Born: 02 July 1904, Castletownbere, County Cork, Ireland
Entered: 08 September 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly, Ireland
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 22 April 1977
Died 19 April 1980, Kuala Lumpur
After ordination and tertianship, he studied Cantonese; then he joined the staff of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. He spent the war years, partly with the Maryknoll Fathers in China, partly in Calcutta, where in addition to doing parish work, he started a much valued centre for the wartime swarm of army chaplains, giving hospitality also to many servicemen of all ranks.
After the war he worked for a time in Canton. When that became impossible he returned to Hong Kong where he taught in Wah Yan College, Kowloon, and worked as a ready helper in the college chapel and in St Teresa’s Church. It was this church work that made him known to the Catholics of Hong Kong.
In 1961 Father Sullivan moved to Malaysia to become assistant priest at St Francis Xavier’s Church until 1965; and the second parish priest from 1965 to 1966.
Known as Father Ned, he was a friend to all, especially to those in difficulty. Concerned about others, he was very neglectful about himself. He had the outward appearance for the most part of a broken-down tramp; he could not keep anything, gave everything away, never refused anyone. In one instance, he had to be forbidden by his superiors to stop him from giving the shirt off his back to the poor.
Father Ned is especially remembered as the Apostle of Sungei Way where the new parish of Sungei Way was growing among the poor whom he spent many years ministering to. He was essentially a man for others, a great man, and loved by all.
When the time came at which he, as a foreigner, was told that under Malaysian law he would have to leave the country, the parishioners raised such a clamour of dismay that the government granted him a personal exemption from the law, allowing him to remain though without a specific post.
Father Ned, in spite of his infirmities, which towards the end of his life made walking very painful for him, he remained cheerful. He died three days after falling off a retaining wall outside the Jesuit residence in 1980.