Birth of Clongowes priest John Sullivan celebrated

A large crowd turned up to a Mass in Clongowes College on Sunday, May 13 to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of John Sullivan.

A large crowd turned up to a Mass in Clongowes College on Sunday, May 13 to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of John Sullivan.

Fr. John Sullivan was born on May 8, 1861 at 41 Eccles Street, in the heart of old Georgian Dublin. His father, Edward was the future Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was a successful barrister and was already showing signs of what was to be brilliant success in future life.

He grew up a Protestant in comfortable surroundings and attended Portora Royal School, Enniskillen as did many of the sons of comfortable Protestantism down through the years.

He attended Trinity College, Dublin in the 1880’s studying Classics and Law with the intention of following his father into the same career.

He was known as a handsome man of charm and grace, who loved outdoor activities such as cycling and long walks in hills and mountains at home and abroad and was known as ‘the best dressed man around Dublin’.

However in December 1896, at the age of 35, after some years of soul searching, he decided to become a Catholic. And in 1900 he decided to become a Jesuit and entered the Jesuit novitiate in Tullabeg, Co. Offaly.

After some years of study in Stonyhurst College, England and in Milltown Park, Dublin he was ordained a priest on 28 July 1907 at the age of 46.

He was then appointed to the staff in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, where he was to spend the greater part of his life as a Jesuit. While in Clongowes, he became known for living a very holy, prayerful and simple life.

On 19 February 1933, at the age of 72 Fr. John Sullivan died in St. Vincent’s Nursing Home in Leeson Street, close to the Sullivan family home.

Since that time, he has been revered by many as a saint. During his lifetime, many flocked to him in times of trouble and anxiety, confident of the power of his prayers; and that confidence continues.

He is being considered for and promoted for sainthood.