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Irish Capuchin Archives

Welstead, Flavian, 1939-2017, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 24 September 1939-4 December 2017

Patrick Finbar Welstead was born in Cork on 3 September 1939, the son of John and Eileen Welstead (formerly Kidney). He was received into the Capuchin Franciscan Order on 3 October 1959 at Rochestown Friary in County Cork, where he took Flavian as his religious name. A year later (4 October 1960), he made his first profession. He studied philosophy at St. Bonaventure’s Friary and in University College Cork and took his theology courses at Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary in County Donegal. On 21 May 1967 he was ordained at Ard Mhuire Friary Church. After his ordination, he was assigned to the Irish Capuchin Mission in Zambia, for the next four years. He served at several mission stations in this short period of time: Sioma, then Manganga and finally at St. Theresa’s Cathedral in Livingstone. In 1973 he was assigned to serve in the Irish Capuchin Vice-Province on the West Coast of the United States. He served in Hermiston, Oregan, for one year and was then assigned to St. Francis High School in La Cañada, Califonria, as a teacher, for one year. He would return to the high school again in the 1980s and 1990s as a teacher and Director of Development. Also, in this period, he served for three years at St. Joseph Parish in Roseburg, Oregon, and at St. Francis Parish in Bend, Oregon. He also served as an associate pastor at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Burlingame, California, from 1986 to 1989. From 1991 to 2000 he was assigned to the provincial leadership house in Burlingame, California, where he served as the Development Director for the Western American Province. After a short sabbatical in the second half of 2002, he returned to Burlingame as associate pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish where he remained until his death at Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame on 4 December 2017. He was buried in the cemetery adjoining Mission Santa Inés, Solvang, California.

Baptismal name: Patrick Finbar Welstead
Religious name: Fr. Flavian Welstead OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 24 Sept. 1939
Place of birth: Douglas, Cork
Name of father: John Welstead
Name of mother: Ellen Welstead (née Kidney)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 3 Oct. 1959
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1960
Date of final profession: 4 Oct. 1963
Date of ordination (as priest): 21 May 1967
Missionary activities: Travelled to Livingstone, Zambia, in Nov. 1967. He returned to Ireland on 7 Apr. 1973. He travelled to the Western United States mission in 1973.
Date of death: 4 Dec. 2017
Place of death: Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, Burlingame, California
Place of burial: Cemetery, Mission Santa Inés, Solvang, California

Ward, Sebastian, 1919-2003, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 8 October 1919-29 October 2003

Leo Dominic Ward was born in Dublin on 8 October 1919. He was educated in Rochestown Seraphic College (County Cork), University College Cork, and at the theology house at Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary in County Donegal. He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in 1939 (taking Sebastian as his religious name) and was ordained to the priesthood in 1947. From 1947, he was involved in various ministries of the Capuchin Franciscans in what is now the Province of Our Lady of Angels in the United States. His various roles included Professor of Metaphysics and Psychology at Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang, California, Associate Pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Roseburg, Oregon, Master of Novices at St. Patrick’s Novitiate in Wilmington, Delaware, and parish mission preacher. For periods, he also served as vocation director at San Lorenzo Seminary in Santa Inés, California, hospital chaplain in Roseburg, Oregon, and in Ukiah and Fresno, California, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On his brief return to Ireland in the early 1970s, he acted as director of students in Raheny Capuchin Friary in Dublin. He held similar roles in St. Augustine’s Friary in Oakland, California, and at San Buenaventura Friary in San Francisco. He was a definitor (councillor) in the Irish Capuchin Province from 1973 to 1976. He was also spiritual director and retreat master at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Inés. He died in Lompoc, Santa Barbara, California, on 29 October 2003. He was buried in the cemetery attached to San Lorenzo Seminary, Santa Inés, California.

Baptismal name: Leo Dominic Ward
Religious name: Fr. Sebastian Ward OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 8 Oct. 1919
Place of birth: 18 Sigurd Road, Stoneybatter, Dublin
Name of father: Nicholas Ward
Name of mother: Joanna (Jennie) Ward (née Moulton)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 3 Oct. 1939
Date of first profession: 4 Oct. 1940
Date of final profession: 4 Oct. 1943
Date of ordination (as priest):5 June 1947
Educational attainments: BA (1943)
Missionary activities: Travelled to the United States Mission on 9 Jan. 1948. He returned to Ireland on 31 Jan. 1971. He returned to the United States on 29 Sept. 1976.
Leadership positions: Provincial Definitor, 1973-6; Appointed Director of Theology Students, Raheny Capuchin Friary, Dublin, on 25 July 1972.
Date of death: 29 Oct. 2003
Place of death: San Lorenzo Seminary, Santa Inés, California
Place of burial: Cemetery, San Lorenzo Seminary, Santa Inés, California

Walsh, Edward, 1881-1961, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/41
  • Person
  • 29 July 1881-23 May 1961

Michael Walsh was born in County Kilkenny on 29 July 1881. He joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order in September 1898 and took Edward as his religious name. Following the completion of his philosophy and theological studies, he was ordained a priest in March 1907. He was assigned to the new Capuchin mission in the Western United States in late 1911. His initial appointment was assistant pastor to St. Joseph’s Parish in Roseburg in Oregon. He served as assistant pastor from January 1912 to February 1913 and was thereafter pastor in the same location until 1919. During this time the friars actively sought an additional foundation which came to the fruition when they were assigned the Sacred Heart Parish in the Diocese of Lincoln in Nebraska. Fr. Edward served as pastor (with Fr. Ferdinand Glenny OFM Cap. acting as his assistant) in Lincoln from 1919 to 1923. He remained active in parish ministry and missionary work until he returned to the Irish Capuchin Province in 1923. In 1928 he was elected Provincial Definitor (Councillor) and served as Custos General from 1934 to 1937. He served as guardian (local superior) of Holy Trinity Friary in Cork and served two terms in the same position in the Church Street Capuchin Friary in Dublin. He died in Dublin on 23 May 1961 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Baptismal name: Michael Walsh
Religious name: Fr. Edward Walsh OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 29 July 1881
Place of birth: Garryduff, Tullaroan, County Kilkenny (Diocese of Ossory)
Name of father: Edward Walsh (Farmer)
Name of mother: Mary Walsh (née Grace)
Date of parents’ marriage: 3 Aug. 1870
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 17 Sept. 1898
Date of first profession: 17 Sept. 1899
Date of final profession: 25 Sept. 1904
Date of ordination (as priest): 16 Mar. 1907
Educational attainments: BA (RUI) 1904
Missionary activity: Travelled to the Western American Capuchin Mission (Roseburg, Oregon) on 10 Nov. 1911; Returned to Ireland in 1923.
Provincial Leadership Positions: Definitor (Councillor): 1928-31; Custos General: 1934-7.
Date of death: 23 May 1961
Place of death: Bon Secours Hospital, Glasnevin, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Van Damme, Seraphin, 1820-1887, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 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

Treacy, Francis, 1877-1947, Capuchin brother

  • IE CA DB/31
  • Person
  • 16 May 1877-8 July 1947

Baptismal name: Cornelius Treacy
Religious name: Br. Francis Treacy OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 16 May 1877
Place of birth: Ashbury, Roscrea, County Tipperary (Diocese of Killaloe)
Name of father: Thomas Treacy (Royal Irish Constabulary Policeman)
Name of mother: Catherine (Kate) Treacy (née O’Regan)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 29 June 1896
Date of first profession: 29 June 1897
Date of final profession: 17 Sept. 1900
Date of death: 8 July 1947
Place of death: Church Street Friary, Dublin
Place of burial: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Travers, Anthony, 1866-1943, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • 1 February 1866-11 March 1943

Baptismal name: John Travers
Religious name: Fr. Anthony Travers OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 1 Feb. 1866
Place of birth: 420 Blarney Lane, Cork
Name of father: Thomas Travers (Engineer)
Name of mother: Mary Travers (née Keane)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 15 Aug. 1885
Date of first profession: 15 Aug. 1886
Date of final profession: 8 Feb. 1890
Date of ordination (as priest): 24 May 1891
Ministries: Guardian, Church Street Friary, Dublin, from 1895-8. He may have left the Order in 1900 and resided in Australia as a diocesan priest for some years. He was a parish priest in St. Helens, the largest town on the north-east coast of Tasmania, Australia, in 1913. Fr. Anthony re-joined the Irish Capuchins in Feb. 1920.
Date of death: 11 Mar. 1943
Place of death: Bons Secours Hospital, Cork
Place of burial: Cemetery, Rochestown Capuchin Friary, County Cork

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 March 1870. The family were devoutly Catholic. John, his elder brother, was also a Capuchin friar and took Anthony as his religious name. Another brother was an Augustinian friar while a sister became an Ursuline nun. William joined the Capuchin Franciscans in 1887, took the religious name of Aloysius, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1894. From his earliest years, Aloysius took a keen interest in promoting the work of the temperance movement. He was appointed President of the Father Mathew Hall in 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.

Tommins, James Edward, 1812-1889, Capuchin priest

  • Person
  • c.29 March 1812-29 July 1889

James Tommins was born in Dublin on 29 March 1812. Often, when recounting the difficult conditions in pre-emancipation Ireland, he would tell his younger fellow-friars: ‘You were born free. I was born a slave’. As a youth he was apprenticed to a haberdasher, or, more specifically, a button-manufacturer. He frequently attended religious services at the Capuchin chapel on Church Street. In his late thirties, Tommins expressed a desire to become a Capuchin friar. He went to night school to gain the necessary knowledge of the classics, and, by assiduous study, he soon reached the standard required for the novitiate. Then, in 1849, at the age of 42, he was sent to Bruges, in Belgium, for his novitiate and studies. Having taken Edward as his religious name, he was noted for his strict obedience and generous self-sacrifice, which, together with his profound humility, won him the esteem of the Capuchin community in Belgium, and secured his admission to profession. With the successful completion of his studies and having been ordained priest in 1856 by Jean-Baptiste Malou (1809-1864), Bishop of Bruges, he returned to Ireland. The following year Fr. Theobald Matthew OSFC, then Commissary-General, assigned him to Kilkenny. Except for a short period during which he was guardian (local superior) in Cork in 1861, Fr. Tommins spent his entire priestly life in Kilkenny, most of the time as guardian of a small fraternity of two or three friars. He prepared the way for the establishment of a Capuchin novitiate in Ireland; and, at a later period was appointed Commissary-General. On 23 January 1861, Fr. Edward called a meeting of the people of Kilkenny to arrange for the furnishing of the friary church. The meeting was presided over by the Mayor, Thomas Power, and it was agreed to engage Mr. McCarthy, architect, to oversee the improvements to the church, including the installation of the high altar. Once the church was completed, Fr. Tommins was also responsible for the purchase of the garden as far as Pennyfeather Lane. He also gave occasional missions and retreats notably in Castlecomer, Clough and Urlingford. With a shortage of Capuchin priests in the Irish Province, he sometimes said one Mass in Dublin on a Sunday morning; and then took the train to Kilkenny to say a second Mass there. He was also responsible for the inauguration of the Third Order of St. Francis lay confraternity in Cork in about 1866. Of the first six men he recruited as tertiaries, two joined the Capuchins: Br. Joseph O Mahony OSFC (d. 1902) and Br. Felix Harte OSFC (d. 1935). Fr. Tommins was also one of the first to take the pledge when Bishop (later Cardinal) Francis Moran, founded the Total Abstinence Sodality in Kilkenny. He died at the Capuchin Friary on Walkin Street in Kilkenny on 29 July 1889 and was afforded an elaborate public funeral. He was laid to rest in a tomb adjoining the northern aisle of St. Francis Capuchin Church in Kilkenny.

Baptismal name: James Tommins
Religious name: Fr. James Edward Tommins OSFC
Date of birth: c.29 Mar. 1812
Place of birth: Dublin
Name of father: Nicholas Tommins
Name of mother: Mary Tommins (née Casey)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: c.1830
Date of ordination (as priest): 1856
Date of death: 29 July 1889
Place of death: Capuchin Friary, Walkin Street, Kilkenny

Sutton, Chrysostom, 1876-1918, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/39
  • Person
  • 5 November 1876-11 November 1918

Edward Abraham Sutton was born in Monkstown in County Cork on 5 November 1876. His early education was with the Christian Brothers. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans in June 1898 and took Chrysostom as his religious name. He was solemnly professed as a friar in August 1902. He was ordained to the priesthood on 28 September 1902. He served as master of novices in Kilkenny from 1910 until his death on 11 November 1918. It was noted that ‘his death … came about from a severe attack of influenza contracted whilst ministering to those afflicted with the disease in Kilkenny city’. A local newspaper, ‘The Kilkenny People’ (16 November 1918), referred to the death from influenza of Fr. Chrysostom and noted the remarks of the city’s mayor in saying that the priest ‘was a most charitable man, and he would say he lost his life in trying to relieve the sufferings of the poor of Walkin Street and the neighbourhood during the epidemic’. Fr. Chrysostom was buried in the Capuchin plot in Foulkstown Cemetery in Kilkenny.

Baptismal name: Edward Abraham Sutton
Religious name: Fr. Chrysostom Sutton OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 5 Nov. 1876
Place of birth: Bellevue Place, Monkstown, County Cork
Name of father: George Abraham Sutton (Merchant)
Name of mother: Lydia Sutton (née Harding)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 9 June 1898
Date of first profession: 2 Aug. 1899
Date of final profession: 2 Aug. 1902
Date of ordination (as priest): 28 Sept. 1902
Educational attainments: BA, RUI (1901)
Date of death: 11 Nov. 1918
Place of death: Kilkenny
Place of burial: Foulkstown Cemetery, County Kilkenny

Sheehan, Luke, 1873-1937, Capuchin priest

  • IE CA DB/12
  • Person
  • 31 March 1873-11 February 1937

Francis Bernard Sheehan was born in Cork on 31 March 1873. His early studies were in Saints Peter and Paul school, the Christian Brothers’ school, the Presentations Brothers’ school, and finally at the Seraphic College in Rochestown in County Cork. He was received into the Capuchin Order on 2 February 1889. After the usual philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained in Holy Trinity Church, Cork, in July 1896. Shortly afterwards, he was transferred to the Kilkenny Friary where acted as a lector in philosophy. In November 1902 Fr. Luke volunteered for missionary work as a chaplain in Arabia where the Capuchin friars had established a Vicariate. He was soon appointed Pro-vicar Apostolic. He was charged with chaplaincy duties at British military and naval stations in Aden and did much visitation work in the interior of the country. While stationed in Aden he was taken ill with fever and was forced to return to Ireland to recuperate. Before he had fully recovered the priest who replaced him succumbed to the harsh climatic conditions prevailing in that part of the world. Fr. Luke immediately offered to return to Arabia, and he remained there until 1908. As Aden was then governed as part of British India, Fr. Luke also frequently visited India to conduct missions for troops, chiefly around Bombay (now Mumbai). He returned to Ireland in 1908. In 1910 he accompanied Fr. Thomas Dowling OFM Cap. on a journey to eastern Oregon to establish a new Capuchin mission in this territory. Fr. Dowling was appointed a Provincial Definitor (councillor) later in 1910 leaving Fr. Luke to work alone in Oregon until the arrival of Fr. Casimir Butler OFM Cap. He worked diligently in establishing parish communities in Hermiston and later in Bend on the Deschutes River in Oregon. The first church Bend was an old schoolhouse purchased in 1912 for $75. Fr. Luke later invited a group of nuns of the Order of St. Joseph to establish a hospital in the locality. With a growing population, a larger church was needed in Bend, and the foundation stone for the present-day St. Francis of Assisi Church was laid on 25 January 1920. It was built by E. P. Brosterhous at the cost of $55,000 and was officially opened and dedicated in the same year. St. Francis Catholic School in Bend (with an initial enrolment of 140) was opened in 1936. Fr. Luke served as a priest in Bend for twenty-seven years. He died in Hood River, Oregon, on 11 February 1937. His obituary in the ‘Bend Bulletin’ noted that ‘women cried and men who had known Father Sheehan since he came here in the early days were unable to control their sobs as the requiem mass was celebrated. Every available bit of space in the huge church, erected years ago through the efforts of Father Sheehan, was occupied as parishioners, churchmen and close friends of other faiths came to pay their respects to the priest who played such an important part in the religious and civic life of Bend. Occupying a pew in the crowded church were six members of the Protestant clergy of Bend’. Father Luke was buried beneath a Celtic Cross gravestone in Bend’s Pilot Butte Cemetery. For images of his memorial in Pilot Pilot Butte Cemetery in Bend, Oregon, see

Baptismal name: Francis Bernard Sheehan
Religious name: Fr. Luke Sheehan OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 31 Mar. 1873
Place of birth: Cork
Name of father: John Sheehan
Name of mother: Catherine Sheehan (née Sullivan)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 2 Feb. 1889
Date of first profession: 4 Feb. 1890
Date of final profession: 18 Oct. 1894
Date of ordination (as priest): 2 July 1896
Missionary assignments: Ministered in Aden from 1902-08; Travelled to Oregan, United States, in 1910
Leadership positions: Custos, 1913-6; 1919-22
Date of death: 11 Feb. 1937
Place of death: Hood River, Oregon (while on supply from Bend, Oregon)
Place of burial: Bend, Oregon

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