Like a lot of families in Ireland I have several ancestors who became priest, monks, and nuns. Today, there is a dearth of young people joining the clergy, and grey is the dominant colour of hair at Mass these days. In my family, none of my own generation joined the clergy. Neither did anyone in my mother and father's family. But in the previous generation, there were a few. Today there are very few men and women joining the clergy, but this was not always the case.
In the photos below (from my cousin Clarissa's album), we first see Fr Alberic (James) Murphy in his Cistercian outfit in Roscrea (where I went to school). He was the first Bursar in Cistercian College Roscrea. I cannot establish what his relationship is to me - my great-grandmother Bridget was a Murphy, and I'm guessing he was her brother.
|Fr Alberic Murphy, with my grand uncles Charlie (left) and Tim (right).
Next in my cousin's album is Fr Pat Breen. He was from Boherbue in Co Cork, and other than that I know nothing about him. Boherbue is near Newmarket where my grandmother's family were from, so I'm guessing he was a family friend rather than a relative. He was a Cistercian, but left the order.
|Fr Pat Breen.
|Monsignor Charles Hurley.
The photo above is Monsignor Charles Hurley - my grand-uncle. I remember him well - he died in 1985 when I was 25. He was born in 1895, and assuming that he had already been ordained by the time the above photo was taken, I'm guessing he is in his late 20s in the photo. You can see that there is a "British Consulate" stamp on the photo - what this is for I don't know. In the photo below he is looking rather grand in a top hat getting ready to ride a horse with my Dad - this photo was taken in Tomacork.
|The "Mons" in top hat. The bot on the other horse is my Dad (Joe).
The last photo (for now) below shows two nuns. The nun on the left is my grand-aunt Hannah Mary Hurley, known in her convent as "Mother Bridget". I remember well my mother and father bring us to visit her in the Loreto Convent in Bray - she was always good for giving us pencils and other stationary - no doubt left behind in classrooms by generations of Loreto girls.
|My grand-aunt Hannah Mary Hurley (Mother Bridget) on the left.