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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.

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

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

Neary, Paul, 1857-1939, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/PN
  • Person
  • 24 May 1857-20 June 1939

William Neary, the son of John Leary and Brigid Neary (née Dowling), was born on 24 May 1857 in Freshford, County Kilkenny. An older brother, Michael, joined the Capuchins in 1875 and took the religious name of Fidelis. William followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Order in Kilkenny a year later in May 1876. He took Paul as his religious name was solemnly professed as a friar in October 1881. Following his profession, he was sent to France to continue his studies. He returned to Ireland and was ordained a priest in April 1881. In 1884, the Irish friars succeeded in re-establishing administrative autonomy by reconstituting a canonical Irish Capuchin Province with a Belgian-born friar, Fr. Seraphin Van Damme OSFC (1820-1887), appointed as Provincial Minister (Superior). In January 1887, Fr. Paul was summoned to Rome and was appointed the first Irish-born Provincial Minister of the reconstituted Irish Capuchin Province. Fr. Paul played a key role in the organisation of the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Fr. Theobald Mathew OSFC (1790-1856) in 1890 and in the campaign to secure funds to complete the church named in his honour (Holy Trinity, or Father Mathew Memorial Church in Cork). As Provincial Minister, and later as Vice-President of Father Mathew Hall in Dublin, he campaigned widely for the promotion of temperance. When the Catholic hierarchy invited the Irish Capuchins to undertake a nationwide crusade for the revival of temperance in 1905, Fr. Paul was the principal organiser and facilitator of this missionary campaign. Plagued by regular bouts of ill-health in his latter years, Fr. Paul Neary died in the Capuchin Friary on Church Street in Dublin on 20 June 1939 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Baptismal name: William Neary
Religious name: Fr. Paul Neary OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 24 May 1857
Place of birth: Freshford, County Kilkenny (Diocese of Ossory)
Name of father: John Neary
Name of mother: Brigid Neary (née Dowling)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 24 May 1876
Date of first profession: 27 May 1877
Date of final profession: 4 Oct. 1880
Date of ordination: 4 Apr. 1881
Date of death: 20 June 1939
Place of death: Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin
Leadership positions: Provincial Minister, 1887-90, 1890-3, 1904-7; Provincial Definitor, 1885-8, 1895-8, 1901-4, 1913-7.
Note: Fr. Fidelis (Michael) Neary OFM Cap. (1855-1932) was a brother of Fr. Paul Neary OFM Cap.

Murphy, Columbus, 1881-1962, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/42
  • Person
  • 17 June 1881-20 Feb. 1962

Daniel Murphy was born on 17 June 1881 in Cork. He was baptised in St. Finbarr’s Church on 19 June 1881. His parents were James and Sarah Murphy (née Flynn) of Ethelville, Western Road, Cork. He was a student of Presentation College and later Rochestown College in Cork. He applied for entrance to the Capuchin novitiate in August 1898 taking the religious name of Columbus. He was ordained a priest in 1906. He subsequently studied at the Catholic University of Louvain and obtained a Bachelor of Divinity in 1909. His life as a friar was mostly devoted to missionary and retreat work. At the outbreak of the 1916 Rising Fr. Columbus was a member of the Church Street community in Dublin. He would go on to play an important role in bringing about a cessation of hostilities. The day after the surrender of the Four Courts garrison on 29 April there was still confusion in North King Street and in other locations as to whether this was a truce or a complete surrender. To clarify, Fr. Columbus went to the Four Courts to retrieve Patrick Pearse’s note which had led to the surrender of Commandant Edward Daly. He later negotiated with the British military to arrange a personal meeting with Pearse in Arbour Hill and brought a copy of his surrender order to Commandant Patrick Holohan at North Brunswick Street. Between 30 April and 4 May Fr. Columbus was called upon to minister to prisoners in Kilmainham Jail prior to their executions. He later compiled a memoir recording his experiences of ministering to various rebel leaders awaiting their court martials and sentencing (IE CA IR-1-2-6). Fr. Columbus later acted as President of Father Mathew Hall, Church Street, Dublin, from 1925-8. He died on 20 February 1962.

Murphy, Bonaventure, 1880-1968, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/46
  • Person
  • 7 February 1880-26 April 1968

A native of Cork, Fr. Bonaventure Murphy OFM Cap. had a long association with the Capuchin College in Rochestown in the county and served as rector of the school for twenty-one years. While rector, he gave refuge to Captain Robert Monteith (1879-1956) who had accompanied Roger Casement to Ireland in a failed attempt to deliver German arms to be used by republican insurgents in the 1916 Rising. Monteith remained at Rochestown until arrangements could be made for his escape to the United States. Fr. Bonaventure was acquainted with many prominent republicans including Terence MacSwiney and Michael Collins and he reportedly sheltered Liam Mellows during the War of Independence. In 1934 he was appointed guardian (local superior) of the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny, a position he held until 1940. He continued to reside in Kilkenny until his death.

Baptismal name: Martin Murphy
Name (in religion): Fr. Bonaventure Murphy OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 7 Feb. 1880
Place of birth: Glanmire, County Cork
Name of father: Michael Murphy
Name of mother: Mary Murphy (née Hegarty)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 1 Oct. 1899
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1900
Date of final profession: 25 Sept. 1904
Date of ordination (as priest): 16 Mar. 1907
Date of death: 26 Apr. 1968
Place of death: St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny
Place of burial: Foulkstown Cemetery, Kilkenny

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.

Kavanagh, Stanislaus, 1876-1965, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/24
  • Person
  • 12 June 1876-16 May 1965

John Kavanagh was born in Mountmellick in Queen’s County (later County Laois) on 12 June 1876. Having spent some years in the Capuchin College in Rochestown, County Cork, he was received into the Capuchin Order in March 1893. He was ordained a priest in Dublin on 23 February 1902. Soon after his ordination he was stationed in Kilkenny as a Professor of Philosophy, but most of his life as a priest was spent in Dublin and in Cork. An accomplished scholar, Kavanagh spent many years in libraries and archives in England, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, transcribing thousands of documents in a very clear hand, recording everything relating to the Irish Capuchins which could be discovered overseas. His work in transcribing the seventeenth-century Latin text, the ‘Commentarius Rinuccinianus’, published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission in six volumes between 1932 and 1949, is well known. His extremely important corpus of manuscripts, surrogate copies and transcribed materials for early Capuchin history are now extant in the Irish Capuchin Archives. He served as Provincial Archivist for the Capuchin Order in Ireland from 1919 to 1958. In 1918 he was appointed to investigate the cause of two seventeenth century Irish Capuchin martyrs, Fr. Fiacre Tobin OSFC (d. 1856) and Fr. John Baptist Dowdall OSFC (d. 1710). Kavanagh also had a life-long interest in Fr. Theobald Mathew OSFC (1790-1856) and amassed a huge quantity of research and documentary material relating to his life and nineteenth-century temperance campaign. In recognition of his contribution to Irish historical scholarship, the National University of Ireland awarded him an honorary Doctor of Literature (D. Litt.) in 1947. Outside of academia, Kavanagh was a well-known preacher, missionary, and retreat-giver. In 1924 he was asked to travel to the United States where he spent several months assisting Irish Capuchin friars in missionary and preaching work. He was also a long-time incumbent of the position of Secretary of the Irish Capuchin Province (1922-31; 1937-55) and was elected Provincial Deifintor (Councillor) in 1931. His later years were blighted by dementia and he died on 16 May 1965 in the Bon Secours Hospital in Dublin. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Baptismal name: John Kavanagh
Religious name: Fr. Stanislaus Kavanagh OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 12 June 1876
Place of birth: Mountmellick, Queen’s County (County Laois), Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin
Name of father: Edward Kavanagh
Name of mother: Joanna Kavanagh (née Costello)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 20 Mar. 1893
Date of first profession: 2 July 1894
Date of final profession: 25 Dec. 1897
Date of ordination (as priest): 23 Feb. 1902
Educational attainments: Doctor of Literature (D. Litt.), 1947
Leadership positions: Provincial Definitor, 1931-4; Provincial Secretary, 1922-31, 1937-55; Provincial Archivist, 1919-1958
Date of death: 16 May 1965
Place of death: Bon Secours Hospital, Glasnevin, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

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