milltown.
Shortly before his death the Senate of the National University of Ireland notified him that they intended to confer the Degree ‘Doctor of Literature’ on him, in recognition of his published work.”

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 2 1930
Obituary :
Fr Robert Kane
Fr. Robert Kane ended his long and heroic life at Milltown Park, Dublin, on Thursday Nov. 21st. 1919. Fighting a battle against blindness for 40 years, and during all that time preaching sermons, many of them on great occasions, giving retreats, writing books, travelling alone through a crowded city, going on long missionary journeys, surely all that lifts a man's life to the heroic level. And such was the life of Fr. Robert Kane.

He was born in Dublin on the 29th March 1848, His first school was the Loreto Convent, N. Gt. Georges St, in which street his family then lived. He spent a short time at a school in Gloucester St., then for a year was with the Carmelites in Lr. Dominick St., another year at Newbridge, went to Clongowes in 1859, and finally to Ushaw in 1864 where he put in two years. When at Clongowes he began to think of joining the Society. At that time he was a Ward of Court, under the authority of the Lord Chancellor, and the change to Ushaw was, possibly, to test his vocation. He remained firm and entered the Novitiate at Milltown Park on the 3rd. Nov. 1866. He went to St. Acheul for his juniorate, where, on his 21st birthday, 29th March 1869, he took his vows. A second year's juniorate, spent at Roehampton, followed, and then Clongowes for three years teaching 1st Grammar and Poetry.
It was during these three years that his eyesight, in consequence of a neglected cold, first became affected. A distinguished Dublin oculist, a protestant, told him that he would eventually lose his sight, that he would he unable for a life of severe study, and suggested settling down in the country to farm land. Fr. Kane went to our College at Le Mans instead, and put in a year as lower line prefect.
Next came philosophy, two years at Vals, and a third at Laval. On his way to Vals he got leave to visit Lourdes, and he ever afterwards believed that the result of the visit was a special grace that enabled his eyesight to hold out during the long years of severe Jesuit study. Theology followed immediately - three years at Laval, (at the end of them came the expulsion
from our houses in France), the fourth year was passed in private study at Clongowes. Fr. Kane was ordained in the Cathedral at Laval on the 8th Sept. 1880, travelled to Dublin and said his first Mass at St Francis Xaviers, Gardiner St. on the feast of the Dolours BVM.
Those who made their studies at Laval will remember the excellent custom of having a long sleep to 5am during the minor vacation. Fr. Kane would not avail of this privilege. Up at 4am., and, when the morning devotions were over, pounded hard in his room until 11.45. On Villa days there was a forced march of some 40 or 50 miles. On getting back to Ireland
this too strenuous work was increased rather then lessened. People say that he burned the candle at both ends.
However the studies were get through without serious mishap. From issi to 1991 the 1883 the philosophers of Milltown had him as one of their professors and their immediate Superior. In the latter year tertianship was commenced at Milltown, but did not last long, the eyes were getting ominously bad, and for nearly two years he was laid up partly at Milltown, partly at Dusseldorf. In 1885, all the Catalogue says about him is “Cur Val”. In 1886-87 he made his tertianship at Roehampton, and when it was over went to Gardiner St., remained there for two years and then returned to Milltown as professor of the “Short Course”. He held this position for three years, but the eyes seem to be getting slowly, steadily worse, and by 1892 his energies were confined to “Exam. NN., Trad. exerc. spir., conf. ad jan”. From that date he remained at Milltown until his death, with the exception of two years spent at the Crescent, Limerick . Limited space inexorably compels to postpone a further sketch of Fr. Kane's life to the June number.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930

Obituary : Fr Robert Kane continued

Up to about the year 1901, Fr. Kane was still able, under favourable circumstances, to read his own manuscripts, large, heavy writing. But about that date the sight failed completely. He became stone blind.
It was then that the heroism of the man asserted itself. He did not lie down under the weight of his heavy cross. He continued to preach, to give lectures, retreats, to move about the country on missionary journeys. And he prepared all his discourses with the upmost care. At first sight this would seem impossible, but with the help of a secretary, and the aid of the more than willing scholastics of Milltown, the work was done.
Fr. Kane's style of preaching had many ardent admirers and many very severe critics, He was quite alive to this fact, and defends himself as follows : “I frankly and most willingly admit that there are able and admirable men who don't quite approve of my style of preaching. To them, and to all those who share their views, I offer my “Apologia”. I never for a moment thought my style is the only good style, nor did I ever fancy that it is the best style. My position is this : My style is the best style for me, and for those amongst my audience whose character and sympathies are like my own.
“Nothing is too good, too beautiful, to he the living shrine of the living Word. The inspired practice of the Church has been always, when this is possible, to build her grand Cathedrals., her humble pretty Chapels for her King to dwell therein. No gold is too pure, no precious stones too costly or too brilliant to enshrine His Precious Blood, no silk too fine, no lace too delicate to adorn His Altar or its ministers. So, too, no oratory is too elevated, or too touching, or too beautiful to be the medium of His teaching or His appeal.
This is true of the personal character of the Priest, as he is Christ's Preacher. To his Divine work, the individual Priest must put all the thinking of his mind, the knowledge of his study, the care of his writing, the accuracy and finish of his speech, the power and attraction of his voice, the fitness, the reverence and the subdued sacredness of good taste in gesture. In all this the Priest must he himself, his very own best self. This is my ideal, and I have tried to realise it in myself.”
The depth of Fr. Kane's holiness has been, fortunately, revealed to us by a little book, a few copies of which were distributed on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee. It consists of a collection of prayers composed by himself. The prayer for patience occupies just six pages of that book. Though he does not say so, it is quite obvious that his own heavy cross was pressing on him, and the prayer tells us how he bore it. Only a few lines of those six pages can be given : “Jesus Christ, my God and my Redeemer, I accept my cross as a result of my own folly, ignorance, or obstinacy, as a result chosen or permitted by Thy Supreme Will. I accept it as a punishment inflicted by Thine Absolute Justice, As a keepsake sent from Thy Sacred Heart; As the Sign of the Cross upon my life; As a moulding of my life into a likeness of Thine own life. I accept it in union with Thine own most bitter Passion, and in union with the Dolours of Thine own most Blessed Mother. I accept it with unquestioning resignation, with thanksgiving, with gratitude for Thy goodness to me and mine, in reparation for my faults and sins”. He confided to a friend, that it costs him years of struggle to say this prayer with his whole heart. The “Prayer of a Religious” is very striking. Again no mention of himself, and again quite obvious that he is unconsciously laying bare his heart . He thanks God for the “inestimable grace of vocation”, for God's “mysterious mercy”, in keeping him true to that vocation, and then, in impassioned words, begs for the grace to he faithful to that vocation in life and in death. Those who can speak with certain knowledge tell us of his tender devotion to Our Blessed Lady, from boyhood. Of course the “Few Special Prayers” contains prayer to the “Virgin Mother”. But there is scarcely a prayer in the book in which Mary is not called on with tender devotion and absolute confidence. Fr. Kane was very honest when telling us of the praise or blame meted out to him during life. Surely he was not less honest when dealing heart to heart, with God, and these Special Prayers tell us how he dealt. His piety did not lie on the surface, but every page of that book reveals the true Jesuit, the real, genuine A “Man of God”
During his period of total blindness Fr. Kane prepared for the press and published the following : “The Eucharist”; “From Peter to Leo”; The Virgin Mother”; “The Sermon of the Sea and other Stories”; “Socialism”; “The Plain Gold Ring:’ “Good Friday to Easter Sunday”; “God or Chaos”; “From Fetters to Freedom”; “Worth”; “A dream of Heaven and other Discourses”. A poem of his “From out the Darkness” appeared in the Irish Monthly, October 1885, 1885, that gives a good idea of his character.
Shortly before his death, the Senate of the National University notified him that they intended to confer the degree of Doctor of Literature on him in recognition of his published work.
We are again indebted to Fr. P. Gannon for the following appreciation It appeared in the : Standard” 1of Nov. 30th. :
After Fr. Finlay, Fr. Kane, and another link is snapped with the ecclesiastical Ireland of the last half century. Much more, too, than his younger colleague did Fr. Kane pertain to that past. The final years of blindness naturally lessened contact with men and passing events.
Yet Fr. Kane refused to be alone, or to be severed from the world of men. He did not retire to his tent embittered and inactive. He came of a fighting race and continued the good fight, as he saw it, with a gallantry well nigh heroic. He reminded one a good deal of an abbé of the ancient régime - perhaps because so much of his education was received in France. He had the dignity and stately courtesy of older times. His appearance in the pulpit suggested even a prophet of the Old Testament - The handsome face, the flowing beard, the voice, rich and sonorous till age weakened it, the gestures graceful and impressive, the moral earnestness, the air of conviction of this sightless seer caught the attention and stirred the imagination of his listeners. These external characteristics, united with a genuine gift of eloquence which he had cultivated with his wonted thoroughness and assiduity, made him perhaps the most distinguished pulpit orator in Ireland for a whole generation. Loss of sight, making its insidious approach from early manhood gradually forced him to relinquish the professor's chair, for which he was highly qualified, and compelled him to devote all his energies to the pulpit and the lecture platform. He became “the blind orator”, widely familiar as such throughout Ireland and Great Britain, and rarely has success been more nobly won. The style of his oratory is less in harmony with the taste of to-day, and never lacked its critics. It is studied, self-conscious and somewhat artificial. It abounds in antitheses, alliteration, and elaborate cadences, which would have earned for him the reproach of Asianism among the ancients. His very dedication to his art, so admirable under the circumstances, rendered him a victim to its wiles, which are not without their seduction. The loving care which he devoted to his periods robs them too often of naturalness and spontaneity.
But when criticism has had its say, it remains true that he was a very polished, impressive and at times even great preacher, who exercised an undoubted spell upon crowded congregations for almost fifty years, and has left eleven volumes of sermons and lectures to perpetuate his fame.
They are, perhaps, a little too rhetorical, but they are not mere rhetoric, They are informed by a sound knowledge of theology, and philosophy, and give evidence of an earlier literary formation which an almost phenomenal memory kept at his disposal even to the end. This would be no mean achievement for any man, and for him, with his tragic handicap, was a triumph of will-power and brain-power which none can fail to admire.
Indeed we may say that, though he preached frequently and eloquently, the noblest sermon of all was just his life-long fight against disabilities that would have daunted the courage of any heart less resolute than his, or less stayed on God. For the secret of his strength was just an unwavering faith in “HIM who rules the whole”.
His cousin, the admiral, rescued the Calliope from a storm in southern seas in which all others perished. Father Kane saved the vessel of his own career from similar shipwreck by moral seamanship not less wonderful. In addition to his activity in the pulpit he was an assiduous giver of retreats to priests, religious and laymen, He was also a very popular and trusted confessor, and the director of many souls. Many still remain who will mourn hint and miss the cheery tones inculcating courage and confidence all the more persuasively because coming from one who had never failed to exemplify these virtues in his own sorely tried life.
Fr. William Kane once asked Fr. Robert, by letter which of his sermons or sets of lectures did he himself prefer. The reply was a straight and as honest as the passage in which he gives us the criticisms of those who disliked his style of preaching : “The dearest to me of all my writings is my set of lectures on “the Virgin Mother”. They are the realisation of a long cherished hope. They are inferior from a literary point of view to many other sermons and lectures which I have written , yet, as I told you once, I want to have a copy of them put in my coffin. The sermon on Dr. Nulty was the greatest triumph which I have achieved. The fierce feud between the Parnellites and anti-Parnellites, the rancour of anti-clerics, with many other causes, made the occasion one of almost unparalleled difficulty. To my own mind it appears that I never got so near the highest oratory, as in the way in which I approached the subject, marshalled my materials, interested my audience, and won their sympathy for my hero before they were conscious of it, brought his enemies to lay down their arms, brought his friends to be generous towards their opponents. and left the feud buried with the great old Bishop. That will sound very conceited, but it is not really so, I had prayed with the most intense earnestness, and I relied exclusively on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Against the entreaties of my greatest friends and those whose wisdom I esteemed most highly, I neither asked nor took advice. I let my own thought and feeling follow implicitly the inspiration which I knew l had a right to claim from God in the doing of His work.
“Good Friday to Easter Sunday” puzzles me. On the one hand, it is my natural expression of my most intense reverence and feeling, and, as far as I can look upon it coolly and impartially, it seems to me very good literature, as far as my own personal style goes , but, on the other hand, it falls so immeasurably below its subject, that 1 should wish to to rewrite almost every sentence of it, but 1 know and feel that if I were writing and re-writing it for ever I should always remain dissatisfied.
If you find all this too long and too egoistic, you have only got yourself to blame for asking an imprudent question”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Robert Kane 1848-1929
Fr Robert Kane, well known as the “Blind Orator”, died at Milltown Park on November 21st 1929. He was born in Dublin on March 29th 1848, brother of two other famous Jesuits, Frs Patrick and William. He was a nephew of the renowned scientist Sir Robert Kane, and a firsst cousin of Admiral Henry Kane.

Fr Robert entered the Society in 1866, and he professed Philosophy at Milltown Park, a post he had to relinquish owing to weak sight. On the opening of the Theological faculty at Milltown in 1889, he was appointed to a chair there from Gardiner Street, in spite of his defective sight. Again, after three years he had to give up. From 1889 he resided at Milltown Park, apart from two years at the Crescent.

During all those 37 years he devoted himself to preaching and giving retreats. Though totally blind for 30 years, he never ceased working for God.

At the beginning of his philosophical studies he had been warned that his eyes could not stand the strain of study. Yet he persisted, and he refused to renounce his vocation. Knowing the affliction that would ultimately come upon him, he laid up a store of learning in the Sacred Sciences, that never failed him during his years of darkness.

He was in continual demand as a pulpit orator, both in England and Ireland. His style eas florid and rhetorical, but the matter was solid and profound. It was during this long night of the soul that he prepared for the press those numerous volumes of his including “Sermon on the Sea”, “God or Chaos” and “Socialism”. Thus he kept working up to the very end.

The character and determination displayed by him iin overcoming his handicap, and the vast amount of good he accomplished for religion, are a lasting and inspiring example to all Jesuits.

◆ The Clongownian, 1927

The Past

Father Robert Kane SJ

We take this opportunity of offering to Fr Robert Kane our very sincere felicitations on the celebration of his Diamond Jubilee in the Society, in November last.

His service in the good cause has not been that of those who stand and wait. Through forty long years of the darkness he himself has suffered he has continually upheld the torch to light the way for others. In the pulpit, in the confessional, with the pen, he has laboured with un rernitting vigour, with undaunted courage, with a vision before his eyes which is denied to many who look upon the beauties of this world. Only last year his most recent book, “The Unknown Force”, was reviewed in the “Clongownian”, while large as is the number of his published works, the body of his unpublished work, sermons, lec tures and addresses of various kinds, is greater still. Thus, even in his eightieth year, is his sword not rusted.

Contre mauvaise forturte bon coeur is a motto which Fr Kane will recognise, should these words come to his ears. Courage is the word which seems most effectively to sum up his character and his outlook. His is a courage in the truest and highest sense of the word, a courage which finds its strength in God, and which, relying on Him, has fought its way through black difficulties which most men can but dimly guess at.

◆ The Clongownian, 1930

“My Star” (Ave Maris Stellis)

Father Robert Kane SJ

Hid in tumultuous gloom, the winds made war
On the sad sea, which, wild with pain and white
With terror, leaped from the storm's stroke to height
Of cloud ; then stunned, fell moaning back afar
Down to vague chasms. Forth flashed forked fire to mar
Death's sacred horror with its demon light,
When, through the gale, the gloom, the rage, the night,
Appeared a lull, a gleam, a hope, a star.

Thus did a storm of sorrow , my day
In tangled violence of woe, that tore
My heart with wreck and havoc. But the gray
Grim tempest fled in scattered drift before
My star, and, as its mutterings died away,
The waves still sobbing, smiled and slept once more.

Written by the late Father Robert Kane, S.J.. and first published in “The Irish Monthly”, May, 1896,



Father Robert Kane SJ

Nowhere ought the memory of Father Robert Kane be enshrined with more reverent care than in “The Clongownian”. Father Kane was the soul of loyalty to the College, and represented the best type of its sons. From nature he had received striking gifts, but to Clongowes he owed very much of their development and of his life-long characteristics in mind and manners. Holy, priestly, learned, a cultured gentleman-such he was in gerin when in his eighteenth year he left the College walls to enter the novitiate of the Society of Jesus; such he was when he returned thither to form the minds and tastes of another generation of Clongowes' boys; such he was in fullest development when, on Whitsunday, 1914, in the new chapel, he hailed with enthusiastic eloquence the joyful occasion of the College centenary. He was proud of Clongowes, and Clongowes has had good reasons to be proud of him.

Undoubtedly, other influences also moulded him into what he became. Of his early surrender of himself to the Society of Jesus I will not speak, save to recall that it was followed by sixty-two years of unwavering loyalty. He spent altogether nine years in France. There his mind was trained to the orderly and disciplined habits that go to make the clear thinker and the thoroughly Catholic theologian, and that in other ways too help to render life successful and beautiful. But he was too much of an Irishman to like everything he met in France. I think he sensed there a certain narrowness and rigidity which repelled him and which made him throughout life to use a French expression something of a “rondeur” a ready critic of what he thought impostures, and a tendency (controlled, no doubt) to be “agin the government”. He was not always patient with the failures of other people to reach the high ideals he had conceived as to life's conduct; and his refined idealism, combined with a quick wit and a cultivated power of epigrammatic expression, were not gifts calculated to win him unvarying popularity. One thing they would have done, combined with his strong intellect and eager ...ness as a student-that was to make him a brilliant professor. He was beginning to find himself thoroughly, it seemed, as an exponent and disputant in theology or philosophy. But it was not so to - continue at least not in the obvious way.

And so. We come to the last great formative influence in his career. This was his blindness. Induced by whatever causes - imprudence on the part of others, or imprudence in his own application to study - this dread affliction fell upon Father Robert in the prime of his manhood, came as a death-in-life when he was beginning to add to the successes of a gifted professor those of a popular preacher, when, too, he was physically full of a still-juvenile activity. A harder trial could not easily be imagined. Inexorably the shades of i night crept on, while hope after hope faded out, the long succession of forty-three years began to build round the sufferer an ever-closer prison of darkness and repression. No longer could he pick out from their shelves and skin through at will the great tomes that were his chief nental food, no longer stride forthi at four miles an hour to drink in the beauty of mountain Or sea, no longer wander freely through the pictured pages of poet or novelist or essayist.

Yet it was a wonderful proof of his elasticity and resource that he made life for himself so livable in a simply natural way as he did. He was astonishing, even in his completely blind days, as a walker, a skater, a swimmer, a diver, In such recreations he often proved his light-hearted courage in feats that left onlookers open-mouthed. But better than all this was his victorious battle against idleness and uselessness. Early he acquired the habit - afterwards so marked a feature of his career, and his success - of composing sermons and other discourses in his mind not in a vågue or haphazard fashion, but with complete grasp of the whole and the parts, and with exacting choice of every word. {In his published volumes one notices with regret that his inability to revise printers' proofs has often played false with this text). He could then dictate without pause the finished discourse to whatever scribe presented himself or was sent to him by Superiors.

In and above this activity there was something greater than a merely natural force of heroism. The supernatural was needed - and it was there. A temperament that might have been drawn, too violentīy to love of the external world, an abundance of gifts that might have proved intoxicating all these were secured for the highest aims by those angels of Providence that bring at once the chalices of pain and the mystic words of strengthening. Not only of the Greatest of Sufferers has it been written : “And, being in an agony, he prayed the longer”, but also of many a weak human follower. Robert Kane prayed long and well in his cell of darkness, and strength from above was given to him.

It was my good fortune to live on somewhat intimate terms with him during two of the earlier years of his great calamity, when, kept within a shuttered room and plagued with useless drugs, he was still encouraged to keep up the hope that sight would one day again be his. His patience and good humour were uniform. Sometimes he varied graver occupations with verse-making. His fastidiousness as a poet was all that one might expect from such a writer of prose. He anused himself with polishing and refining. I can recall how long he wavered between “whin” and “gorse” as the fitting word for a certain line of a certain sonnet. I wonder does that sonnet - or do others of his poems - survive in accessible form? I made no copies for myself - in those days, of course, carbon copies were a thing undreamt of. But my memory retains something of the most pathetic piece he dictated to me - a sonnet suggested by the first sense of despair as to his cure. It ended thus :

“My eyes shall light with joy no more
Until they look upon His face”.

But, throwing aside despair, he set himself to walk along his lightless way. He performed, during some forty-three years, work oratorical and literary that was, considering his difficulties, both in quantity and quality really astonishing. It had an immediate reward in great popular successes. As to its absolute and lasting value there may be, as there has always been, some difference of opinion. He showed himself a thoroughly-equipped philosopher and theologian - of that there need be no doubt. His literary expression he consciously and conscientiously worked up to the highest standards he knew of. He would rival Ruskin, Chateaubriand and all the literary florists in effectiveness and beauty of language. No flowers were too brilliant to set before the altar of Truth. At the same time he detested along with boldness of expression and commonplace simplicity, the exclusion of emotion, even passion, from religious art - whether music, oratory, or any other. All such negations he anathematized as puritanism, Jansenism, pharisaism. Not going into the deeper questions thus raised, I will merely say that these views of Fr Robert's had for their literary result a deliberate letting loose of emotion, a warmth (or heat) of language and an accumulation of ornament which did not win the admiration of all hearers or readers; and which in some respects such as the abuse of alliteration will be defended by few persons of good taste.

Many, undoubtedly, listened with more complete satisfaction to his less formal, less carefully prepared discourses such as those, for example, that he delivered, during a long series of years to the Students Sodality at University College, Dublin. No one was so frequently invited to help at its meetings, because no one was so surely trusted to please and to do good. Personally, I thought a little discourse of his on St Joseph delivered to that audience the most beautiful thing I ever heard spoken by him.

If there were only room for it, I should have liked to quote here, as a fine specimen of his fully-elaborated rhetorical passages, a piece which is'to be found at page 77 of the volume entitled “The Sermon of the Sea and other Studies”. Its theme is the Church as the friend of human intellectual effort.

Such a passage may well suggest to some of my readers that they have lost a good deal by not reading and studying Father Kane's books. To the more thoughtful, to the youth (for example), who is facing newly a world uncatholic and argumentative, one night suggest - as a first choice - the volume named “God or Chaos”. It was much admired by a school-fellow and unchanging friend of the author's, who was also a man of the keenest judgment - Chief Baton Palles. He said of it that though it seemed at first approach “deep” and “hard reading”, yet, when one read it slowly and thoughtfully, it is “very simple”. It has, in fact, the simplicity that belongs to clear and logical thought; it is a repertory of philosophical and theological argument clothed in a vivid and trenchant style.

Much else might be said concerning Father Kane. Here are set down merely the chief impressions and recollections of one among the many who cherish his memory. His soul is beyond concern for these human appreciations - perhaps already in bliss; still, let none of us forget him in prayer.


◆ The Clongownian, 1941


Father Robert Kane SJ

In the first four numbers of “Black and White”, a new magazine devoted to the cause of the blind in Eire, there appeared a series of articles on Father Robert Kane SJ, the great preacher and conferencier, familiarly known as the “Blind Doctor”, who died in 1929. These articles are from the pen of Fr Hugh Kelly SJ, and they give in eloquent and touching words the life story of that truly great Jesuit and loyal son of Clongowes. As an obituary notice of Fr Kane appeared in “The Clongownian” of 1930, it will not be necessary to do more than to recall briefly the main features of that wonderful life,

Fr Kane's blindness came upon him just when he felt himself facing his life's work and longing to do great things for The Master. In spite, however, of his great handicap he did the great things that he dreamt of, and did them with a success that he would hardly have attained had he not to face difficulties that would have daunted a less determined spirit. There was hardly an important occasion, or a great ecclesiastical function in Ireland during almost 30 years in which Fr Kane was not a prominent figure. Many will remember the truly eloquent sermon that he preached at the High Mass in our Chapel on the occasion of the Clongowes centenary. It was for him a great occasion, the greatest of his life, as he said, and he rose gloriously to it.

We trust that the purpose for which Black and White was started may be achieved, and we are glad that its earlier numbers are associated with the name of Fr Robert Kane. We are sure that now that he is in the presence of the Great Light he will not forget those, in Eire especially, who are enduring the great privation which he endured so long and so patiently, but will plead for them that they may be comforted, and perhaps relieved, in their hard lot. Certainly in Fr Robert Kane they will have a powerful advocate,

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Robert Kane (1848-1929)

The celebrated pulpit orator was stationed here from 1901 to 1903. He was educated at Newbridge, Clongowes and Ushaw and entered the Society in 1886. He made all his studies abroad chiefly in France and was ordained at Laval in 1880. He was for a time lecturer in philosophy and later, professor of theology at Milltown Park but had to relinquish these posts of responsibility because of failing eyesight. By 1901, when he arrived in Limerick, he had become totally blind. Yet in spite of this handicap, he was one of the most sought-after preachers for great occasions. And his eleven books of published sermons and lectures had a wide popularity in their day.

Kane, Thomas Patrick, 1849-1918, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/195
  • Person
  • 15 October 1849-11 December 1918

Born: 15 October 1849, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 March 1868, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1885
Final Vows: 02 February 1889, Mungret College SJ Limerick
Died: 11 December 1918, Llandindrod Wells, Wales

Middle brother of Robert I - RIP 1929 and William V - RIP 1945
Cousin of Joseph McDonnell - RIP 1928

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1871 at Roehampton, London (ANG) studying
by 1873 At Vals, France (TOLO) studying
by 1883 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying
by 1888 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1901 in Collège Sainte Famille, Cairo, Egypt (LUGD) Military Chaplain and Teacher
by 1904 at St Mary’s, Rhyl (ANG) working
by 1912 at Llandrindod, Wales (ANG) working

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :

Middle brother of Robert I - RIP 1929 and William V - RIP 1945
Like his brothers, he was of no ordinary talent. He studied Theology at St Beuno’s and was professor of Theology at Milltown.

He had taught at Clongowes and Mungret and was Spiritual Father at Galway. Later he was a Missioner at Tullabeg and an Operarius at Llandindrod Wells, Wales. He led a hardworking life in the latter until his death there 11 December 1918.

Under the heading “Spa’s Loss” the following appeared in a local paper after his death
“We regret sincerely to record the death of Father Patrick Kane, pastor of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Ransom Llandindrod Wells, which occurred on Wednesday at Llandindrod Wells.
Father Kane was for some years working in the interests of the Catholic Mission in Wales at Rhyl, and came to Llandindrod Wells in November 1911. He took great pains to make himself proficient in the Welsh language, which he spoke very well. He was a diligent student of the literature history and antiquities of Wales, and for many years took and direct and personal interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the Principality. he was admitted by examination to the Bardic Circle, his title being ‘Maol Daffyd’.
The Welsh language was not the only one with which he was acquainted, for he was an accomplished linguist, and gave great joy to the Belgian refugees who were at one time entertained in Llandindrod Wells, by conducting services in their own tongue. In this an in many other ways he rendered signal service to those unfortunate people, who will always remember his great kindness to them.
Father Kane was a member of the Library Committee, but his tastes did not lie in the direction of public work. He laboured, as it were, in the dark, his gentle unassuming nature leading him to do his good work by stealth. Only those who have received the benefit of his services have any conception of the good he really did. In the poorest quarters of the town and district, where his activities were chiefly centred, he will be long and sincerely mourned, for he was in the best sense of the term both a spiritual and material Father to them.
Self-denial was the keynote of his existence. No genuine appeal was ever made to him in vain, and whatever his means, his heart was infinitely larger. There can be little doubt that the way in which he denied himself for the sake of others had a deleterious effect upon his health, and that i this respect he gave his life for others”.

Note from Robert I Kane Entry :
“Father Robert Kane SJ, well known as ‘the Blind Orator’ died at Milltown Park.... The son of William J Kane of Dublin and his wife Mary MacDonnell of Saggart ... he was a nephew of Sir Robert Kane, distinguished Irish scientist, author of “The Industrial Resources of Ireland”, and first cousin to the famous Admiral Henry Kane.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Kane 1849-1918
Fr Patrick Kane was one of three brothers, all of whom became Jesuits, each of whom were outstanding men, and each remarkable in his own way. Their father was Sir Robert Kane, eminent author of “The Industrial Resources of Ireland”, published in 1844. Patrick was born in Dublin on October 15th 1849, was educated at Clongowes and entered the Society in 1868.

During his theological studies at St Beuno’s Wales, he became interested in all things Welsh, the language, the customs, and especially the religious plight of the people. There was born in him the desire to devote his life to the conversion of Wales, an ambition he never lost sight of him his various offices in the Society, as a Master in Clongowes and Mungret, Spiritual Father in Galway, Professor of Theology at Milltown Park and Missioner at Tullabeg. He became proficient the Welsh languages.

Te reward of his steady application was seen in 1908, when in Tullabeg he underwent the searching examination lasting four hours, for the title of Bard. He was solemnly installed as Bard at the Eisteddfod at Llangollen the same year, taking the title Maol Dafydd, the Servant of David. He was the first priest ever to become a Bard. In 1911 he finally achieved his ambition and was appointed to Llandrindod Wells. Here he began a life truly apostolic in its nature, struggling against difficulties and apathy. He lived in poverty, refusing to accept help from home, giving of his own slender resources “in the poorer quarters of the town where his activities chiefly centred”.

“There cane be little doubt that the way in which he denied himself for the sake of others had a deleterious effect on his health, and that in this respect, he gave his life for others”. On his arrival there were 34 Catholics in the parish, and on his death he left behind his 100 Catholics, not a very imposing achievement in terms of numbers, but from the point of view of his own devotedness and self-dedication, precious in the sight of God, and enough to merit him the additional title “Apostle of Wales”.

He died on December 11th 1918, in the words of Fr MacErlean “A dreamer, if you like, but a dreamer whose dreams were of the extension of Christ’s Kingdom on earth”.

◆ The Clongownian, 1919


Father Patrick Kane SJ

At Llandrindod Wells, in his adopted country, Father Patrick Kane passed away on the 11th of last December. He was one of three brother Jesuits, two of whom, Fathers Robert and William Kane, are still with us. Let us briefly tell the story of his life. Born in 1849 he went with his brother Robert to Clongowes in 1859. He was one of the comparatively few who have passed from Elements to Rhetoric, spending eight years in the College. He was then, as an affectionate pen has described him, “A good. humoured merry boy, without thought of care or worry, full of fun, witty, clever, healthy and hardy. He was fonder of walks and chats than of games, but in one game - stilts - he was the champion of the house and won many a famous victory.

In 1867 he was sent to TCD, but its uncongenial atmosphere was for him a veritable purgatory, and after a period of severe mental trial, he entered the Noviceship of the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park. On the completion of his studies he returned to Clongowes as prefect in 1875 and as master in the following year. This was destined to be his last stay at his old College.

In 1885, after studies at St Beuno's, North Wales, he was ordained. From that date until about 1901 he was, except for a period as chaplain at Cairo, engaged in teaching in various colleges of the Order in Ireland. We hardly care to attempt in so slight a sketch any picture of his personality, still less of his inward spiritual life. He was a man of highly ideal and intellectual disposition, so much so as to be habitually neglectful of outward material things. His manner, as all knew him will testify, was singularly gentle and refined. His nature was diffident and retiring. These few traits were obvious to all.

In 1903 came the first sign of hope that a certain aspiration which he had cherished for years might at last be ful filled. This aspiration was to devote his life to the conversion of Wales. He had convinced himself that the Welsh people had never deliberately given up the Faith it had perished from their midst for lack of preachers and teachers, for Wales had been left with out a priesthood. In 1903 he was sent ito Rhyl, North Wales, and profited by the chance to acquire a speaking knowledge of the language which for nearly twenty years he had been secretly studying. But the final fulfilment of his hopes was to be deferred for many a year yet. It was not till 1911 that his holy dream came true. He was given the small Welsh mission of Llandrindod Wells, and there the remainder of his life was to be spent.

Some years before going to Wales he had passed the difficult examination - it included Welsh literature, history, antiquities, and music - for the highest Welsh literary degree, that of Bard, and our readers will remember a portrait of him, dressed in his flowing Bardic robes, which appeared in our pages. Henceforth he was Welsh in heart and soul and to the end never waveredd in his allegiance.

Father Patrick's manner of life in Llandrindod may be gathered from a letter written shortly after his death to his brother, Father Robert, by Father Matthew Power SJ.

All the time I was with him he was living or dying on semi-starvation fare and would brook no expostulation from me or anybody else. With the coming of the Belgian refugees to Mid Wales, his labours increased tenfold. Rising at five be very often went without breakfast to mid-day. No housekeeper could stand his irregularity at his so-called meals. He was dying on bis feet and in the train of lack of sleep and food. His only recreation was to meet his fellow-bards at tbeir annual Eistedfodd. His enthusiasm for Wales and her people and her literature was boundless, and his hopes for her conversion irrepressible, I have seen him in a procession of the Blessed Sacrament on the open road, surrounded by not more than twenty Catholics. I have beard him preach in “too literary Welsh”, as natives said, to these people in his little church and to four adults and twenty children in tbe public street in English. On Sunday he addressed two sermons to his flock, one in English and the other in good French - and excellent touches they were. Always tired, he never admitted it or ever gave in. Heart and soul he was with the Welsh, not the Irish or English. The land of his adoption and its reclamation from its heresy were the be-all and the end-all of his devoted life. Some of his converts, as always happens, proved unsatisfactory, but he never lost faith in them. Truly his was a consecrated life, passed in every kind of hardship, and hidden with the hiddenness of the Saints of God. Like me, Father William Kane remonstrated with him but to no effect. He would spend himself and be spent on his apostolic mission, fruitful or unfruitful. Little did the Welsh know who was among them toiling and praying for their salvation. Nothing about Wales ever dispirited him and nothing out of Wales ever interested him. His own Irish boy-pupil was a laggard in the study of Welsh. He never gave him up, but pegged away at his dreary tuition. It was plain to all that he could not long stand a life like this.... I dread to ask about his flock and the Church of Our Lady of Ransom. I fear they are, indeed, Shepherdless. I know Wales pretty well and feel that his gain of life has left them very poor indeed. I should like to know if you can find time to tell me the circumstances of the death of this man of God and the place of his burial. I trust be sleeps where he worked and prayed on that barren soil...,. You may remember me as an old boy of yours.
Yours respectfully in Xt,

M Power SJ

It was in October of last year that disquieting news of Father Kane's health began to come from Llandrindod. Father William went over to Wales and had his brother be moved to a private hospital. Towards the end of November the third brother, Father Robert, went across to see the invalid and the two Jesuit brothers who, from early youth, had been twin spirits united by the deepest affection and sympathy, were together for the last time. The end came unexpectedly while both his brothers were far away. It was not only the members of his tiny flock that followed his remains to the grave: a very large number of non-Catholic fellow-townsmen mourned him sincerely.

Writers in non-Catholic newspapers vied with one another in generous tributes to his memory. They spoke of his gentle unassuming nature, his widespread unobtrusive charity doing good by stealth, of the love he inspired in the poor, his utter self-denial, his entire devotion to his life-work for Wales.

Reluctantly we close here this scant record of a noble life.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Patrick Kane (1849-1919)

Younger brother of Father Robert Kane (v. infra), was born in Dublin and entered the Society in 1868. He was ordained at the theologate of the English Province in 1885. Father Kane spent two periods as master at the Crescent, 1879-82 during his regency and again in 1909-11. He was sometime lecturer in philosophy and theology at Milltown Park. Father Kane, though a man of very high intellectual gifts, had little aptitude for teaching. His bent lay in the direction of missions and retreats. As a result of a mission given in Wales, he resolved to work permanently amongst the Welsh people and at the age of fifty-two set about the task of learning the Welsh language. His success was such that he received the Welsh bardic distinction. From 1911 until his death he laboured in apostolic poverty at Llandrindod Wells

Kyan, Alexander, 1809-1879, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/573
  • Person
  • 11 March 1809-31 December 1879

Born: 11 March 1809, Calcutta, Bengal, India (on journey)
Entered: 04 September 1825, Montrouge near Paris Galliae Province (GALL)
Ordained: 24 December 1839, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Final vows: 02 February 1848
Died 31 December 1879, Milltown Park, Dublin

He was a son of a Major Francis Kyan (1752–1814) of the East India Company. Elder brother, Esmond Kyan was hanged as a rebel in 1798.

by 1829 in Clongowes
by 1839 Theol 3 in Vals (LUGD)
by 1868 at St Wilfred’s Preston (ANG) working
by 1870 at Bristol (ANG) working
by 1871 at Frome, Somerset (ANG) working
by 1877 at Wells (ANG) working
by 1878 at Husbands, Bosworth, Rugby (ANG) working

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was a son of an Indian Officer.

Early education was at Stonyhurst.

He served as a Teacher and Prefect at Clongowes and Tullabeg for many years. He was Ordained at Clongowes by Dr Haly, Bishop of Kildare 24 December 1839.
In company with Father Haly and Father Fortescue in the Dublin Residence.
1848-1850 He accompanied Patrick Sheehan to India and spent two years there. He went back to the Dublin Residence on his return.
1856 He was sub-Minister in Clongowes.
1868-1878 He found his health was greatly impaired and so he asked to go on the ANG Mission, and he worked at Wells, Frome and Bosworth at different times over these years, except 1876 when he was in Ireland.
1878 He was again called back to Ireland and went to Milltown, where he died 31 December 1879. The Rector James Tuite was with him when he died.

He was a man of imposing presence, fine manners and an innocent mind.

Lentaigne, Joseph, 1805-1884, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/232
  • Person
  • 27 July 1805-23 December 1884

Born: 27 July 1805, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 25 November 1843, Avignon, France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 17 June 1849, Cathédrale Notre-Dame-du-Puy, Le Puy-en-Velay, Auvergne, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1858
Died: 23 December 1884, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Uncle of Victor Lentaigne - RIP 1922

First Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 8 December 1860 - [ ] 1863;
Vice Provincial: 11 February 1858-1860
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia Mission: 1865-1866;

by 1847 at Vals (LUGD) studying
1st Missioner to Australia with William Kelly 1865

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Brother of Sir John Lentaigne (Lawyer and Privy Counsellor and one of the first Clongowes students); Uncle of Joseph Lentaigne - RIP 1922

1849 Ordained at Vals France, by Dr Morlhaer (?) 17 June 1849
1850-1858 Arrived at Clongowes, and was Prefect of Studies and Teacher until his appointment as Rector in November 1855.
1858-1863 He was appointed Vice-Provincial, and then on 08 September 1860 the First HIB Provincial, in which office he served until 1863.
1863-1865 Appointed Rector and Master of Novices at Milltown.
1865-1866 He sailed with William Kelly to Australia to found the Irish Australian Mission.
1866-1871 He returned to Ireland and Gardiner St.
1871-1872 he was sent to Clongowes as Spiritual Father.
1872-1873 Appointed Rector of Belvedere.
1873 He went back to Gardiner St, and remained there until his death 23 December 1884.
During the last years of his life he suffered a lot from bronchial trouble, and it ended up rendering him a complete invalid. The July before his death he was sent by the Provincial Thomas Browne to Milltown, but this never came to pass. Interestingly, that same summer, John Gaffney was sent to Limerick, William Fortescue to Galway, John Norton to Milltown and John Keogh to Tullabeg. (not sure why this is recorded, perhaps because none of them moved??)

Note from Peter Freeman Entry
By a strange coincidence, Fr Joseph Lentaigne, who had received him as Provincial, died in the same community the day before. Both coffins were laid on the High Altar on 26 December 1884.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Commemorating the sesquicentenary of the arrival of Irish Jesuits in Australia
This year the Australian Province of the Jesuits are commemorating the sesquicentenary of the arrival of Irish Jesuits in Australia. Australia became the first overseas mission of the Irish Jesuit Province. To mark the occasion the Archdiocese of Melbourne are organising a special thanksgiving Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne 27 September. On 20 June Damien Burke, Assistant Archivist, Irish Jesuit Archives gave a talk at the 21st Australasian Irish Studies conference, Maynooth University, titled “The archives of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia, 1865-1931”. In his address Damien described the work of this mission with reference to a number of documents and photographs concerning it that are held at the Irish Jesuit Archives.
Irish Jesuits worked mainly as missionaries, and educators in the urban communities of eastern Australia. The mission began when two Irish Jesuits Frs. William Lentaigne and William Kelly, arrived in Melbourne in 1865 at the invitation of Bishop James Alipius Goold, the first Catholic bishop of Melbourne. They were invited by the Bishop to re-open St. Patrick’s College, Melbourne, a secondary school, and to undertake the Richmond mission. From 1865 onwards, the Irish Jesuits formed parishes and established schools while working as missionaries, writers, chaplains, theologians, scientists and directors of retreats, mainly in the urban communities of eastern Australia. By 1890, 30% of the Irish Province resided in Australia.
By 1931, this resulted in five schools, eight residences, a regional seminary in Melbourne and a novitiate in Sydney. Dr Daniel Mannix, archbishop of Melbourne, showed a special predication for the Jesuits and requested that they be involved with Newman College, University of Melbourne in 1918. Six Jesuits (five were Irish-born) served as chaplains with the Australian Forces in the First World War and two died, Frs Michael Bergin and Edwards Sydes. Both Michael Bergin and 62 year-old Joe Hearn, earned the Military Cross. Bergin was the only Catholic chaplain serving with the Australian Imperial Force to have died as a result of enemy action in the First World War.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Joseph Lentaigne, after studying law at Trinity College and serving at the Irish bar, entered the Society at Lyons in his 38th year on 25 November 1843. He studied at Vals, and was ordained priest, 17 June 1849. He arrived at Clongowes about the year 1850, where he acted as prefect of studies and taught until his appointment as rector in November 1855. In 1858 he became the first Vice-Provincial, an office he held until 1863. From 1863-65 he was rector and master of novices at Milltown Park, and during 1865 sailed to Australia with Father William Kelly to found the Irish Australian Mission.
On 21 September 1865, after 58 days at sea, Lentaigne and Kelly disembarked at Melbourne. They had been fortunate to secure a passage on the “Great Britain”, Brunel's steamship which four years earlier had carried the first all England cricket eleven to tour Australia. Compared with the sailing vessels that sometimes took up to or over 100 days to reach Australia, it had been luxury travel. There were 100 Catholics on board, and the two priests administered to their spiritual and sacramental needs.
On the evening of their arrival Kelly preached at St Francis' Church in the city centre where Bishop Gould was conducting a mission. The climate, Lentaigne reported, was like that of the south of France, but food, clothing and housing were expensive, perhaps twice as much as in Ireland.
The arrival of the Jesuits appears to have caused little comment from the people of Melbourne. “We have never met any incivility, our being Jesuits has not excited any attacks”, wrote Lentaigne.
He was not slow to comment on Australian society. He believed that Melbourne was particularly corrupt, with heretics, Jews and idolatrous Chinese. In addition, he was concerned that the Protestant colleges flourished in Melbourne, and Catholics needed to retain the faith, so great need existed for a boarding school. He found it difficult to raise funds, as the Catholics were generally poor, small business people.
Lentaigne praised the Catholic boys as “affectionate, manly but wild creatures. Great liberty has been allowed them by their parents. The mixture with Protestants, Jews and infidels is most dangerous to them”. Furthermore, he believed that Melbourne Catholics suffered from mixing with these people and they were not good at approaching the Sacraments, or hearing Mass. He was concerned about much drunkenness and immorality in Melbourne society.
In March 1868 Lentaigne was recalled to Ireland, as he suffered from bronchial trouble.
During his time in Melbourne he had been responsible for making the original agreement with Bishop Goold, and in fact laid the juridical foundation of the Irish Mission for both missionary and educational work.
He spent the rest of his life, except for two years as rector of Belvedere College, 1872-73, at Gardiner Street, where he died. He was a member of a famous, old Anglo-Norman family, a real gentlman, and a prominent Jesuit.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 1 1925

St Patrick’s College, Melbourne has just celebrated its Diamond Jubilee as a Jesuit College. It is the mother house of the Australian Mission.
On September 21st 1865, Fathers Joseph Lentaigne and William Kelly, the pioneer Missioners of the Society in Victoria, landed in Melbourne and took over the College.
On September 17th, 1866 , the second contingent of Irish priests arrived - Fr. Joseph Dalton, Fr. Edmund Nolan, Fr. David McKiniry and two lay brothers - Br. Michael Scully and Br. Michael Goodwin.

Leonard, John A, 1912-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/477
  • Person
  • 22 January 1912-08 January 1992

Born: 22 January 1912, Home Farm Road, Drumcondra, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1947, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 08 January 1992, Fethard, County Tipperary.

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

Brother of Paul Leonard - RIP 2001; Nephew of Patrick Leonard - RIP 1909 (Scholastic)
Cousin of John P Leonard - RIP 2006

Early education at Belvedere College SJ and Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1936 at Vals, France (TOLO) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 75 : Christmas 1993 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995
Fr Jack Leonard (1912-1992)
Jack Leonard was born in 1912 in Dublin, the eldest of five children of whom Miriam and Paul survive. He was educated in the Holy Faith School, Glasnevin, Belvedere and Clongowes Wood College. Of these, Clongowes held pride of place in his heart, at least until he joined the staff of Belvedere. His memory of the Belvedere of his schooldays was not flattering: “A place in which there was much fun but little learning”, he used to say. When he was a young scholastic the Rector of Belvedere, a fanatical Belvederian, teased him - a dangerous past-time - by saying that the best of the Leonard family were his sister and his young brother, Paul. “No doubt they are, Father”,, Jack replied. “They are the only members of the family who did not go to Belvedere”.

In all his schools he was notably able, successful and mischievous. A mischievous rogue he remained until the end. His old friend, Chris Heron, told me that shortly after Jack became Prefect of Studies in Belvedere, his son came home and told him that Jack had brilliantly caught him out in some schoolboy prank. Chris told his son that he was dealing with a poacher turned gamekeeper and that there was nothing a schoolboy could think of doing that the Prefect of Studies had not done himself as a boy.

One of Jack's characteristics was the number of friendships formed in his schooldays and retained throughout his life. He had great capacity for making and keeping friends, and for making friends with his friends' children. In this way he became a member of many families that will miss him greatly.

In 1930, with 29 others, Jack entered the novitiate in Emo. Of the 30, his life-long friend, Donal Mulcahy, Martin Brenan and Mattie Meade survived him. After Emo, he went to Rathfarnham and UCD where he obtained a first class degree in English. He enjoyed those years under the benign and civilised rectorship of TV Nolan. He then went to Vals to study Philosophy. There he developed his knowledge and love of the French language of which he was to become a masterful teacher. His proficiency in French caused a French Jesuit to remark many years later that Jack's French was almost too correct for a native. This was a criticism which all of us could bear with equanimity. He greatly appreciated his professors in Vals, the course of study he pursued and the general ambiance of the place. There, too, he formed many, long-lasting relationships. He was fond of telling a mischievous story of those years, Seemingly the Irish Provincial of the time heard of some little escapade Jack got up to. The Provincial, if the stories of him are true, was a petty man of monumental dullness, the antithesis of Jack. He wrote to Jack to say that he could not sleep at night lamenting the fact that he had sent him to France. As Jack told the story it was clear that he got much pleasure from the thought of this dull, little man in Gardiner Street tossing and turning throughout the night on his account.

Having completed his Philosophy, Jack went to the Crescent for two years and Clongowes for one where he began to demonstrate his skills as a teacher. Then he went to Militown, a place for which he retained little affection, where he was ordained in 1944. His contemporaries at this time would have seen him as gregarious, witty, with a keen mind and sharp tongue, that he used to effect on friend and foe alike, and an excellent raconteur, who, of course, did not scorn poetic license. But, behind the sophisticated and somewhat flippant exterior, was a deeply serious religious.

His first appointment after ordination was to Clongowes in 1946, where he remained until 1961. These were years of immensely effective and productive work. He was an outstanding teacher. Like all good teachers, he was the master of his subject, diligent in preparation, careful in reviewing progress and interested in his pupils. But Jack was more than a good teacher, he was superb. His intellectual ability and broad intellectual interests enabled him to open up new vistas for his students, enthuse the better ones and leave all with a deep appreciation of what he taught and of himself as a teacher. One of those students, an academic of distinction, remarked that if the had learned nothing in Clongowes but what he learned from Jack's following of “red herrings” he would have had an excellent education, so broad was Jack's reading and so keen his intelligence. In this period of his life he made many friends. Relationships matured from casual acquaintances of master and pupil into deep and enduring friendship. There are many of that generation of Clongowians who sadly lament the passing of a loyal and generous friend. During these years he was in constant demand as a retreat giver to religious, priests and laity. He was an accomplished spiritual director, particularly of lay people. He had the gift of enabling one to see one's problems more clearly, to solve those that had a solution and to live with the many that were insoluble.

In 1961 he went to Belvedere and in the following year he was appointed Prefect of Studies. This was at the end of an era. An ethos was collapsing in Ireland, in the Church and among the Jesuits and a different ethos was emerging to which Jack was implacably hostile. In the minds of many he is defined in terms of that hostility. Certainly, he was far too sweeping in his condemnation of anything of which he disapproved and far too sharp in his criticism of those with whom he disagreed. However, during his time as Prefect of Studies he laid the foundations of much of what is excellent in Belvedere today. Above all, he recruited excellent young men for the staff. He did not merely hire them, he coached them, encouraged them and supported them staunchly. He cultivated in them the skills and values that he himself possessed as a teacher and they responded splendidly. One of these men celebrated his twenty fifth year in Belvedere recently and at the celebration he recalled eloquently and accurately the esteem, admiration and reverence in which Jack was held by the lay staff. In addition to the care of the staff, Jack built up and strengthened whole areas of the curriculum: Maths., Science and, surprisingly, Irish.

When he completed his term as Prefect of Studies, he returned to the class room as a teacher from 1968 until 1976. It was then that I got to know him, observe his excellence as a teacher and profit from his advice. The presence of so many of his pupils from the seventies at his funeral Mass was a testimony to the esteem in which he was held by yet another generation of students, some of whom have told me that Jack's teaching was the best they experienced not only during their secondary schooling but in all their years of education. He taught French, Latin and Religion, As a teacher of Religion he was old fashioned and trailed his old fashioned coat - often outrageously - but he was an effective teacher of Religion in difficult times, more effective than many who were more up to date. He was effective not just in transmit ting knowledge but also in the transmission of values and attitudes: a fact attested to by some who went from Belvedere to the priesthood and religious life.

After Belvedere he went to Leeson Street where he became Superior in 1984 for six years. There he was in charge of the elderly community and was exceptional in his care for the sick and the old. For the past year or so he had begun to fail not greatly but perceptibly. The end came unexpectedly. It was a blessing in many ways. He died in the house of the sister he loved and in the company of his beloved niece, Ida. He did not have the suffering and humiliation of a long drawn out sickness and was in relatively good for to the end.

So we salute a superb teacher, an able administrator, an excel lent retreat giver and a shrewd spiritual director but first and fore most a zealous priest and religious, a man of simple faith, of unshakeable hope and of profound love of the Lord and Master he served so well and in whose company he must surely be rejoicing in that place of peace and happiness that was prepared for him since before the foundation of the world.
Noel Barber SJ

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1992


Father John A Leonard SJ

Jack Leonard was born 80 years ago in Dublin , the eldest of five children of whom Miriam and Paul survive. To them, who were bound so closely to Jack by such strong bonds of affection and respect, we offer our special sympathy. With Miriam who lost her husband our sympathy and prayers go with special fervour. We sympathise, too, with Billie, his sister-in law, his nephews, nieces, the grand-nephews and grand-nieces in whom he took a lively paternal interest, an interest returned with regard and affection.

He was educated in the Holy Faith School, Glasnevin, Belvedere and Clongowes Wood College. Of these Clongowes held pride of place in his heart, at least until he joined the staff of Belvedere. His memory of the Belvedere of his schooldays was not flattering: “A place in which there was much fun but little learning”, he used to say. When he was a young scholastic the Rector of Belvedere, a fanatical Belvederian, teased him - a dangerous past-time - by saying that the best of the Leonard family were his sister and his young brother, Paul. “No doubt they are, Father”, Jack replied. “They are the only members of the family who did not go to Belvedere”.

In all his schools he was notably able, successful and mischievous. A mischievous rogue he remained until the end, His old friend, Chris Heron, told me that shortly after Jack became Prefect of Studies in Belvedere, his son came home and told him that Jack had brilliantly caught him out in some schoolboy prank, Chris told his son that he was dealing with a poacher turned gamekeeper and that there was nothing a schoolboy could think of doing that the Prefect of Studies had not done himself as a boy.

One of Jack's characteristics was the number of friendships formed in his schooldays and retained throughout his life. He had great capacity for making and keeping friends, and for making friends with his friends' children. In this way he became a member of many families that will miss him greatly.

In 1930, with 29 others, Jack entered the novitiate in Emo. Of the 30, his life-long friend, Donal Mulcahy, Martin Brennan and Mattie Meade survive, After Emo, he went to Rathfarnham and UCD where he obtained a first class degree in English. He enjoyed those years under the benign and civilised rectorship of T V Nolan. He then went to Vals to study Philosophy. There he developed his knowledge and love of the French language of which he was to become a masterful teacher. His proficiency in French caused a French Jesuit to remark many years later that Jack's French was almost too correct for a native. This was a criticism which all of us could bear with equanimity. He greatly appreciated his professors in Vals, the course of study he pursued and the general ambiance of the place. There, too, he formed many, long lasting friendships. He was fond of telling a mischievous story of those years. Seemingly the Irish Provincial of the time heard of some little escapade Jack got up to. The Provincial, if the stories of him are true, was a petty man of monumental dullness, the antithesis of Jack. He wrote to Jack to say that he could not sleep at night lamenting the fact that he had sent him to France. As Jack told the story it was clear that he got much pleasure from the thought of this dull, little man in Gardiner Street tossing and turning throughout the night on his account.

Having completed his Philosophy, Jack went to Crescent for two years and Clongowes for one where he began to demonstrate his skills as a teacher. Then he went to Milltown, a place for which he retained little affection, where he was ordained in 1944. His contemporaries at this time would have seen him as gregarious, witty, with a keen mind and sharp tongue, that he used to effect on friend and foe alike, and an excellent raconteur, who, of course, did not scorn poetic licence, But behind the sophisticated and somewhat flippant exterior, was a deeply serious religious person.

His first appointment after ordination was to Clongowes in 1946 where he remained until 1961. Those were years of immensely effective and productive work. He was an outstanding teacher. Like all good teachers, he was the master of his subject, diligent in preparation, careful in reviewing progress and interested in his pupils. But Jack was more than a good teacher, he was superb. His intellectual ability and broad intellectual interests enabled him to open up new vistas for his students, enthuse the better ones and leave all with a deep appreciation of what he taught and of himself as a teacher. One of those students, an academic of distinction, who is here today remarked that if he had learned nothing in Clongowes but what he learned from Jack's following of “red herrings”, he would have had an excellent education, so broad was Jack's reading and so keen his intelligence. In this period of his life he made many friends. Relationships matured from the casual acquaintance of master and pupil into deep and enduring friendship. There are many of that generation of Clongowians who sadly lament the passing of a loyal and generous friend. During these years he was in constant demand as a retreat giver to religious, priests and laity. He was an accomplished spiritual director, particularly of lay people. He had the gift of enabling one to see one's problems more clearly, to solve those that had a solution and to live with the many that were insoluble.

In 1961 he went to Belvedere and in the following year he was appointed Prefect of Studies. This was at the end of an era. An ethos was collapsing in Ireland, in the Church and among the Jesuits and a different ethos was emerging to which Jack was implacably hostile. In the minds of many he is defined in terms of that hostility. Certainly, he was far too sweeping in his condemnation of anything of which he disapproved and far too sharp in his criticism of those with whom he disagreed. However, during his time as Prefect of Studies he laid the foundations of much of what is excellent in Belvedere today. Above all, he recruited excellent young men for the staff. He did not merely hire them, he coached them, encouraged them and supported them staunchly. He cultivated in them the skills and values that he himself possessed as a teacher and they responded splendidly. One of these men celebrated his twenty fifth year in Belvedere recently and at the celebration he recalled eloquently and accurately the esteem, admiration and reverence in which Jack was held by the lay staff, In addition to the care of the staff, Jack built up and strengthened whole areas of the curriculum. One thinks of Maths., Science and, surprisingly, Irish.

When he completed his term as Prefect of Studies, he returned to the class room as a teacher from 1968 until 1976. It was then that I came to know him, observe his excellence as a teacher and to profit from his advice. The presence of so many of his pupils from the seventies at his funeral is a testimony to the esteem in which he was held by yet another generation of students, some of whom have told me that Jack's teaching was the best they experienced not only during their secondary schooling but in all their years of education. He taught French, Latin and Religion. As a teacher of Religion he was old fashioned but he was an effective teacher of Religion in difficult times, more effective than many who were more up to date. He was effective not just in transmitting knowledge but also in the transmission of values and attitudes: a fact attested to by some who went from Belvedere to the Priesthood and religious life.

After Belvedere he went to Leeson Street where he became Superior in 1984 for six years. There he was in charge of an elderly community and was exceptional in his care for the sick and the old. For the past year or so he had begun to fail not greatly but perceptibly. The end came unexpectedly. It was a blessing in many ways. He died in the house of the sister he loved and in the company of his beloved niece, Ida. He did not have the suffering and humiliation of a long drawn out sickness and was in relatively good for to the end.

So we salute a superb teacher, an able administrator, an excellent retreat giver and a shrewd spiritual director but first and foremost we take our leave of a zealous priest and religious, a man of simple faith, of unshakable hope and of profound love of the Lord and Master he served so well and in whose company he must surely be rejoicing in that place of peace and happiness that was prepared for him since before the foundation of the world.

May the Lord bless him abundantly.

Noel Barber SJ

McGrath, Michael P, 1872-1946, Jesuit priest and Irish language scholar

  • IE IJA J/1
  • Person
  • 1 February 1872-11 May 1946

Born: 1 February 1872, Aglish, County Waterford
Entered: 22 August 1896, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1915, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 11 May 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin

Parents farmers. Eldest of five boys and two girls.

Eduated at NS Aglish, Clashmore and Villierstown and Mount Mellary. Then to St John’s Seminary, Waterford and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth

by 1899 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1913 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship
by 1919 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Had studied for 5 years at St Patrick's College Maynooth before Entry

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926

The Irish Sodality : This Sodality is directed by Fr Michael McGrath. It grew out of the first week-end retreat in Irish at Milltown Park in 1916. After the retreat, steps were taken with a view to the formation of an Irish-speaking Sodality for men. Success attended the effort, and the first meeting was held in Gardiner Street on Friday in Passion Week. The Sodality soon numbered 400 members. In 1917 a second Irish-speaking Sodality, exclusively for women, was established. In a short time it was found advisable to amalgamate the two branches. The Sodality is now in a flourishing condition, and has every prospect of a bright future before it. In addition to the Sodality, there is an annual “open” retreat given in Gardiner Street to Irish speakers. The first of these retreats was given in 1923 by Fr Coghlan, he also gave the second the following year. The third was given by Father Saul.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 3 1946

Obituary :

Fr. Michael McGrath (1872-1896-1946)

Fr. Michael McGrath was born at Aglish, Co. Waterford, on February 1st, 1872. Educated at Mount Melleray, then at St. John's College, Waterford, and lastly at Maynooth, he entered the Society at Tullabeg on August 22nd, 1896, and later went to Vals for philosophy. He taught in the Crescent 1901-5. He was ordained with Fr. William Doyle and Fr. John Sullivan in Milltown Park by Archbishop Walsh in 1907. He made his tertianship at Freienberg in Austria, and then taught for five years at Belvedere. A course of Canon Law under Pére Choupin at Ore Place, Hastings, completed his long formation, and the rest of his life was spent at Milltown Park, where he was Professor of Canon Law from 1920 to 1932, Lecturer in History of Philosophy from 1924 to 1930, Professor of Patrology, Christian Archaeology, Liturgy and Ascetics from 1932 to 1946. The Irish language always remained Fr. McGrath's favourite study. He established the Irish Sodality of the Blessed Virgin at Gardiner Street in 1916, and continued to direct it until 1935. His edition of Amhlaoibh Ua Suilleabháin's Irish Diary for the Irish Texts Society (1936-8) will be a lasting testimonial to his mastery of Irish and English. He was, at the time of his death, engaged on the preparation of many other Irish works, some of which were nearing completion. Among these were an Irish translation of the New Testament (apart from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles) with a detailed commentary, the Irish Missal of O'Hickey brought up to date, the Life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and the Lives of Distinguished Celtic Scholars. During his long years in Milltown his encouragement and advice were highly appreciated by many a theologian, and his hard. work and cheerfulness were a model to all.

Fr. Garahy has kindly contributed the following personal appreciation :
My acquaintance with Michael McGrath began at Mount Melleray in 1888. He had been there a year or two before my arrival. We soon formed a friendship which lasted during the year and a half I spent in that romantic retreat at the foot of Knockmealdown Mountain. I left Melleray at the end of the Christmas term for Mungret College. Michael McGrath remained on for another couple of years and then passed to St. John's College, Waterford. Later still he was sent to Maynooth, having won a free place in the National College. He had finished two years of his theology course when, with the leave of his bishop, he offered bimself as a candidate for the Society in 1896.
In Melleray Michael McGrath was of the quiet type, rather shy and retiring, but a sincere friend when one had succeeded in breaking through his reserve. He was a painstaking student, eager to absorb all the knowledge offered us boys in classics, the sciences and history. One advantage he had over the rest of us he had a fair acquaintance with the Gaelic. It was spoken freely in his native townland of Aglish, Co. Waterford. It was also the language of the little mountaineers who attended the National School at Melleray. I used to envy Michael McGrath when I heard him exchanging jokes in Irish with those youngsters on their way home from school. Irish was not taught in the College in those days, though we were living in the heart of an Irish speaking district. Melleray was not singular in that matter. The Gaelic revival did not come till several years later. When it did come Michael McGrath threw himself with all the ardour of his soul into the movement.
He and I met again in the Crescent after fourteen years. I was so taken with his enthusiasm for the language that I accepted his offer of instruction and within a few months found myself appointed to teach the first couple of O'Growney's booklets to & class of small boys in the Crescent. During the year I spent with him in Limerick he held the office of Prefect of Studies although still a scholastic. His whole hearted devotion to the duties of his office during that year was to be expected of the Michael McGrath I knew at Melleray—with his passion for study and his earnestness of character. What I did not expect and what was always a wonder to me was his unsparing self-sacrifice in helping the more backward boys to succeed in the examinations. What this cost him in time and in strain on his nerves only himself knew. We, his fellow masters, knew that he regularly sacrificed the couple of hours so badly needed after a hard day's work in the school room to this work of charity; and the wonder was how he escaped a nervous collapse.
At the end of the year he and I left Limerick for Milltown Park to begin our theological studies. The Gaelic revival was then in full swing. Milltown Park had caught the infection ever before our arrival, Fr, Lambert McKenna, Fr. J. F. X. O'Brien and Mr. Tomás Ó Nualláin were, I think, the pioneers of the movement in Milltown. It was natural that those of us who were anxious to master the difficulties of the spoken language should turn to Mr. McGrath for help. He had what we all lacked, a rich sonorous Déisi blas. I well remember his patience in helping us to acquire the correct sounds of the broad and slender vowels. Fr. B. Coghlan, one of our really great Irish scholars to-day, was an enthusiastic pupil, and so was Fr. Dominick Kelly, now for many years a distinguished professor in Newman College, Melbourne.
When Fr. McGrath returned to Milltown as a professor, I had already been transferred to the Mission staff. From that time forth I had few opportunities of meeting him. May he rest in peace”.
It is hoped to include an account of Fr. McGrath's Milltown career in the October issue.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Michael McGrath 1872-1946
Fr Michael McGrath, while yet a scholastic, was Prefect of Studies at Crescent from 1901-1905.

Born in Aglish County Waterford on February 1st 1872, he was educated at Mount Melleray. He passed on to Maynooth and from there entered the Society in 1896.

Having studied Canon Law for a period after his ordination, the rest of his life was spent in Milltown Park, as professor in various faculties, Canon Law, Patrology, Liturgy and Ascetics. Normally a most kindly and lovable man, he could be most vehement in argument. For example, as Professor of Ascetics, when lecturing on the vice of curiosity, especially in religious, he used to refer to a Father (unnamed) notorious for this fault, and would almost have a stroke, so vehement would be his effort to convey his scorn for such pettiness.

He was a great Irish scholar, with a vast enthusiasm for the revival of the language. He edited the Diary of Amhlaoimh O’Sullivan for the Irish Texts Society. At the time of his death he was engaged in a new translation of the Bible, an Irish Missal, a life of St Aloysius Gonzaga and the lives of distinguished Irish scholars. He founded the Irish Sodality in Gardiner Street in 1916, and he continued to direct it until 1935.

His retreats were famous, being based on John Oxenham “Bees in Amber”, and there was hardly a convert in Ireland that had not heard his opening words : “Yo every man there openeth, a high way and a low”.

He was a model of observance, kindly in advice both as professor and confessor, and many generations of Jesuits owe him a deep debt for his faithful and patient service in their formation. He died on May 11th 1946.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Michael McGrath (1872-1946)

Was born at Aglish, Co. Waterford and educated at Mount Mellary. He was accepted by the Bishop of Waterford for his diocese and commenced his ecclesiastical studies at St John's, Waterford. From Waterford he was transferred to Maynooth where he completed two years' theology. With the permission of his bishop he applied for admission to the Society and began his noviceship at Tullabeg in 1896. His higher studies were made at Vals, Milltown Park and in Austria. He was ordained in Dublin in 1907. Father McGrath spent six years regency at the Crescent and was the first scholastic since Father Tom Finlay to be entrusted with the onerous duties of prefect of studies. After the completion of his studies, Father McGrath was employed in teaching for five years at Belvedere College, when his superiors bade him once more return to his own studies: he was sent off for higher studies in Canon Law to prepare him for a professor's chair at Milltown Park. He held the chair of Canon Law from 1920-32 but remained a member of the theological faculty until his death. He was a native Gaelic speaker and deeply learned in the language.

McGrath, Patrick, 1870-1948, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/290
  • Person
  • 02 July 1870-09 February 1948

Born: 02 July 1870, Queen Street, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 14 August 1895, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1908, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1913, St Mary’s, Miller Street, Sydney, Australia
Died: 09 February 1948, St Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, Australia

Transcribed HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

Educated at Christian Brothers, Nenagh and Sacred Heart College SJ

Parents Denis and Ellen McGrath

from 1887 to 1890 was apprecticed to a Drapers in Cornmarket, Dublin then back to Nenagh

by 1900 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1911 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia 1911

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Patrick McGrath was educated at the Crescent, Limerick, and worked for some years with Pim Brothers, drapers, in Dublin. He entered the Society at Tullabeg, 14 August 1895, and after the juniorate studied philosophy at Vals, did regency at the Crescent, Limerick, 1901-05, studied theology at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1905-08, and again taught at the Crescent, 1908-10, before tertianship at Tronchiennes, 1910.
He came to Australia on the ship Ormuz in August 1911, worked in the parishes of North Sydney and Richmond, and taught at St Aloysius' College, 1915-18, but his main work was
chiefly in the parishes. He was superior at Sevenhill, 1918-20, and Richmond, 1920-31. He also worked at Lavender Bay, 1932-43, as parish priest, then at Canisius College, Pymble, for a few years, before his final placement at the parish of Richmond, 1944-47. He was a consulter of the vice-province from 1939-44.
He had, according to Albert Power, “a deep sympathy, wide knowledge of human nature, practical common sense, and great kindliness, and large-hearted generosity. He was totally devoted to his people. He was, moreover, a man of shrewd business talent, and, at the same time, a man of vision and resolution”. He was remembered in the Richmond parish for building the spire on the church, and in Lavender Bay for the parish schools. His main recreations in later life were his violin and his pipe. He practised his violin every morning for a short time before breakfast. He finally died from heart disease combined with high blood pressure.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 7th Year No 3 1932

Richmond Parish
Father Patrick McGrath, S.J., who had been P.P. of Richmond for twelve years, also bade farewell to his parishioners at a public meeting. Amongst the crowd of distinguished people assembled to say good-bye was Mr. J. H. Scullin, ex-Prime Minister. He was the chief speaker on the occasion. He said that they had assembled to say good-bye to Father McGrath. They would much prefer to be welcoming him back again. There was no one in Richmond who had endeared himself more to his people than Father McGrath, who was part of the whole city and the forefront of the parish. He had left an indelible mark on the parish, and the completed church would ever be associated with his name. Not only did he leave monuments in bricks and stones, but he had won a lasting place in the affections of the people by his fine qualities of heart and mind, and his readiness to share the sorrows and joys of his parishioners. Father McGrath would never leave the parish. He had won the respect of all classes in the community.
There were several other speeches, and when Father McGrath had made a moving reply, he gave his blessing to the great crowd that had assembled to say farewell.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Extracts from a letter of Fr. Patrick McGrath, S. J., St. Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, to Fr. Finucane, 10-9-945. Fr. McGrath is an old Crescent boy who while stationed at the Crescent 34 years ago volun teered for the (then) Australian Mission. :
“Your letter arrived just in time for the celebration of the Golden Jubilee. Besides the House celebration there was a Parish celebration in our Hall. I knew nothing about it till three days before. Since I came to Australia I have spent most of my time between Melbourne and Sydney as Parish Priest. I did some six years' teaching in St. Aloysius, Sydney, twelve year's Parish Priest there, and the rest of my time in Melbourne as assistant, but mostly as Parish Priest. I broke down in Sydney. The hilly land there was too much for my growing years, and after a rest of a few months in our Theologate at Pymble I was sent back here as a Curate and I was very glad of it. I certainly never regretted coming to Australia.
Our Parish here is a very large one, and on the whole a very Catholic one, made up almost entirely of working people, for the most part very sincere and practical Catholics and most generous and easy and pleasant to work with. The same may be said of our Parish in Lavender Bay, North. Sydney,
The church of St. Ignatius in this Parish is a magnificent one, pure Gothic, in a commanding position, with a spire 240 feet high, the most perfect and beautiful spire in Australia. The stone of the church is Blue Stone but the upper part of the spire is white.
Looking up the Irish Catalogue a few days ago I was surprised to find that I know so few there now. Here in Australia the Irish Jesuits are dying out. The Vice-province is going on well. It is fully equipped with everything, novitiate, scholasticate with Juniors and Philosophers, and a special house for Theology, and we have this year a tertianship with 14 Australian Tertians. We want more novices, but there is good hope that there will be an increase this year. Our colleges here are doing very well. Both in Sydney and Melbourne there is a day-school and a boarding-school. The buildings in both places are first class”.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 2 1948


Fr. Patrick McGrath (1870-1895-1948) – Vice Province of Australia

Perhaps the first thought of his friends, on hearing of the death of Fr. Patrick McGrath, was “we have lost, indeed, an Israelite, in whom there was no guile”. For though the call to religious life came to him much later than to his fellow-novices, the business career in the world, which he had mapped out for himself, left no trace on his soul, which remained childlike to the end.
Born in Nenagh, he received his secondary education at the Crescent College, Limerick. He went through the classes with the quiet, solid perseverance which characterised his whole life. He was then apprenticed to a Dublin draper (Messrs. Webb), and he persevered at the trade until his 25th year, when the ‘Leave all and follow Me’ won his unhesitating assent. He entered the noviciate, Tullabeg, in 1895. With him he brought no worldly relic, inimical to noviceship harmony, unless perhaps his fiddle, for fiddle it was, not a Stradivarius, no more than he was a Kreisler. A tribute to his character is the tolerance of his companions to the instrument, won by the geniality of the kindly strummer.
The noviceship routine was hard for one who had enjoyed the liberty of some seven or eight uncontrolled years. In fact, they had been controlled by his genuine spirit of Catholic piety, which ultimately made a religious of him, and which set him in the midst of the younger novices as an example of cheerful endeavour at tasks which often must have sorely tried him.
Hosiery was no preparation for Latin and Greek, which awaited him in the Juniorate. One of the relaxations was boating on the Grand Canal and adjoining rivers. Others took to the oars in relays. Mr. McGrath never relinquished his. If his hands were blistered at the start, the constancy would harden them - it did, and it carried him through those years, fitting him with the baggage needed for later years as a successful master.
In 1899 he set out for Vals. The country is a beautiful one - the Cevennes run into it. Long walks, which he loved, were alluring: often the way lay over mountain paths. Climbing was stiff, but not as stiff as the Metaphysics, which nonetheless he bravely faced, and it was amusing to see him frowning, in the library, over the hard nut difficulties to be cracked. His mind was not made for the abstract, but perseverance gave him a sufficient grasp of the principles which dogmatic theology, later, would require.
We next find him a master in his old school, the Crescent, where for five years, his good humour, his patience, and his sympathy made him an excellent teacher. After his theology and tertianship he returned again to the school. Not for long. The vision of Australia, crying out for workers of all kinds, appealed to him, and he set sail in 1911.
To an old fellow novice he wrote in 1945 : “I certainly never regretted coming to Australia, and since I have come I have never had any desire to go back, not that I have lost interest in Irish affairs, for I am always rejoiced when I hear that Ireland is going ahead”.
With the exception of six years teaching at St. Aloysius' College, Sydney, the rest of his work in Australia was in the parishes, either as curate, or, for a considerable time as P.P, partly in Melbourne and partly in Sydney. That he fulfilled the function happily is best told in his own words, written at the time of his Golden Jubilee, in 1945, to a friend. They are a good reflection of his simple, straightforward character : “The people organised a great celebration for my Golden Jubilee in our parochial ball. I knew nothing about it till three days befcre, when Fr. Lockington told me to be ready for it. The people kept it a secret from me, wishing in their kindness to give me a pleasant surprise, and they succeeded beyond measure.. I knew from my many years living and working amongst them that I was popular, but I had no idea that I was so popular until that night”. Fr. McGrath spent thirty-six years in Australia. It was indeed fitting that his Golden Jubilee should be celebrated where his untiring devotion reaped so many sheaves for the Master's golden harvest.
By a curious coincidence, Fr. Wilfred Ryan, S.J. (Superior of Norwood, S.A.), who entered the Society in the same year as Fr. McGrath happened to be in Melbourne at the time of his death and preached a touching and beautiful panegyric at the Requiem of his old comrade in arms. R.I.P.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Patrick McGrath (1870-1948)

Was born in Nenagh and received his education at Sacred Heart College. On leaving school he entered on a business career and was twenty-five years old when he felt called to enter the Society. He received his higher education at Vals and Milltown Park. He spent his regency in his old school from 1901 to 1902 and returned as a priest in 1908. He remained only two years when he was transferred to the Australian mission. His first six years in Australia were spent as master or prefect in the colleges. But the greater part of his religious life was spent in church work in which he became one of the most respected and loved priests in the land of his adoption. He died on 9 February, 1949 in Melbourne.

Merritt, William B, 1914-1973, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/247
  • Person
  • 04 September 1914-25 April 1973

Born: 04 September 1914, Broad Street, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 09 September 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 25 April 1973, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Part of the Mungret College, Limerick community at the time of death

Father was a shop keeper and died in 1923.

Eldest of three boys with one siter who died in 1931.

Early education was at St John’s Convent school, Limerick and then at the Christian Brothers in Limerick for seven years. In 1930 he went to Mungret College SJ for two years.

by 1939 in Vals France (LUGD) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Irish Province News 48th Year No 2 1973

Obituary :
Fr William Benedict Merritt (1914-1973)
Fr Willie Merritt was born in Limerick Sept. 4th 1914. After schooling with the Christian Brothers at Sexton St, he concluded his secondary course at Mungret and entered the noviceship in 1932, was ordained at Milltown Park 1946 and died in Galway while on a short visit to his younger brother during the Easter break on April 25th, 1973. For his years in the Society he had a very full life. As a junior at Rathfarnham his success at UCD led to his being allotted another year during which he secured an MA in History and the Higher Diploma in Education. He likewise had a bent for Mathematics and had musical talent, vocal and instrumental, which committed him to directing the choirs, coaching troupes of carol singers at later as a priest officiating at Missa Cantata and High Mass.
He made his Philosophy at Vals and after two years of Colleges at Belvedere he began his Theology at Milltown Park 1943; Ordination 1946; Tertianship 1947. In 1949 he was assigned to the Hong Kong Mission where he was engaged in the strenuous work of the Colleges. During this period he prepared and produced a text-book in History which is still esteemed and used in the schools of the colony.
Ill health now intervened and he was compelled to return to Ireland seriously indisposed. After some months of anxious convalescence he was again able to resume work and with congenial occupation soon became fully active.
He was appointed to assist Fr Martin in the Mission offices which was being set up in Gardiner St. in 1953. He worked very hard and for long hours at the new chores. Much of the method in the office, the setting up of the card index system, the schemes for collecting funds, were devised by Fr “Gully”. He was never happier than when he was organising a Sale of Work or a Garden Fete. In 1957 Fr Gully was asked to help Fr Dargan the Province Procurator, and went to live at Loyola. Later he became Bursar and Minister at CIR and taught Trade Union History there. His last status was back to Mungret in 1968 where he again acted as Bursar, answering to a variety of other calls likewise.
During the latter years Fr Merritt’s health again began to cause anxiety; he suffered several heart attacks from which he rallied and recovered but which compelled him to acquiesce to a quieter tempo than what had been his wont, in following a team, verbi gratia.
During the few days in Galway in April be suffered an attack which was followed in a few hours by a repetition from which he didn't survive.
The Requiem Mass in Mungret in April 27th was concelebrated by 36 priests among whom Fr Provincial was the principal con celebrant. There was a large attendance of personal friends from Limerick. His two younger brothers, Denis and Michael were the chief mourners together with his Aunt, Mrs Clohessey, who had been his second mother since his own mother had died during Willie's Juniorate and his father had died before he entered.
Those who new him will remember him with affection; his loss will be severely felt. If we could summarise his life briefly we would say that he loved the Society, that he was kind and good humoured towards all who came his way, and that he was a devoted priest. He was always good company and even though he had his leg pulled on innumerable occasions he never bore resentment. He was known affectionately as “Gully” and it is a measure of the affection with which he was regarded that even when he was “in foreign parts” it was sufficient (and habitual), to refer to him as Gully.
As he realised the condition of his health he was fearful that he would be compelled to abandon his work. He was a man of prayer and his daily Mass was a source of strength and consolation to him; he was a community man essentially, in whose company gaiety and a bantering good-humour spontaneously generated. He had his foibles, one of which particularly, his meticulous accuracy in his professional work of accountancy, was a source, on occasion, of annoyance but overall of fun at least in later narration.
This meticulousness was not captious or officious; it came from scrupulosity which affected his whole life and which at times caused him much mental distress.
He had a great love for his native city; he was catholic in his interest in games and the fortunes of the city soccer team he followed with zest.
He was buried as he would desire at Mungret which he loved. As I stood at the grave-side listening to the final prayers being recited by Fr Provincial I couldn't help feeling he had gone to the Lord with full hands. RIP

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1974


Father William B Merritt SJ

Fr Willie was a Limerickman. He was born in Limerick and he is buried in Mungret. He was the eldest of three children, all boys and all three completed their school days at Mungret College.

In his younger years three influences played a part in his vocation to the Society of Jesus, family life, his participation as an altarboy in St John's Cathedral and his training in self-discipline and habits of study begun under the direction of the Christian Brothers. Mungret and later the Society of Jesus reaped where others had sown.

He entered the Society of Jesus in September 1932 and after two years novitiate, where he is still affectionately remembered as an enthusiastic “outdoor works” man he spent four years in Rathfarnham where he attended lectures in UCD. After finishing his course in UCD he left for France in September 1938 with a BA and an honours MA under his already ample belt. His philosophical studies in Vals were cut short by world war two and he finished his philosophy at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore. He then went on to teach with success at Belvedere and at that time trained some of the best junior cup teams of those years. His interest in and enthusiasm for rugby and soccer remained with him all his life; the fortunes or misfortunes of Limerick AFC were clearly read on his Monday morning face for he was the most honest and transparent of men, totally unlike the caricature of the wily Jesuit of fiction!

His ordination to the priesthood in July 1946 brought out in him that more serious side of his character which impelled him to seek “perfection” in all things. He could never be satisfied with “second-rate work” of any kind in himself or in others. He gave the next ten years of his life to the missions, working as a teacher in our college in Hong Kong. His history notes - which were clear, succinct and easily learned were published there in book form. Teachers also profited from them and a reputation for good history teaching often rested on the envied possession of Bill's notes!

Without his realising it, he made very great demands on himself. Eventually the strain of his work and the pressures of the political situation in Hong Kong under mined his health. He returned to Ireland in the early 1950s far from well, He never fully recovered his health frorn that time. Despite that, he held various posts in the Order, in St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, the Provincial's Residence, and the College of Industrial Relations, before he finally returned to Mungret College in 1967. Like the Master, whom he sought to follow, he did all things well and as a bonus was a good “community man” to boot! Serious by nature with a deep sense of responsibility which sometimes weighed upon him, he achieved a balance by his sense of humour, his deep faith and unostentatious acts of piety (he was a regular visitor to Our Lady's Shrine at Knock) and his interest in people and in sport. He loved Mungret and there is no denying that the decision to close his old school saddened his last years. May his generous soul rest in peace.


Molloy, Thomas, 1836-1894, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1749
  • Person
  • 26 January 1836-18 April 1894

Born: 26 January 1836, County Tipperary
Entered: 27 January 1858, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained; 1867
Final vows: 15 August 1872
Died: 18 April 1894, Collège du Sacre-Coeur, Charleroi, Belgium

by 1866 at Laval France (FRA) studying Theology 2
by 1867 at Vals France (TOLO studying
by 1868 at St Bueno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1870 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1875 at St Wilfred’s Preston (ANG) working
by 1876 at St George’s Bristol (ANG) working
by 1890 at Charleroi Belgium (BELG) teaching

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was a Teacher at Prefect at Clongowes and Tullabeg at different periods.
He studied Theology at Laval and Vals.
1869 He was sent as Minister to Galway.
He made his Tertianship at Drongen.
He worked on the Missionary Staff for a while and was based in Limerick.
1875-1876 He was working in the ANG parish at Bristol.
He then returned to Limerick where he excelled as a Confessor.
He was transferred variously to Milltown, Tullabeg and later to Dromore.
1888 He went to Belgium, and died there at the College in Charleroi 18 April 1894

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Thomas Molloy (1836-1894)

Of Co. Tipperary, entered the Society in 1858. After his ordination, he was appointed to the mission staff and was a member of the Crescent community, as missioner, from 1872 to 1874. He returned to Limerick as member of the church staff and was prefect of the church from 1877 to 1882. He was sent on loan to the Belgian's Province's College of Charleroi in 1888 as assistant prefect and English master. Here, it may be remarked that other Irish Jesuits at the period held the same position in the same school. Father Molloy remained in Belgium until his death on 18 April, 1894.

Morris, James Albert, 1898-1965, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1773
  • Person
  • 16 January 1898-10 June 1965

Born: 16 January 1898, Whiterock, Wexford Town, County Wexford
Entered: 05 September 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 29 June 1938, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 10 June 1965, St John’s Hospital, Limerick

Part of the Crescent College, Limerick community at the time of death

Father was a sea-captain and grocer. Family resided at Leinater Terrace, Wexford Town.

Only son living, younger brother Thomas having died in 1905.

Early education at Loreto Convent Wexford, and then at age 11 at St Peter’s College Wexford, and then in 1913 he went to Clongowes Wood College SJ (1909-1913). He then went to St St Finian’s College, Mullingar in 1917. Later that year he went to Terenure College. He then went to UCD, but failing 1st Arts left. He then went home and did some studies at Mount St Benedict’s, Gorey and also did some teaching there.

by 1927 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 41st Year No 1 1966
Obituary :
Fr James Albert Morris SJ (1898-1965)
Early in the morning of 10th June 1965 Fr. Morris died rather unexpectedly at St. John's Hospital, Limerick. R.I.P. He had been removed to hospital only the day before. For some weeks he had been suffering from a series of colds and headaches but they were not considered serious until a few days before his death. In fact he taught his Religious Knowledge class up to the previous weekend. However, he never seemed quite the same since he got a fall from his bicycle in August 1964, when he was doing a supply at Wexford. The doctors could not find anything seriously wrong with him, but, very unlike his usual way, he often complained of his health later.
James Albert Morris was born in Wexford on 16th June, 1898. He received some of his primary education from the Loreto Nuns, Mullingar. To the end he remained a great friend of the Loreto Nuns, especially, of course, those in their local Wexford Convent. Indeed, he was disappointed when he came to Limerick in 1962 to find that there was not a Loreto Convent in the locality. For him they ran the best girls' schools. And so very many of them knew him! If one went to give a retreat at a Loreto Convent some nun would always be sure to ask : “How is Fr. Albert?” The Wexford people and priests, nuns, his old pupils, and all in the Society knew him by no other name but Albert. In the Society one often heard of “the two Alberts” - Albert Morris and Albert Cooney, co-novices, together in many houses, and close friends and faithful correspondents during all their years in religion.
From 1913 to 1916 he was a boy in Clongowes. On leaving, thinking of going to U.C.D., he spent a short time at Terenure College, and later with Dom Sweetman, O.S.B., at Gorey. It would seem that he was trying to decide about his vocation during these years. He entered our noviceship at Tullabeg on 5th September, 1923. For his first year Fr. Michael Browne was his Master of Novices. Albert, and he remained so to the end, was nervous when he had to appear in public before Ours, even later to the extent of finding it distressing to say Litanies or give Benediction. There is a story told, characteristic of master and of novice, when Albert had to preach in the refectory. He probably had prepared a sermon that was too short for supper, and when he found himself nearing the end of it, he made many pauses during which he turned round several times to the novices serving at table as if to say : “Why don't you finish up?” Fr. Michael Browne noticed it, realised what was happening, had one of his customary choking fits of laughter and the poor novice had to fill in the time till the end of the meal.
Having finished his noviceship under Fr. Martin Maher and taken his vows he spent a year as a junior at Rathfarnham before going to Vals, France, the House of Philosophy, for the combined Provinces of Toulouse and Champagne. For the rest of his life even in the shortest conversation he used to throw in a French phrase. On his return to Ireland he taught at Belvedere from 1928 to 1932. Then to Milltown Park, where he was ordained on 31st July 1935. Tertianship followed at St. Beuno's, Wales.
His first assignment as a priest was as Sub-Moderator, 1937-39, at the Apostolic School, Mungret. Here he took his last vows on 29th June 1938. We find him back in Belvedere on the teaching staff from 1939 to 1943. Then began the work in which he was engaged almost for the rest of his life,
In 1943 he went to Tullabeg as Assistant Director of the Ricci Mission Unit, later to be known as Irish Jesuit Missions, for our work in what is now Zambia had begun years after the Hong Kong Mission. The stamp bureau was the chief work here and aided by generations of philosophers and his co-assistant director, the late Fr. William Allen, of the Australian Province, he gave most enthusiastic and painstaking service. Nuns and teachers everywhere in Ireland, receptionists in hotels, clerical workers in shops and factories were his clients and he carried on an enormous correspondence. He opened all the parcels of stamps for it was not infrequent that in the middle would be found a box of sweets or some other present for Fr. Albert. He was always a pleasant community man and he was pleased whenever he could come in to recreation to share his stamp bureau presents with his fellow Jesuits.
He remained in Tullabeg until at his own request, he was moved to Emo in 1959, still working for Irish Jesuit Missions. Among the changes that the Visitor, Fr. J. MacMahon, made in 1962 at the Status was the assigning of Fr. Albert to the Crescent, Limerick. Here he combined his interest in foreign mission work and later taught Religious Knowledge in the junior school.
On 12th June His Lordship the Bishop, Dr. H. Murphy, presided at the Office and Requiem Mass in the Sacred Heart Church, Even though it was a Saturday, there was a large attendance of priests present, including the Administrator of Wexford, Very Rev. Fr. T. Murphy, and a companion. Fr. Albert had spent his summers for many years supplying in Wexford and often at Sunshine House, Balbriggan. He was laid to rest in the community cemetery at Mungret. May God reward him and may our missionaries abroad never forget him in their prayers.

Murphy, Denis, 1833-1896, Jesuit priest and historian

  • IE IJA J/464
  • Person
  • 16 January 1833-18 May 1896

Born: 16 January 1833, Scarteen, County Cork
Entered: 26 October 1848, Dôle France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 1862
Final vows: 02 February 1869
Died: 18 May 1896, University College, Dublin

by 1849 in Vals, France (LUGD) studying
by 1859 at Bonn, Germany (GER) studying Philosophy
by 1860 at Paderborn, Germany (GER) studying Theology
by 1861 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology 3
by 1867 at Manresa, Spain (ARA) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
When he was five years old the family moved to Kanturk, where he had his early education before going to Clongowes.

1852-1858 After First Vows and some studies he was sent for Regency to Clongowes as a Teacher of all years.
1859 He studied his Second Year of Philosophy at Bonn.
1860-1863 He began his Theology at Paderborn, but after one year was transferred to St Beuno’s.
Returning to Ireland he taught Humanities and Rhetoric as well as Logic at Clongowes.
1867 he made Tertianship at Manresa, Spain
1868 He was sent to Tullabeg teaching Rhetoric.
1869-1874 He was sent to teach at Crescent Limerick.
1874-1882 he was attached to the Missionary Staff, and was Superior of that Staff for seven years.
1883-1888 He taught at UCD
1888 he was sent to Milltown to teach Canon Law.
1892-1896 He was back at UCD, mainly as a Writer. He died unexpectedly during the night of 17 May 1896 in his 64th year and 48th in Religious Life.

Ten years before he died he had been appointed by the Bishops of Ireland as promoter of the Causes of those who had died for their faith during the Penal Times. His last work as entitled “Our Martyrs” which was not published until after his death, though he had seen the last sheet through the press!
His other works include : “The Life of Red Hugh O’Donnell”; The History of Holy Cross Abbey”; “School History of Ireland”

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Murphy, Denis
by David Murphy

Murphy, Denis (1833–96), priest and historian, was born 12 January 1833 at Scarteen, near Newmarket, Co. Cork, the eldest son of Timothy Murphy and his wife Joanna (née O'Connell). He was educated at Mr Curran's school in Kanturk before attending Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare. Entering the Society of Jesus on 26 October 1848, he made his noviceship at Dôle and then returned to Clongowes and taught history and literature (1852–8). He undertook further philosophical and theological studies in Bonn, Paderborn, and St. Beuno's in Wales and, returning to Ireland in 1863, taught rhetoric and logic at Clongowes (1863–7). In 1867 he made his tertianship at Manresa in Spain and later taught at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, and the College of the Sacred Heart, Limerick. In 1874 he was attached to the society's missionary staff. He established a reputation as an excellent conductor of religious retreats and was appointed superior of the missionary staff in 1873. He began teaching French language and literature in 1883 at University College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin, and, in 1888, was appointed to teach moral theology, and later canon law, at Milltown Park. In 1892 he returned to his teaching duties at University College and also served as an examiner in Spanish for the RUI.

Best known for his historical researches and writings, Murphy was a prominent member of several learned societies including the Kildare Archaeological Society, the RSAI, and the RIA (1884), and contributed to their journals. His articles in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland include ‘Mungret Abbey’ (1894), ‘The castle of Roscommon’ (1891), ‘The ornamentation of the Lough Erne shrine’ (1892), and ‘The Irish Franciscans at Louvain’ (1893). His best known historical work is Cromwell in Ireland (1883), a scholarly and balanced account of the military campaign of 1649–51 written to refute the many myths associated with Oliver Cromwell (qv); new editions were published in 1885 and 1897. Murphy gave credit to Cromwell for his courage and military effectiveness, but condemned his religious bigotry and cruelty, and agreed with the 1st earl of Clarendon's saying ‘that he was a great, bad man’ (Cromwell in Ireland, p. ix). In 1893 Murphy translated into English and published Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh's (qv) manuscript life of Red Hugh O'Donnell (qv) with an extensive historical introduction and parallel bilingual text (The life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell (1893)). The translation, however, was severely criticised by some Irish scholars for its lack of precision. His widely used School history of Ireland (1894) gave a concise bird's eye view of Irish history from the arrival in Ireland in the 3rd century BC of Ceasair, granddaughter of Noah, ‘forty days before the deluge’, up to his own day.

At the request of the Irish bishops, in 1886 Murphy began researching a history of the martyrdom of Irish catholics since the reign of Henry VIII. He carried out extensive researches in the Vatican and other continental archives for over a decade, the result of which was the posthumously published Our martyrs: a record of those who suffered for the catholic faith under the penal laws in Ireland (1896) which he completed only days before his death. His edition of The annals of Clonmacnoise (1896), based on the translation of Conall Mageoghegan (qv), was also published posthumously.

He was elected to the RIA's committee of polite literature and antiquities (1891) and became vice-president of the RSAI (1894) and editor of the Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society. He received an honorary doctorate from the RUI in recognition of his historical research. A kindly and cheerful man, he enjoyed playing the bass violin to relax from his scholarly pursuits. He died suddenly 18 May 1896 in his rooms at University College, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. There is a substantial collection of his papers in the Jesuit archives in Dublin which includes research notes for Our martyrs and lists of Irish manuscripts in archives in Rome and Spain.

Times, 25 May 1896; Irish Catholic, 23 May 1896; RSAI Jn. (1896); Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society, ii (1896), 81–3; Irish Monthly, xxiv (1896), 328–31; DNB; Boase, supp. iii; Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., xv (1909), 90–92; Beathaisnéis 1882–1982, i, 90; papers of Denis Murphy, Jesuit Archives, Dublin

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Denis Murphy 1833-1896
Fr Denis Murphy was born at Scarteen County Cork on the 16th January 1833. Having received his education at Clongowes, he entered the Society in 1848, making his novitiate in Dôle, France.

After his ordination and tertianship he taught in our Colleges, Clongowes, Crescent and Tullabeg. From 1874-1882 he was attached to the Mission Staff. From 1883-1896 he taught at University College, St Stephen’s Green, wit a break in between as Professor ar Milltown Park.

He had been appointed by the Bishops of Ireland as Promoter of the Causes of the Irish Martyrs. This led to his book “Our Irish Martyrs”. His other published works are “The Life of Red Hugh O’Donnell”, “The History of Holy Cross Abbey”, “Cromwell in Ireland” and “The Annals of Clonmacnoise”.

He died rather suddenly on May 17th 1896, being 64 years of age and 48 years a Jesuit.

◆ The Clongownian, 1896


Father Denis Murphy SJ

Clongowes was still lamenting the loss of one of her most distinguished sons, Dr William J Fitzpatrick, when another, of those who have won fame for their Alma Mater in the world of letters was called away to his account. Born at Newmarket, County Cork, in 1833; Denis. Murphy went first to school at Kanturk; and then came to Clongowes, so young and so clever, that he is said to have finished the class of rhetoric at the earliest age recorded except in the case of Chief Baron Palles. Before his sixteenth birthday he had entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, and after spending some years in England and on the Continent returned to Clongowes as professor of classics.

As a writer and a lecturer; Father Murphy soon made a name for himself; as an antiquary he stood in the foremost rank in this country, and in recognition of his great services to Irish literature and history, the Royal University conferred upon him the honorary degree of LLD.

Many noble tributes were paid to his memory by the Press, and we cannot do better than give our readers the notice which the “Independent” gave of his life and labours :-

The announcement of the death of the distinguished Jesuit, Father Denis Murphy, will come with tragic suddenness on his numerous friends in Ireland. Father Murphy had not been strong for some time past, but there was no premonition of the approach of his death. Last week he might have been met working among, as was his wont, the manuscript materials in the Royal Irish Academy. On Sunday, as usual, he performed his sacerdotal duties, and in the evening, apparently in the best of health, beguiled the time revising the final proofs of his “History of the Irish Martyrs”, which was promised from the printing press next month. On Monday morning he was found dead in his bed, evidently having passed quietly away in his sleep a few hours previously. By the death of the Rev Denis Murphy, Ireland is deprived of the services of an untiring, faithful-hearted son, who loved her with love “far brought from out the storied past”, used in the present and transfused for future times; and the Jesuits lose a useful member, whose work has added lustre to the Irish Province, for his name will be placed on the bead-roll with that of the Blessed Edmund Campion SJ, and those of the Bollandist Fathers.

Father Murphy was born in 1833; and shortly after the Famine Year joined the Society. He was educated: in England, Spain, and Germany, as well as at the Irish houses belonging to his Order. The little town of Newmarket, County Cork, where he was born, is famous as the birthplace of John Philpot Curran, and is hallowed by the memory that there too Thomas Davis spent much of his boyhood's years. It lies in the heart of one of the most historically interesting and romantic districts in that county which Sir Walter Scott estimated contained more romance than all Scotland. Not very far from Father Murphy's early home the brave MacAlistrum had fallen in fight against Murragh-au Theathaun, as the peasants still call the Cromwellian commander, and Phelix O’Sullivan, the vindicator of the Irish Catholics, had broken battle with the English in the Raven's Gleng, and crossed the Blackwater by dint of his long spears; in his historic march into Connaught. Such and similar surroundings possibly first formed the historic faculty which, in later years, developed and trained as it became, distinguished Father Murphy's career. Besides, lectures on side-lights of history, feuilletons and fugitive, magazine articles innumerable, he published several volumes of rare value as contributions to the history of Ireland, although dealing with periods and individual persons. His life of Hugh. O'Donnell deserves a place in every Irish home. It is a bilingual text, and side by side wish the Gaelic original of the pious Scribe O'Clery, we have an English translation copiously imitated. By this scholarly book probably Father Denis Murphy will “be best known to the future students of our country's history. The story of Red Hugh, the bright brand foretold of Fanult, is. a revelation of purity of motive and single-hearted. I purpose which teaches mighty lessons to all Irishmen, and its publication as such. apart from its historic value, was a most important event. Nothing in drama or epic of any age or country can exceed the pathos and tragedy contained in this simple record of facts which Father. Murphy was the first to render into the English tongue. Sir William Wilde used to lament that Cromwell's campaignings in Ireland were the most defective portion of modern Irish history. To remedy this Father Murphy set himself to work, and did so effectually in his book “Cromwell in Ireland”, which gives in detail an account of that memorable campaign which began in August, 1648, and ended in May, 1649. He follows Cromwell step by step in his progress through the country, and traces his march with a blood-red line upon the map. He is even at pains to rescue Cromwell's memory from some things set down in malice, but he musters facts enough to show him the great bad man Clarendon maintained he was. Among his other substantial works are his “History of Holy Cross Abbey”, “The Annals of Clonmacnoise”, and his compendium of Irish history, The work he was engaged on when death took him to his reward is entitled “Our Martyrs”, and is a detailed account of those who died for the Faith in the different religious persecutions in Ireland from the period which is styled the Reformation. This book was the carrying out of part of the work he under took a few years ago at the suggestion of the Irish bishops - viz, the promotion of the claims to canonization of those Irishmen and women who had suffered death for religion's sake. “The School History of Ireland”, which was published in 1893, fulfils a useful work, This little book, which was brought up to date from the earliest periods, contains on its last page a graceful allusion to Mr Parnell's honoured name, and the services he rendered Ireland, which is, perhaps, remarkable when we remember the position of the writer and how high party seeling ran at the year of the publication of the book. Besides faithfully discharging the duties of a missionary priest, and a teacher in several schools and colleges, Father Murphy managed to make time in his busy life to fill with credit to himself positions of responsibility in many learned societies. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Vice-President of the Royal Academy and a Council member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, and of the National Literary Society. He was editor of the “Kildare Archaeological Journal”, and took a particular interest in similar publications in Cork, Waterford, and Belfast. Such are Father Murphy's services as a historical researcher and a reliable interpreter of records difficult of access as to cause abiding regret that his books are so few. His place as an Irish scholar will not easily be filled ; his place as a thoughtful, ever faithful friend never can”.

His funeral was attended by a large number of clergymen and other citizens of Dublin, the coffin being covered with numerous beautiful wreaths. One in particular calls for our notice. The staff at the establishment of Father Murphy's printers (Messrs Sealy, Bryers, and Walker), subscribed for and forwarded a costly wreath to be laid on his coffin. The gift was accompanied by a large card bearing the imprint of an open book, the left hand page of which bore the following inscription :

Died May 18th, 1896
Aged 63

A Tribute of great Respect
and Affection
From the Staff of his Printers,
Middle Abbey Street.

The other page contained the following :

The concluding sentences of a corrected proof found at his death-bedside addressed to the Printer -

“But he chose the better part, he finished his course, and kept the faith. As to the rest, there was laid up for him a crown of justice which the just Judge gave him, and will give to all that love His coming”.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959
Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Denis Murphy (1833-1896)

Was born at Scarteen, Newmarket, Co Cork. He was educated at Clongowes and, on being admitted to the Society, was sent to France for his noviceship. He pursued his higher studies at Bonn, and Paderborn, and was ordained at St Beuno's, in Wales in 1862. On his return to Ireland he was appointed to the teaching staff at Clongowes where he remained until 1867 when he set out for Spain to make his tertianship at Manresa. On his return from Spain, Father Murphy began his long association with the Crescent. From 1868 to 1874 he was a member of the teaching staff while he was also minister of the house, and in charge of the church choir. In 1874 he joined the mission staff then resident in Limerick and remained a member of it until 1883. During his years in Limerick, Father Murphy was held in the deepest respect and affection by all who knew him. He was known and appreciated as a man of versatile intellectual qualities. But this incident shows something of his very practical bent. During his years at the Crescent, it came to his notice that the widowed mother of two Crescent boys was having trouble with a leaking roof. She had seen better days and was in receipt of an annuity just enough to cover up the poverty of herself and children. She told Father Murphy that the estimates for repairs were beyond her resources short of going deeply into debt. Father Murphy, to calm her anxiety, went off to the builders, bought the wood at wholesale and with the help of the elder son of the widow, carried out the repairs on the roof with such skill that the next repairs became necessary only some forty years after Father Murphy's death.

In 1883, Father Murphy was transferred to University College, Dublin, where he was appointed to the post of bursar and librarian. His new post gave him enough spare time to work on his historical notes, the results of his researches during his scholastic days. For during his early years, he had travelled extensively in Europe to collect historical data on the persecutions for the Faith in Ireland. His researches brought him to the archives of cities so widely separated as Madrid, Lisbon, Douai, Louvain, Paris, Vienna and Prague. In his generation, Father Murphy was probably Ireland's most informed historian. After some five years at University College, Father Murphy was transferred to Milltown Park to take over the chair of moral theology. Fortunately, for Irish historical scholarship he was released from his post and returned to University College where he spent the last four years of his life. His monumental work entitled Our Martyrs was just finished in the press, but not yet published, the day before his death. For the last ten years of his life, he held from the Irish hierarchy the post of official Postulator of the Cause of the Irish Martyrs.

Nolan, Edward, 1826-1893, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/39
  • Person
  • 10 May 1826-11 January 1893

Born: 10 May 1826, Booterstown, County Dublin
Entered: 20 September 1850, Avignon, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1863
Professed: 02 February 1867
Died: 11 January 1893, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia

by 1858 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying Philosophy
by 1859 at Vals France (TOLO) Studying Philosophy
by 1860 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying Theology
Early Australian Missioner 1866

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He collected the greater part of the funds for the beautiful Church at Hawthorn, and superintended the construction of the edifice.
For several years he was Rector at Xavier College, Kew, and also worked at different intervals at St Patrick’s, Melbourne.
He was a Priest of great energy and zeal, and his death was regretted by a wide circle of friends. He died at Hawthorn 11 January 1893.

◆ Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn Australia, 150 Celebration :

Fr Nolan SJ, Founder of the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn
Edward Nolan was born in Dublin on 10th May 1826. At an early age he attended college in Dublin with the intention of studying for the priesthood. He made his novitiate at Angers (France), took his degrees of theology at Louvain (Belgium), and entered the Society of Jesus on September 20th 1850.
After long and active service in teaching at different colleges in Ireland, he arrived in Melbourne in 1866, where he was assigned to teach at St. Patrick’s College, East Melbourne. On weekends he ministered to the people of Hawthorn. Here he came in contact with the redoubtable Michael Lynch who was determined to have a proper church built in Hawthorn and he had friends with wealth. In Fr Nolan he found someone who would extract it from them. With the land already donated by Mr. Lynch, fundraising plans to build a church were swung into action. Subscriptions flowed in, not only from the enthusiastic and generous Hawthorn Catholics, estimated at only 60 households at the time, but from non Catholics and from those outside the area. On this basis, the farsighted Fr Nolan planned a church to seat 1200.
Fr Nolan had little taste for set sermons in big churches, but had the quiet knack of addressing small groups in any situation. He had considerable knowledge of botany and some ability at medicine. Of engaging address, he had the knack of accommodating himself to all classes, and was equally at home in the mia-mia of the fossicker and the mansion of the squatter. He rode a horse called “Tobin”, which carried him everywhere. “Tobin” had a peculiar amble, which was a well-known warning to Catholics who were not what they ought to be. Father Nolan was a good religious man but it was his zeal, gentle piety and simplicity that won over the people of Hawthorn.
In 1871-72 Fr Nolan was sent on a begging mission to raise money for the new Xavier College to be built in Kew. He toured eastern Australia and even New Zealand, raising substantial funds and persuading many families to commit their sons to the new college. After 6 years as the first Rector at Xavier, and a short time in Sydney, he returned to Hawthorn as Procurator. Strange to say, he was never Superior of the Hawthorn community.
Even when in his declining years, he collected enough money to purchase a peal of bells to ring out across Hawthorn. When he died on January 11th 1893, from a ‘disease of the heart’ the bluestone church of the Immaculate Conception was as fitting a memorial as anyone could wish. Fr Nolan is recognised as the founder of the church, with an inscription in Latin on the front of the altar.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edward Nolan entered the Society at Tullabeg, 20 September 1850, as a priest, where he also studied theology, was director of the Sodality of Our Lady and taught writing and bookkeeping. He was a founding father to Australia in 1866 with Joseph Dalton, taught at St Patrick’s College and performed pastoral work. During 1871-72 he toured Victoria
and New Zealand seeking funds.
He went to Xavier College, Kew, in 1878, teaching bookkeeping and being minister. He was appointed rector in 1880. and was also a consultor of the mission As rector, he was recognised as a financial manager and was experienced as a strict disciplinarian. He built the South Wing and developed the farm, hoping that the College would be self-sufficient. He shared his hobby of amateur pharmacy with the boys, and was responsible for making a clear separation of dayboys and boarders - neither group mixing except during class time.
After completing his term as rector in 1886, he spent three years at Riverview, as procurator and consultor, and he also had care of the garden and farm. From 1889-93, he was engaged in pastoral work within the parish of Hawthorn, Vic., where he was at various times, procurator, consultor, admonitor and finally, spiritual father.
He was acknowledged as a very zealous and hardworking priest, but over-absorbed in money matters. Superiors obviously made use of his financial expertise or interest, even though his accounts were not always left in the best condition. His fund raising techniques did not always please diocesan priests. One monument to him was the parish church at Hawthorn.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 1 1925

St Patrick’s College, Melbourne has just celebrated its Diamond Jubilee as a Jesuit College. It is the mother house of the Australian Mission.
On September 21st 1865, Fathers Joseph Lentaigne and William Kelly, the pioneer Missioners of the Society in Victoria, landed in Melbourne and took over the College.
On September 17th, 1866 , the second contingent of Irish priests arrived - Fr. Joseph Dalton, Fr. Edmund Nolan, Fr. David McKiniry and two lay brothers - Br. Michael Scully and Br. Michael Goodwin.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1893


Father Edward Nolan

Our obituary list this year is, sad to say, fairly numerous. The first name we have to refer to is that of the late Father Edward Nolan SJ, formerly Rector of the College, who died a holy death in January last at Manresa, Hawthorn, the residence of the Jesuit Fathers who conduct that parish. As many of his old pupils will be looking out for some information regarding the life and death of Father Nolan, we subjoin a sketch of his meritorious career as a member of the Society of Jesus. He was born in Dublin, on May 10th, 1826, received his early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare, Ireland, and entered the Society of Jesus after having received a sound education, on Septeinber 20th, 1850. He made bis higher studies at various places on the Continent, spending a considerable time at the University of Louvain, in Belgium. After his ordination he was employed in several capacities previously to the year 1863, in which year he became Prefect of Dicipline in Tullabeg College. He continued in that position tili early in 1866, when, accompanied by Father's Dalton and McKinniry, the second batch of Jesuits sent to the “Antipodes”, he sailed for Melbourne. He took his place on the teaching staff of St Patrick's College, and at the same time attended to parish work in Richmond and Hawthorn. It may here be mentioned en passant, that the first child baptised by Father Nolan, in Hawthorn, was the Rev J Brennan SJ, late member of the College staff, and now continuing his studies in Europe). Very soon after his arrival Father Nolan was appointed by his superiors to superintend the building of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, and to raise funds for the same, This work, most uncongenial to the man who, a few years before, had renounced some thousands of pounds which he handed over to his superiors for the improvement of Tullabeg College, was uudertaken by him in the spirit of holy obedience. He set about the work with gigantic energy, and though always of weakly health, was untiring in his efforts to collect money. He travelled much in Australia and New Zealand, and though he was well satisfied with the result of his exertions, his superiors and his friends used to say that his health was sold cheap, and that if a penny was a pound in the eyes of any man, it ought to have been so in the eyes of poor Father Nolan. Doubtless our Blessed Lady will have given a loving reception to the worn out priest whose zeal raised up the beautiful memorial of her dearest privilege, which now stands at the intersection of Glenferrie and Burwood Roads. His attention, however, was not wholly concentrated on the church. He was occupied during most of his time as master in St. Patrick's College, besides which, the task of collecting for this college also devolved upon him. He had, in addition, to clear the grounds, then thickly wooded, and lay out and plant the gardens. The present avenue is almost as he laid it out, but has been somewhat spoiled since by the promiscuous scattering of seeds and cutting's as from a pepper caster. Continuing his labours, Father Nolan succeeded, after having had the foundiation stone of St Francis Xavier's College laid in 1872, in opening the College for boarders in 1878.

Father Thomas Cahill SJ, now stationed at St Ignatius' Church, Richmond, was the first Rector of the College, and offered the Holy Sacrifice in the upper corridor of the present South wing, for the first time, on January 22nd, 1878. There were about 50 boarders during the birst year, and still more during the second. Father Nolan was a member of the Community during these two years, but at the end of 1879 he was appointed Rector of the College. He then rapidly improved all its departments, and the building now known as he South Wing, was completed in 1884. In that year there were over 100 boarders, and the College had already attained some very high distinctions at the University Examinations, while already some of its students began to exbibit their prowess as undergraduates. A glance at the list of old boys will show that the system which has developed that already famous band was not by any means in a raw state. No, there were then students as capable as our Wyselaskie scholarship winner of to-day. Many of the professional gentlemen, were guided oy the advice of Father Nolan in the choice of a profession, and the number of them who have attained prominence is a sufficient proof of his sagacity. All his old pupils remember his shrewdness; all remember his firmness, ind some have experienced his strictness; put in the inmost hearts of all there is a deeply-rooted reverence for the dead priest which will last for ever. All concur in saying hat if he was sometimes a little hard with them, he was always very hard with himself. In 1885 Father Nolan ceased to be Rector if Kew College, and as his health was on the decline, he was sent to Riverview College, Sydney. There he indulged his natural astes, and spent his time usefully between laying out the College grounds and giving himself up to profound study. He was a very cultured man, but the duties imposed on him by his superiors were such as to exhibit in him qualities of a totally different description. His knowledge of botany among other things ras very extensive. Once upon a time he fell in with the Curator of the Sydney Botanical Gardens and another gentleman, ho had been recently appointed as represenitives of NSW at a flower, fruit and botanical exhibition at Milan. The conversation turned on Australian Flora, and so minute and extensive did the knowledge of Father Nolan appear on the subject, that his two fellow travellers at once became pupils as it were, and the rest of the journey was occupied by Father Nolan in answering the numerous questions put him by the NSW Government experts. When he had spent about four years in Sydney, Father Nolan returned to Victoria, and was stationed at Hawthorn, where he remained till his death. He had been ailing for some years, his fatal complaint being disease of the heart, which he contracted as the result of frequent attacks of rheumatism which he necessarily suffered from in the course of his ceaseless travels. He had many warm friends, who constantly visited bim from the time when he returned from Sydney to Hawthorn, till his superiors decided that he could receive visitors no longer. He passed quietly away on January 12th, 1893, and was followed to the quiet little plot iu Kew Cemetery where his remains now lie, by a multitude of truly sorrowiul friends.

His works, however, remain as a testimony of his zeal and devotion, and his kind soul will, we trust, leap from them, eternal fruits. As a fitting finish to this sketch, all unworthy of the subject, we cannot do better than quote part of a letter written of him by a brother Jesuit : “Some of his early writtings in prose aud verse came before us a short time before his death. They appeared to furnish one more proof of how much endowment and culture is often unavoidably buried beneath the exigencies of duty, and how little the world dreams of the sacrifices of heart and intellect that are often submerged in the current of a life of common calls in external action. I am perfectly well aware that some features of his robust character meanwhile let me remember that his was a life of sickness and toil - were not agreeable to every temperauent, but I wish for my part to record that I always found him a sociable and genial gentleman. May his earnest life, his lively conversation and his pleasant witticisms, teach us all to be as good and brave to the end. Amen:. RIP

O'Callaghan, Sylvester, 1827-1883, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1868
  • Person
  • 10 May 1827-27 March 1883

Born: 10 May 1827, Kilkenny City, County Kilkenny
Entered: 25 October 1848, Avignon, France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 23 September 1859, Roman College, Rome, Italy
Final Vows: 15 August 1862
Died: 27 March 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin

Younger Brother of William O’Callaghan LEFT 3 October 1866 as Priest

by 1851 at Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1859 in Roman College, Italy (ROM) studying Theology
by 1861 at Sankt Andrä Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Brother of William O'Callaghan LEFT 1866 as Priest

1850-1857 Must have studied Rhetoric and Philosophy before Ent, as he was sent on Regency to Clongowes at the end of his Novitiate, and he remained there until 1857.
1857-1859 He began the “Long Theology” course at Nth Frederick St, and finished it at the Roman College, where he was Ordained there 23 September 1859 by Cardinal Patrizzi.
1860 He was sent to Austria for Tertianship.
1861-1866 He was sent to Clongowes and Tullabeg teaching.
1866-1874 He was sent to Milltown as Minister
1874-1880 He was appointed Socius to the Master of Novices
1880 He was appointed Spiritual Father at Milltown, and he died peacefully there 27 March 1883.
A most charitable man, never known to say an unkind word. He was very exact about little things and a perfect model for Novices. He suffered a lot from rheumatism, but he never complained.

Simpson, Patrick J, 1914-1988, Jesuit priest

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

Born: 10 April 1914, Broadwater Lodge, Lake Road, Wimbledon, Surrey, England
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

Father was a stockbroker in London and died in 1919. Mother then moved family to Galluny House, Strabane, County Derry.

Older of two boys.

Early education at Dominican Convent, Wicklow he then at age 13 went to 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.

Smyth, Kevin P, 1909-1993, former Jesuit priest

  • Person
  • 24 September 1909-1993

Born: 24 September 1909, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 1993, Paris, France

Left Society of Jesus: 23 March 1964

Early education at CBS Synge Street, Dublin

by 1933 at Vals, France (TOLO) studying
by 1936 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying

Interfuse No 76 : Christmas 1993


Kevin Smyth – former Jesuit priest (1909-1993)

Kevin studied Classics in UCD, finishing with a brilliant MA thesis on Wemer Jaeger's distinction between practical (phrone sis) and theoretical (sophia) wisdom in Aristotle's Nicomachaean Ethics. He studied philosophy in Valkenburg in Holland with the German students of the day. Even though the Jesuits had moved their philosophate to Holland because of Nazi activity in Germany, there was more than a trace of German chauvinism among Kevin's fellow-students. In his final year the coveted honour for the brighter students was to defend the Disputatio during the final year - this was in the heyday of neo-scholasticism. To the chagrin of many, Kevin was picked for this honour. Traditionally, in order to ensure a good show, those making the formal “objections” discussed the gist of what they had prepared with the defendant a few days before the great day. No such courtesy was extended to Kevin. But the objectors paid dearly for this: Kevin with brilliant distinctions and sub-distinctions stopped them in their tracks, so that the occasion became a public humiliation for them, much to the delight of the other non-Germans present. To prolong the occasion some of the professors intervened with the own 'objec tions', but although Kevin spoke with perfect courtesy, they fared... no better. This was a side of Kevin which he seldom revealed. He had a brilliant and incisive mind, but if pushed too far could reveal a lack of patience, almost an attitude of contempt - which he regretted immediately and tried hard to make amends for,

When I moved to Milltown Park in 1955 I was asked to teach the Short' course in dogmatic theology in a three-year cycle. Part of the old presentation of each 'thesis' was the Scriptural proof. Knowing that the whole world of Scripture was moving from for merly entrenched positions, I tried to make sure that I was as up to date as possible. After trying various people I finally settled on Kevin as my scriptural guide. He was a gifted guide, always avail able for consultation, invariably helpful and friendly. To this word which refers to friendship | shall return shortly.

Once he had been appointed to Milltown Park, where he had studied theology, Kevin was assigned to teach the old course of Apologetics; this included at that time an introduction to the Gospels. Here Kevin developed his own encyclopaedic knowledge of Scripture. Where he studied Hebrew I do not know, but he became an expert in it - so much so that he was Mgr Boylan's 'external examiner' for the degree in Oriental Languages in UCD The “Dead Sea Scrolls”, the writings surviving from Qumran, were discovered about this time, and Milltown Park Library was soon enriched with the official facsimile publications of the Scrolls. As well as becoming an expert on the Scrolls, Kevin translated, from the original Dutch, Fr Van Der Ploeg's book on the writings of Qumran. He worked in close cooperation with Professor Driver of Manchester University during this period, and together they combated Allegro's attempts to use the Scrolls in order to undermine the documentation for the origins of Christianity. Kevin wrote for Studies on diverse topics, but never received the publicity and recognition which his work deserved. In another Jesuit Province of that time he would have been given the opportunities he deserved for study and writing; a doctorate would have meant little to Kevin, but some recognition should have been given to him.

On the ordinary level of Jesuit community life Kevin was exemplary, deeply pastoral by inclination, which was revealed in his own pastoral work and especially when he was in charge for many years as sub-minister of “Supplies” from Milltown Park - allotting to many Dublin parishes priests to help out on Sunday. It is true to say that he was deeply respected by the Dublin dioce san clergy for his self-sacrificing willingness to help. On another level he was very proud of being a Synge Street past pupil, and he was a gifted football player, playing in Milltown Park well into his forties - even though he did this at some risk with some of his former pupils concentrating on knocking him out!

When in 1961 I was sent to Rome the excitement of the pre Vatican Il times was just beginning. During the few years that followed Kevin corresponded with me regularly, because I was collecting for him from the Italian and French newspapers any items which might throw light on intra- and extra-conciliar manoeuvers: these I sent on to him every week as he was writing a regular column for some Irish newspaper on Vatican II. But there was little personal in this correspondence. Kevin, in many ways, was a prisoner of his very academic world, in spite of his pastoral ad generous qualities. For him I think that some unforeseen suffering was needed to break open the academic armour. In some ways he was the product of the poorer elements in Jesuit formation in his time.

My last letter from him arrived to accompany investment-transfer documents which I had sent to him for his signature. In this let ter he revealed more humanity than in all the other years I had known him. He wrote: “You do not realize what a paradise you live in, with all its faults”.

Paddy Simpson who visited Kevin in Paris always stressed that “he was a much nicer fellow now”.

Strickland, Gerard, 1822-1856, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2159
  • Person
  • 04 November 1822-22 April 1856

Born: 04 November 1822, Lough Glynn, County Roscommon
Entered: 07 September 1840, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1850
Died: 22 April 1856, Sevastopol, Crimea

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Studied Humanities at Stonyhurst before Ent.

1841 After a year at Hodder, he was sent to Madeira with his father for a change of air 27 September 1841
1844 Sent to Liverpool School for Regency
The after studies in Philosophy at Vals and a long course in Theology at St Beuno’s, he was Ordained 1850.
1851-1853 Appointed Minister at Stonyhurst
1853-1854 Appointed Superior of the new school in Manchester
1854 Appointed Superior of the new Mission at Accrington

He was appointed Chaplain to the English forces in the Crimean War, for which he had volunteered. He died in a camp there of fever 22 April 1856 aged 34. he was universally beloved for his many virtues, a man of great talent and high promise. he was buried in the Crimea with military honours, and his funeral was accompanied by upwards of 6,000 troops. He had caught the fever while voluntarily attending to the wounded French soldiers. He died before taking Final Vows.

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.

Walshe, Charles, 1824-1901, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/447
  • Person
  • 31 October 1824-20 October 1901

Born: 31 October 1824, Naas, County Kildare
Entered: 26 October 1847, Toulouse, France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 1859
Final Vows: 02 February 1868
Died: 20 October 1901, Mungret College, County Limerick

by 1857 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) Studying Theology
by 1859 at Vals, France (TOLO) Studying Theology
by 1864 at Tournai, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1865 in East Hardwick, Yorkshire, England - St Michael’s Leeds (ANG)
by 1866 at Church of the Assumption, Chesterfield, England - Mount St Mary’s (ANG)
by 1872 at St Ignatius, Bournemouth (ANG) working
by 1873 at Skipton, Yorkshire - St Michaels (ANG) studying
by 1875 at St Beuno’s Wales, Rhyl Parish (ANG) working
by 1882 at Beaumont (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After First Vows he was sent to Clongowes for Regency as Prefect of Discipline. He seems to have been a great success. He was a strong man, and was both liked and feared.
1856 He was sent to the South of France.
1857 He did First year Theology at St Beuno’s, 2nd at Nth Frederick St Dublin, and his 3rd at Vals. He told many funny stories about his living experiences in Dublin and Vals.
After Ordination he was sent to teach at Clongowes.
1862-1864 He was sent to teach at Belvedere, and then made his Tertianship the following year.
1865-1867 He was sent on the Scottish Mission, and also on the Preston Mission.
1867-1872 He was sent as Minister to Tullabeg.
1872 He was sent back on the English Mission, first to Skipton, Yorks, and then to Rhyl in Wales, where he took charge of a Jesuit Church and Parish for 10 years (1873-1883). He did a good job in Rhyl, and was engaged with Catholics and Protestants alike there, with a genial and cheerful disposition.
1883 The latter years of his life were spent at Tullabeg, Dromore, Gardiner St and finally Mungret until his death there 20 October 1901. Though only a short time confined to bed, he seemed convinced of his impending death. he suffered a lot in his final hours, bot bore it with great patience. The night before he died he said “Do you know, I am not a bit afraid of death”. In his last hours, though in pain, he prayed continuously. After he received the Last Rites on the morning of 20/10, he immediately became unconscious, and the he died peacefully.
Those who knew “Charlie” never forgot the sudden “flashes of merriment” that would have any gathering in fits of laughter. “He possessed the keenest good humour and greatest good nature”. Even at his last, his humour did not fail him, even as he lay suffering. I translating the old French Ballad “Griselidis et Sire Gaultier”, critics considered the far-famed Father Prout. He was an accomplished French Scholar, with an almost perfect accent, drawing praise from no less a French Jesuit Preacher Père Gustave Delacroix de Ravignan. he was also considered to have an old world charm which complemented his sense of humour.

Underneath the sophistication, he was a simple man of deep piety, who suffered at times from little depressive bouts.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Charles Walshe 1826-1901
On October 20th 1901 died Fr Charles Walshe, aged 75 and having lived 54 years in the Society. Born in 1826 he was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society in 1847.

His early years as a Jesuit were spent in Clongowes, both as a Prefect and Master. He was one of those who studied Theology at the short-lived House of Studies in North Frederick Street Dublin.

He spent many years on the missions in Scotland and England, in Preston, Skipton and Rhyl. He spent the closing years of his life in Mungret.

“He possessed” writes one who knew him well “the keenest humour and the greatest good nature”. His taste in literary matters was most refined. His translation of the old French ballad “Griselidis at Sire Gaultier” not merely rivalled, but surpassed in beauty and elegance of diction, that of the far-famed “Father Prout”. He was an accomplished French scholar and was congratulated on his perfect pronunciation in that language by the famous preacher Père de Ravignan.

The hours immediately preceding his death were hours of intense pain, which he bore with patient fortitude and resignation. The night before he died, speaking to one of the Fathers, he remarked “Do you know, I do not feel a bit afraid of death”. Having received the Extreme Unction, he became unconscious, and shortly afterwards passed peacefully to his eternal rest, having spent his last hours in close and fervent union with God.

◆ The Clongownian, 1902


On October 20th, at Mungret College, Limerick, the holy and happy death of Father Charles Walshe SJ, took place. He had just completed his Seventy-fifth year, and had spent fifty-four years in religion.

Fr Walshe vas the son of an army surgeon, who, when he retired from the service, enjoyed a large practice at Naas, and became one of the most popular and best known men in the County Kildare. At the age of fourteen Father Walshe came to Clongowes as a boy, and in 1847, when he had completed his course of studies, he entered the Society. Before his Theological studies, which he went through in the south of France, and at St Bueno's in Wales, he had been Prefect and Master in his Alma Mater. After his ordination he again returned to Clongowes, but does not appear to have been stationed long there as in 1862 he was on the staff at Belvedere College, and in 1865 and 1866 he was on the missions in England. The next year he returned to Ireland and was appointed Minister at Tullabeg.

For ten years (1873-83) Father Walshe was in charge of the church and residence of the Society at Rhyl, North Wales, where he did much good work. His genial disposition and kindly good nature won for him a host of friends, and enabled him to exercise an influence for good over the somewhat floating population of the town, both Catholic and Protestant, that few could hope to have attained. He was subsequently stationed at Tullabeg, Dromore and Limerick, and in 1894 he went to .Mungret, where he spent the closing years of his career. God tried him towards the end with many sufferings that served, no doubt, to purify his soul and prepare him for the happy, holy death, that put the seal upon a life of fifty-four years spent in the Society.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1901


Fr Charles Walshe SJ

On the 20th October the holy and happy death of Fr Charles Walshe took place. He had just completed the seventy-fifth year of his age and the fifty-fourth of his religious life; having been born, been received into the Society, and died in the month of October. Though he was for only a comparatively short time confined to his bed before his death, he seems to have been convinced of his approaching end. The hours immediately preceding it were hours of great, pain which he bore with patient fortitude and resignation. The night before he died, speaking to one of the fathers, he remarked, “Do you know, I do not feel a bit afraid of death”. As the hours of darkness wore slowly on, and the intensity of his pain increased, he prayed continually, in a manner, that, says one who was present, “was most touching and edifying”, repeating the Sacred Names with a continuity, and an intensity of feeling, that bespoke the fervour of the heart within. In the early grey of the October morning he received the Extreme Unction, and almost immediately became unconscious. A little afterwards he passed calmly and peacefully to his eternal rest, having spent his last hours in close and fervent union with God.

In Father Walshe, or “Father Charlie”, as we loved to call him, we have lost as kindly, and as genial a spirit as ever lived. Who is there that knew him, that can ever forget what Shakespeare calls the sudden “flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table in a roar”? To few indeed, may Hamlet's description more justly be applied, He was, in truth, a man of “infinite wit, of most excellent fancy”. “He possessed", writes one who knew him well, “the keenest humour, and the greatest good nature”. Even to the last his fund of humour never failed him, Despite the grim approach of death, and the grievous sufferings that so sorely tried him, the witty word would drop at times, one would almost say. unwittingly, from his lips.

Yet, underneath it all there was the simple, child-like piety, and the solid virtue deeply seated in the heart, that marks the genuine son of St Ignatius. For many years before his death he was, like most men of remarkably keen humour, a victim to occasional depression of spirits, and this, together with the physical suffering arising from extremely feeble health, afforded him no trifling occasion of practising patience and amassing merit.

Father Walshe was born on the 13th Oct., 1826. His father, who had been an army Surgeon, settled later on in Naas, in the County Kildare, where he had a large practice, and was one of the most popular and best known men in the county, On leaving Clongowes, where he was educated, young Charles Walshe entered the Society in October, 1847, at the age of twenty-one.

Shortly after finishing his novitiate he was, in 1851, appointed Prefect of Discipline in his Alma Mater. As Prefect he seems to have been a great success. He was pre-eminently a strong man, and the boys liked as well as feared him. The year 1856 he spent in the South of France. His Theological studies seem to have been rather interrupted. The first year (1857) was spent at St Beuno's in North Wales, the second in the House of Studies at Frederick Street, Dublin, and the rest in Vals. Many were the witty anecdotes and laughable adventures that he had to tell about his residence in these two latter places.

On the completion of his Theology, Father Walshe went, first as Prefect and then as Master, to Clongowes. In the summer of 1862 he was transferred to Belvedere, where he remained as Professor till his Tertianship. The years 1865 and 1866, following his years of Third Probation, found him on the mission in Scotland, and then in Preston. In 1867 he was Minister in Tullabeg. In 1872 he returned to the English missions, first in Skipton, and then the following year in Rhyl, where he remained in charge of the handsome little church and residence of the Jesuit Fathers of the English Province for the next ten years (1873-'83). In Rhyl Father Walshe did excellent work. His genial disposition and kindly good nature won for him a host of friends, and enabled him to exercise an influence for good over the somewhat floating population of the town, both Catholic and Protestant, that few could hope to have attained. The latter years of his life were spent between Tullabeg, Dromore, and Gardiner Street, till finally he came to Mungret in the year 1894. Here, as has been seen, he spent the closing years of his career. God tried him towards the end with many sufferings, that served, no doubt, to purify his soul and prepare him for the happy, holy death that put the seal upon a life of fifty-four years spent in the Society.

Father Walshe possessed intellectual qualifications of a high order. His taste in literary matters was most refined. His translation of the old French Ballad of “Griselidis et Sir Gaultier”, not merely rivalled, but, in the opinion of competent critics, much surpassed in beauty and elegance of diction that of the far-famed “Father Prout”. He was an accomplished French scholar, and was congratulated on his perfect pronunciation of that language by a critic no less exacting than the famous Jesuit preacher, Père de Ravignan. To refinement of intellect he added in a rather remarkable degree refinement and elegance of manner. The old world courtesy of manner, that adds such a charm to social life, sat so naturally upon him that it seemed inherent in his nature. With “Father Charlie” has passed away one of the few survivors of another age, and of another order of ideas, whose lives are as a precious link between us : and the past. May he rest in everlasting peace!