The beatification of Fr John Sullivan SJ – a first for Trinity and Ireland

Posted on: 10 May 2017

Trinity graduate Fr John Sullivan SJ will be beatified on Saturday 13 May 2017 by Cardinal Angelo Amato, representing Pope Francis in Gardiner Street Church – the first beatification to take place in Ireland.

John Sullivan is the first Trinity graduate to be beatified. Son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland Sir Edward and Lady Elizabeth Sullivan, he was a law student, gold medallist and Classics graduate of Trinity College (1879-1885).

Fr John Sullivan SJ

Educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen before coming to Trinity, he graduated with a Classics degree and then went on to continue law studies and qualify in Law in Lincoln’s Inn in London. 

John Sullivan grew up an Anglican, became a Catholic in his 30s in England and later joined the Jesuits. After ordination he spent most of his life living in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare as chaplain, but ministering especially to the sick and the poor in the environs of Clane. It was here that his reputation for simplicity and holiness grew. Fr Sullivan died in February 1933. His body was exhumed and transferred to a shrine in Gardiner Street Church, Dublin, in the 1960s.

The ceremony will consist of a Mass during which a formal request for beatification will be publicly made. In an unprecedented ecumenical gesture, this request will be made by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson and the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, together, reflecting the fact that Fr John was an Anglican for the first half of his life and Roman Catholic for the second.

Provost Patrick Prendergast will be representing the University at this unique ceremony.

The entire ceremony, starting at 11am, will be live-streamed on


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