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Bibby, Albert, 1877-1925, Capuchin priest

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

Thomas Bibby was born on 24 Oct. 1877 in Bagenalstown, County Carlow. He was baptised on 28 Oct. 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 Feb. 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 Dec. 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. He died on 14 Feb. 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.

O'Connor, Dominic, 1883-1935, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/47
  • Person
  • 13 February 1883-17 October 1935

John Francis O’Connor was born on 13 Feb. 1883 in County Cork. He was born into a devoutly Catholic family. His father, John O’Connor, a teacher, and his mother, Mary Ann Sheehan, were both tertiaries of the Third Order of St. Francis attached to Holy Trinity Capuchin Church, Cork. A brother of Many Ann Sheehan had already joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order. Fr. Luke Sheehan OFM Cap. was one of the first Catholic missionaries to minister in the American state of Oregon. A good number of John’s siblings also entered religious life. John entered Rochestown College, Cork, in the Autumn of 1897. Having successfully completed his secondary education, he entered the Capuchin novitiate on 1 Oct. 1899 and received the religious name of Dominic. A year later he took his simple vows and in the Autumn of the same year began studying for a philosophy degree in the Royal University, Cork. He was ordained a priest on 17 Mar. 1906 in the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny. He later enrolled in the Catholic University in Louvain where he obtained a Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Sacred Theology). In response to a call from Cardinal Michael Logue, Archbishop of Armagh, Fr. Dominic volunteered for chaplaincy work with the British armed forces during the First World War. After spending two months with a Scottish brigade in England, he transferred to a hospital unit bound for Salonika, Greece. After approximately two years of service, Fr. Dominic resigned his post in 1917, returned to Ireland and was appointed to the Capuchin community in Holy Trinity Friary, Cork. Fr. Dominic soon attained notoriety in nationalist circles and was appointed chaplain to the Cork Brigade of IRA Volunteers by Tomas MacCurtain. As chaplain, Fr. Dominic was the first to appear at the MacCurtain home in Blackpool, Cork, on the morning the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor was killed by British forces (20 Mar. 1920). He also served as chaplain to MacCurtain’s successor as Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, who was arrested on 12 Aug. 1920. Fr. Dominic ministered to MacSwiney throughout his hunger strike in Brixton Prison and was present for his death on 25 Oct. 1920. Soon after his return to Ireland, Fr. Dominic was arrested at the Capuchin Friary on Church Street, Dublin. He was taken to Dublin Castle and in January 1921 was court martialled and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. During his confinement, he became acquainted with two notable republican detainees, Ernie O’Malley and Pádraig Ó Caoimh. Fr. Dominic served about a year of his imprisonment in Parkhurst Prison. Following the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, there was a general amnesty for prisoners and Fr. Dominic was released in January 1922. On 25 February 1922, he was granted the freedom of Cork ‘as a mark of respect for his valuable services rendered to the first two Republican Lord Mayors of Cork’. With the onset of the Civil War the Capuchins in Church Street were once more involved in ministering to besieged republicans. In June 1922 the Four Courts, located only a couple of hundred meters from the Church Street Friary, was attacked by Free State forces. Fr. Dominic (assisted by Fr. Albert Bibby OFM Cap.) provided spiritual comfort, assisted in the evacuation of the wounded, and later facilitated the surrender of the defeated garrison. Soon afterwards, Fr. Dominic returned to Holy Trinity Friary, Cork. On 26 Nov. 1922 a decision was made by the Provincial Definitory of the Irish Capuchins to have Fr. Dominic transferred to the Province’s Mission in Bend, Oregon, United States. This was the location of Fr. Luke Sheehan’s (Fr. Dominic’s uncle) pioneering missionary work some years before. For the remainder of his life Fr. Dominic performed routine duties associated with the missionary apostolate of a Capuchin friar. He was appointed temporary rector of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral and published the first of a two-volume history of the Diocese of Baker in 1930. In August 1935 he sustained serious injuries in a car accident from which he never fully recovered. He died on 17 Oct. 1935 and was buried in Bend, Oregon. His remains (along with those of Fr. Albert Bibby OFM Cap.) were later repatriated to Ireland and he was buried in the cemetery of Rochestown Capuchin Friary, Cork, on 14 June 1958

Travers, Aloysius, 1870-1957, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/8
  • Person
  • 20 March 1870-2 May 1957

William Patrick Travers was born into a prominent Cork family on 20 Mar. 1870. The family were devoutly Catholic. His elder brother, John, was also a Capuchin friar and took the religious name of Anthony; another brother became an Augustinian friar whilst a sister became an Ursuline nun. William joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order in 1887, took the religious name of Aloysius, and was ordained a priest in 1894. From his earliest years, Fr. Aloysius took a keen interest in promoting the work of the temperance movement. He was appointed President of the Father Mathew Hall, Dublin, and held this position from 1904-13. During his years as President, he used the Hall for the promotion of temperance and as a recreational venue for the members of the Sacred Heart Sodality. To further support the ideals of temperance and to revitalise interest in Irish culture, he founded 'The Father Mathew Record' which began publication in January 1908. The year before, he had inaugurated the Féis Maitiu which promoted Gaelic cultural revivalist activities such as storytelling and festivals of native song and dance. Fr. Aloysius also used the pages of the 'Record' to strongly promote a ‘Buy Irish Campaign’. About this time, he also established the League of Young Irish Crusaders. Like many of the Capuchin friars of the Dublin community, Fr. Aloysius was involved in ministering to the Rising leaders during their imprisonment and was present at the execution of James Connolly in Kilmainham Jail on 12 May 1916. He later championed the cause of various labour leaders in Dublin. It has also been speculated that Fr. Aloysius undertook a secret mission to Pope Benedict XV in connection with the Irish struggle. He was elected seven times to the office of Provincial Definitor (Councillor) and was Provincial Minister of the Irish Capuchins from 1913-6. In his later years, he became an enthusiastic member of the Legion of Mary and published numerous devotional tracts including a popular prayer book, 'The Voice of the Church', 'The Seraphic Standard' and 'ĺosa Mo Mhian'. He died on 2 May 1957 at the Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin. He was 89 years old and was a Capuchin friar for almost 69 of these years. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Hayden, Augustine, 1870-1954, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/6
  • Person
  • November 1870-7 February 1954

John Hayden was born in November 1870. He was baptised in Gowran, County Kilkenny on 7 Nov. 1870. His parents were William and Mary Hayden (née Morrissey). On 8 Dec. 1884, he was among the first five pupils to be admitted to the recently opened Capuchin Seraphic School at Rochestown, County Cork. He took the religious name of Augustine upon entering the Capuchin Order in November 1885. Towards the end of his clerical studies his health deteriorated and he was forced to spend two years in Switzerland. He was ordained a priest in the Augustinian Church, Thomas Street, Dublin, in November 1893. On 3 August 1896, Fr. Augustine was appointed rector of Rochestown College, replacing Fr. Francis Hayes OFM Cap. He held this position from 1896 to 1907. He later returned to Dublin and was Guardian of the Church Street Friary from 1913-6. He cultivated a strong interest in the Gaelic Revival and in particular preserving the Irish language. He was associated with Shán Ó Cuív (1875-1940) in establishing the Irish Language College at Ballingeary, County Cork in 1904, the first college of its kind. He was also a regular correspondent with Fr. Peadar Ua Laoghaire (1839-1920), a noted figure in Conradh na Gaelige, and for many years conducted missions in Gaeltacht areas of Counties Kerry and Donegal. In the immediate aftermath of the 1916 Rising, Fr. Augustine accompanied Fr. Aloysius Travers OFM Cap. in visiting Patrick Pearse and James Connolly. He was instrumental in securing the surrender of Thomas MacDonagh at the Jacob’s Factory and was present at Ėamonn Ceannt’s surrender at the South Dublin Union. He also ministered to Ceannt in the hours before his execution. Like the other Capuchin friars of the Dublin community, Fr. Augustine later committed his memories of Easter Week to writing (CA IR-1-4-1). In 1917, he was the celebrant at the wedding of Terence MacSwiney to Muriel Murphy and he was also the celebrant at the marriage of McSwiney’s daughter in Cork in 1940. He also authored a number of devotional texts including 'Ireland’s Loyalty to the Mass' (1933) and 'Ireland’s Loyalty to Mary' (1952). Fr. Augustine died on 7 February 1954 at the Bon Secours Home, Cork, and was laid to rest in the cemetery of the Capuchin Friary, Rochestown in County Cork.

Moynihan, Senan, 1900-1970, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/130
  • Person
  • 24 November 1900-26 July 1970

John Moynihan, the son of Thomas and Mary Moynihan, was born on 24 November 1900 in Castlegregory, County Kerry. He was educated at Aughacasla National School (eight years) and at St. Brendan’s Seminary, Killarney (four years) and he matriculated in June 1918. He studied at All Hallows College in Dublin from October 1918 to March 1919. He joined the Irish Capuchin Franciscans in September 1920 taking the religious name of Senan. He took his final vows in 1925 and he was ordained a priest in 1928. Shortly after his ordination in 1928 he was appointed editor of ‘The Father Mathew Record’, a popular monthly publication of the Irish Capuchins which promoted the Order’s overseas’ missions (particularly in Africa) and carried articles supporting the cause of total abstinence. Fr. Senan strove to create a higher grade, more literary publication. He was acquainted with many well-known Irish writers and artists and he secured permission from the Order’s leadership to publish an ‘Annual’ in 1930. ‘The Capuchin Annual’ was published from 1930 to 1977. The publication was very much the work of Fr. Senan and he remained its editor until 1954. In 1955 a decision was made at the Capuchin Provincial Chapter to remove Fr. Senan from the editorship of the ‘Annual’. Soon afterwards he travelled to Perth at the invitation of Archbishop Redmond Prendiville (1900-1968), a fellow Kerry man. Fr. Francis Moynihan, a brother of Fr. Senan, had also been resident in Australia and was parish priest of St. John’s, Clifton Hill, in Melbourne. Fr. Francis was also the editor of ‘The Advocate’, a leading Catholic newspaper in Australia. Fr. Senan arrived in Perth in 1959. He was incardinated into the Perth Archdiocese on 1 April 1959 (as a diocesan priest having left the Capuchin Order). On arrival he took up a position as chaplain to religious sisters at St Anne’s Hospital, Mt Lawley (now Mercy Hospital). He did not, however, act as a chaplain to the patients. Archbishop Redmond Prendiville appointed him the first archivist of the Archdiocese of Perth in July 1962. Fr. Senan died in Perth on 26 July 1970. He is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth.

Mathew, Theobald, 1790-1856, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/TM
  • Person
  • 10 October 1790-8 December 1856

Theobald Mathew was born at Thomastown Castle near the village of Golden in County Tipperary on 10 October 1790. The Mathews were an old, landed family with both Catholic and Protestant branches. Francis Mathew (1738-1806) was the owner of Thomastown Castle. He was created Viscount Landaff in 1793, and then Earl Landaff in 1797 (the title derived from the place in Wales from which the family had come to Ireland in the seventeenth century). The title was sometimes referred to as the Earldom of Llandaff since that is the more common Welsh spelling, but it is Earl Landaff in the Peerage of Ireland. The Mathews of Thomastown held this title from 1797 to 1833. In the 1760s, Francis Mathew had adopted his orphaned cousin, James Mathew, Theobald’s father. On reaching adulthood, James was appointed the agent for the Mathew estate. Unlike many of the Mathews, James remained a Catholic throughout his life. His wife, Anne Whyte, was also a Catholic. They had twelve children, the fourth of whom was Theobald. The young Theobald Mathew had a privileged childhood, enjoying favoured treatment from his Protestant relation, Lady Elizabeth Mathew, the daughter of Francis Mathew. Lady Elizabeth knew and approved of Theobald’s priestly ambitions, and in 1800 she provided the money to pay for his education at St. Canice’s, a Catholic boarding school in Kilkenny. In September 1807, Theobald enrolled at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, for seminary training. However, his plans were upset when in his first year he was forced to leave Maynooth to avoid being expelled for holding what appears to have been a drunken party for his fellow students. He was subsequently accepted by the Capuchin Franciscan Order as a novice and he made his way to Church Street in Dublin to be trained. The Capuchins, in common with many of the religious orders in Ireland, were weak at this time and were thus extremely anxious for new recruits.

On 3 April 1813 Mathew was ordained a deacon. A year later he was ordained a priest by the Most Rev. Daniel Murray (1768-1852), later Archbishop of Dublin. After a brief sojourn in Kilkenny, Fr. Mathew moved back to Cork where he came under the influence of Fr. Daniel Donovan OSFC (d. 14 Jan. 1821) who was elected Provincial Minister of the Irish Capuchins in 1816. Fr. Mathew devoted a good deal of his time to practical charitable enterprises, establishing schools for poor and orphaned children. In these schools the children were taught household skills in addition to elementary subjects. In 1821, Fr. Donovan died, and Fr. Mathew was elected his successor as Provincial Minister. He would continue to hold this position until 1851. In 1832, he broke ground for an elaborate, Gothic-style Capuchin church in Cork (subsequently called The Church of the Most Holy Trinity), on Charlotte Quay (later renamed Father Mathew Quay). Due to a lack of funds the church would remain unfinished in Fr. Mathew’s lifetime. It was not until 1890 that the spire and façade were added. Nevertheless, Fr. Mathew gained an excellent reputation in the local community for his tireless endeavours in support of the poor of Cork. He was also noted for his exceptional spirit of ecumenism. He was on friendly terms with several leading Protestants and Quakers in the city. Fr. Mathew joined the total abstinence movement in Cork in April 1838. The Cork Total Abstinence Society was established with the avowed aim of encouraging people to make one enduring act of which would keep them sober for life. This act of will was enshrined in the pledge to abstain from the taking of intoxicating liquor.

From the very beginning Fr. Mathew’s endeavours in the cause of temperance gained striking success. Under his leadership, teetotalism drew many adherents in Cork and spread throughout Munster and eventually throughout Ireland. The Society’s ranks quickly grew, and within three months, Fr. Mathew had enrolled 25,000 new members in Cork alone. In five months, the number had increased to 130,000. He travelled across Ireland, convincing thousands more to pledge teetotalism. In August 1842, he began traveling internationally, first to Scotland, then England. At its height, just before the outbreak of the famine in 1845, Fr. Mathew’s temperance movement had enrolled three million people, or more than half of the adult population of Ireland. By the mid-1840s he was frequently travelling to Britain with equally dramatic results. The leading nationalist politician, Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847), described the temperance movement as Fr. Mathew’s ‘mighty moral crusade’. In 1847, the priests of the diocese of Cork selected him to be their bishop. However, there was strong opposition from members of the hierarchy. It was held against him that he had accepted a pension from the Government. One long-standing critic among the bishops described him as ‘the hired tool of a heretical government’. This reflected the long-standing determination of the Catholic Church in Ireland not to accept state funding and the interference that would come in its train. Fr. Mathew’s financial mismanagement (he was known to be bountiful and generous to the point of extravagance), liberal Catholicism and Protestant associations also told against him. The Pope acceded to the almost unanimous advice of the Irish hierarchy that Fr. Mathew should not be appointed to the bishopric. Nevertheless, his standing as a popular figure remained undiminished. In July 1849, he visited the United States where he was greeted with enthusiastic acclaim. In Washington, the Congress unanimously admitted to him to a seat on the floor of the House; he was the first non-American after the Marquis de Lafayette to be so honoured. Rallies and demonstrations were held across the country to honour Ireland’s renowned ‘Apostle of Temperance’.

Despite this personal adulation, it was clear that Fr. Mathew’s movement had reached its zenith. From the late 1840s the movement began to decline almost dramatically as it had risen. His health started to fail (he had suffered a stroke in 1848) and crippling debts began to accumulate, making it increasingly difficult to continue the temperance crusade. The onset of the famine, brought about by the failure of the potato crop in 1845, dealt a grievous blow to the movement; thousands of Fr. Mathew’s followers died or emigrated in those years. Many of those who remained in Ireland had to contend with more pressing concerns than the maintenance of their pledge to abstain from alcohol. In late 1853, despite declining health, Fr. Mathew ventured to Limerick where he administered the pledge in what was his last appearance at a public meeting. In October 1854, on medical advice, he travelled to Madeira, but his health continued to deteriorate. In the absence of its charismatic leader the temperance movement continued to weaken. He suffered a severe stroke in late 1856 and died in Queenstown, County Cork, on 8 December 1856. He was 66 years old. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Cork, which he had established twenty-six years earlier.

Healy, Angelus, 1875-1953, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/23
  • Person
  • 26 February 1875-20 August 1853

Patrick Healy was born on 26 February 1875 in Graiguenamanagh, a small town on the border between Counties Carlow and Kilkenny. He entered the Capuchin novitiate at Rochestown in County Cork on 7 July 1894 and took the religious name of Angelus. He took his solemn vows in December 1897 and was ordained a priest in February 1902. Fr. Angelus cultivated a life-long interest in the history of the Irish Capuchins. In 1904, he worked alongside Fr. Stanislaus Kavanagh OFM Cap. (1876-1965) in transcribing autograph copies of two seventeenth century histories of the Irish friars by Nicholas Archbold ‘The historie of the Irish Capucins’ (1643) and Robert O’Connell ‘Historia Missionis Hiberniae Fratrum Minorum Capucinorum’ (c.1654). The original texts had been brought from France to the National Library of Ireland in Dublin for copying. Fr. Angelus was considered an authority on the history of the Irish Capuchin Province, and in 1919 he was chosen as a witness in the beatification cause of two seventeenth-century Capuchin martyrs, Fr. Fiacre Tobin OSFC (c.1620-1656) and Fr. John Baptist Dowdall OSFC (c.1626-1710). He also held several important administrative positions in the Irish Province. Three times he was elected as definitor (or counsellor), from 1910-3 and from 1922-5. He also held the position of Vicar-Provincial and was elected Custos General in 1913 which enabled him to attend the General Chapter of the Order in Rome. He was appointed Guardian of the Church Street Friary and was, at various times, Master of Novices, editor of ‘The Father Mathew Record’ periodical, and director-general of the Total Abstinence Association. Fr. Angelus never considered himself an academic historian but throughout his life he worked assiduously to assemble a vast corpus of documentary records on the history of the friars in Ireland. His ‘Pages from the Story of the Irish Capuchins’, published in 1915 to mark the tercentenary of the arrival of the first friar in Ireland, offered a concise introduction to the subject. ‘The execution of a more scholarly work’, he claimed, demanded ‘more patient research than he could ever command’. Known as an able missionary and preacher, he was also acclaimed as the ‘Guardian of the Reek’ in honour of his long association with the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage in County Mayo. His association with Croagh Patrick (also called ‘St. Patrick’s Reek’) lasted from 1906 to 1949, during which he climbed the mountain forty-two times missing only two years, in 1919 due to a railway strike, and in 1922 due to the Civil War. He died at the Presbytery in Westport Parish at the foot of Croagh Patrick on 20 August 1953. He was buried in the Capuchin plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Shine, William Patrick, 1843-1905, Presentation Brother

  • IE PB P/1
  • Person
  • 20 July 1843-20 April 1905

Born: 20 July 1843 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, County Kerry
Entered: 10 February 1868, South Monastery, Cork
Reception: [?August] 1868
Professed: 27 August 1870
Died: 20 April 1905, Mount St Joseph, Cork
Interred: Blessed Edmund Rice Cemetery, Mount St Joseph, Cork

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