Father Patrick Joy, SJ

Born: 12 November 1892, Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland
Entered: 07 September 1910, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly, Ireland
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1928
Died: 20 February 1970, Mater Hospital, Dublin

Father Paddy Joy was one of the second group of Irish Jesuits to arrive in the newly founded Hong Kong Mission in 1927. He taught Moral Theology at the Regional Seminary for South China which was opened in 1931. He held this post until he left Hong Kong in 1951, with the exception of the years when he was Regional Superior of Jesuits in Hong Kong. He was made the superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong Mission on 09 October 1941.

During the years of the Japanese occupation, he had to see to the safe dispersal into China and elsewhere of most of the mission personnel, keeping alive what work could be done in Hong Kong which he carried on with a small group of men at the old Wah Yan College. He was also appointed a sort of honorary Irish Consul to look after the interests of about 70 Irish nationals there. In 1943, he was arrested by the Japanese and put in prison for three months.

In 1951 Fr Joy was appointed to lead the little band of Jesuits that branched out from Hong Kong to work in Singapore and what was then called Malaya. Usually a younger man is chosen for such a task, but Father Joy at 59 retained the initiative and the courageous exuberance of youth.

After Kingsmead Hall was completed in July 1954 as a hostel for teachers in training and as a residence for a few Jesuit priests, he appointed the superior. He then went on to start the community in Kuala Lumpur where it finally became established in 1957 during the long drawn out negotiations and difficulties concerning the proposed social centre in Petaling Jaya.

Father Joy wrote, “As the first Jesuit to live in Malaya proper (as distinct from Singapore), I came into territory which had been almost untouched by Jesuits from the time of Francis Xavier’s immediate successors until after World War II. By far the most striking feature for a Jesuit to run into was the universal warmth of the relationship which already existed between us and the local clergy and religious. Everywhere without exception I was welcomed as a Jesuit for the same reason.”

In 1959 he was recalled to Ireland to teach Moral Theology in the Jesuit scholasticate in Dublin. This was not retirement. At the age of 67, he brought a fresh breeze into the lecture room. Father Joy never saw the completion of St Ignatius Church or St Francis Xavier Church. Although he had left Asia, he continued to take keen interest in Malaysia-Singapore and its affairs during his final years in Ireland. One report read: “He pioneered single-handedly the Malaysia-Singapore part of the present (Jesuit) vice-province, leaving many friends and his heart there when he retired to Ireland.”

In his last years he contracted leukaemia. It was arrested for a time, but in 1968 he had to give up lecturing, though he remained a universal consultor as long as any energy lasted. His life slowly ebbed away, and he died in 1970. Father Joy was part of the Milltown Park Dublin community at the time of his death.

Book: 50 years of the parish of the Church of St Ignatius, 2012

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