Centenary book

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Text of Centenary book

  • The

    on Leeson Street 1910~2010

  • First published in 2010 by Messenger Publications

    Messenger Publications, 37 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2www.messenger.ie

    Printed in Ireland

    The material in this publication is protected by copyright law. Except as may be permitted by law, no part of the material may be reproduced (including by storage in a retrieval system) or transmitted in any form or by any means, adapted, rented or lent without the

    written permission of the copyright owners. Applications for permissions should be addressed to the publisher.

    Copyright Society of Jesus in Ireland

    Typeset in 10.5/14 Minion Pro Regular, Birch Std and Futura

  • Foreword ......................................................................... John Dardis SJ, Provincial ........................................ 5The Secret Scriptures of a Community ...................................... Brian Grogan SJ ........................................................ 6A History of the Three Houses ............................................... Fergus ODonoghue SJ .............................................. 11A Gift for Reinvention .......................................................... Paul Andrews SJ ....................................................... 22Profiles of the Current Community Members ........................................................................................................35Profiles of the Current Staff .............................................................................................................................62Current Apostolates at Leeson Street .................................................................................................................66

    AppendicesA. List of Community Members since 1909 ...........................................................................................................85B. Superiors of Leeson Street ...........................................................................................................................87C. The Celebration of the Centenary ...................................................................................................................88

    Contents

  • Acknowledgements

    The compilation of this record by the members of the Community has generated many memories and also much wit and humour. Thanks to all friends in the Lord, both Jesuits and others,

    who have encouraged the project

    To the contributors, all of whom have given of their time unstintingly

    To the Jesuit Communication Centre and Sacred Space for their professional support and for the supplying of photographic material

    To the staff of Messenger Publicationsfor their expertise in producing this book

  • 5with the Leeson Street Community go back just twenty years to 1990, when we opened the Jesuit Communication Centre (JCC) there. Noel Barber was Superior and made us welcome as we started this fledgling Apostolate, which was soon to become quite important, not only in Ireland but across Europe and internationally. Since then, the Jesuit house in Leeson Street, formerly called a House of Writers, became also a House of Communications, hosting Studies, The Messenger, Timire, JCC, the Prayer website Sacred Space, and Religious News Network RNN.

    Visiting the community as Provincial over the past six years, it has always struck me how apostolically oriented and focused its members are. They appreciate the work that goes on and everybody is very involved in supporting it. St Ignatius, it has been said, loved the

    big cities, and you more often find Jesuits not in the countryside but in urban areas. Leeson Street is a fine example of this kind of Jesuit spirituality. It is a typical Jesuit House, based in the city centre, close to the heart of civic and business life and witnessing to the values of the Gospel in a very busy world. Life outside the House by day can be frantic, while after hours night clubs and pubs provide plenty of social life.

    In these times as we pray that many young men will join this Province to share our vision of service to the world, we are grateful for what has been achieved over the past century by the Leeson Street community. May this publication inspire us to imitate their generous service, and may the Lord work powerfully through us all to ensure a greater service of Gods people and the Church. n

    ForewordJohn Dardis SJ My LinkS

  • 6contributions which follow the emphasis is on the external stories of the 148 Jesuits who have lived in Leeson Street over the past century: fragments of their lives have been gathered lest they be lost. But before we put this past century to bed to await the resurrection, there is another dimension which should not pass unnoticed.

    In other words, besides the outer history which we have chronicled, there is the inner history of each of the persons who have lived here: the secret scripture to borrow a marvellous phrase from Tom Kettle1 (photo p.25).

    As the fox said to the Little Prince, the things that are essential are invisible to the eye, while Jesus speaks of Gods awareness and appreciation of what is done in

    secret. We are mysteries to one another, and this is all the more so of those who have died and maintain their silence. Jesuits tend to be private persons. Much of our living is in secret and we tend not to lay bare our souls. Thus, of many of the brethren who have gone before us we know much less than we would wish. We gather the fragments, but we are left to wonder what was truly important in the life of each. What made this or that person tick, what sustained him over the long years, what gave him joy or tempted him to desolation? We do not know because there are no private diaries that reveal the heart. The most we have are published writings and occasional portraits and incidental remarks that lay bare a heart. We must accept this limitation: Ignatius only reluctantly revealed

    The Secret Scriptures of aBrian Grogan SJ in THE

    1. Sebastian Barry borrowed the phrase secret scripture for his novel of the same name from a wonderful sonnet of Tom Kettle, written just before he died on the Somme: Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor, / But for a dream born in a herdsmans shed, / And for the secret scripture of the poor.

  • 7his inner story, and then did so selectively, while the Gospels tell us little of the inner life of Jesus.

    Vatican Two, however, affirms that peoples joys and sorrows, griefs and anxieties are the concern of the Church. It is right then to wonder about the inner lives of our brethren. We can be grateful to Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, who lived down the road in Newman House from 1884 to 1889, teaching Classics in University College, Dublin: he gives us precious glimpses of his own private struggles, and in his sonnet on St Alphonsus Rodriguez he dares to peep into the heart of one of his brethren. He refers to the forty years without exploit or event during which this humble porter Rodriguez watched the door of the Jesuit residence in Majorca. This mans war was not outside but within, and God crowned his secret struggles with glory.

    Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shieldShould tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.On Christ they do and on the martyr may;But be the war within, the brand we wieldUnseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.

    Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)Could crowd career with conquest while there wentThose years and years by of world without eventThat in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Community

  • 8In the lives of our brethren also, exploits were few and they were controlled. The war was within. Limits were imposed by an unchanging order of things in the Church and the Society of Jesus prior to 1965. What did the brethren do when community recreation ended after midday dinner and the rule of silence reigned? Each climbed the stairs the lift was installed only in 1959 and closed his door. And then what? There were no distractions from TV or phone, computer or internet, films, gyms and cars; there was little pocket money or permission to travel. There was a coal fire to tend, letters to write, a bike to be mended, visits to be made, and these men studied, wrote, prepared lectures, did apostolic work and administered. Judging by the vast library which until recently occupied many rooms, they did far more reading than we do today.

    Did time weigh heavily on them? Or did their contemplative dimension flourish more easily than perhaps it does in us? With fewer things to relish, perhaps they appreciated deeply what they had. There were hobbies to enjoy, illnesses to be endured, dreams to be dreamed. Did they pay less attention than we do to the world of inner emotions? Feelings dont count! remained a slogan well into the sixties, and affectivity had

    yet to find its place. Relationships, female and male, were more formal and restricted then than now. Psychology was suspect, Freud was frowned on, as were Boyd Barretts efforts to promote experimental psychology: born in 1883 and author of Shepherds in the Mist, he felt compelled to leave the Jesuits after twenty years.

    In those years which went by of world without event when conformity was the norm, how much talent went untapped? Were some men frustrated? Did others feel useless? Moral pressure meant that one could hardly leave, even if unhappy, so what did a misplaced Jesuit do? Was Hopkins the only one who suffered depression? Spe