This Section is to record the past Parish Priests who have served this Community. In 1916, when the Jesuits took charge of the Parish, it stretched from Lang Parade/Rathdonnell Street, Auchenflower to Mt. Crosby. I have gleaned information from Father David Strong S.J.'s book "The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-1998".
Pioneer Parish Priest, 1916 to 1919 and 1924 to 1933, and builder of St. Ignatius Church was born 24th May, 1875, and entered the Society at Tullamore, Itreland on 7th September, 1892. There was much celebration with Blessings, Welcome and Speeches on the Feast of St. Ignatius 1916 when Fr. Richard Murphy S.J. and his Assistant, Fr. Robert Little S.J. took up residence in the first "Manresa", corner Holland Street and Kensington Terrace, to found the Parish of St. Michael and Holy Souls, Toowong. Father Richard Murphy S.J. returned to Toowong in 1924 to assist in sorting out problems with founding Indooroopilly Parish and purchase of new Toowong site for Church. After the Indooroopilly problem was solved Fr. Murphy assisted Archbishop Duhig in purchasing "Auchenflower House" for the arrival of the Carmelite Sisters, this bringing a Church of Ease to the Auchenflower area. He was the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Queensland Catholic Lawn Tennis Association. He founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Toowong in 1916 and was regarded as one of the best known and successful parish Jesuits. Father Dick was very prudent and level headed, sound and careful organiser and full of enthusiasm without being extravagant and was able to communicate his enthusiasm to others. Though he learned to drive a car, he always preferred to walk as long as his legs would carry him. Father Dick returned to Toowong regularly during ensuing years for Retreat and rest and I well remember serving his Masses in St. Ignatius. Father Richard Murphy S.J. died in Sydney on 13th November, 1957, aged 82.
Father John Roney (pronounced like 'money') S.J. was born in Belfast, Ireland on 3rd November, 1856. He entered the Jesuits on 1st January, 1878. Before coming to Toowong Father Roney was involved with teaching and preparing students for public examinations after his arrival in Australia in 1890. He succeeded Fr. Richard Murphy S.J. in Toowong in 1919 and was Parish Priest until 1924 during which time there was much agitation for Mass at Indooroopilly which was originally provided in Stamford Hall. A deputation of Indooroopilly women to Archbishop Duhig saw Indooroopilly formed into a separate Parish on 24th February, 1926. Back on the home front, Father Roney was anxious to acquire property for a new church and when he quarreled with a parishioner whom he accused of wanting too high a price and denounced her from the pulpit he was quickly replaced as Parish Priest. Father Roney had a great love for literature and ancient classes and was a zealous, active and prayerful priest who spent an hour before the Blessed Sacrament each evening. He died in Sydney on 31st May, 1931, aged 74.
Teacher, Preacher, Administrator, born in Ross, New Zealand, on 26th February, 1871. He entered the Jesuits on the 2nd June, 1896 after spending time teaching. The records indicate that he found study difficult. Completing studies at Stoneyhurst, England, he became a powerful force with Community life, gave lectures on New Zealand, played in an orchestra, helped with plays and was a promoter of games and sport. After spending time in Ireland he returned to Australia in 1913. In 1917 he was appointed Superior of the Jesuit Mission and became a national church figure, lecturing, preaching and giving retreats from Townsville to Perth and in New Zealand. He was a powerful preacher, long and loud, covering topics of religion, temperance, education and the plight of the working people. Becoming Rector of Riverview College in Sydney in 1923, he expanded the College into a Great Public School.
In 1932, aged 61, he came to Toowong and became Parish Priest in 1933. His claim to fame in Toowong (unfortunately not recorded in David Strong's book) is the Relief Worker Programme in the Great Depression, 1933 to 1936, when he improved the surrounds of St. Ignatius Church, excavating the rock wall, building ramps and bridges, laying drains, open and underground, asphalting (red concrete) around the Church, building church gates, etc. From Toowong Father William went to Richmond for 11 years before returning to Toowong, aged 76. He died in Brisbane on 10th October, 1948, aged 77 and is buried in Nudgee Cemetery, Brisbane.
'F.X.', as he was popularly known, was born in Dublin on 1st December, 1881 and died in Sydney on 24th February, 1974 aged 92. After entering the Jesuits on 7th September, 1899 at Tullamore he arrived at Riverview in 1906 to teach Senior classes. After studies at Milltown Park and Tullamore he became Military Chaplain with the British Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1919. After being Rector at St. Aloysius College, 1922 to 1931, Xavier College, 1931 to 1934 and Assistant at Richmond, 1935 to 1936, he came to Toowong as Parish Priest until 1940. In Toowong he endeared himself to the people and was well known for not starting Mass on time. Always a bright, cheerful, breezy person, wonderful at making friends and with a prodigious memory, F.X. frequently returned to Toowong to renew acquaintances. After further terms as Headmaster and Teacher in the Society's Schools, he went to North Sydney where his Chaplaincy to the Mater Hospital was extraordinary.
Father William O'Keeffe S.J. was born Black Rock, Ireland, on 24th December, 1873 and entered the Society of Jesus at Tullamore on 7th September, 1892. After studies and teaching at various places Father O'Keeffe cam to Australia in 1916 and taught at Riverview until 1930. From 1930 to 1940 he was Parish Priest and Superior at Norwood, Adelaide before coming to Toowong in 1940 where he spent 4 years as Parish Priest before dying at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane on 13th March, 1944, aged 70. He is buried in Nudgee Cemetery, Brisbane. I understand Fr. O'Keeffe as semi invalided, using a walking stick, only officiated in St. Ignatius Church on special occasions. I received my First Communion from Fr. O'Keeffe in 1942. Fr. O'Keeffe would often stand on the front verandah at the old "Manresa" in Holland Street to signal Brian Slack or myself to come to the presbytery chapel to serve his Mass. As a 10 year old I remember being cramped into the choir loft of St. Ignatius along with the rest of the School Community for Fr. O'Keeffe's Funeral Mass and later forming a guard of honour. Fr. O'Keeffe had a special mission in Toowong for which the parish should be ever grateful. Following the completion of the new Church 10 years earlier, Fr. O'Keeffe found parish income was not even meeting repayment of Interest on loan let alone reducing the Capital. Fr. O'Keeffe undertook a plan of writing to each parishioner seeking an increase in income to meet the desperate financial position the parish was in. He met with a good deal of success. I remember him moving around the parish in his single door Ford Pilot car. The new school of 1948 was dedicated to his memory.
Father Maurice Fitzgerald S.J. was born at Waterford, Ireland on 28th March, 1907. 'Father Fitz' entered the Society of Jesus at Tullabog, Ireland on 31st August, 1923. After studies in Ireland and Riverview Father returned to Australia in 1940 and came to Toowong as an Assistant to Fr. William O'Keeffe. Upon Father O'Keeffe's death in 1944 he became Parish Priest. Father Fitzgerald was a very popular priest in Toowong as Chaplain to the Children of Mary and the Young Christian Workers. He visited widely on pushbike. His claim to fame during his first term as Parish Priest was the erection of the 1948 double storey school building in memory of Fr. William O'Keeffe S.J. It was a difficult time as building materials were scarce following World War II. He arranged converting the previous school to Parish Hall with kitchen facilities.
Father Fitzgerald left Toowong after 6 years as Parish Priest to become 2/I.C. of St. Ignatius Riverview for 12 years before returning to Toowong as Assistant Priest to Fr. Lewis Cardiff S.J. In 1966 he became Parish Priest for the second time and during this time set about adapting to Mass facing the people on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Parish in 1966 as well as building the new Holy Spirit Church at Auchenflower 1969/1970. Ill health dogged him towards the end of his second term as P.P. and after hospitalization undertook an overseas trip to visit his relations. Unfortunately he was hospitalized overseas for some time. Upon returning to Australia he was posted to Lavender Bay Parish where he became broken hearted from being unable to make communication with parishioners on his attempted parish visitations. Archbishop Francis Rush encouraged him to return to Brisbane under his care where he progressively regained his confidence and he moved to the Josephite Sisters at Nundah who provided meals and accommodation. Weekly he returned to Toowong for the Community dinner each Wednesday followed by a visit to his close friend Sr. M. Leonard at her music room and then to various parishioners before returning home. He died at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane on 16th October, 1996 aged 89 and is laid to rest in Nudgee Cemetery.
Pastor, born Paddington Sydney 26th September, 1906; died Sydney 20th March, 1969, aged 62. Father Les entered the Society of Jesus, Greenwich on 18th February, 1929 and went overseas for his studies returning to Australia in 1935 for 4 years before returning overseas for further studies. He returned to Richmond Parish in 1945. He was Parish Priest of Toowong 1949 to 1957. He was a good Parish Priest, very paternal, kind and generous, well organised and enjoyed the authority and dignity of the position. Whilst Parish Priest of Toowong he arranged the purchase of the present "Manresa" opposite St. Ignatius, had it renovated and extended to provide 2 new bedrooms, dining room, bathroom and housekeeper's quarters beneath the new wing. The previous tenants would not sell to the church so Father Les arranged for a parishioner to negotiate the purchase anonymously for him. This building was dedicated to the memory of Fr. William Lockington S.J. Father Les also arranged for the installation of the Pipe Organ in St. Ignatius Church in memory of Fr. Leo Murphy S.J., Assistant Priest 1942 to 1957 and the laying of the rubber carpet in the aisles of St. Ignatius Church.
St. Ignatius was a very hot church in the summer months and Fr. Les set about opening up the side windows of the church, the Shrine windows and side altar windows. He also arranged corroding galvanized roof gutters to be replaced in copper. His six year term as pastor was extended to enable him to enjoy the new Presbytery before moving to Richmond. He was appointed an Assistant Priest at Toowong in 1967, however he sought an exemption as he was not enjoying good health at the time. Toowong experienced the loving care of Fr. Tom Johnston on transfer from St. Leo's College instead.
Pastor, Mission Director, born Richmond, Victoria on 13th January, 1911 and died in Melbourne on 3rd June, 1988, aged 77. Father Lew grew up in Richmond, Victoria. After obtaining his Leaving Certificate from St. Patrick's Melbourne in 1926 with Honours in Latin he worked for a year with Victorian Railway before entering the Society on the 10th February, 1928. After studies overseas he spent time teaching at St. Aloysius before returning overseas and was ordained in Dublin on the 13th May, 1942. Returning to Australia in 1945, he taught in various schools till 1949 when he became Director of the Retreat House at Loyola, Watsonia until his appointment to Toowong in 1959. Father Lew was in Toowong for 8 years until 1965 and during that time he cared for his people, continually undertaking parish visitations, mostly on foot, and only once during those eight years did he take a holiday and that was only because his sister in Melbourne was celebrating a special event in her life.
Not only was he caring for his people but also caring for the church and surrounds. He arranged bricking up of the wall under the side ramp of the church, building that low brick fence around the presbytery, replacing all the timber stumps under the presbytery and putting it on brick foundations. Most of this work was executed by parishioner Jack Burke, assisted by parishioner Jack Lane.
Father Lew was also directed to purchase the Carmelite property in Auchenflower for future parish use and after the Carmelites moved to Ormiston with everything, leaving just an empty shell, he arranged provision of furniture to enable the church of ease in the Parish to continue. During his time as Parish Priest of Toowong, the school Mothers Committee was formed and a Mission Card Group was formed to support the Australian Jesuit Mission in India. This was a time when Sunday afternoon Mass started to take off and whilst he resisted its introduction for some time when it was introduced he decided it had to be at 5p.m. to enable people to fast and receive Communion at that Mass. So we appear to have had 5p.m. Mass on Sunday afternoon now for some 40 odd years. As with Fr. William O'Keeffe's story not much is recorded in Father David Strong's book but during Father Lew's eight years in Toowong this slight, frail man endeared himself to the people, continually plodding away at pastoral care and parish improvements. It was during his time as Parish Priest that parishioners, through the Women's Sacred Heart Sodality, were prepared to move away from the Latin to the peoples' spoken work in readiness for Mass in the Vernacular and Mass facing the people which initially took place on St. Ignatius feast, 31st July, 1966 on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the parish.
From Toowong Father Lew went to Sevenhill, South Australia for 10 years, 1966 to 1975 before moving to Melbourne to take on the work of promoting the Jesuit Mission in India.
In 1972 we had Father John Drury S.J. for 12 months before he was taken away to be Socius to the Provincial. Since the withdrawal of the Jesuits from St. Leo's College, St. Lucia, we had had Fr. John in residence at "Manresa" Toowong where he assists the Parish Clergy as well as undertaking the Jesuit Retreat Ministry and Chaplaincy to the Wesley Hospital.
Following Father Drury we had Father Richard Galbraith, S.J. "Call me Richard" who introduced Lay Ministers for Communion and it was during his period as Parish Priest that the "Morrow" property was offered to the parish to purchase. Fr. Richard called a Parish Meeting and was quickly told to purchase same and where would St. Ignatius School be today without it. Father Richard became heavily involved in counseling troubled religious following Vatican II and suffered a stress related health failure. He also suffered a lot of criticism from parishioners for his progressive ways, even being reported to the Bishop. Father Richard later chose to leave the Order and is presently resident in Victoria.
Father Richard was ably supported during these years by Fr. Leo Flynn S.J. (the famous Minties Priest), who later became Parish Priest. Father Leo Flynn was born at Bunbury W.A. in 1917 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1936. He was ordained on 5th January, 1949 and taught at St. Louis, Perth. Following parish work at Richmond, Victoria, Attadale W.A., he came to Toowong in 1973 as Assistant Priest later becoming Parish Priest from 1975 until 1981. During his term as Assistant Priest the Ignatian Musical Society was formed followed by the St. Ignatius Tennis Club. Following a motion at a school P. & F. Meeting to upgrade the sole school tennis court, Fr. Leo went big time with dual tennis/basketball courts and lights only to find out he didn't own the land. He sanded the floor of St. Ignatius Hall only to have it severely splinter on the tongue and groove necessitating a new floor. He also built a grand new Stage for the Ignatians Productions. Fr. Leo also was famous for his monthly 'Oscars' in the Toowong Parish News Bulletin in which annually he recorded his V.W. trips around Australia and his late night visitations. One prominent parishioner objected to the 'Oscar' which was paid to him and confiscated all the Parish News for that month. Father Leo also installed fans in both Churches and the Hall.
Following Father Leo Flynn Father George Belfrage S.J. who had been in Toowong previously as an Assistant Priest, was appointed Parish Priest. Father George revamped the Easter Liturgies and encouraged Sunday afternoon Youth Masses as well as introducing weekday afternoon Mass at 5.30p.m. each day. During his term the Parish Pastoral Council, with its Spirit, Purpose and Guidelines was formed and one of its first projects was the school upgrade which brought about the 1986 school extension of 2 classrooms and amphitheatre which was dedicated to the Sisters of Mercy and Lay Teachers since 1903. Always absolutely methodical in his planning, the Parish Fete Committee was also revamped during his term. Father George later also chose to leave the Order.
Fr. George Belfrage gave over to Father Guy Carlson S.J., who was born and educated in India where his Father was serving in the British Expeditionary Forces. Father Guy came to Australia on transfer from the Indian Province and it wasn't long before he came to Toowong on Supply over the Christmas period of 1972/73 returning in 1974 as Assistant Priest. During the Australia Day floods of 1974 Father Guy, along with other parishioners, shoveled mud from parishioners' homes. Fr. Guy spent some 14 years in Toowong as both an Assistant Priest as well as being Parish Priest 1986-1987. His special mission was to the school children and their parents whom he met before school each morning. He was Parish Priest when the extension to St. Ignatius School was opened in 1986.
The next Parish Priest of Toowong was Father Gregory Jordan S.J. Father Greg came to Toowong in 1988 from College Ministry in Tasmania. It was Father Greg who had the varnished oak ceiling painted over to lighten the interior of St. Ignatius Church. During his term of 4 years the Finance & Development Committee was established. He can also claim to fame that he was successful in getting rid of the pigeons from the church buildings by engaging Peter The Possum Man.
Following Father Greg came Father Desmond Purcell S.J. in 1992. 1993 was the Centenary Year of the Toowong Catholic Community having their own place of worship. Father Des had been a Missionary in India until ill health forced him to return to Australia. Father Des could not cope with the pressure of being Parish Priest and did not enjoy fraternity with the Parish Pastoral Council members. Father Des relocated the kitchen space in the Parish Hall and also provision of a Tea Room in the Church and the refurbishing of the Reconciliation Room. Father Des' health suffered and it was necessary for him to retire to a quieter life at the House of Writers in Canberra.
This brings us up to the most recent Parish Priests of Father James Kilbride S.J., 1995 to 2000, followed by Father Christopher Jenkins S.J., 2001 to 2004. During the term of Fr. Jim Kilbride, the Legacy left by Catherine Jean Horstmann was put to good use in developing the Parish Centre and refurbishing "Manresa" which was officially Blessed and Opened by Bishop Michael Putney on the 3rd May, 1998. This project was dedicated to the memory of past Priests and parishioners. Also during Father Jim's term there was the Blessing and Opening of the Sister Mary Leonard's classroom block on the site of the former "Morrow" house on Sunday, 28th August, 1996 and then his Blessing of the Centenary Classroom Block and the Barbara Foster Art Centre on the 21st May, 2000 and its opening by Mrs. Mary Persley. Unfortunately Father Jim chose to leave the Order in September, 2000.
About this time the Jesuits elected to withdraw from St. Leo's, St. Lucia and some members resident at St. Leo's came to Toowong, including Father Norbert Olsen S.J. who took over as Acting Parish Priest until the appointment of Father Chris Jenkins in January, 2001.
During Father Christopher Jenkins' S.J. time as Parish Priest the Children's Liturgy Room adjacent to the Holy Spirit Church, Auchenflower, was built, being Blessed on the Feast of Pentecost in 2003.
Father Chris was withdrawn in October, 2004, to undertake his Tertainship with Father Norbett becoming Acting Parish Priest once again until the arrival of Father Peter Quin S.J. in February, 2005.
Our current Parish Priest, Father Peter Quin SJ has been the Parish Priest of St Ignatius in Toowong since 2005.
Fr Peter is originally from Victoria and completed his secondary school education at Xavier College, Kew.
Fr Peter entered the Society of Jesus at Loyola, Watsonia, on 1st February 1950, ordained on 2nd January 1964 and Finals Vows taken in 1968 (St Louis).
From 1974-1981 Headmaster at St Ignatius College, Riverview. 1982 Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, Vic. 1983-1999 Lavender Bay. 1989-1992 Rector at Xavier College, Vic. 1993-2004 North Sydney (Parish Priest from 1998).
Arriving in Toowong in 2005. Since then Fr Peter has been involved with many activities within the parish school, extensions and improvements, most recently the successful acquisition of the school playing fields from the Sisters of Mercy, and has also been involved in parish events including "Women's Night of Spirituality" which has become an annual event and the Fr Bill O'Shea talks (with the Brisbane West Deanery) in 2009.
1st February 2010 marked an important date for our Fr Peter Quin SJ, who celebrated 60 years as a Jesuit.