Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fr. Alberic Murphy O.Cist.

Fr. Alberic (James) Murphy was a Cistercian monk in the Mount St Joseph Abbey in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. I believe he is one of the Murphy's of Lisrobin (West Cork) and is most likely an uncle of my grandmother Kathleen Hurley (whose mother Bridget was a Murphy). Three of my Hurley grand-uncles (Charlie, Tim, and Pat) went to Cistercian College Roscrea (CCR) - more about Charlie and Tim Hurley in a later post. 

My Dad tells me that Jim Murphy was involved in the building of some of the Abbey in the late 1880's, and liked it so much that he joined the Monastery. He later studied in Rome and became a priest. I'm not sure what age he was when he joined the Monastery, but there is some evidence that he was 27 in 1901. The 1901 census returns for the Community in Mount St Joseph shows a 27 year old James Murphy from Co. Cork as a "Member of the Community". Ten years later the 1911 census shows as 36 year old James Murphy as a "Clergyman - Professor" at the top of the list of names in the returns (which also show my grand uncles Tim and Charlie as students of the College).

According to a special edition of the Cistercian College Roscrea An Fiolar, published in 1958, it was in 1905 when the abbot of the Monastery asked the then Brother Alberic to be the first Bursar and Dean of the College. The picture above is a scan from the book (p146). Another book marking the Centenary of the College Céad Blian Faoi Rath published in 2005 mentions Fr Alberic as having never preached or heard confession.

I remember seeing his simply marked grave in the cemetery beside the Abbey while I was in school in CCR - my jaded memory thinks the cross on his grave states that he died in the 1940's. As the first Bursar and Dean of the College I'm sure he would have had many stories to tell about the founding of the College - I'm certain that he would have been a very interesting person to have met.

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