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Alphonsus O' Neill

  • AR 3
  • Person
  • 11-10-1830 - 06-10-1899

Scarcely ever in the History of the Anglo-Hibernian Province has an event had to be chronicled which called forth such sentiments of universal regret as the death of Father Alphonsus O'Neill. Though some days have passed since he was laid to rest, it yet seems hardly possible to realize that he is no longer with us. So conspicuous and so prominent was his personality in the Province for over forty years, so intimately was he identified with every good work and undertaking of the Congregation during those years, and so successful in carrying them to a happy issue, that to be all at once bereft of his wise counsel, his eloquent voice, and his strong influence, amounts to little less than a calamity. We can console ourselves however with the reflection that our loss is his gain.

 Fr. Alphonsus was born in Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone, on the 11th of October 1830. His early life was spent in commercial pursuits, but never to the exclusion of works of charity and benevolence, in the fulfilment of which he recognised the Christian precept: "Do good, one to another". In those early days he associated himself with the S. Vincent de Paul Society in Belfast, and though years have elapsed since then there are still living some who can testify to the fidelity and devotedness with which he served God in the person of his poor.

It cannot therefore be a matter of surprise that such a start in life would eventually lead to the cloister, and consequently, his fellow-workers in the cause of charity, though they expressed their regret, yet could not withhold their approbation, when in the June of 1852, he made known to them that he had decided on becoming a Passionist. In that year he went to our Novitiate in Broadway, and after his profession, which he made on 13th July 1853, he was sent to Rome to begin his studies for the priesthood. He remained in Rome over four years, and had the happiness of being raised to the priesthood towards the end of 1856 by a Passionist Bishop, Mgr. Joseph Malajoni, who had been for a number of years Bishop in Bulgaria, but who at this time was living retired in our Retreat of Monte Argentaro.

Shortly after his return to these countries, Fr. Alphonsus was appointed Vice Master of novices, but the evidences he gave of successful missionary work, left him very little time to fulfil his duties as Vice Master. From this time till the close of his earthly career, it might be said that the history of his life was identical with the history of the Province. He threw himself heart and soul into every good work which had for its object the wellbeing of the Congregation, and in doing so he knew no fatigue, no personal inconvenience: enough for him that souls were longing for the bread of life, or that their surroundings were such as to place in jeopardy their eternal welfare. It may be truly said that his missionary career was a most successful one. His style was marked with great earnestness and sincerity. He frequently took the part of principal preacher on Missions, but the part in which he was most at home was the Meditations on the Passion of our Lord. The moving and winning words in which he told the sufferings of his Divine Master never failed to draw souls to a greater love of the Crucified, and to a more lively compassion with Him in his sorrows. The Passion was his favourite subject - indeed it might be said to be the theme of his life's preaching.

Though he was frequently employed in preaching charity sermons, whilst he never failed to address himself directly to the cause which he was called upon to advocate, invariably did he embody in his discourse some reference which showed the character of the Passionist.

 During his life he filled with care and diligence every office of trust in the Province. He was successively Rector of St. Joseph's, Highgate, S. Paul's, Dublin and S. Ann's, Sutton, and in the Chapter of 1878, he was chosen Provincial, the duties of which he discharged till ‘81. Subsequently when the higher Superiors accepted a new foundation in the far distant Australia, he was appointed Superior of the little band of missionaries who volunteered to preach the Passion under the Southern Cross. For six years he laboured with his usual zeal and energy in those colonies, giving Missions and Retreats and otherwise attending to the various duties with which he was entrusted. After his return to Ireland, he took up his residence in Mt. Argus, where notwithstanding the inroad that years of unbroken labour had made on his constitution, he shared with his younger brethren the several duties peculiar to the Retreat. Indeed it was little more than a week before his lamented death when he occupied the pulpit in St. Paul's, and though it could easily be seen that he was in failing health, there was also evidence that much of the old fire of by-gone days still lived within him.

Apart from his work for the Congregation, of which he was a faithful member, his time and talents were always at the disposal of anyone outside the order who required his service. This was particularly remarkable in the interest which he took in the Sisters of the Most Holy Cross and Passion. They began life as Sisters of the Holy Family, whose object was to afford instruction and shelter to homeless girls in the large manufacturing towns in England. Later on they took the name of Sisters of the Cross and Passion. Fr. Alphonsus arranged their Rule, got first a pro tem. approval from Rome, and eventually got the Holy See to sanction them in perpetuum.

His last illness was little more than a few hours. A few days before the end came he accompanied an invalid to the North and seemed even then to be in his ordinary good health. After his return to Dublin, on Wednesday the 4th, he complained of weakness and overwork, and on the morning of the 5th, he was attacked with violent haemorrhage. The doctor was called in immediately and at once pronounced his case serious. There were frequent returns of the haemorrhage during the day, and after receiving all the last rites of the church, being perfectly conscious to the end, he calmly slept away at two o'clock on the morning of the sixth of October.

The funeral obsequies took place on Monday the 9th in the presence of a large gathering of clergy and laity, after which the remains were consigned to their last resting place in the little cemetery attached to the Retreat.

It seemed providential that notwithstanding his sojourn in many lands, his mortal remains should repose in the Mount Argus he loved so well and served so long. Green as the grassy sward which each succeeding Spring will renew on his quiet grave be the remembrance of his many virtues and his bright example in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. R.I.P.

Fr. ALPHONSUS of the Blessed Virgin Mary (O'Neill) 6th October, 1899.

 The ‘Irish News' (Belfast) on the 20th May 1960 carried an article: "TWO DISTINGUISHED PASSIONISTS OF YESTER-YEAR", the story of two brothers from Co. Tyrone who became Passionists: Frs. DOMINIC and ALPHONSUS O'Neill.

They were the sons of a mixed marriage. When their son Edward was born, the mother met the priest with a torrent of abuse and threats of violence, so the child was baptised secretly. That was Fr. Dominic. (Ironically, he was to be clothed a Passionist on July 12th 1852, 22 years later). The Dad compromised, and it was agreed sons would be baptised Catholics, the daughters Protestants. There was only one daughter Mary Ann. She refused to go to church with her mother, and went off to Mass with her brothers. Later, she was to become a Sister of Mercy, in Birmingham, as Sister Alphonsus of the Passion.

The early years were stirring ones. Daniel O'Connell won a lawsuit preventing his fellow Catholics from being evicted from a quarry, where the church in which the young O'Neills were altar boys was situated in Stewartstown.

It was also the period when the Oxford Movement was having its effects on the Hon. George Spencer and the Hon. Charles Pakenham among many others. The future Fr. Alphonsus was to meet up with both in Broadway. A fellow novice was Cfr. (later Brother) LAWRENCE Carr, who later would be the 1st Passionist Brother in Australia, while Alphonsus was Superior of the founding and pioneer party of CPs.

When he said he wanted to be a priest, his mother told a friend that it was the greatest cross of her life: his first Mass was offered for, and brought about, the conversion of his mother.

One page cannot cover his work as a Passionist. He was known as ‘the Silver-tongued Orator' (another Chrysologus!). He did his studies in John and Paul's, was ordained at Monte Argentaro by a Passionist Bishop, Mgr. Mulajoni.

Fr. Alphonsus was later to be a Vice-Master of novices, a Rector, a Consultor, a Provincial, ... and a great Missioner. He was the Founder of the present Australian Province, in that he led the first band of priests and a brother from St. Joseph's Province there; he returned later to the home Province. So (to quote the I.N. article) ‘afar from the townland of St. Patrick's Bell this great Passionist of yesteryear sleeps his last sleep in the peaceful cemetery beside Mount Argus'.

Sources: Fr. Salvian Nardocci's ‘Register'
Fr. Salvian Nardocci's ‘Annals' Vol. 1, pp. 161, 287,361.
‘Irish News' (Belfast) 1960.05.20 (In our archives).

Anglin, Henry, 1910-1977, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/170
  • Person
  • 29 April 1910-30 May 1977

Joseph Anglin, the son of John and Julia Anglin, was born in Aherla, County Cork, on 29 April 1910. Andrew Anglin (b. 11 Feb. 1900), an elder brother of Joseph, joined the Capuchin Franciscans in 1918 and took the religious name of Terence. He later became a missionary friar, first in the United States (from 1929) and later in Africa (from 1943). He died on 12 September 1947 in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) where the Irish Capuchins had established a missionary custody. The Anglin family were devoutly Catholic, and Joseph followed in his older brother’s footsteps by joining the Capuchins in Cork in October 1927, taking the religious name of Henry upon his reception into the Order. He took his final vows and was solemnly professed as a friar in October 1931. By this time, he had obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Cork. Following four additional years of clerical studies, he was ordained a priest in St. Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny, County Donegal, on 23 June 1935. In the years following his ordination, Fr. Henry served as an assistant to Fr. Senan Moynihan OFM Cap., the founding-editor of ‘The Capuchin Annual’ periodical. Following the Capuchin Provincial Chapter of 1955, Fr. Henry was appointed editor of the ‘Annual’ with Fr. Felix Guihen OFM Cap. (1898-1981) taking on the role as manager of the Publications Office. The appointment of Fr. Henry as editor of the ‘Annual’ elicited no real change in the ethos of the publication which continued to include an eclectic mix of articles on a wide range of topical, political, historical, artistic, literary, and spiritual subjects. Although the work of collating and editing articles for the yearly publication was strenuous and occasioned frequent bouts of stress-related ill-health, Fr. Henry succeeded in maintaining the scholarly content of the publication. Crippling financial losses brought about the demise of ‘The Capuchin Annual’ in 1977. Fr. Henry died on 30 May 1977 just a few months after completing his work on the final edition of the ‘Annual’. He was buried in the Capuchin plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Bibby, Albert, 1877-1925, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/28
  • Person
  • 24 October 1877-14 February 1925

Thomas Bibby was born on 24 October 1877 in Bagenalstown, County Carlow. He was baptised on 28 October 1877. His family were proprietors of a woollen mill at Greensbridge and operated two drapery establishments in Kilkenny City, one in Parliament Street and another on High Street. He entered the Capuchin novitiate at Rochestown on 7 July 1894 and took the religious name of Albert. He was solemnly professed on 8 May 1900 and was ordained a priest at St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, Dublin, on 23 February 1902. A gifted scholar, Fr. Albert was among the first batch of Capuchin students to receive a BA degree from the Royal University. He later became a professor of philosophy and theology and taught these subjects to Capuchin students for some years after his ordination. One of his first students was Fr. Dominic O’Connor OFM Cap. Fr. Albert was active in the Gaelic revival movement and became a fluent speaker of Irish. He was also engaged in temperance advocacy and gave missions sometimes solely in Irish in Gaeltacht areas. He was also involved in the Columcille branch of Conradh na Gaelige in its early years. Briefly a part of the community of friars in Kilkenny, he moved to Church Street, Dublin, in the early 1900s. In the aftermath of the Easter Rising, Fr. Albert ministered to a number of rebel prisoners in Kilmainham Jail and in other locations. He was present at the execution of Seán Heuston on 8 May 1916 and wrote an account of his final hours. He was later a regular correspondent with prominent republicans and their relations. On 16 December 1920 both Fr. Albert and Fr. Dominic O’Connor OFM Cap. were arrested by British forces during a raid on the friary on Church Street. Fr. Albert was detained for some hours in Dublin Castle but was afterwards released whilst Fr. Dominic was sentence to five years’ penal servitude. When the Four Courts was attacked on 27 June 1922 in the opening engagement of the Civil War, Fr. Albert was present in the building alongside Fr. Dominic. Both priests remained with the Anti-Treaty irregulars until the Four Courts was evacuated. They then proceeded to administer to Cathal Brugha and other IRA men occupying the Hamman Hotel on O’Connell Street. In June 1924, Fr. Albert was sent to the United States and was eventually appointed Pastor of the Capuchin Mission at Santa Inez in California. He immediately set about restoring both the parish and the structures of the old Franciscan Mission. Modern plumbing and electricity systems were installed at Santa Inez and Fr. Albert was joined by Friars Reginald O’Hanlon and Colmcille Cregan. However, Albert’s health deteriorated and he was soon admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara County. He died on 14 February 1925, a mere three months after his arrival in Santa Inez. He was buried just outside the mission’s chapel. His remains (along with those of his former pupil Fr. Dominic O’Connor OFM Cap.) were later repatriated to Ireland and he was buried in the cemetery of Rochestown Capuchin Friary, Cork, on 14 June 1958.

Brophy, Charles, 1895-1976, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/113
  • Person
  • 13 October 1895-13 May 1976

Nicholas Brophy was born in Sandymount in Dublin on 13 October 1895. He entered the Capuchin novitiate in Kilkenny in 1917 and took Charles as his religious name. He later attended the Capuchin College in Rochestown in County Cork and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Cork in 1921. He was ordained to the priesthood in June 1925. The entirety of his priestly ministry was spent in Dublin. He was President of Father Mathew Temperance Hall in the capital from 1928 to 1934 and was guardian (local superior) of the Church Street Capuchin community from 1934 to 1940 and from 1946 to 1949. He also served as Provincial Definitor from 1937-40 and from 1946-9. He founded the Retreat House in Raheny in Dublin and became its first director in 1957. He was well-known for his enclosed retreats in Raheny and for his missionary and preaching work particularly in his native Dublin which continued until his health deteriorated in his later years. He died in Jervis Street Hospital on 13 May 1976 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Baptismal name: Nicholas Brophy
Religious name: Fr. Charles Brophy OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 13 Oct. 1895
Place of birth: Sandymount, Dublin
Name of father: Peter Brophy
Name of mother: Catherine Byrne (née Byrne)
Date of parents’ marriage: 15 Nov. 1894
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 17 Sept. 1917
Date of first profession: 29 Sept. 1918
Date of final profession: 29 Sept. 1921
Date of ordination (as priest): 29 June 1925
Educational attainments: BA, 1921
Leadership positions: Provincial Definitor (Councillor), 1937-40, 1946-9; Custos General, 1940-3, 1943-6
Date of death: 13 May 1976
Place of death: Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Butler, John, 1873-1950, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/17
  • Person
  • 6 February 1873-3 October 1950

Patrick Butler was born in Sheastown, County Kilkenny, on 6 February 1873. He joined the Capuchins in 1890 (taking John as his religious name) and was ordained a priest in January 1899. For the following three years he worked as a science teacher in the Capuchin College in Rochestown, County Cork. He subsequently joined the missionary staff and was involved in giving missions and retreats throughout Ireland. In 1914, he travelled to Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. He spent nearly two years in the United States assisting Irish Capuchin missionaries in preaching activities. Following the outbreak of the First World War, he returned to Ireland, and in April 1916 was appointed a chaplain in the British Army with the rank of Captain. He served for a short time with the home garrisons in Canterbury and in Blackpool. He was later sent to the Middle East and Palestine as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), an Allied military formation which fought the Ottoman Turks for control of this strategically important region. He was present at the Battle of Gaza (March 1917), and at the capture of Jerusalem (December 1917), and later acted as chaplain in a casualty clearing station in Damascus. Fr. John returned to Ireland in 1919 and spent the following eleven years in the Capuchin Friary on Church Street in Dublin. In 1930 he moved to Cork and was attached to the community at Holy Trinity Friary. He remained in Cork until his death on 3 October 1950.

Baptismal name: John Butler
Religious name: Fr. John Butler OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 6 February 1873
Place of birth: Sheastown, County Kilkenny (Diocese of Ossory)
Name of father: Tobias Butler
Name of mother: Catherine Butler (née Murphy)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 23 June 1890
Date of first profession: 15 Aug. 1891
Date of final profession: 11 Oct. 1896
Date of ordination (as priest): 8 Jan. 1899
Missionary activity: Travelled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States on 18 May 1914; Returned to Ireland on 25 Mar. 1916.
Educational attainments: BA (RUI)
Date of death: 3 Oct. 1950
Place of death: Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, Cork
Note: Fr. Casimir Butler OFM Cap. (1876-1958) was a younger brother of Fr. John Butler OFM Cap.

Collins, Ignatius, 1881-1961, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/52
  • Person
  • 10 August 1885-21 October 1961

Patrick Joseph Collins was born on Cotter Street in Cork on 10 August 1885. He was the son of Captain Jeremiah Collins, an employee of the Cork Harbour Board, and his wife Honora Collins. He was educated at the Capuchin College in Rochestown, County Cork and he joined the Capuchin Order in 1902, taking Ignatius as his religious name. He graduated with a BA in Philosophy at the Royal University in Cork in 1908. He was ordained a priest in Kilkenny on 29 May 1910. By all accounts he was an outstanding scholar, and he was awarded a Doctorate in Theology and Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1914. In May 1915, he responded to the call of Cardinal Francis Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, seeking Catholic priests to act as chaplains in the British armed forces. He was sent to France in August 1915 and acted as a chaplain with the 69th Field Ambulance Corps. During the First World War his division served on the Western Front participating in many major offensives including the Battles of the Somme and Messines. In October 1917, the division was transferred to the Italian Front. In January 1918 Fr. Ignatius was awarded the Military Cross and was promoted to the rank of Major. Following the cessation of hostilities, he was demobilised (in 1919) and he initially returned to Rochestown Friary in Cork. In 1922 he was elected guardian (local superior) of the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny. He ministered in Kilkenny for the next twenty-one years. In 1943 he was transferred to the Church Street Friary in Dublin and was appointed Vicar of the community. He remained a member of the Dublin fraternity until his death on 21 October 1961.

Baptismal name: Patrick Joseph Collins
Religious name: Fr. Ignatius Collins OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 10 Aug. 1885
Place of birth: Cork
Name of father: Jeremiah Collins
Name of mother: Honora Collins (née Cowhig)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 24 Aug. 1902
Date of first profession: 17 Sept. 1903
Date of final profession: 31 July 1908
Date of ordination (as priest): 29 May 1910
Educational attainments: BA (RUI) 1909; PhD (Louvain), 1914; MA (RUI) 1915
Date of death: 21 Oct. 1961
Place of death: St. John of God’s Hospital, Stillorgan, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Corrigan, Salvator Maria, 1835-1919, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/SC
  • Person
  • 25 April 1835-6 October 1919

William Corrigan was born in Dublin on 25 April 1835. He was received into the Capuchin Order in Italy in 1854 as at this time there existed no novitiate for the training of friars in Ireland. He took Salvator Maria as his religious name upon joining the Order. He was ordained a priest in Bologna on 23 April 1859. He returned to Ireland soon afterwards and ministered in Dublin and Cork until 1867. His time in Dublin was marked by a vigorous campaign to secure funds for the construction of St. Mary of the Angels on Church Street. He became a well-known figure in Smithfield Market, appealing to local traders and sellers for funds to aid the completion of the new Gothic-style church. He also travelled to England and Scotland in search of contributions. In 1868 he was sent to the United States to collect money to defray the enormous debt incurred in building the church. He spent approximately seven years traversing America raising funds. He returned to Dublin in 1875 and resumed his ministry in the Church Street Friary. He was present in Dublin when Fr. Gil de Cortona OSFC, General Minister of the Capuchin Order, came to Ireland on visitation in 1876. Having some knowledge of Italian, Corrigan accompanied the Minister General as an interpreter as he travelled around Ireland to visit the various Capuchin foundations. In 1884 Corrigan volunteered for missionary work in the diocese of Allahabad in India. Seemingly a popular cleric, musicians from St. James’s Brass Band played before a large crowd from St. Michan’s Parish who had gathered at North Wall as he left for the Indian subcontinent. Failing health and the harsh climate forced him to return to Ireland just two years later. He remained a member of the Church Street community in Dublin until his death on 6 October 1919. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Baptismal name: William Corrigan
Religious name: Fr. Salvator Maria Corrigan
Date of birth: 25 Oct. 1835
Place of birth: Dublin
Name of father: John Joseph Corrigan
Name of mother: Teresa Byrne (née Byrne)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 27 Nov. 1854
Date of first profession: 29 Nov. 1855
Date of ordination (as priest): 23 Apr. 1859
Date of death: 6 Oct. 1919
Place of death: Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Cronin, Leo, 1859-1949, Capuchin brother

  • IE CA DB/LC
  • Person
  • 30 January 1859-23 October 1949

Michael Cronin was born in Cork in January 1849. He was received into the Capuchin Order at Rochestown in County Cork on 30 July 1882. He took Leo as his religious name upon joining the Order. He was solemnly professed as a Capuchin friar in August 1887. For the following sixty-seven years he fulfilled the ordinary duties of a lay brother in most of the houses of the Irish Capuchin Province. He was particularly known as a Brother Questor in Dublin, seeking alms and donations for the poor. Following several years of ill-health, he died in the Capuchin Friary on Church Street in Dublin on 23 October 1949. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Baptismal name: Michael Cronin
Religious name: Br. Leo Cronin OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 30 Jan. 1859
Place of birth: Cork
Name of father: Michael Cronin
Name of mother: Mary Cronin (née Foley)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 30 July 1882
Date of first profession: 8 Aug. 1883
Date of final profession: 2 Aug. 1887
Date of death: 23 Oct. 1949
Place of death: Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

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