File 8 - Notes on the history of the Capuchins in Kilkenny

Open original Digital object

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IE CA KK/8/8


Notes on the history of the Capuchins in Kilkenny


  • c.1930-1940 (Creation)

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46 items; Manuscript, typescript and printed

Name of creator

(26 February 1875-20 August 1953)

Biographical history

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.

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Scope and content

Assorted notes by Fr. Angelus Healy OFM Cap. on the history of the Capuchins in Kilkenny. Most of the notes are loose and fragmentary. The more substantial records include:
• ‘The Capuchins in Kilkenny / 1643-1937 / The Capuchins in Walkin Street’.
• Notes on the ‘names of Friars who died in Kilkenny, with the dates of death, place of burial, and inscriptions on tombstones’. The list covers circa 1647-1930.
• Manuscript extract from 'The Kilkenny Journal', 30 Oct. 1875, referring to the first reception of novices in Kilkenny.
• Extract from 'The Kilkenny Journal', 18 Mar. 1876, on the ‘impressive ceremony of the clothing of four novices … at the Church of St. Francis, Walkin Street … celebrated by Fr. Albert Mitchell OSFC’.
• Extract from 'The Kilkenny Journal', 4 Nov. 1876, referring to the celebration of the Feast of All Saints at the Capuchin Friary, Kilkenny.
• Transcripts of Latin documents referring to Capuchins connected with Kilkenny (primarily in the seventeenth century) including extracts from Fr. Robert O’Connell’s 'Historia Missionis Hibernicae Capucinorum' (Bibliothéque de Troyes, MS 706); a eulogy on Fr. Sebastian Butler OSFC (d. July 1647); a eulogy on Fr. Thomas Tuite OSFC (d. 12 Sept. 1649).
• Newspaper cutting referring to Fr. John Brenan (d. 1847) of Kilkenny, author of the 'Ecclesiastical History of Ireland'.
• Note asking the question ‘Was the Capuchin Convent closed after the death of Father Peter Joseph Mulligan OSFC in 1853’?
• Biographical notes on Fr. Peter Joseph Mulligan OSFC: ‘His life in Ireland was spent entirely in Kilkenny where he died on December 4th 1853’.
• Obituaries for Fr. Felix Duggan OSFC (d. 22 June 1847); Fr. Augustine Dunne OSFC (d. 19 Mar. 1860); Fr. Aloysius Hennessy OSFC (d. 2 Dec. 1879). Copy obituary articles taken from 'The Kilkenny Journal'.
• ‘The Capuchins in Kilkenny’. Copy text from 'The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory'.

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