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Authority record

Dowling, Thomas, 1874-1951, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/14
  • Person
  • 13 March 1874-7 January 1951

Michael Joseph Dowling, the son of Michael and Catherine Dowling (née Byrne), was born in Kilkenny on 13 March 1874. John Dowling, a younger brother, joined the Capuchins in 1888 and took Laurence as his religious name. Michael followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Order in Kilkenny a year later in September 1889. He took Thomas as his religious name and he was solemnly professed as a friar in October 1894. He was ordained a priest in Kilkenny on 21 December 1896. Fr. Thomas was a professor at Rochestown Capuchin College in Cork, and later served as guardian (local superior) of the Capuchin Friary in Dublin. He visited Oregon in the United States in 1910 to select a suitable mission parish for the Irish Capuchins in Baker City. In this period, he held several senior administrative positions in the Order and served as definitor (councillor) from 1907-10 and was Provincial Minister of the Irish Capuchins from 1910-3. He was also guardian of Holy Trinity Friary in Cork in 1920.

He emerged as a prominent public figure in Cork because of his high-profile campaigning on social and political issues. He was active in the Anti-Conscription campaign in the city in 1918 and was elected Honorary President of the Cork and District Trades and Labour Council. During the First World War, there was widespread economic distress in Cork as wages failed to keep pace with rising prices. The result was numerous strikes and general worker unrest. Dowling had studied social reform and he threw himself wholeheartedly into the task of industrial dispute mediation. His interventions were accepted by employers and trades unions alike. He presided over negotiations between tramway workers and their employers in a crucial wage dispute and was instrumental in securing a settlement between the two sides in 1919. He was awarded the freedom of Cork in 1920 in recognition of his invaluable services in preserving the peace of the city and for his role in successfully resolving industrial disputes. He also received an honorary degree (an LL.D. or a Doctor of Laws) from Professor P.J. Merriman (1877-1943), President of University College Cork. The award was given on account of his ‘invaluable services’ in ensuring peaceful and harmonious social relations in the city. The Cork Trades’ Council later donated a stained-glass window to Holy Trinity Church to mark his contribution in securing workers’ rights.

His ministries as a Capuchin friar centred on preaching missions and retreats and he was also an enthusiastic promoter of the temperance cause (he was instrumental in organising the Father Theobald Mathew Pavilion at the Cork International Exhibition in 1902). In 1926 Fr. Thomas offered to travel to the United States to work as a missionary friar. The Irish Capuchins had established a mission custody on the American Pacific Coast in 1910. His first appointment was in Our Lady of the Angels Church and Capuchin Friary in Burlingame near San Francisco. He was appointed Pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi Church situated in Watts in South Los Angeles in 1937. In the following years he succeeded in paying off the considerable debt on both the church and the adjoining school. He served as Custos (Superior) of the Western American Capuchin Mission from 1940-6. He died on 7 January 1951 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Farrell, Mel, 1914-1963, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 9 May 1914-7 November 1963

Peter Anthony Farrell was born in Newtowncashel in County Longford on 9 May 1914. He joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order on 28 October 1933 and took Mel as his religious name. He was ordained a priest on 12 June 1941. Following his ordination, he resided at Rochestown Friary for about a year. The remainder of his priestly ministry (nearly twenty years) was spent in Holy Trinity Friary in Cork. While there he organised and directed the work of the Capuchin Foreign Missions in the city. He was guardian (local superior) of the Holy Trinity community from 1952 to 1958. He died in Holy Trinity Friary on 7 November 1963 and was buried in the cemetery adjoining the Capuchin Friary in Rochestown, County Cork.

Baptismal Name: Peter Anthony Farrell
Religious name: Fr. Mel Farrell OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 9 May 1914
Place of birth: Newtowncashel, County Longford (Diocese of Ardagh)
Name of father: Peter Farrell (Farmer)
Name of mother: Mary Farrell (née Brennan)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 28 Oct. 1933
Date of first profession: 29 Oct. 1933
Date of final profession: 29 Oct. 1937
Date of ordination (as priest): 12 June 1941
Educational attainments: BA (1937)
Date of death: 7 Nov. 1963
Place of death: Holy Trinity Friary, Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

Fenlon, Joseph, 1875-1963, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/20
  • Person
  • 31 May 1875-20 April 1963

John Fenlon was born in the village of Ballinakill, Queen’s County (Laois), on 31 May 1875. He joined the Capuchin Order in February 1892 and took Joseph as his religious name. He was ordained to the priesthood in Dublin on 21 September 1901. Soon after his ordination he begun his ministry in Cork and was made guardian (local superior) of Holy Trinity Church and Friary in 1907. During his term as guardian the extension of the Church as a memorial to the late Fr. Bernard Jennings OFM Cap. was completed and formally opened. In 1913 he was made President of Father Mathew Hall in Cork, and at the subsequent Provincial Chapter in 1916 he was elected guardian of the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny. In 1919 he moved to Dublin and was appointed President of Father Mathew Hall on Church Street. In 1922 he was appointed superior of the Irish Capuchin mission in the United States. Soon after his arrival he took charge of the parish of the Most Holy Redeemer in Watts, Los Angeles. One of his first acts was to have the name of the church changed to St. Lawrence of Brindisi (a Capuchin Franciscan saint). Fenlon constructed a parochial school and began to conduct novenas and parish missions in Watts and further afield (including in Bakersfield and in Sacramento). On 15 November 1924 he preached at the installation of Fr. Albert Bibby OFM Cap. as the first Capuchin pastor of Santa Inés Mission in Santa Barbara County, north of Los Angeles. In 1930 Fenlon was appointed the first Capuchin pastor of St. Francis parish in Los Angeles. Five years later he moved to the Irish Capuchin foundation at Wilmington in Delaware and as vicar supervised the building of the first novitiate of the Irish Capuchins in the United States. The novitiate wing at St. Patrick’s Friary in Wilmington became a centre for the education and training of friars until the foundation was transferred to the care of New Jersey Capuchins in 1963. Fr. Stephen Murtagh OFM Cap. replaced Fenlon as superior of the Irish Capuchin mission in 1937. Fenlon returned to Ireland in 1948 and took up residence in Holy Trinity Friary in Cork. He remained active in ministry and mission work until his death on 20 April 1963. He was laid to rest in the cemetery adjoining the Capuchin Friary in Rochestown, County Cork.

Baptismal name: John Fenlon
Religious name: Fr. Joseph Fenlon OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 31 May 1875
Place of birth: Ballinakill, County Laois (Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin)
Name of father: Thomas Fenlon (Farmer)
Name of mother: Johanna Fenlon (née Redmond)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 7 Feb. 1892
Date of first profession: 20 Mar. 1893
Date of final profession: 25 Dec. 1897
Date of ordination (as priest): 21 Sept. 1901
Missionary assignments: Travelled to California in Nov. 1922; Returned to Ireland in July 1948;
Date of death: 20 Apr. 1963
Place of death: Bon Secours Hospital, Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

Field, Thaddeus, 1888-1962, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/61
  • Person
  • 16 November 1888-9 December 1962

Denis Field was born in Kilcrea in County Cork on 16 November 1883. He was the son of a farmer and was educated at Kilbonane National School and later at the Capuchin College in Rochestown, County Cork. He was received into the Capuchin Order at Rochestown (taking Thaddeus as his religious name) in October 1905. He studied philosophy at Rochestown College and received a BA degree from the Royal University, Cork, in 1911. He was ordained to the priesthood in Holy Trinity Church, Cork, on 5 July 1914. Shortly after his ordination, Fr. Thaddeus was appointed to the teaching staff at the Seraphic College in Rochestown. Most of his religious life was spent in Rochestown and for many years he served as Vice-Rector of the College. Fr. Thaddeus also held other offices in the Irish Capuchin Province. At various times he was Guardian (local superior) of the Rochestown community, Vicar and Vice-Master of Novices in the Kilkenny foundation, and President of Father Mathew Temperance Hall in Cork city. His later years in Rochestown were affected by recurring bouts of ill health. He died in Cork on 9 December 1962 and was buried in the cemetery adjoining Rochestown Friary.

Baptismal name: Denis Field
Religious name: Fr. Thaddeus Field OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 16 Nov. 1888
Place of birth: Kilcrea, County Cork
Name of father: Denis Field (Farmer)
Name of mother: Ellen Field (née Murphy)
Date of reception in the Capuchin Order: 1 Oct. 1905
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1906
Date of final profession: 21 Jan. 1912
Date of ordination (as priest): 5 July 1914
Educational attainments: BA, (RUI) 1911
Date of death: 9 Dec. 1962
Place of death: Lindville Hospital, Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

Fitzgibbon, Edwin, 1874-1938, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/25
  • Person
  • 26 January 1874-24 June 1938

Thomas Fitzgibbon was born in 1874 to a large Irish-speaking family in Ballynona near Castlemartyr in County Cork. He was educated at the Capuchin College in Rochestown, County Cork, and joined the Order in March 1893 taking Edwin as his religious name. He was solemnly professed as a Capuchin friar in December 1897 and continued his studies in the University of Louvain where he obtained a PhD. He was ordained in St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, Dublin, by Archbishop William Walsh in February 1902. In 1906 Fr. Edwin was appointed Rector of the Capuchin College in Rochestown and he became an enthusiastic supporter of the school’s Gaelic sports’ teams. In December 1908, Queen’s College, Cork, became one of the constituent colleges of the new National University of Ireland (NUI). Fitzgibbon was one of the first appointees to the new college becoming Professor of Philosophy in 1909. In 1912 he was elected president of the university’s hurling club. Almost immediately, he donated his annual salary (reckoned to be about £80) for the purchase of a trophy to be contested by the hurling teams of various colleges within the NUI. The Fitzgibbon Cup was the last national Gaelic trophy to be named after a living person, and the donor remained a regular fixture at the presentation ceremonies for the next twenty-five years. Fr. Edwin was elected Provincial Minister of the Irish Capuchins on four occasions, holding this office from 1919-22, 1926-9, 1931-4 and 1934-7. He undertook several visitations to the newly established Irish Capuchin mission custody in the Western United States while Provincial Minister. Ill-health forced his resignation from the Chair of Philosophy in UCC in 1937. He died at the Bon Secours Home in Cork on 24 June 1938 and was buried in the cemetery adjoining the Capuchin Friary in Rochestown, County Cork.

Baptismal name: Thomas Fitzgibbon
Religious name: Fr. Edwin Fitzgibbon OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 26 Jan. 1874
Place of birth: Castlemartyr, County Cork (Diocese of Cloyne)
Name of father: John Fitzgibbon
Name of mother: Elizabeth Fitzgibbon (née Desmond)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 23 Mar. 1893
Date of first profession: 24 April 1894
Date of final profession: 25 Dec. 1897
Date of ordination (as priest): 23 Feb. 1902
Leadership positions: Provincial Minister: 1919-22; 1926-9; 1931-4; 1934-7; Provincial Definitor: 1907-10; 1910-3; 1916-9.
Date of death: 24 June 1938
Place of death: Bon Secours Home, Cork
Place of burial, Cemetery, Capuchin Friary, Rochestown, County Cork

Flynn, Killian, 1905-1972, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/140
  • Person
  • 27 May 1905-3 December 1972

Vincent Flynn, the son of William Flynn and Mary Anne Flynn (née Collins), was born in County Donegal on 27 May 1905. He joined the Capuchin Order in October 1922 and took Killian as his religious name. He was ordained a priest in June 1930 and travelled as a missionary friar to Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) in September 1931. He held the position of superior of the Irish Capuchin mission in Northern Rhodesia throughout most of the 1930s. He was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic of Victoria Falls (Livingstone) in 1936, a position he would hold for fifteen years. He became General Secretary for Education in Northern Rhodesia and established the Catholic Secretariat for the Bishops in 1951. He was awarded an MBE by the British monarchy for his services to native African education in 1958. In 1961 bishops from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia appointed Flynn the first Secretary General of the newly established Association of Members of the Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in Nairobi, Kenya, a post he would hold until his death. He was the principal organizer for the historic visit of Pope Paul VI to Uganda in 1969 for which he received the ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ award. Later, he acted as the principal contact for the AMECEA bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-5). Following a short illness, he died in Dublin on 3 December 1972. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Baptismal name: Vincent Flynn
Religious name: Killian
Date of birth: 27 May 1905
Place of birth: Killybegs, County Donegal (Diocese of Raphoe)
Name of father: William Flynn
Name of mother: Mary Anne Flynn (née Collins)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 15 Oct. 1922
Date of first profession: 19 Oct. 1923
Date of final profession: 19 Oct. 1926
Date of ordination (as priest): 29 June 1930
Educational attainments: BA (NUI), 1926
Missionary activity/leadership positions: Travelled to South Africa and later Northern Rhodesia in Sept. 1931; Appointed Prefect Apostolic of Victoria Falls in 1936; Superior of Capuchin Foreign Missions, Africa, 21 June 1935 and reappointed on 14 Oct. 1938 and from 1942-46; General Secretary for Education of the Hierarchy of Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) in 1951; appointed General Secretary to the Hierarchy with the title of ‘Very Reverend’ with privilege of former Provincial Minister as understood in Mission Statue No. 134 granted by the Capuchin General Definitory on 20 July 1963.
Date of death: 3 Dec. 1972
Place of death: Bon Secours Hospital, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

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