It is with feelings of deep regret that we chronicle the death of Father Colman of the Seven Dolours, one of the most senior members of our Province. The late Fr. Colman, who was seventy-nine years of age, had been bedridden for many years as a result of a paralytic stroke. His death occurred at Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross on November 16th, I965. He remained fully conscious almost to the end. He received the last Sacraments with edifying fervour, answering the prayers in a firm, strong voice.
Born at Ballyclough, Mallow, Co. Cork in the Diocese of Cloyne on March 15th 1886, Thomas Patrick Fitzgerald was for some years engaged in commercial pursuits. At the age of twenty-two, he sought admission to the Passionists and on the completion of his novitiate made his religious profession on February 21st 1909. He completed his ecclesiastical studies at St. Paul’s Retreat, Mount Argus, and in due course was raised to the Priesthood by Most Rev. Dr. Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin.
Shortly after Ordination he was appointed Vice-Master of Novices, and later Director of Students. From 1929 – I935 he was Rector of St. Mungo’s, Glasgow, where he was highly esteemed by the parishioners, in whose spiritual welfare he always took the keenest interest. For a further period of six years, 1935 – 1941, he was Provincial Consultor, and in this capacity attended the General Chapter held at SS. John and Paul’s Retreat, Rome in 1937. In I941 he was again elected Rector of St. Mungo’s for a third tern of three years.
Throughout most of this period, with the exception of his time at St. Mungo’s, Fr. Colman was constantly engaged in the distinctive Passionist apostolate of missions and retreats. Being well-read and versatile, he proved a gifted and inspiring preacher whose sermons never failed to hold the attention of the congregation. On missions he was a genial companion with a talent for conversation; his good humour often lightened the heavy and exhausting work of big parochial missions.
By temperament active and vigorous, he bore with exemplary patience the long years of enforced inactivity due to his infirmity. He was genuinely anxious to receive visits from his brethren, and it was no unusual experience, on entering his room, to be greeted with a query regarding the unduly long interval since the last visit. He was always optimistic about his condition, pathetically anxious to demonstrate his progress (which in actual fact was nil). Always he cherished the hope that some new treatment would be found to restore his health. Alas, it was not to be, and so by degrees he resigned to what everyone else knew to be inevitable – the life of an invalid. However, he was not without some measure of consolation during this prolonged period of trial.
In 1963 he had the happiness of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of his Ordination. Unable to celebrate Mass himself he assisted at the Jubilee Mass in a wheel-chair. His tears of joy were eloquent testimony to his happiness on such a great occasion. Afterwards he was individually greeted by each member of the, community, all of whom had come to assist at the Mass in the chapel of Our Lady’s Hospice.
Before his death he also had the privilege of making a pilgrimage to Lourdes. This was an event that he had long looked forward to, and it gave him great spiritual consolation.
His condition which had not varied much over many years suddenly began to deteriorate and it was judged prudent to administer the Last Sacraments. It is only right to mention too that, over the years, he had received the unremitting attention and skilled nursing care of the Sisters and Staff of Our Lady’s Hospice. To them he wished a special word of gratitude should be given after his death.
The obsequies took place at St. Paul’s Retreat, Mount. Argus on Thursday, November 18th. Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Aidan, C.P., Rector. The Deacon was Rev. Fr. Frederick and the Sub-Deacon Rev. Fr. Timothy, C.P. A large and representative number of Passionists attended the funeral and the interment took place in the monastic cemetery adjoining the church.
May he rest in Peace.
Aidan of the Immac. Heart of Mary, Rector.
Fr. Colman Fitzgerald C.P.
By the death of Rev. Fr. Colman Fitzgerald, C.P. which occurred on November 16th, St. Patrick’s Province has lost one of its oldest members. The late Fr. Colman, who was seventy-nine years of age, had been bedridden for a number of years past as a result of a paralytic stroke. He remained fully conscious almost to the end and received the last Sacraments with most edifying fervour.
Born at Ballyclough, Mallow, Co. Cork on March 15th, 1886, Thomas Patrick Fitzgerald entered the Passionists at the age of twenty-two and made his religious profession on February 21st, 1909. He completed his ecclesiastical studies at St. Paul’s Retreat, Mount Argus, and was ordained on December 21st, 1913, by Most Rev. Dr. Walsh.
Shortly after ordination he was appointed Vice-master of novices and later Director of Students. From 1929 to 1935 he was Rector of St. Mungo’s, Glasgow, where he was highly esteemed by the parishioners. For a further six years, 1935-1941, he was Provincial Consultor, and in this capacity attended the General Chapter held in Rome in 1937. In 1941 he was elected Rector of St. Mungo’s for a third term of three years.
Fr. Colman was much in demand for missions and retreats. He was a gifted and interesting preacher, being well read and versatile. By temperament active and vigorous, he bore with exemplary patience the long years of enforced inactivity due to his infirmity.
In 1963 he had the happiness of celebrating the, Golden Jubilee of his ordination. Unable to celebrate Mass himself, he attended the Jubilee Mass in a wheel-chair, and his tears of joy were eloquent testimony to his happiness on the occasion. He also had the privilege of making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, something to which he long looked forward to.
(The Cross, Vol. LVI, 1965-66; p. 189)