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Ruth, Carthage, 1923-2010, Capuchin priest

  • Personne
  • 6 March 1923-26 December 2010

Baptismal name: James Ruth
Religious name: Fr. Carthage Ruth OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 6 Mar. 1923
Place of birth: Enniscorthy, County Wexford (Diocese of Ferns)
Name of father: William Ruth
Name of mother: Margaret Ruth (née Dobbs)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 3 Oct. 1941
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1942
Date of final profession: 4 Oct. 1945
Date of ordination (as priest): 16 June 1949
Educational attainments: BA (1945)
Missionary activities: Travelled to the Prefecture of Victoria Falls, Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia), in February 1950. Later, he undertook missionary work in the Archdiocese of Cape Town in South Africa. Returned to Ireland in 1971.
Date of death: 26 Dec. 2010
Place of death: Bon Secours convalescence home, Mount Desert, Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

Nesdale, Seraphin, 1897-1980, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/101
  • Personne
  • 21 September 1897-14 December 1980

Baptismal name: Thomas Nesdale
Religious name: Fr. Seraphin Nesdale OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 21 Sept. 1897
Date of baptism: 26 Sept. 1897
Place of birth: Adrigole, County Cork
Name of father: Thomas Nesdale
Name of mother: Margaret Nesdale (née Regan)
Occupation of parents: National School Teachers
Primary school education: Trafrask National School, Adrigole, County Cork
Secondary school education: Seraphic (Capuchin) College, Rochestown, County Cork
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 8 Sept. 1915
Date of first profession: 17 Sept. 1916
Date of final profession: 12 Oct. 1919
Date of ordination (as priest): 29 June 1925
Education attainments: BA (1921)
Missionary activity: United States Mission (1925); African Mission (Sept. 1931). He returned to Ireland in Mar. 1946.
Date of death: 14 Dec. 1980
Place of death: Kilkenny
Place of burial: Foulkstown Cemetery, County Kilkenny

Herlihy, Agathangelus, 1911-1968, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/173
  • Personne
  • 11 March 1911-5 June 1968

John Brendan Herlihy was born in the village of Knocknagree in County Cork on 11 March 1911. He joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order in October 1928 and took Agathangelus as his religious name. He studied in Rome and was later ordained to the priesthood in Letterkenny, County Donegal, in June 1935. In the following year he volunteered for missionary work in Africa. He initially worked in the missionary territory in the Prefecture of Victoria Falls in Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia). In the 1940s he was appointed guardian (local superior) and parish priest of St. Mary of the Angels Friary in Athlone just outside Cape Town in South Africa. On 9 September 1958 he arrived in New Zealand and was appointed the first guardian of the community at 186 Glenmore Street in Northland, a suburb of Wellington. He was also the first Capuchin priest in St. Vincent de Paul Parish (now Otari Parish) in Northland-Kelburn in Wellington. He was diagnosed with cancer and died in Wellington on 5 June 1968. He was buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington

Baptismal name: John Brendan Herlihy
Religious name: Fr. Agathangelus Herlihy OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 11 Mar. 1911
Place of birth: Knocknagree, Couny Cork (Diocese of Kerry)
Name of father: John Herlihy
Name of mother: Catherine Herlihy (née Sullivan)
Date of reception in the Capuchin Order: 5 Oct. 1928
Date of first profession: 6 Oct. 1929
Date of final profession: 6 Oct. 1932
Date of ordination (as priest): 23 June 1935 (St. Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny)
Educational attainments: 1st class hons., BA, 1931
Missionary activity: Travelled to the Prefecture of Victoria Falls, Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia), on 31 Oct. 1936; Travelled to Wellington, New Zealand, on 21 June 1958
Leadership positions: Appointed first discreet of the Victoria Falls Mission, Northern Rhodesia, on 28 March 1946; Appointed second discreet of the Livingstone Mission, Northern Rhodesia, on 24 Nov. 1950 (re-appointed on 6 June 1954).
Date of death: 5 June 1968
Place of death: Calvary Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand
Place of burial: Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand

Joyce, Gerard, 1906-1944, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/162
  • Personne
  • 15 June 1906-12 July 1944

Thomas Joyce was born near Urlingford in County Kilkenny on 15 June 1906. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans in October 1926 and took Gerard his religious name. He enjoyed a brilliant academic career in Rome (gaining a Licentiate in Canon Law) and in Ireland (a Higher Diploma in Education from University College Cork). He was ordained to the priesthood at Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary in County Donegal in June 1933. In 1937 he travelled to the Prefecture of Victoria Falls in Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) and ministered in the region around Sihole for seven years. He died of blackwater fever at the mission outpost of Kalabo on 12 July 1944 at the age of just thirty-five. Fr. Capistran Singleton OFM Cap., a fellow missionary friar, ministered to him in his final hours while Br. Alexius Paolucci OFM Cap. made his coffin with some wooden planks intended for the new church.

Baptismal name: Thomas Joyce
Religious name: Fr. Gerard Joyce OFM Cap.
Place of birth: The Islands, Urlingford, County Kilkenny (Diocese of Ossory)
Date of birth: 15 June 1906
Name of father: Patrick Joyce (Farmer)
Name of mother: Mary Joyce (née Hennessy)
Date of reception into Capuchin Order: 4 Oct. 1926
Date of first profession: 5 Oct. 1927
Date of final profession: 5 Oct. 1930
Date of ordination (as priest): 29 June 1933
Educational attainments: BA (1930); LIC (Rome, 1933-6); returned from Rome in 1936 to prepare for missionary work in Africa
Missionary activities: Travelled to the Prefecture of Victoria Falls, Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia), in 1937
Date of death: 12 July 1944
Place of death: Kalabo, Northern Rhodesia (died of Blackwater Fever). Fr. Capistran Singleton OFM Cap. was with him.

Cullen, Alban, 1898-1970, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/119
  • Personne
  • 7 November 1898-29 April 1970

Baptismal name: William Cullen
Religious name: Fr. Alban Cullen OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 7 Nov. 1898
Place of birth: Dublin
Name of father: James Cullen
Name of mother: Mary Ann ‘Margaret’ Cullen (née Ryan)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 12 Nov. 1917
Date of first profession: 17 Nov. 1918
Date of final profession: 17 Nov. 1921
Date of Ordination (as priest): 29 June 1925
Missionary activities:
1925-29 California, United States
1929-38 South Africa
1938-47 California, United States (returned to Ireland on 14 Oct. 1948)
Fr. Alban Cullen OFM Cap. was Pastor of Hermiston Parish, Oregon from 1939-43.
Fr. Alban Cullen OFM Cap. ministered in St. Anthony’s Parish, Willits, California from c.1943-7.
1948-52 South Africa (travelled to South Africa on 12 July 1948)
1956-70 California, United States
Date of death: 29 Apr. 1970
Place of death: Burlingame, California

Guy, Benvenutus, 1860-1927, Capuchin priest

  • Personne
  • 4 May 1860-9 November 1927

Baptismal name: James Guy
Religious name: Fr. Benvenutus Guy OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 4 May 1860
Place of birth: Trim, County Meath
Name of father: Patrick Guy
Name of mother: Bridget Guy (née McMahon)
Ministries: Founded the Church Street Catholic Boys’ Brigade in Dublin March 1894. He also acted as the organisation’s first president. He left the Capuchin Order, moved to England, and was incardinated into the Diocese of Middlesbrough in 1899. He served as a Chaplain to the Forces during the First World War.
Date of death: 9 November 1927
Place of death: Halifax, England

Brennan, Sebastian, 1861-1937, Capuchin priest

  • Personne
  • 9 December 1861-29 January 1937

Thomas Brennan was born (to Irish parents) in the town of Tow Law in County Durham in England on 9 December 1861. He joined the English Province of the Capuchin Franciscan Order at Pantasaph Friary in North Wales in May 1879, taking Sebastian as his religious name. He was ordained to the priesthood in September 1886. In the following years he was appointed to several pastoral positions in England. He was engaged in mission work in Peckham in London and held the position of vice-master of novices. At the Provincial Chapter of 1890 he was appointed spiritual director to the students and chaplain at a nearby convent, orphanage, and boarding school in Pantasaph. In June 1892 he was appointed Lector of Philosophy and Vicar of the House of Studies at Olton in Birmingham. In December 1897 he resigned from his position as guardian (local superior) of Olton to take up missionary work in the United States but was recalled and asked to finish out his term as guardian. Finally, in October 1901, he travelled to America and laboured there in ministry for the rest of his life. He ministered for some time in the Diocese of Lincoln in Nebraska. In September 1903 he and several other friars made their way to Mendocino County in California. Fr. Sebastian initially took charge of Fort Bragg and the area north to the county line. In December 1912 he moved to St. Mary’s Parish in Ukiah. He was appointed superior of the California mission in December 1910 and held this position until June 1920. In 1920 the English Capuchins were given a choice by the Minister General as to whether to remain in California or undertake missionary work in India. Fr. Sebastian opted to remain in the United States while the Irish Capuchins accepted a request from Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna to take over pastoral work in Mendocino County. Fr. Luke Sheehan OFM Cap. arrived in June 1920 to take charge and Fr. Sebastian moved to Mendocino City. Fr. Sebastian was formally affiliated with the Irish Capuchin Province in 1924. In January 1923 he assumed parochial duties in Greenwood, Elk, and was posted to Willits in October 1928. His final assignment (from 1934) was at Mission Santa Inez near Solvang in California. He died in Santa Inez on 29 January 1937 and was buried in the adjoining mission cemetery.

Baptismal name: Thomas Brennan
Religious name: Fr. Sebastian Brennan OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 9 Dec. 1861
Place of birth: Tow Law, Durham, England
Name of father: Thomas Brennan
Name of mother: Mary Brennan (née Waters)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 18 May 1879
Date of first profession: 23 May 1880
Date of final profession: 23 May 1883
Date of ordination (as priest): 18 Sept. 1886
Missionary assignments: Travelled to California, United States, in 1901 and remained there until his death.
Date of death: 29 January 1937
Place of death: California, United States
Place of burial, Cemetery, Mission Santa Inez, California

O’Brien, Sebastian, 1867-1931, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/9
  • Personne
  • 26 February 1867-12 September 1931

Baptismal name: Frederick O’Brien
Religious name: Fr. Sebastian O’Brien OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 26 Feb. 1867
Place of birth: Dublin
Name of father: John O’Brien
Name of mother: Anne O’Brien (née Molloy)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 11 June 1887
Date of first profession: 18 June 1888
Date of final profession: 22 Feb. 1892
Date of ordination: 18 Oct. 1894
Date of death: 12 Sept. 1931
Place of death: Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Van Damme, Seraphin, 1820-1887, Capuchin priest

  • Personne
  • 1820-15 August 1887

Baptismal name: John Van Damme
Religious name: Fr. Seraphin Van Damme OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 1820
Place of birth: Bruges, Belgium
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 1840
Leadership positions: Appointed Commissary General of the Irish Capuchins on 20 May 1882. He held this position until 1885; Provincial Minister, 1885-6.
Date of death: 15 Aug. 1887
Place of death: Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

O’Mahony, Donal, 1936-2010, Capuchin priest

  • Personne
  • 2 August 1936-14 August 2010

Donal O’Mahony was born on 2 August 1936 in Blackrock, Cork, the son of Jeremiah O’Mahony and his wife Ellen (née Walsh). He was educated at Rochestown College, and then trained as a sports journalist with the ‘Irish Independent’ for three years. Finding he had a vocation for the priesthood, he was received into the Capuchin Franciscan Order on 8 November 1958, and trained at Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary at Cashelmore, Creeslough, in County Donegal. He took Augustine as his religious name and was ordained on 1 June 1966 at St. Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny, County Donegal.

Based at the Capuchin Friary on Church Street in Dublin, he was from the beginning prepared to confront sensitive topics, arguing in the 1967 edition of ‘The Capuchin Annual’ that contemporary Marian devotional practices were not undermined by the promotion of ecumenism and an emphasis on liturgical worship emanating from the Second Vatican Council. As editor from January 1967 of the monthly ‘Father Mathew Record’, he modernised the magazine’s design and layout (undertaken by illustrator Richard King), included his own photography, commissioned articles on contemporary secular culture (including from Micheál MacLiammóir), and highlighted the issues of poverty and deprivation in Ireland and abroad. From January 1968, he renamed the publication ‘Eirigh: A Magazine of Christian Optimism’, and co-opted lay editorial and managerial staff. Its editorial policy sought to ‘communicate the Christian message to a modern family readership in the light of our inherited spiritual, national, and cultural traditions’, urged the promotion of breastfeeding in the developing world, and stressed how social improvements based on economic development were resulting in resource depletion and ecological debasement. Within a year circulation had increased by 11,600; however, the magazine was distributed principally via mail and rising postal rates caused it to cease publication in December 1973. The last issue was devoted to unequal distribution of wealth within and between countries.

O’Mahony also wrote as a columnist with the weekly ‘Women’s View’ (December 1967 to September 1970), drawing on the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi when expounding on the role of women in the church, and on other issues such as student protest, just war and animal rights. Based at the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny in the early to mid-1970s, he became involved with the local branch of Pax Christi (an international Catholic peace and reconciliation organisation based in the Netherlands), and organised peace concerts, talks and walks. He was active in European peace forums, religious and secular, seeking to defuse cold war tensions and mitigate religious repression in various Warsaw Pact states. In January 1975 he was appointed national chaplain of Pax Christi in Ireland and later joined the international board.

When Dr Tiede Herrema, the Dutch managing director of the Ferenka plant in Limerick, was kidnapped on 3 October 1975 by Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle of the Provisional IRA, Cardinal Bernard Alfrink, Archbishop of Utrecht and international president of Pax Christi, suggested O’Mahony as a suitable intermediary to negotiate with Herrema’s captors. On 9 October, O’Mahony, under Garda special branch surveillance, secretly received a tape from the kidnappers. Believing his moral responsibility allowed him to maintain confidentiality in contacts with the kidnappers, he offered to switch places with the married Herrema, visited the family of Gallagher in Ballybofey, and consulted a psychologist to better understand his interlocutors. Perceived as unwilling to criticise the government by the kidnappers, O’Mahony was replaced as intermediary by Philip Flynn – deputy secretary general of the Local Government and Public Services Union and a member of Provisional Sinn Féin – although he remained involved in the background. Herrema, released unharmed on 7 November, remained grateful for O’Mahony’s efforts on his behalf, and led a Pax Christi Ireland fundraising campaign in 1977.

In 1974 O’Mahony was entrusted with the ‘flat-dwellers apostolate’ by the Dublin Archdiocese; this involved administering the eucharist to flat-dwellers who had difficulties in going to church. Harrowed by the urban poverty he witnessed, he established an exploratory working group in 1976 to address housing deprivation, which evolved into the organisation Threshold, founded on 3 April 1978. A research-driven advocacy group lobbying for improved public and private housing conditions, on 19 August 1979 Threshold became a limited company with professional administration, providing training to volunteer advisors in conjunction with the Irish Management Institute, and advocating enhanced legislation and regulation to address the chronic shortage of quality accommodation. O’Mahony, as Threshold’s executive director, publicised the abject housing conditions endured by many and urged improved legislative and regulatory protection. The organisation concentrated on assisting private tenants to secure their legal rights and ameliorating the effects of homelessness, poverty, and deprivation, helping almost 3,000 people in its first two years. O’Mahony drew on his extensive international contacts as principal organiser of the Pax Christi International Council (Dublin) and the attendant peace conference (Derry) in April 1977. From the late 1970s, he regularly participated in seminars at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, in County Wicklow, and contributed to ecumenical reconciliation forums that facilitated the establishment of what became the New Ireland Movement. Urging the recognition of the humanity of all those in any conflict, O’Mahony frequently participated in ecumenical and secular protests promoting peace and sustainable living in Ireland and around the world.

In March 1983 Archbishop Dermot Ryan invited the Capuchins to administer the parish of St. Michan’s and St Paul’s in the Halston Street and Arran Quay areas. O’Mahony was formally appointed as parish priest at a service in the Capuchin Friary Church of St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, on 10 April 1983, and ministered in the parish until 1987. An internationally respected mediator and negotiator, he was called upon, both publicly and privately, to defuse hostage-takings in Honduras, Italy and elsewhere throughout the 1980s, as well as facilitating inter-faith cross-community workshops in Lebanon. Posted to the General Curia of the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Rome (1987-9), in 1990 he was briefly chaplain to Coolmine Community School in Blanchardstown in County Dublin, before returning to Rome to take charge of the Order’s justice, peace and ecology office (1991-4). Visiting ninety-four countries over seven years, he participated in several UN summits on issues such as environmental protection and development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), a UN habitat conference (Istanbul, 1996), and a UN forum on sustainable development (Johannesburg, 2002). He was also a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. The ‘American Franciscan Journal’ awarded him their Franciscan person of the year. From the late 1990s, he ministered at Holy Trinity Friary on Father Mathew Quay in Cork, and was instrumental in establishing Integrate Cork, an anti-racism group (2000).

He travelled to Pretoria in South Africa in 2001 and was appointed guardian (local superior) of the Capuchin Friary there. He served as justice, peace, and ecology coordinator for the East African Capuchin Conference. With the justice and peace department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, he established the Damietta Peace Initiative in 2004 to promote peace and non-violence throughout Africa. Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s mediation between Christians and Muslims in the Egyptian port city of Damietta (c.1219), this multi-ethnic, multi-faith community development and mediation initiative sought to engage grassroots activists across the continent. For his work in expanding the initiative throughout Africa, in 2008 O’Mahony received the peace award of the Interfaith Foundation of South Africa. Early in 2009 O’Mahony was diagnosed with cancer and returned to Ireland for treatment. He died on 14 August 2010 at Marymount Hospice in Cork. He was buried in the cemetery attached to the Capuchin Friary in Rochestown, County Cork.

Baptismal name: Donal O’Mahony
Religious name: Fr. Donal O’Mahony OFM Cap. (previously Fr. Augustine O’Mahony OFM Cap., he reverted to his baptismal name after the Second Vatican Council)
Date of birth: 2 Aug. 1936
Place of birth: Blackrock, Cork
Name of father: Jeremiah O’Mahony
Name of mother: Ellen Walsh
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 8 Nov. 1958
Date of first profession: 16 Nov. 1959
Date of final profession: 16 Nov. 1962
Date of ordination (as priest): 1 June 1966 (St. Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny, County Donegal)
Missionary activity: Travelled to South Africa in 2001; returned in 2010
Date of death: 14 Aug. 2010
Place of death: Marymount Hospice, Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Capuchin Friary, Rochestown, County Cork

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