Rev. Fr. Canice (Timmins), C.P.
Less than a month after the lamented death of Father Cormac, C.P., which was chronicled in the August issue of THE CROSS, came the announcement of the death of Rev. Fr. Canice (Timmins) on August 14th at the Retreat of Mary Immaculate, Musselburgh, Midlothian. The sad news was received with profound sorrow by the members of St. Patrick’s Province, particularly as the deceased priest was only thirty years of age. We can assess accurately the tragic significance of Death when it claims one who stands on the threshold of priestly life, with the splendid promise of a future of unselfish service in the vineyard of Christ; but when this is seen through the eyes of faith as the arrangement of a Divine Providence that determines what is best for us, we bow our heads in silent resignation.
Known in the world as James Timmins, Fr. Canice was born on September 27th, 1919 at Castlemartin, Co. Meath. Having received his early education at O’Connell Schools, Dublin, he entered the Passionist Novitiate at St. Gabriel’s Retreat, The Graan, Enniskillen, where he made his Religious Profession on January 23rd, 1939. He pursued his philosophical and theological course at the Retreat of Mary Immaculate and St. Paul’s Retreat, Mount Argus, Dublin, subsequent to which he was ordained priest at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe On July 12th, 1943 by Most Rev. Dr. McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin.
The seven years of his priestly life were divided between St. Gabriel’s Retreat, Enniskillen and Retreat of Mary Immaculate, where he was appointed to the parochial ministry of Prestonpans. Few indeed knew of the extent of his devoted labours for the souls entrusted to his care, especially to the poor and the afflicted. It was only when he was taken from them that his many acts of kindness were spoken of by the grateful recipients. Ever assiduous in his ministrations, he displayed all the ardent zeal and all the Christlike charity of the selfless priest and the devoted son of St. Paul of the Cross.
Those of us who knew him intimately feel keenly the loss we have sustained by his death. We shall not easily forget his kindly, gentle disposition, his ready fund of sympathy for those in trouble and his prompt response to the call of duty. He was actually engaged in his parochial work when he took dangerously ill. Realising that there was no hope of his recovery and cheerfully resigned to the Will of God, he spent his last days on earth reciting ejaculations and prayers. He remained fully conscious to the end which came peacefully on the evening of August 14th.
The obsequies, which were attended by a large and devout congregation, took place at St. Mungo’s Retreat, Glasgow.
We ask our readers to join with us in begging the Infinite Mercy of God on his good soul. May he rest in peace.
(The Cross, Vol. XLI, 1950-51; p.161.)
FATHER CANICE OF OUR LADY OF SORROWS, C. P.
The death of Father Canice of Our Lady of Sorrows, at the early age of thirty was mourned by the Passionists of St. Patrick’s Province with the keen sense of loss that is felt only when a young Priest dies.
Father Canice died at St. Raphael’s Nursing Home, Edinburgh, on the eve of the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption, August 14th. 1950. Three weeks previously he underwent a major operation which at first seemed very successful. The strain, however, took a heavy toll of a constitution that was never robust, and as the patient grew steadily weaker the last Sacraments were administered. Again hopes of recovery were raised, but when the surgeon finally decided that a second operation was necessary all were sadly apprehensive of the result. For a few days the young Priest laboured under extreme debility giving a beautiful example all the while of happy resignation to God’s Will, and edifying all by the heroism of the efforts to comply with the least wish of those in care of him. In the full possession of his faculties he joined in the recitation of the prayers for the dying which he wished to be said slowly, and as a last request he asked that the ” Memorare ” be said. It was a request that revealed the soul of the young Priest. The Immaculate Virgin did remember and brought him the grace of a holy death when the Universal Church had recited first Vespers of the Great Feast of Her Assumption.
Known in the world as James Timmins, Father Canice was born on September 27th. 1919, at Castlmartin, Co. Meath. Subsequently the family came to live in Dublin where he received his early education. When the time came to -leave O’Connell School, his next step was to enter the Passionist Novitiate at St Gabriel’s Retreat, the Graan, Enniskillen, where he made his Religious Profession on January 23rd 1939. Two days later he sailed for Scotland with five classmates to begin his Philosophical course at the Retreat of Mary Immaculate, Dnum-Mohr, Musselburgh. With the out-break of war his class was transferred to St. Paul’s Retreat, Mount Argus, Dublin, on August 2nd. 1940. There he finished his Theological course and on July 12th. 1943 was ordained Priest at Holy Gross College, Clonliffe. The first year of his Priestly life was spent in St. Gabriel’s Retreat, Enniskillen. On October 6th. 1944 he sailed once again for Scotland with four classmates. In 1947 he was appointed to the Parochial ministry of Prestonpans.
As a Priest and a Religious his charity and kindness endeared him to Priests and people alike. Quietly he did his work in the most unassuming fashion. Devoid of all ostentation he made no display either of his labours among the people or of the habitual contest imposed upon his zeal by the burdensome disability of a delicate constitution. Pew realised just how much he did or how much he endured, but it might be said that his special apostolate was in the youth movement which holds such an important place in the Priestly Ministry of to-day. For this work Fr. Canice was particularly gifted. The -many youth clubs and guilds flourishing in Prestonpans are a lasting tribute to his devoted zeal. At sodality meetings and on the sports field he communicated his own selfless devotion to others, and the varied collection of cups and trophies won by the Parish teams tell with what enthusiasm they entered into the game. With every section of the people he was deservedly popular. He had a deep sense of Justice which made him acutely sensitive to the trials and difficulties of the working people to whom he ministered. As a Priest and friend he went among them encouraging them to look upon Jesus Crucified for strength in their daily trials, and ever ready to sacrifice personal convenience to bring help and counsel to young and old.
Those who now recall the familiar figure of this apostolic young Priest walking or cycling on his daily rounds through the length and breadth of the Parish wonder whence he derived the strength for such enduring effort. But love is stronger than death. Father Canice loved his Crucified Saviour and learned to suffer for his sake.
May the Mother of Sorrows obtain for him the crown of eternal life.