Fr John Sullivan, a Jesuit priest, will be beatified on Saturday 13 May 2017 in the Jesuit –run parish of Gardiner St Church, Dublin. This is the first ever beatification ceremony to take place in Ireland. Beatifications always took place in Rome until Pope Benedict XVI decided that they would take place in the home country of the person. Beatification is the step before being declared a saint.
For the first months of his life John Sullivan was a neighbour of the early Holy Faith sisters. He was born at 41 Eccles Street down the road from 46 where Margaret Aylward and her small group of women lived. His father was a member of the Church of Ireland and his mother was a Catholic. As often happened in a ‘mixed marriage’, the boys were brought up in the denomination of their father and the girls in the denomination of their mother so the infant John was baptised in the Church of Ireland, St George’s Church, on Temple Street.
Graduating with the gold medal in Classics from Trinity College, John studied law at Lincoln’s Inn in London. It was in London that he was received into the Catholic church in 1896. Four years later he entered the Jesuits and was ordained in 1907.
For many years a teacher at Clongowes College, Fr John Sullivan became well known for his devotion to the sick, visiting them in their homes and in hospital, talking and praying with them. His was a familiar figure on the roads as he walked or cycled to the people who had called for him. He died in 1933 in Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home in Lower Leeson Street in Dublin.