Carmelites Whitefriars Street Dublin
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Nihil obstat, Cens. Ord Imprimi potest,
JOANNES S. MEGANNETY, O.C.C.,
RICHARDUS J. COLFER, O.C.C., Provincialis Prov. Hib.
Nihil obstat, deputatus
RICHARDUS FLEMING, D.Ph., Censor
+ EDUARDUS, Archiep. Dublinen.
Dublini, Die 29 Nov., 1927.
Centenary of Whitefriar Street Church
South Dublin Union
The Carmelite Schools 1822-1827
Poem: Carmel of Ireland
Pioneers of Australia 1881
Piioneers of United States 1889
Map by Jobn Speed 1610 A.D.
Reprinted - August 2008 – Whitefriar Street, Dublin
Foreword A HUNDRED years of holy endeavour; a hundred years of rich and blessed achievement; a hundred years of heroic sowing and grateful reaping, here in the heart of Dublin, by devoted and apostolic priests—this is what we celebrate with admiration and gratitude. Let us go back in spirit a hundred years, to 1827, when the Carmelite Fathers were re-established at Whitefriars Street. Outwardly, the occurrence was of the simplest. It awoke, perhaps, but little stir among the immediate residents of the district. How significant and solemn, however, it was, in view of the mission they had come to fulfil, of the fruits that were to spring from their labours. A new temple was consecrated to the living God; a new altar was raised, on which the perpetual sacrifice was to be offered. A hundred years! How rich in memories of wonderful things done for God and for souls! A hundred years of labour and self-sacrifice! A century of advancement and merit! It speaks of harsh and weighty burdens, of privations that a priest's work entails. It speaks, too, of disappointments, of resulting heartaches, no less than of superb success. Whitefriars Street Church is, verily, holy ground. Religion is the very salt and savour of life. What would life be without mercy, justice, purity, truth? We all know what a wicked, a godless life means. Now, who remind men, week after week, in season and out of season, of the great central truths without which life would be a hell? There is one voice raised and that is the voice of our priests. “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy," the Angel said to the shepherds. Who bring the same glad tidings to souls just as hungry for Christ as were the shepherds of old, if not the priests? They take the bitterness out of poverty: their visits produce smiles on the faces of the weary and the wretched; they light the fires of hope in the eyes of those sunken in disappointment and poverty. Hence it is that Whitefriars Street Church is, verily, holy ground. It is hallowed by memories dear to every Catholic heart. There is that first Holy Mass celebrated here a century ago. There are multitudes of young and old who thronged the Confessionals, and with contrite and humble hearts have received the priestly absolution, determined anew to abandon the ways of sin. There is that legion of men, women and children who passing through the wilderness of this world on their way to the eternal city, have been fed with the Bread from heaven. There are victories of peace which are no less renowned than those of war. Whitefriars Street Church has such victories, battles fought and won by her priests, many of whom are now dead and gone. Let us speak their names in accents of respect and gratitude. Many 6
have left their earthly tabernacles, but their spirits, we are sure, mingle with us in our commemorative festivities. There are many whose memories are still fresh and green. Some we shall mark specially for fond recollection, priests whose disinterested zeal, simplicity of heart and joyous temperament charmed and edified all: priests whose refined saintliness of character stamped them in the memory of the archdiocese as ideal sons of Christ, as ideal servants of Mother Church. We must not pass over Fathers Spratt, Bennett, John Carr, John Bartley, Moore, Farrington, Hall, Southwell, Cogan, McCabe. Their disinterestedness was absolute and complete. Wherever service was possible, it was given with that fullness of soul which gold or silver cannot purchase, which fame or applause do not reward. Under trying difficulties they laboured and persevered, in season and out of season, until they completed our magnificent buildings, which are a lasting memory to their zeal and faith. They travelled from door to door, from one end of the city to the other, to obtain the necessary funds to erect those structures. Those directly connected with our Whitefriars Street School fully realised its importance. They understood in full measure that without this necessary adjunct to a Church, no effective work could be done for God. It came home to them very forcibly that no general can carry on a campaign with the base of his supplies cut off. There are no colours bright enough to paint an adequate picture of the comfort they brought to bruised, Buffering hearts, of the seeds from heaven's fields they planted in the minds of infancy and of youth. No words can express the beauty, the power of souls like these. But why use the past tense? The age of zealous workers is not gone. A church is a sermon in stone and brick and mortar. Other Carmelite Fathers are toiling for the spread of Christ's Kingdom on earth. They will ever continue the work of their great predecessors. Here they will bring the glad tidings of joy to generations yet unborn. They will bring peace to many a soul. Their lofty eloquence will stir to their very depths and warm many a heart grown cold and callous to its eternal interests. Like the great Precursor, they will make the crooked ways straight and the rough ways plain.
Centenary of the Carmelite Church Whitefriars Street A hundred years ago — on the 11th November, 1827, the newly-built Church of the Calced Carmelites in Whitefriars Street was solemnly consecrated by the Most Rev. Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin. The building of this Church marks the return of the Carmelites to their original Dublin foundation of 1278, which was confiscated by Henry VIII in 1539. This return was made by the Carmelite Prior, Father John Spratt, the best-known member of the Order of Calced Carmelites since the Emancipation period. The Church of 1827 had its entrance in Whitefriars Street. The entrance in Aungier Street was not made until 1852. The side of the Church adjoining York Row has necessarily remained the same, but successive enlargements in 1856, 1868 and 1891, have greatly altered the Church of Father Spratt, and greatly increased the size and accommodation, in the course of the century. The original Church cost about €4,000. Archbishop Murray laid the foundation stone on the 25th of October, 1825. The original Church is exactly represented by the present Church, measured in a straight line from the High Altar to Whitefriars Street door. The length is 200 feet. The original breadth, which may still be easily distinguished, was 34 feet. The building is of stone, covered with Roman cement. The famous old statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child, carved in Irish oak, has stood in this Church since it was built, the Church also being dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The statue was in St. Mary's Abbey, on the North side of Dublin, in the reign of Henry VII. When that Abbey was confiscated by the founders of the Protestant religion, the statue was condemned to be burned. The back portion was actually burned, the remaining portion being long left face downward, and the upper hollow used as a pig trough. We hear of it again, early in the eighteenth century, set up in the old Parish Church of St. Michan's, Mary's Lane, which was in charge of the Jesuits until their suppression in 1773. When the new Church was opened in Anne Street in 1817, the statue was left in the old Church, which became a School. It came shortly afterwards to a sale shop, where it was purchased by Father Spratt in 1822, and set up in the new Carmelite Church, on the Epistle side of the High Altar, the same position as it had occupied in Mary's Lane Chapel. In 1915 the white plaster, which had covered it for many years, was removed, and the dark colour of the Irish oak became visible once more. In the same year it was placed above the 8
Altar of Our Lady, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Dublin was formally erected. This was begun by Rev. J. L. McCabe, and completed a few years later. It is an object of great devotion to the faithful. The architect of the Church was George Papworth, who held a high place amongst the architects of that period. One of a well-known English family of architects, he was born in 1781, and died in 1855. He settled in Dublin in 1806. He was son of John Papworth, architect. His nephew, Edgar Papworth, was distinguished as a sculptor. George was a pupil of his elder brother, John Buonarotti Papworth, a notable architect in England. George's son, Collins Papworth, was an architect in Melbourne. George Papworth's first remarkable work in Ireland was the monument to John Philpot Curran in Glasnevin Cemetery, designed from the tomb of Scipio Barbatus. He was also the architect of the Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough Street, 1815-26, which was finished about a year before the completion of the Carmelite Church. Papworth also designed the King's Bridge, also finished in 1827, spanning the Liffey, a piece of work which was greatly admired. He was architect of many fine private residences, amongst them Portumna Castle, Co. Galway, for the Marquess of Clanricarde; Kilcornan, in the same County, for Sir Thomas Redington ; and Kenure House, Rush, Co. Dublin, for Sir Roger Palmer. The Church was built, principally by the exertions of Father Spratt. John Spratt was born in Cork Street, Dublin, in the last days of 1795. He was baptized in the Parish Church of St. Catherine, Meath Street, on the 5th of January, 1796. As a boy he served Mass in St. Catherine's, and also in the Carmelite Church, Ash Street, which was not very far from his residence. He became attached to the Carmelites, and this attachment continued, notwithstanding their removal from Ash Street to a place rather more distant from his home. In 1806 they went to reside in a house in French Street, now Upper Mercer Street, behind which they had a Church in Cuffe Lane. The last vestige of the Carmelite Church and Convent in Ash Street was swept away a few years ago, when the old buildings were demolished to make way for the new houses. The old Convent in French Street disappeared similarly when that area was cleared recently, but the Church in Cuffe Lane exists still, and may easily be distinguished by the Cross within the Gothic arch over the door. This humble Church was Father Spratt's Temperance Hall for many years. As a Church it was destined to be superseded by the splendid edifice in Whitefriars Street, of which the Centenary is now being commemorated. John Spratt was of a most religious and excellent disposition. He was on friendly terms with the Carmelites in French Street. One of them in particular, a Father O'Farrell, took special care of his education. He soon manifested a vocation for the Order, and in August, 1816, he 9
left Dublin to make his studies in Cordova. Places of Catholic education were still few and far between in Ireland, and going to Spain was but continuing the tradition of the penal days, which were scarcely at an end. The many fine churches he saw in Spain contributed, no doubt, to his determination to build a new Carmelite Church in Dublin. John Spratt was received into the Carmelite Order in their Convent of Cordova, went through his novitiate, and in due time made his profession. Besides the usual vows he made, as was the custom in Spain, a vow to defend the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Order, a doctrine which he lived to see defined in 1854. John Spratt, while at Cordova, lived in the Convent dedicated to the Carmelite Saint, Albert of Sicily, to whom he had ever afterwards the greatest devotion. After he built Whitefriars Street Church, the well called St. Albert's Well was annually blessed by him on the Feast of St. Albert, the 7th of August, with a relic of the Saint. A few years ago St. Albert's Well was revived. It is now an ornament of the porch. John Spratt was ordained Priest in this College of St. Albert. Father Spratt visited Granada, Malaga and Seville, and finally sailed from Cadiz for Dublin, where he was stationed at the Convent at No.12 French Street, beside the little Church in Cuffe Lane. Father Spratt soon became Prior here. Before he built the Church he opened his first school in Longford Street in 1822. In 1824 he removed to a larger school on the western side of Whitefriars Street. When the Commissioners of National Education were appointed in 1831, he placed the School under the Board. In 1850 he secured, with the help of Lord Cloncurry, the building on the eastern side of that street called the Old Methodist House, and this continued to be the School until the years 1895-6, when the present fine School was built by Father John Hall, Provincial of the Order, who was then Manager of the School. Many additions and improvements have been made since then, and other necessary additions are in contemplation and actually in progress. The Managers of the School during the last halfcentury have been Rev. Patrick O'Farrell, Rev. John Hall, Rev. Thomas Davis, Rev. Robert Power, Rev. Michael A. O'Reilly, and Rev. W. J. Brennan. Whitefriars Lane, now Whitefriars Street, is first mentioned, as far as is known, in 1577, nearly forty years after the confiscation of the Convent. The name was changed to Whitefriars Street, about two hundred years ago ; when another Whitefriars Lane, intersecting the Street and leading to Aungier Street, came into existence. The old Dublin foundation of the Carmelites appears on Speed's Map, 1610, as White Friars, its popular name. Over three centuries had then lapsed since its foundation, and seventy years since its suppression. The Ancient Order of Mount Carmel, which had flourished for many ages in the Holy Land, was introduced into Europe in the thirteenth century, naturally by Crusaders. The Barons de Vesci and Grey brought the first Carmelites to England in 1241,
Carmelite Church Whitefriar Street 1826
Carmelite Church Whitefriar Street – Interior 1826
and a more illustrious Crusader, St. Louis, brought them to France in 1254. They had many houses in England, and considerable remains of their Convents and Churches still exist at Hulne, Aylesford and Coventry. They were Confessors to the sovereigns of the House of Lancaster, and were famous for their opposition to Wycliffe and his tenets. In this connection, Thomas Netter, called “of Walden," is well known. The name of the Order has been curiously perpetuated in London in the names of streets and districts. A certain distinguished native of Dublin made the names of Carmelite House and Carmelite Street famous in the world. The London house of the Carmelites was called — like the Dublin — Whitefriars, and its surrounding precinct, adjoining the Temple, attained a wider but more doubtful fame, long after the Carmelites had ceased to occupy it. The right of sanctuary was preserved after the suppression of the monasteries, so that this part of London, also called Alsatia, became the refuge of lawless characters, and so continued until the sanctuary was abolished in 1697. This district is best known to most readers by the vivid picture of its condition in the reign of James I., drawn by Sir Walter Scott in The Fortunes of Nigel. Macaulay says the precinct was called Whitefriars from “the white hoods” of the Carmelites, but our readers are aware that all the cloak of the Carmelites is white as well as the hood. The Carmelites enjoyed great favour with the Kings of Scotland, and had many houses in that country. The ruins of one still exist at South Queensferry. They came to Dublin, the first Irish foundation, in 1278. The houses in Ireland and Scotland ceased to belong to the English Province in 1305. The Dublin house was founded by Sir Robert Bagot, Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He was shortly afterwards granted the Manor of the Rath, outside Dublin, and Bagotrath Castle and Baggot Street were called after him. The former stood, until the end of the eighteenth century, on the northern side of the present Upper Baggot Street, not far from St. Mary's Church, Haddington Road. Bagot established the Carmelites in what was then the south-eastern suburb of Dublin, on a piece of ground which he purchased from the Abbey of Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow. Ever since that time, White Friars has been one of the most popular religious foundations in Dublin. Several Chapters of the Carmelite Order were held here, and many assert that it was a Studium Generale or General House of Studies. The Irish Parliament met here in 1333. Many privileges were granted to the Carmelites, notably by Richard II., in 1394, and by his successor and supplanter, Henry IV., in 1400. There were many Carmelite Bishops in Ireland in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The Dublin precinct of Whitefriars, comprising about thirty acres, was separated by Bride Street from St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Manor of St. Sepulchre, the residence of the Archbishop of Dublin. Within a short distance were three ancient churches which have long 12
The Carmelite Church and Old Priory in 1914
New Church Entrance and Priory in 1916
since disappeared — St. George's, St. Stephen's, and St. Peter's. St. George's stood in a street called from it George's Lane, now South Great George's Street, near Chequer Lane, now Exchequer Street. St. Stephen's from which Stephen's Green and Stephen Street are named, stood in the latter Street, and was the chapel of a Leper Hospital. On its site Mercer's Hospital has since been built. St. Peter's, called “del hille," was situated between Whitefriars and St. Stephen Street. The Carmelites had charge of this ancient Church and its extensive Parish. The rural character of the district may, perhaps, be best comprehended from reading the description of Whitefriars, when suppressed by Henry VIII, in 1539. It comprised, besides buildings, "an orchard, seven gardens and two meadows." The name of the last Prior was William Kelly. The Convent and lands were granted by Henry VIII to Nicholas Stanihurst, and afterwards passed, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, to Francis Aungier, subsequently created Lord Longford, which title became extinct in 1704. Aungier Street, the name of which dates from 1670, and Longford Street, are named after this family. Lord Longford lived in the house now numbered 19 Great Longford Street. A lady of this family married in 1656 Sir James Cuffe, from whom Cuffe Street is named. It is said that a theatre was opened in 1734 on the site of Whitefriars. Rocque's Map of Dublin, in 1756, shows this theatre on the northern side of Great Longford Street. The bell of the Carmelite Convent of 1539 is said to have been used in the nineteenth century in the Theatre Royal, Dublin, and to have perished with that theatre by fire in 1880. In the latter half of the nineteenth century the name was conferred on an adjoining lane, of Sir Thomas Arthur, who leased the Whitefriars Estate from the Earl of Longford. Besides the Dublin house, the Carmelites are said to have had twenty-seven other Convents in Ireland. There are houses now, in addition to those in Dublin and Terenure, at Kildare, Moate, Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny, and Kinsale. The Dublin Carmelites are said to have lived, in the seventeenth century, like almost all the Religious Orders, in Cook Street, but the first Church opened by them after the suppression was in Ash Street, off the Coombe. This was in 1728, according to the unknown Protestant author of Roman Catholic Chapels in Dublin, A.D., 1749, edited, with important additions, by the Bishop of Canea, for the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland. This authority states that it was Father Francis Lehy, O.C.C., who opened the Church in Ash Street. As the owner of the property in Ash Street refused to renew the lease, the Carmelites were forced to leave in 1806. They removed to a locality not so remote from Whitefriars as Ash Street, namely to No. 12 French Street, called since I860 Upper Mercer Street. The house was the second from the corner of Upper Digges Street. Behind it, in Cuffe Lane, stood, and still stands, the humble little Church which was for about twenty years, the predecessor of Whitefriars Street — a striking contrast. 14
By this time (1806) the neighbourhood of Whitefriars had quite changed its character since the suppression. It was no longer a rural district outside the City wall, or a distant south-eastern suburb. French Street, like the other fine streets adjoining, built in the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries, was a high-class residential district. French Street and French Walk, the adjoining western side of St. Stephen's Green, were so called because they were the favourite dwelling-place of the Huguenots, then a very prominent body in Dublin life. Cardinal Newman lived, seventy years ago, at 6 Harcourt Street, Sir Jonah Barrington in the eighteenth century at No. 14. John Philpot Curran lived in Fade Street and in Redmond's Hill. The sculptor Hogan lived, in the nineteenth century, in Digges Street. The celebrated Dublin poet, James Clarence Mangan, worked as clerk, a century ago, at 6 York Street, to Kenrick, a scrivener, two of whose sons were Archbishops in the United States. The famous Charles Robert Maturin lived at the present 41 York Street. Sir Walter Scott stayed, in the summer of 1825, at 10 Stephen's Green, North, now part of the Stephen's Green Club. Mrs. Hemans died at 36 Stephen's Green, and Robert Emmet was born at 124 Stephen's Green. North-west of Whitefriars, Swift was born at Hoey's Court, Werburgh Street, and Burke at 12 Arran Quay. The last two were probably the greatest writers of English born in Ireland. Mrs. Jameson, a wellknown writer, on Shakespeare, was born in Golden Lane, which appears in Speed's Map as Crosse Lane. In the middle of the eighteenth century Bishop Street was Great Boater Lane; Drury Lane, now Street, was Little Boater Lane; Glover's Alley was Rapparee Alley: and Bow Lane, off Aungier Street, was spelled Beaux Lane. The northern side of St. Stephen's Green was Beaux Walk, the southern Leeson Walk, and the eastern, Monk's Walk. One of the unfulfilled projects of the Dublin Wide Streets Commissioners in the eighteenth century was the making of a great thoroughfare from St. Stephen's Green to St. Patrick's Cathedral. This Street must have passed near the site of Whitefriars. We learn accidentally, from the records of old Dublin trials, that Wood Street, early in the eighteenth century, and Peter's Row, early in the nineteenth, were good residential streets. But a great change was made by the building of Carlisle Bridge in 1794. Before that, Essex Bridge, the predecessor of Grattan Bridge, was the last Bridge. The old Custom House stood beside it. Capel Street was then, as Grafton Street is now, the promenade of Dublin. Grafton Street was a street of fine private residences. In the early part of the century it had been a road connecting Trinity College with St. Stephen's Green. But the building of the new bridge was followed by the transformation of the Grafton Street houses into shops. Fashion, like commerce, flitted further east, and the fine streets near Whitefriars
fell from their high estate. Thomas Moore was born at 12 Aungier Street in 1779, and lived there for the first twenty years of his life. Shortly after the building of the Church, the house fronting Aungier Street and next to York Row was secured and became the Convent. On the 9th of June, 1840, the foundation stone was laid of extensive additions which were made to this house. Between thirty and forty years after the opening of the Church, a frontage equal to that of six additional houses numbered in the street, had been secured, and the Aungier Street entrance to the Church was made in 1852. But much of the building added was very old, being the town residence of the Wolfe family of County Kildare, ennobled by the title of Viscount Kilwarden. This was demolished in 1915 and the new house built by the late Rev. Joseph L. McCabe, who was then Prior. The first Prior in Whitefriars Street, and builder of the original Church and Convent, Father Spratt, received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Rome in 1829. He visited Rome in 1835, and Pope Gregory XVI gave him the body of St. Valentine, Martyr, from the cemetery of St. Hippolytus. It was deposited with great ceremony under the High Altar in a vase, the Archbishop, Dr. Murray, presiding at the High Mass which followed, on the 10th of November, 1836. In 1834 Dr. Spratt became one of the honorary secretaries of the Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers' Society, a very old Dublin charity. He devoted great attention to this office up to his death. In 1842 he opened a Magdalen Asylum. After some years the inmates were sent to the Asylum conducted by the Sisters of Charity in Donnybrook, and St. Mary's Asylum, Mecklenburgh Street, of which Gloucester Street is the successor. In 1840 Dr. Spratt joined Father Mathew in his crusade against intemperance. He converted the old Carmelite Church in Cuffe Lane into a Temperance Hall, where he administered the temperance pledge every night. It is said that he gave the pledge to 500,000 persons during his lifetime, and he was actually so engaged when his death came. Dr. Spratt is, perhaps, better remembered in Dublin as a Temperance leader than in any other capacity. He was also an active member of the Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Nothing is more remarkable in his life than his readiness to co-operate in any good cause, with philanthropists, many of whom were not Catholics. He used to begin his addresses to the people with the words: “To the charitable and humane." After the Synod of Thurles in 1850 the Committee for founding the Catholic University was formed, Dr. Spratt, then Prior in Whitefriars Street, was one of the honorary secretaries. The Catholic University was opened in 1854, under the Rectorship of the eminent convert, Dr. Newman. It is said that Dr. Spratt had in attendance at that time, in his new National School, begun in 1850 in Whitefriars Street, between 1,500 and 1,800 children.
In 1856 Dr. Spratt founded the Dublin Catholic Young Men's Society, which had its headquarters in Denmark Street. Good lectures were delivered to this Society by some of the' most distinguished men of that day. The Society held a great meeting in 1859 to sympathise with Pius IX, who was threatened with the loss of some part of his territory. He also founded about this time the Blind Asylum, in conjunction with the Very Rev. Dr. William Yore, Parish Priest of St. Paul's, Arran Quay. This Asylum is now in Merrion, where the Sisters of Charity are in charge. In 1832 Dr. Spratt published the “Parents’ Guide," and shortly afterwards the prayer-book called the “Carmelite Manual," which went through several editions and is still very popular. Besides various sermons he published a tract showing the evils of intemperance, which had an extensive sale. Also a treatise on the Blessed Eucharist in controversial form, and a Eulogium of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Dr. Spratt was very constantly occupied with his charitable works, his Schools, his Temperance Hall, the Roomkeepers' Society and St.Peter's Orphanage. He had established the last institution as long ago as before he built the new Church. In 1860 he founded St. Joseph's Night Refuge, Brickfield Lane, for poor women of good character. The building acquired by him for this purpose was the Stove Tenter House for stretching and drying the cloth of the once numerous local weavers. It was erected in 1815 at a cost of £14,000, by a well-known Dublin philanthropist, Thomas Pleasants, who died in 1818, aged ninety. When the charitable Dr. Spratt had founded this Refuge, he visited it every night for the remaining eleven years of his life. It has long been under the care of the Sisters of Mercy. At about the same time, Dr. Spratt took a prominent part in the movement to abolish Donnybrook Fair, which had degenerated.
He was engaged in administering the temperance pledge to two poor women, in the Carmelite Convent, Aungier Street, on Whit Sunday, the 27th of May, 1871, when he died suddenly. His funeral was a striking testimony to the estimation in which he was held. His monument, an Irish Cross, may be seen to the right of the entrance to the O'Connell Monument in Glasnevin. A contemporary of Dr. Spratt was the Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Bennett. He was born at Arless, Queen's County, early in the nineteenth century. While still young he entered the Carmelite Order. He had a superior intellect and enjoyed the great advantage of studying and residing at the famous College of Louvain, of which so much has been heard in the European War and since. In the early fifties of the nineteenth century, Dr. Bennett was sent to the Whitefriars Street Convent as Commissary General and Visitor. He was Provincial until 1864, when he was succeeded by Dr. Spratt, who remained Provincial until his death. During Dr. Bennett's term of office, extensive additions and improvements were made to the Church, including the Aungier Street entrance; and the Aungier Street frontage of the Carmelite Convent received extensive additions. In 1854 Dr. Bennett founded the Carmelite Seminary, 41 Lower Dominick Street. This was a Day School, taught by members of the Community in Aungier Street. For about a year and a half before that date, they had been teaching in rooms in the house 42 Jervis Street. The house in Dominick Street, a fine specimen of an old Dublin house, had been for many years the town residence of the Earls of Howth. The last private resident was the Countess of Clanricarde, whose son-in-law was Lord Howth. She was a Catholic, a daughter of Sir Thomas Burke, Bart., of Marble Hill, Co. Galway. She lived in this house for about thirty years, and died very old on the 26th of March, 1854. After her death the house was sold to the Carmelites and became the School. William John Fitzpatrick says, in his “Life of Father Burke," that the Countess, knowing that the Dominican Fathers, then in Denmark Street, intended to build their Church soon in Lower Dominick Street, wished that they should make No. 41 their Convent. This house received much notice in the evidence at the famous Tichborne trial in the seventies. This was the longest trial on record in England. Roger Tichborne, the heir to an old English baronetcy and estate, was an officer in a cavalry regiment quartered in Dublin in the early fifties. He was often invited to balls at 41 Lower Dominick Street, by his kinswoman, the Countess of Clanricarde. He sailed from Rio Janeiro on the 20th of April, 1854, in the “Bella," a ship which was never again heard of and was presumed to have been lost with all on board. In the late sixties, a man living in Australia asserted that he was Roger Tichborne, and claimed the title and estate. Then the trial began. Amongst the other witnesses examined were the last Earl of Howth, then Viscount St. Lawrence, his sister, Lady Catherine Wheble, and Mr. Charles Granby Burke. All three swore that they had often met Roger Tichborne at 41 Lower Dominick Street, and that, in their opinion, the claimant was not he. On the 103rd day of the trial he was declared nonsuited. His trial at bar for 19
perjury lasted from April, 1873, until the following February. He was convicted and was in prison for ten years. The cost to the Tichborne estate of resisting his claim was over £90,000, and the trial at bar cost about as much. The School which was founded in Howth House, lasted until 1902. The Carmelites built a handsome chapel in the rear of the house, abutting on the lane. Many citizens and residents of Dublin, some of whom became distinguished, received their education in this School. Many of these were priests of the Diocese of Dublin. The house is now a Convent and School of the Sisters of the Holy Faith.
Terenure College, Dublin
Another School which dates from the Provincialship of the Very Rev. Dr. Bennett, is the Carmelite College, Terenure, which was founded in 1860. Terenure (Tír an iubhair), land of the yew trees, like most localities near the city, is found to be in Norman occupation very shortly after the invasion of Ireland by that race. From the reign of King John until the Civil Wars of the seventeenth century, a period of over four hundred years, Terenure was the property of one of the most powerful families of the Pale, the Barnewalls. Two branches of this family enjoyed the peerages of Trimleston and Kingsland. The Terenure branch possessed for exactly the same period of time, the ancient Castle of Drimnagh, not far off. The first Barnewall of Terenure and Drimnagh is said to have been the sole survivor of his family after a great fight at Berehaven. Later incidents in the history of the family, form the subject of a romance by the late Dr. Robert Dwyer Joyce, entitled The Rose of Drimnagh. But it is in the Restoration period that we find Terenure most closely connected with great names in history. It was granted by Charles II to Richard Talbot, afterwards Earl of Tyrconnel, James II's Catholic Viceroy of Ireland. He was a son of Sir William Talbot, Baronet, of 20
Carton, Maynooth, afterwards the residence of the Duke of Leinster. These Talbots were a branch of the Malahide family. Tyrconnel was appointed Lord Lieutenant by James II, and died in Limerick during the siege. His widow survived until 1730, dying at the Convent of the Poor Clares, North King Street, Dublin, which she had founded. She was Frances, sister of Sarah Jennings, the famous wife of the famous John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. It is probable that Terenure was often visited in those days by Peter Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin, brother of Tyrconnel. For many years of his early manhood he was a Jesuit. But, having ceased to be a member of that Society, he was appointed Archbishop of Dublin in 1669. It has been asserted by some writers that Talbot, while a Jesuit, received Charles II into the Catholic Church at Cologne in 1656. But the best historical authorities do not credit this story, and declare that the King did not become a Catholic until he was on his deathbed. Peter Talbot was unjustly apprehended in connection with Titus Oates's Plot in 1678, and after two years' captivity, died in prison in 1680. There is little reason to doubt that, had he survived but a few months longer, he would have been executed, thus sharing the fate of his fellow-prisoner, Blessed Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh. Tyrconnel having been attainted as a Jacobite, Terenure was granted to Edward Deane, a supporter of King William. The Deane family remained in occupation of Terenure for nearly a century. In 1753 the High Sheriff of the County of Dublin was “Joseph Deane of Tyrenure." It was the Deane family who brought the grounds of Terenure to such a pitch of beauty that they were a kind of show place early in the nineteenth century, and have remained so ever since. To the Deanes succeeded the Shaws. The old portion of the present College was built about a hundred and forty years ago by this family. In 1796, Robert Shaw, of Terenure, married Miss Wilkinson, of Bushy Park, and the family removed to that place, where the present baronet still resides. They have also owned and resided in Kimmage Manor, adjoining. Robert Shaw, of Terenure, descended from an ancestor who is said to have settled in England from Scotland, was an eminent banker in Dublin and a Member of the Irish Parliament. His son, Sir Frederick Shaw, was many years Recorder of Dublin and Member of Parliament for Dublin University. Mr. George Bernard Shaw, the well-known dramatist, is a member of this family. The Shaws were followed by the Bournes in the occupation of Terenure House. They were well-known as proprietors of stagecoaches, and lived in Terenure for about half a century. The place has been described by several writers as exceedingly beautiful and well cared for during their period of occupancy. It was occupied for a few years by Mr. Alexander Hall, and he was the last private resident. In I860 the Carmelite Fathers of Whitefriars Street became the possessors of Terenure, and have occupied it ever since. An extensive addition was made to the College by Father Moore, Provincial and 21
President of the College, in 1878, and a more extensive addition by Father Hall, Provincial, in 1894. Many additions and improvements have been made there recently, and the present President, Rev. R. B. Taylor, has quite a large number of pupils. As to the beauty of the grounds, we may quote John D'Alton, whose History of the County of Dublin was published in 1838: "Tyrenure succeeds ; with its magnificent gardens, hot-houses, groups of trees, and shrubberies of evergreens, its grottoes, urns and rustic seats, disposed through all the grounds: its fine sheet of water, insulated banquetting-house, fishing temple, winding walks, and picturesque bridges." Ten years earlier Terenure had been the subject of a picture and an article in Ireland Illustrated, a work brought out by George Petrie. The “fine sheet of water," the lake, remains the chief attraction of the grounds. There are also some particularly fine trees — a splendid cedar, a huge, many-limbed chestnut, a tall ash in the Dark Walk, a couple of beautiful American tulip trees, and, above all, the magnificent beech-trees on the lake shore, near the island, which is accessible by a bridge. The island accessible only by water, is, as might be expected, in a state of nature. Another sphere of activity was opened to the community of Whitefriars Street during Father Bennett's Provincialship when they became Chaplains to the South Dublin Union in November, 1861. They have been ministering there ever since to the least prosperous and most hopeless section of the population of Dublin. Three official Carmelite chaplains have held office, but, owing to the extent and urgency of the work, at least two are always actively employed there, and many Carmelite Fathers have laboured there. The Foundling Hospital was established here about the beginning of the eighteenth century. There was never a Catholic Chaplain of this Institution. The South Dublin Union was founded in 1838. The first to hold the office was the Rev. George Canavan, P.P., St. James's, a native of the district. From 1848 to 1858, Father O'Farrelly was Chaplain; from 1858 to 1861, Rev. L.C. P. Fox, O.M.I. When the Carmelites were first appointed, Dr. Spratt himself sometimes officiated, but the first Carmelite Chaplain was the Rev. John Carr, the immediate successor of Dr. Spratt in the Provincial-ship. He resigned in 1884, and died in 1893. He was succeeded by the Rev. Andrew E. Farrington, and the present Chaplain, Rev. R. T. Dillon, was appointed in 1905. Another Chaplaincy held by the Whitefriars Street Carmelites is that of Mercer's Hospital, founded in 1734 by Mrs. Mary Mercer, so called, although a spinster, according to the fashion of that day. This charitable institution has been of incalculable benefit, not only to this, but to every part of Dublin, and even to every part of Ireland. The late Father Peter M. Ward was Chaplain here for many years. When Mercer's Hospital was founded it was on the outskirts of the city — almost in the country. The name of Mercer was not conferred on the adjoining street until many years after the foundation of the Hospital. Before that event, the whole street was called Love Lane. The southern extremity consisted of fields yet unbuilt upon, and 22
practically suburban. After these fields had disappeared, that portion was called Little Cuffe Street. About 1773 the more northern street was called Mercer Street, a name which it has borne ever since; while the southern portion was called French Street, as it adjoined French Walk, (the western side of St. Stephen's Green), so named as many of the residents were French Protestants or Huguenots. In 1860, French Street became Upper Mercer Street. The site of Mercer's Hospital was not almost but quite in the country when St. Stephen's Church, built about 1224, and originally the chapel of a leper hospital, isolated outside Dublin, stood here for four centuries. Very Rev. Dr. Bennett became a Professor in All Hallows College, and was for some years President. He remained there for nearly thirty years. When the College was placed under the direction of the Vincentian Fathers, he retired to Terenure, where he died, at a very advanced age, on the 2nd of November, 1897. Father John Carr, already mentioned as Chaplain of the South Dublin Union, succeeded Dr. Spratt as Provincial. Father Carr was succeeded by the Very Rev. John Hartley, who was three times Provincial, 1875 -1878, and 1884 -1891. Father Bartley had also been Prior of Kildare and President of the Carmelite Seminary, Lower Dominick Street. During Father John Hartley's Provincialship, the Fathers of the Irish Province of the Carmelites received charge of a Parish in New York They have done much good work during the last forty years in their Church in Twenty-Ninth Street. They have Churches also at Tarrytown, Middletown, and Bronx, New York. Father Southwell was the first Superior in New York. Father Bartley died in 1895. Father Michael A. Moore was Provincial from 1878 to 1881, and he elected to hold the Presidency of Terenure College at the same time. These were the successful years of the first Intermediate Examinations. In 1881 the Carmelites of the Irish Province made their first settlement in Australia, the first to go being Fathers Butler, Leybourne, Patrick Carr, Moses Byrne and Shaffrey. Father Moore himself ministered in Australia, and was afterwards AssistantGeneral. The Carmelites have Churches now in Middle Park, Port Melbourne and Port Adelaide, Father Moore died in 1895. Rev. Andrew E. Farrington was twice Provincial, 1881-1884, and from 1899 -1902. He was stationed in the late sixties at Merthyr Tydvil, in South Wales. He was afterwards President of Terenure College, and finally he was many years Chaplain of the South Dublin Union. Father Farrington wrote many spiritual books, also The French Clergy during the Revolution and a Life of Dr. Spratt. This sketch is greatly indebted to the last work for the facts of Dr. Spratt's life. Father Farrington died in 1922.
Father John Hall was Provincial from 1891 to 1895. He had been for many years previously Prior in Whitefriars Street, where he had done much good work. He was also Manager of Whitefriars Street School, and to him belongs the credit of erecting the present splendid school. He built also a very large and fine addition to Terenure College. Father Hall died in 1897. Father Thomas Davis was Provincial from 1895 to 1899. He had been previously Prior in Knocktopher. Father Davis was Prior in Whitefriars Street, and was also Manager of the School for many years. Father Davis died in 1904. Father Thomas Bartley was Provincial from 1903 to 1906. He had been a successful President of Terenure College from 1885 to 1891. Father Bartley died in 1915. Father James Cogan was Provincial from 1913 to 1925. He had ministered in Australia. He was also Superior in Terenure College. He made a large extension of the Novitiate in Ardavon. He has since then founded a Mission in England. The present Provincial, Rev. Richard J. Colfer, was many years a successful President of Terenure College. He was Commissary General of the Province, and afterwards Superior of a House in New York. Father Michael A. O'Reilly was Provincial from 1906 to 1909. He had been President of Terenure College from 1891 to 1899. He was afterwards Manager of Whitefriars Street School for many years. While Provincial he acquired Ardavon, Rathgar, as the Novitiate in succession to Terenure. Father O'Reilly died in 1925. Father Edward P. Southwell was Provincial from 1909 to 1913. Both before and after his tenure of this office he was Prior in New York. Father Southwell died in 1922. Rev. Peter M. Ward was several times Prior and Sub-Prior in Whitefriars Street. He was many years President of the Carmelite Seminary, Lower Dominick Street, and Chaplain of Mercer's Hospital. He was also Director of the Carmelite Tertiaries. Father Ward died at a very advanced age in 1916. Rev. James Beahan was also Prior for several terms. He was Secretary of the Roomkeepers' Society. Father Beahan died in 1922. Fathers Beahan and Ward ministered zealously in the Church for very many years. They both lived in Whitefriars Street during the whole term of their religious lives. Rev. Nicholas A. Staples was Prior from 1895 -1899. Both before and after his Priorship here he was Prior of Kildare. He died in 1921. Rev. Joseph L. McCabe was Prior from 1913 to 1919. He had been previously Prior in New York, and had also been on the Mission in Australia. Father McCabe made considerable improvements in the Church. He also built the present fine house as the residence of the community, replacing the old residence of the Wolfe family of 25
Kilwarden, which had become ruinous. Father McCabe died on the 15th of January, 1927. Further improvements have been made from 1919 to 1927. The Shrine of Our Lady of Dublin, the new high gates of Our Lady's Altar, the Well of St. Albert in its new form, and many other improvements and additions in the Church date from this time. The Most Rev. Peter E. Magennis, Father General of the Carmelites, the first Irishman to attain that high position, was for some time a member of the Whitefriars Street community, and President of the Carmelite Seminary, Lower Dominick Street. He was also for many years in Terenure College. Fr. Magennis had a long and eminently successful missionary career in both America and Australia. Although a determined opponent of emigration, he worked constantly to make easy the initial struggles of Irish exiles in those countries. By his unfailing benevolence and wide influence, he secured for many an Irish boy and girl safety for their faith and a chance of a successful career. His work will be long gratefully remembered in Australia, where his friends are numbered amongst men of most diverse views in politics and religion. America, however, was the missionary country of his choice. With a small band of fellow-priests, he toured the States of North America and gave the lead to the well-known and popular Carmelite missions in the States. With a deep insight into human nature and a wide experience, derived from his activities on the missions, he assumed the supreme authority of the Order. The Holy Father, Benedict XV., with whom he was on terms of personal friendship, suggested to him to begin immediately a general visitation. This visitation was productive of wonderful good. The European War had placed an unbearable strain on the convents of the Order in all tin combatant countries. In Germany, Austria, Poland, and even in Italy, the toll of victims and straitened resources left the provinces in a languishing condition. He revived all these and placed them on a firm footing. During his Generalship the number of subjects of the Order has increased over a hundred per cent. Amidst all his activities he finds time for a good deal of literary work. He constantly contributes articles to magazines and periodicals. His books on the Scapular Devotion, the Sabbatine Privilege, the origin and prerogatives of the Order, show profound knowledge and high literary merit. His greatest literary achievement is the monumental work entitled: “The Life and Times of the Prophet Elias." His pen is ever active in defence of the ancient Catholic practices and devotions, but his great predilection is to promote, by writing, oratory and achievements, the honour of the Order, and to
defend the glories associated through the centuries with the name of Mount Carmel. The Grand Carmelite Confraternity of the Scapular in this Church is the oldest Confraternity in Dublin. Its records date from over a hundred and forty years ago. The Sacred Heart Sodality for women, the Archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart for men, the Children's Sodality, and the Children of Mary have a very large and devout membership.
The Choir of this Church, of which Mr. A. E. Keane is organist, is one of its principal attractions. It has long had the advantage of the services of the distinguished Irish singer, Mr. J. C. Doyle. There is a Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Whitefriars Street. Its resources are strained to the utmost: for charity naturally finds a more than sufficient outlet for strenuous exertion in that poverty which must accompany a poor district of Dublin where the streets have reached the age of two centuries and a half. As we look back over this brief history, what is it we see running through its every line? What is it that shines out above everything else? It is the faith of the people — that Catholic faith of which they are justly proud, the faith that suffered, the faith that triumphed. Our people's faith is their glory. It has withstood the world's allurements of flattery; it has withstood the world's persecutors. What a glorious history has our faith! When first brought to Ireland, 1,500 years ago, it made her distinguished among the nations. Churches, monasteries, institutions of piety overspread the land. Her sons, fired with Christian zeal, went forth from her shores, regardless of danger, to make new conquests for Christ and His Church. Their names, emblazoned on the catalogue of the Saints in the different countries in Europe, tell us of their zeal and of their success in bringing those who were in the darkness of paganism into the bright light of Christianity. This was in the days of Ireland's glory. In the days of her misfortune her faith shines out even more brilliantly. We are proud of the Ireland to which the world turned in admiration when she was the seminary of Europe, when her sons and daughters vied with one another in their piety and learning: but we are more proud of her in the days of her sorrow, when her faith was weighed in the balance and not found wanting. For centuries the waves of persecution beat against the faith of our people, but all in vain. Ireland's enemies and the enemies of her faith used all the weapons that wealth, power or cruelty could invent to crush out, to extinguish, the light of faith. But Ireland's faith grew brighter with every attack, defied their power, scorned their wealth, stood firm as a rock in her allegiance to her God. Whitefriars Street Church has its history of battles fought and won for the faith. We look back with pride upon the warm-hearted cooperation between Carmelite Fathers and people. Our Lady of Mount Carmel expects much from us all — present and future generations of priests and people connected with Whitefriars Street; she expects us to maintain undimmed the brightest traditions of our predecessors, both priests and people, some of the best and noblest types of Mother Church, some of her ablest chieftains and defenders. Let us now, as we enter upon a new century, begin another chapter in the history of Whitefriars Street Church. Let us write it large. Let us enhance in it, if possible, the tradition of the past, and emblazon on it the hopes of the future. Above and beyond all, let us write it 28
luminous in the Book of Life, where the breath of slander does not mar and where flattery does not elate.
South Dublin Union Amongst the many duties of the Carmelite Fathers in Dublin, one of the most important and interesting is their spiritual ministration to the poor in the South Dublin Union. For the greater part of a century they have made the chaplaincy of the Union their special care. In that time, many changes have taken place. There has been a transition in the Institution from a management almost wholly Protestant, to one almost entirely Catholic. The Union has passed from the control of Poor Law Guardians, and is now under the authority of Commissioners. The North and South Dublin Unions have been amalgamated. A futile attempt has even been made to change the character of the place by changing its name. Through all these changes, the Carmelite Fathers have carried on unweariedly the monotonous round of their daily duties, and find that the same general characteristics of the place persevere, whether its management be Protestant or Catholic, whether it be under the control of Guardians or Commissioners, whether it be styled County Home or Union. A brief description of these general characteristics, and of the appearance of the Institution, will serve as an interesting introduction to an account of the work done by the chaplains. In 1704 a Foundling Hospital was established in James's Street, and in 1773, a House of Industry was founded in North Brunswick Street. With the enactment of the Poor Law, in 1838, these institutions became known respectively as the South and the North Dublin Unions. The House of Industry (subsequently the North Dublin Union) seems to have been under a liberal-minded management, for even in 1815, previous to Catholic Emancipation, and in 1835, previous to the enactment of the Poor Law, we find Catholic Chaplains employed: Father Russell in 1815, Father Delaney in 1835. The Foundling Hospital had no Catholic Chaplain until it became the South Dublin Union in 1838. The first Catholic priest to minister there was Father Canavan, P.P., of James's Street. His successor was also a secular priest, Rev. Fr. Farrelly. Fr. Fox, O.M.I., officiated as chaplain immediately before the advent of the Carmelites. The establishment occupies many acres, stretching from James's Street to Kilmainham. It comprises several buildings — hospitals, detached infirmaries, sheds, offices, a Convent, Nurses' Home, a Protestant Church, and two Catholic Chapels. Its gloomy entrance leads directly to the Protestant Church. The main Catholic House of worship, an adjunct to the female hospital, is hidden away in the 29
heart of the Institution, and can only be reached by circuitous ways that baffle the uninitiated. Whether this be a trace of the original Protestant predominance or merely circumstantial, one can see a peculiar fitness in placing the Catholic Church in the centre of the place. Deep down in the hearts of the poor inmates is their Catholic belief, and whatever circuitous ways they have travelled from the way pointed out by the dictates of their faith, they come back to it at the last. The Faith of the Catholic is found to be the last great refuge in weariness and distress. It ministers the last comforts to many who knew little consolation in their lives. It is the entrance to an eternal home for many who had no home on earth. In the Union one can see what pathos and tragedy often darken the lives of men. Its hospital wards often show death to be a blessed relief from care and pain. Here, it is evident that poverty often begets exalted virtue, but alas, not rarely, degraded vice. In this asylum for the wretched, one sees verified the words of Christ: “Blessed are the poor in spirit." The wearied, the sick and the unfortunate are the most fit subjects to receive the consolations of the Gospel in both life and death. The South Dublin Union is a gloomy, prison-like institution; yet it almost justifies its existence before God for the number of saintly deaths it has witnessed, and for the number of sinners it has brought to the haven of salvation. It has an unrivalled record of spiritual service to the poor, and may boast that for close on a century none of its inmates has lacked, wherever it was humanly possible to confer them, the consolations the Church gives her dying children. The inmates are divided roughly into three classes, the allocation to a particular class being based on the health or rather the degree of ill-health, of the individual. In the first class, called “The Healthy Yards," the able-bodied, healthy inmates reside. The term "ablebodied healthy" is a misnomer when, applied to these poor people. They show very often from their appearance that lack of nourishment and comfort during their lives has rendered them infirm and prematurely old. Amongst this class the frequent outbreaks of influenza find a heavy toll of victims. The next class is called “The Garden Infirmary." Here the sick among the inmates, serve, so to speak, a time of probation before they enter what are known as the Regular Hospitals. The Regular Hospitals are the third class. For neatness and efficiency they compare favourably with any of the city hospitals. A visit to this division of the Union would serve to dispel the constant prejudice of the poor that degradation or shame is attached to the acceptance of the city's charity. Besides these main divisions, there are smaller ones called “Isolated Wards "; two for consumptives, one for epileptics and those suffering from kindred diseases, and two for the mentally deficient. In these divisions there is altogether an average population of nearly four thousand. The Carmelite Fathers assumed the spiritual care of this multitude of poor and afflicted in the year 1861. They have done very efficient
work amongst the inmates for an unbroken period of 66 years. Two Masses are celebrated in the Union every week morning and four Masses every Sunday. The chaplains are in constant attendance every day from 7 a.m. till 12 noon. On alternate days each chaplain is on duty for the whole day, as sick calls are frequent, even at night. The first Carmelite to assume duty in the Institution was Father John Carr. He sustained a long uphill fight to introduce order into the chaos that then held sway. He corrected age-old abuses and fought like a champion for the Catholic upbringing of the children who were born in the place, or left as foundlings. He compelled the reluctant authorities to allow the religious Sisters to minister in the hospitals. Many reforms in the Workhouse system are due to him. He devoted 22 years of his life to ameliorate the condition of the unhappy inmates. It would be of little use, in these, our happier days, to recall or make comment on the deplorable and unchristian conditions he had to struggle against. His memory will live for this, that he was the uncompromising advocate of the poor and fought unceasingly against the physical and moral degradation to which they were exposed. In 1884 Father Farrington succeeded Father Carr. As a result of the latter's constant efforts at reform, Father Farrington could and did devote a greater time to the purely religious and spiritual aspects of his duty. Frequent Communion for the laity was not practised in his time, but he founded the Apostleship of Prayer, and established spiritual retreats at regular intervals. He was indefatigable in assembling the Catholic Guardians, in order to secure a majority whenever the religion of a child was to be decided by vote. He effected as many changes in the spiritual conditions of the inmates as Fr. Carr did for their physical comforts and amenities of life. In 1905 Father Dillon was appointed Chaplain to the Union. He upholds the best traditions of his predecessors. The amalgamation of the Unions entailed greater work for him and his assistants. His presence in the Union in the midst of the fight in 1916, and his kindly ministrations to all and sundry are gratefully remembered. His spiritual duty was his only consideration, and with the utmost impartiality he assisted the wounded and dying among the combatants. The great influenza epidemic imposed on him and on his assistants an almost superhuman task. That God may reward him for his care and long spare him is our unanimous prayer. Besides the regularly appointed chaplains, two priests, and often three, are engaged. In the winter the amount of work is very great. Whilst practically all the inmates are in a state of health below normal, the number of those actually sick varies from one to two, and even three thousand. The normal death rate is between 20 and 30 a week, but in abnormal times, such as during outbreaks of epidemics, the death rate rises even to 40 a day. Not merely the sick and dying receive scrupulous care, but every inmate is afforded constant opportunities for religious consolation and spiritual progress. The whole institution is somewhat reminiscent of a great monastery. The inmates are usually pensive and silent; they assemble 31
frequently in the chapel for prayers. Here is poverty and the obedience of strict discipline. The austerity of the whole place would rival that of any monastery. To the credit of the poor inmates, let it be recorded that the greater number submit to the hard conditions of their lives with most edifying cheerfulness. Practically all the inmates, who are not actually on the sick list, attend daily Mass and go monthly to the Sacraments. Many of them are daily communicants. The chaplains visit the wards of the hospitals every morning. Would that this charity were more general in the world! It would make such a world as Christ Himself visioned. It has been the proud privilege and the duty of the Carmelite Fathers to do this noble work. For close on a century they have imparted to the poor the heavenly grace which lightens burdens, mitigates pain, and renders human sorrow meritorious of eternal life. They have taught those whom poverty and pain have tried that resignation which purifies the heart. Their ministrations have raised countless souls whom the world rejected to the dignity which belongs to the citizens of an eternal kingdom.
The Foundling Hospital – Dining Hall
The Carmelite Schools 1822—1927 When, after an exile extending over some two hundred years, the Carmelites obtained a footing in Dublin about the middle of the eighteenth century, they found themselves in a city of violent contrasts. Ostentatious luxury alternated with the extremity of squalor. The splendid mansions of the great, the assembly rooms, the pleasure gardens; the gambling houses, resounded with the noisy and somewhat coarse revelry of peers and gentlemen of Parliament, of bucks and bullies and their unclassifiable camp-followers. Side by side with these dwelt the mass of the city population, in the depths of poverty, housed like beasts, insufficiently clothed and scantily fed, and completely deprived of civil rights. In effect, most of the citizens of Dublin, at that period, occupied a lower social plane in the community than do the aborigines in Australia at the present day. Among many and grievous deprivations was the denial of the right of education, except, indeed, such as might be obtained by the sale of religious convictions—the sacrifice of the eternal good of the soul to the temporal needs of the body. To the undying honour of the poor helots of Dublin, be it here recorded that, though opportunity literally knocked at their doors and invaded their hovels, only an insignificant minority succumbed to the tempter. The general mass chose, they and their families, to continue in starvation bodily and mental, rather than sell their children's birthright for a mess of pottage. It makes one tingle with pride to be a citizen of such a city — heir to such invincible constancy. In these circumstances, much as the good Fathers must have wished to remedy this appalling evil, it was not until the nineteenth century was dawning that some relaxation of the legal ban on Catholic education permitted them to turn their attention to the provision of schools for the poor. In the year 1806 the White Friars established themselves in French Street, and had a small chapel hard by in Cuffe Lane. It was to French Street that Father Spratt came when he returned to Dublin after his ordination in Spain. One of his earliest activities was the foundation, in the year 1822, of a School for poor children in Longford Street, which is part of the site of the original Carmelite Convent founded in 1274. Thus it is noteworthy that the first fragment of their ancient territory reconquered was devoted to the cause of charity and learning. The success of these schools was immediate and so pronounced that in the brief space of two years larger premises had to be secured. These were situated in Whitefriars Street, opposite the place where now stands the Carmelite Church. At this point it is not inappropriate to allude to quite another kind of institution that had dishonoured another part of the city for a
century and a quarter, and was now hastening to its ignoble and unlamented demise. This was the notorious Foundling Hospital. Its efficiency as an exterminator of the unwanted is attested by the fact that during its last thirty years, out of about 52,000 babies admitted, more than 40,000 perished. Father Spratt's New Schools must have been a welcome change. For the first decade or so of their existence, the schools were carried on amidst great difficulties, and were a source of keen anxiety to the good Fathers, on whose shoulders rested the entire financial burden of the undertaking. But the passing of the National Education Act in the early thirties brought some relief, the State thenceforth becoming responsible for a share of the liability. From that time the good work was carried on in the schools opposite the Church, till in the year 1850 the Carmelites acquired the building which stood on the north side of their Church, and which had been for just a century in the possession of the Wesleyan Methodist body. In the mid-year of the eighteenth century they had secured a ninety-nine years' lease of the site. In the year 1839 they sought for an extension or renewal of this lease, but found that the Carmelites had been beforehand with them. So they built their new place of worship on the south side of Stephen's Green, and formally opened it in the year 1843. But they continued to carry on their Sunday School in the old meeting-house in Whitefriars Street, till their lease expired in the year 1849. Much ingenuity had to be exercised and considerable expense incurred to adapt the newly-acquired building to its scholastic purpose. And after every device had been tried and every effort exhausted, the place remained far from suitable for school work. Any person experienced in education will readily appreciate the difficulty of accomplishing anything approaching effective teaching where six classes (some of them sixty pupils strong) pursue their studies simultaneously in one square room. Yet, notwithstanding these very imperfect conditions, the Carmelite Schools, under the management of Dr. Spratt and Father O'Farrell, his worthy successor, whose interest in education is well remembered in the district, continued to do their share in producing good Catholics and useful citizens till near the end of the nineteenth century. Then, that pattern of the religious life and great Christian gentleman, the Very Rev. John Hall, O.C.C., realised that something better than the old meeting-house was required, and he erected at a cost of some ten thousand pounds, the fine building that has been in use since the year 1895. Its playgrounds cover nearly the whole site of its predecessor. And now the time has arrived when even this ample structure has become inadequate to the ever growing needs of the district. 34
For the past few years, indeed, some two hundred of its pupils have (at great inconvenience to the Carmelite Community, one fears) invaded Carmel Hall, for lack of space in the school building. So the good Fathers are confronted with the prospect of another huge building enterprise, which when achieved, will provide accommodation for over 2,000 children. All this has grown from Father Spratt's small beginning in Longford Street a century ago. And what of the future? Institutions outlive men, and the Carmelite Schools, after a century of strenuous welldoing, are still in the full vigour of youth. And it may be that one hundred years hence, some scribe in his brief passage on this earth will be found recording fresh triumphs in the art of loving one's neighbour, as practised by the members of the Order of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel.
Carmelite Confraternity The hundredth Anniversary of the return of the Carmelite Fathers to Whitefriars Street is a day full of meaning in the story of the Carmelite Confraternity. There is no need to dwell at length upon the origin of the Carmelite Confraternity. To tell the story in brief, it was a medieval custom that lay people whom God had called to work out their salvation in the busy world, being desirous of obtaining the graces and privileges of some religious order, became affiliated in some way to that particular Order, saying daily some prescribed prayers and wearing some part of the habit. It was thus that the Scapular made its way into the ranks of the faithful. At first a distinctive part of the habit of the Carmelites, it soon began to be worn secretly by the lay people who would share in the hopes of eternal salvation founded by Mary's promise to St. Simon Stock. It was worn by rich and poor, by high and low. All those persons who so wore the Scapular were grouped together under the title of a Confraternity. The fact that it had to be worn secretly under the clothing is considered by some to account for the change in size from the large Scapular which the Carmelite wears to the small Scapular worn by the faithful. The most surprising thing about this devotion to the Scapular is the rapidity with which it spread. When we bear in mind the great want of speedy communication between the various countries, the difficulties of travel and the haphazard way in which news flowed from one place to another, it is little short of remarkable that in 1281, just thirty years after Our Lady's apparition to St. Simon, there should have been in existence Confraternities in fine working order, with rules and regulations, penances and definite periods of probation in places so wide apart and among people so diverse as for instance, the city of Florence in Italy and the University of Cambridge in England, and yet, after nearly 65O years, we possess in part the records of those confraternities. Mother Church, not content that the Privileges of the Scapular should be restricted to the Carmelite Order, properly so called, to Carmelite Priests and Nuns, has thrown open the flood-gates of her supernatural treasury and has enriched the Scapular devotion with indulgences so that all enrolled in the Scapular share in the indulgences of the Carmelite Order, partake of the Masses of Carmelite priests, and have a special claim on prayers after death. From what we have said it is clear that our Centenary celebrations are as dear to our Carmelite Confraternity as to the Fathers themselves. In truth, we may look upon the whole Carmelite Body — Carmelite Priests, Carmelite Nuns, Carmelite Confraternity—as a huge orchestra. God has assigned to each his part, and each member of that body may be regarded as an instrument in that magnificent Carmelite orchestra, which is ever chanting Our Lady's praises on earth, and will sing her glories throughout eternity.
A hundred years have flown by. What changes in the Confraternity! George Gormly had been Rector in Ash Street in 1788. The year 1805 found it in the new Church in French Street. The year 1827 saw it transferred to Whitefriars Street. What growth since then! The members have increased in numbers; they have grown in works. The little shrub has become a mighty tree: its branches have been widening: its blossoms and foliage never ceasing. The devoted zeal of the Confraternity is manifested in their well-nigh tireless energy for all things Carmelite. Within the church's walls they help to keep alive the flame of Catholic devotion to Mary — a devotion that centuries ago found in the people's hearts a place which the slow passage of years only served to strengthen and confirm. It were well to mention in connection with our Confraternity a minute of Nov. 13th, 1859, viz. : a motion calling on the Rector to issue an invitation to the other Confraternities of the city to call a joint meeting to draw up and present an address of sympathy to His Holiness, Pope Pius IX. The meeting was subsequently held, and it is regarded as having played no small a part in the formation of the Irish Brigade. We make no account of their other works of spiritual and corporal mercy continually performed, beyond giving to them this general recognition—the teaching in years gone by of Christian doctrine after Mass on Sundays, their assistance to the faminestricken in 1847, the visits to the homes of sick and of poor members, their collecting to pay off the church debt, the thousand everyday acts of charity and thoughtfulness which fall under no exact lines of classification, and which so often must be known to God alone. The Grand Confraternity to-day numbers 3,000 members. If we recall those other members who have passed into the presence of God, there are thousands who have at one time or other of the last century spent in Whitefriars Street their energies of mind and heart for God and for souls: thousands whose constant incense of prayer ascending to the Author of all truth and goodness, must have brought to this world of misery and sin the rich streamlets of God's favours. Our Carmelite Confraternity shows progress in years past and gives promise of progress more wondrous in years to come. Those hundred years are short, if we measure by the lapse of time from the memorable morning of November 11th, 1827, when they were present at the consecrating ceremony of Whitefriars Street, but that journey is, indeed, long if the milestones are their numerous acts of service to God and to man. Our remarks on the Carmelite Confraternity would be incomplete if we did not give special mention to one member who in the days when it met in the Confraternity chapel had dreams of a big organisation, whose every thought and effort was directed towards this end, who as Rector marshalled the Jubilee processions in 1901, who directed the formation of the different guilds and watched over their successful development, and who in 1921 went to his eternal reward, after 20 years of heroic work —and that member was the late Brother Jas. Devlin.
Carmel of Ireland When heavenward rapt Elias rode The light he shed still shone On Carmel's Mount, and men of God Kept vigil for the dawn Of Life and Light, and her whose ray Would light on earth Eternal Day.
Long watched they for the Sacred Fire, Till lo ! its glory gleamed When Carmel's Queen tilled Heaven's Desire, And Eden's fields redeemed, And oped the Gates Elias won For all who loved her Saviour Son.
The blessed Mount Elias' Lord New hallowed, Men of Cod The ages long still faithful ward, And prayer-winged waft abroad, To kindle hearts and lighten woes, The perfume sweet of Carmel's Rose.
Its fragrance perfumed England's Crown
And Ireland's land and race, And Mary gave her Garment Brown As signal of her grace ; And styled was England Mary's Dower While yet nor storms nor battles lower.
England to smooth a tyrant's frown Filched Mary of her Dower : But Ireland prized her Scapular Brown 'Fore lands and gold and power : And Mary prized 'fore England's marts Her Irish Dover of loyal hearts.
The Irish Carmelites' long line Is red on Ireland's roll ; Their temples razed, they built a shrine More fair in Ireland's soul : With Mary stood by Ireland's Cross, And hallowed Pain and haloed Loss.
'Twas in a Carmel Altared Hall That resurrection sprang!; 'Twas there that first O'Connell's call Emancipative rang : And Faith and Fatherland they blent In the Brown Robe that Mary lent.
Like Ireland's virile monks of eld They sailed in Christian quest, And Austral skies their zeal beheld ; And here in Brendan's West They carried Christ to sick and poor, And Sorrow sought their open door.
Here Carmel's Irish Rose has flowered A Jubilee of years And Mary's healing perfume poured On pain and sores and tears : And Carmel's sons still humble dree ; May Mary crown their Jubilee !
Pioneers for Australia Without the priesthood the world, spiritually, would be a wilderness, for there would be no longer those streams of grace that water the garden of God. Without the priesthood, the Catholic Church, now alive with hymns of praise and sacrifice, would be like a city of the dead. Without the priesthood we should not have that uplifting power which is instilled into weak and downcast souls; we should not have those daily works of Christian mercy, that legion of deeds of Christian compassion and succour in relief of every form of oppression that is weighing down poor humanity. In view of all this, can we find words adequate to praise our pioneer priests for Australia, who, in the face of all manners of trials and hardships, taught salvation in Our Lord? They were grand old men, our pioneer priests for Australia — Father Butler, the most distinguished orator of his day, Fathers Leybourne, Patrick Carr, Moses Byrne and Shaffrey. Those were the days of long and tedious drives: the days of journeys on foot and horseback, the days of the sick calls miles away. When the Irish were almost crushed to death under the heel of a ruthless oppression, when necessity drove them to foreign lands to gain the livelihood denied them in their own country, their priests followed them.
Australian Pioneers – 1881 (Standing l to r) Fathers Leybourne, P.Carr, Moses Byrne, (Sitting L to r) Fathers Butler and Shaffrey
It was not the lust of gold or the spirit of adventure that drew our pioneer priests abroad. It was their desire to give their lives for souls, for which Christ had died. Glorious is the history of Carmel's pioneer priests under the Southern Cross! Glorious the history of that religion they helped to bring there and whose foundations they helped to lay broad and deep for the men and women of the Australian Commonwealth! There were churches, schools, presbyteries to be built, to be kept in repair and supported. This work chiefly devolved upon the priests. What graces and blessings did they not bring to their flocks! Theirs were services which cannot be estimated in money: they do not figure in the statistics of the country's wealth. Yet they were more profitable to the country by their virtue than they would have been by commercial, military or political services. They took the child from the mother's arms and sanctified it in the waters of Baptism, and they received through god-father and godmother, its solemn renunciation of the world, the flesh and the devil. There were the youths and maidens upon whose plighted troth they invoked the benediction of Mother Church in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, to enable them to bear each other's burdens. May God crown them with everlasting splendour, ceaseless toilers, for each one of them could truthfully say, when the evening of his life was drawing to a close: ''I have finished the work Thou gavest me to do."
Pioneers for United States I recall very pleasantly the beginning of the Carmelite parish in 1889 and I have observed with interest the efficient manner in which the Carmelite Fathers have built it up amid many difficulties, in the face of changing conditions which one never looks for in a great city, where things are supposed to be as stable as the solid rock. Yet the fluctuations of population in local neighbourhoods of the metropolis are more violent and swift than in the country districts. In reading the account of the work which has been accomplished in those twenty-five years, nothing touched me more than the simple statement of the sick calls in Bellevue. Nearly eight thousand every year! Now necessary as the regular work of the parish is, and beautiful the establishment of church, school and rectory, and effective the care of the people and the young, these cannot surpass in interest and in pathos the work of looking after the sick and dying in the great city hospital. It is a most compassionate work. Each case is a story in itself, very often a tragedy. I have heard a few of them in a transient fashion, and have wondered what must be the actual experiences of the clergy who spend hours daily watching the closing 40
acts in the drama of life. What silent sermons are preached from these beds of suffering and death! For Bellevue is the harbour of many a lost ship, that drifts in without sail or rudder or compass, its captain almost ignorant of the port he sailed from or the eternal port to which he is bound. A chance word, perhaps a medal or a scapular or a crucifix, the passing of a priest or a nun, reminds him of what he was once and what he expected to be, and then comes the cry for help, almost as the soul is passing, and then the hurry to fit him for his last journey and to make up for the long years of forgetfulness and sin. All the dreamers of the country in time drift into the great cities in quest of their cherished ambition: and a little later they float into the hospital ward, too many, alas! broken in spirit, in hope and in body, distrustful of Cod and His providence, or decaying from dissipation. What a blessing to these poor souls must be the visit of the priest at the moment of utter collapse and despair! The world which broke them has no more use for them, no help for their poverty, no medicine for their souls. Only the Divine Master remembers them, and sends His priest with consoling words and the great Sacraments to heal the bruised heart, set the dismantled house in order, wash away the leprosies of the soul, and fill the wreck with resignation, hope and peace. How beautiful is this compassionate labour! How it tones down the lurid light of tragedy into the gray softness of the celestial dawn! The figures give only a faint idea of the extent, the difficulty, the details of this work of compassion. The mere visit to the sick and the dying and the administration of the Sacraments are only the beginning. The sufferers open their bruised hearts and dark lives to the minister of God; there are far-off parents, relatives, friends to be informed of their suffering and their end; many things are to be done to close up the ragged life decently; and the eight thousand sick calls signify good works to ten times that number before all the consequences are ended. What a blessing must go with this sort of compassion! What gratitude should it not arouse in the hearts of the compassionate everywhere to know that it is so well and steadily done! What pride should stir the hearts of parishioners and the friends of the parish that God has given them so noble an opportunity and good priests to use it with heroic persistence, and unfailing tenderness! What marvellous tales the Carmelite Fathers could tell of the lives that closed in Bellevue, of the hearts that there became regenerate, of the miracles of God's grace and human prayer! This work of compassion is the crown of all the work which stands before the people in this year of the silver jubilee.
J. T. S. on the occasion of the Jubilee Celebrations, New York
The City of Dublin – John Speed 1610 A.D.