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Where Two Traditions Meet: John Sullivan SJ 1861-1933

Author(s): Thomas Morrissey

ISBN13: 9781856076449


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  • John Sullivan embraced in his life the two main traditions in Irish history: the unionist, anglo-Irish, Church of Ireland tradition and the Catholic tradition of the majority of the population. He was the son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, studied in Trinty College, practiced as a lawyer in the English bar, and was known as the best dressed man in Dublin. In his mid-thirties, John became a Catholic and two years later a Jesuit. Most of the rest of his life was spent as a teacher and spiritual father to boys in Clongowes Wood College in Co Kildare. In this relatively remote setting he became known as a poorly-dressed man of prayer and penance with a gift of healing.

    Seventy years after his death people continue to visit and pray at his shrine in Gardiner Street church, Dublin.

  • Thomas Morrissey

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    The Jesuit author, historian and biographer Thomas J. Morrissey has written extensively about personalities in Irish church life, especially from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His latest work, a biography of his fellow-Jesuit , Fr John Sullivan, is a worthy addition to the list of his books. John Sullivans life did indeed, as the title suggests, span two traditions, Firstly there was the tradition of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy class, unionist and Anglican, into which he was born. His father was the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He studied at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen and later at Trinity College in Dublin. He practised law at the English bar and was known as `the best dressed man in Dublin. In his thirties, his involvement with the second tradition, the Irish, Catholic and later Jesuit tradition began. He underwent an experience of conversion and became a Catholic. Two years later he entered the Society of Jesus. The rest of his life was marked by intense prayer and personal mortification. After his initial formation and studies as a Jesuit, he spent most of his life at Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare. Both within that community, and eventually far beyond it, his reputation for holiness and for the gift of healing spread far and wide. His tomb in Gardiner St. Church in Dublin is still a place of pilgrimage. This biography combines an intimate knowledge of the man and his milieu, with a simple clarity of expression that makes the book both informative and a delight to read.

    - THE FURROW, May 2010


Where Two Traditions Meet: John Sullivan SJ 1861-1933

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