We regret to announce the death of Fr. Jim Stanley, C.Ss.R. in our Redemptorist community in Marianella, Dublin, on Monday, 2nd April, 2012.
An outline of the life of Fr. Jim Stanley, C.Ss.R.
Fr. Jim was a native of Woodford, Co. Galway was born in January 1930, and in his thirtieth year he made his profession of vows as a Redemptorist. Prior to joining the Redemptorist Congregation he worked for McInerney’s construction business. When in his mid twenties he determined that his vocation was to be a priest and with this in mind he attended the apostolic school under the auspices of the Society of Jesus in Mungret, Co. Limerick. During his sojourn in Mungret he became acquainted with the Redemptorists and decided that his call to serve God was with the sons of St. Alphonsus.
Following his profession in Esker, Athenry on Sept. 24, 1959, he began his philosophical and theological in the Redemptorist Studentate, Cluain Mhuire, Galway.
Two years into his studies (1961) Jim was one of a group of our students chosen to go to the Philippines as the nucleus of the new, fledgling studentate in Cebu. After many years of missionary activity in “the only Catholic nation in Asia” the Redemptorists had now taken decisive action to enlist young Filipinos in the spreading of the Good News of Jesus the Redeemer. And these zealous young souls were chosen to impart to their equally keen Asian confreres the spiritual and apostolic spirit of the Redemptorists.
Three and a half years after arriving there Jim was ordained a priest in Cebu on 20th December 1964. Over the next seven years Fr. Stanley was engaged in the preaching of missions in the Visayas (central part of the Philippines) and other Cebuano speaking areas. However in 1971 due to health problems he returned to Ireland.
Over the next few years after his recuperation, besides preaching parish missions, especially in the Dublin and south Leinster areas he had the added responsibility of Redemptorist Vocations Director.
During the year October 1973-September 1974 he had assignment, that of overseeing the building of the chapel at Marianella (Dublin). He had a few headaches with this project. At the early stage of construction during a very stormy night some of the partially build walls were blown but undaunted the work proceeded. One could say that this intrepid spirit was a characteristic of Fr. Jim. Further, when the work was nearing completion, it became apparent that the finish of the ceiling as had been designed was ugly and an eyesore. So Fr. Stanley, together with one of our students who had been a joiner before becoming a Redemptorist and a couple of other men inserted the beautiful timber ceiling that graces this chapel.
In 1975 his appointment as rector of our house in Esker, Co. Galway ushered in a period of fifteen years during twelve of which he held post of responsibility within our province. His reappointment as rector of Esker in 1978 was followed in 1981 as Retreat House Director of Cluain Mhuire, Galway, and then 1984-1987 rector of St. Clement’s Retreat House, Belfast. It had generally been accepted that his brief was to begin the process of closing that retreat house. Whatever about that Jim saw it differently and proceeded to build an additional and necessary meeting room together with connecting passages, thus eliminating the need of having to brave the elements in inclement weather when going from one part of the building to the other.
In the appointments of 1987 Jim was again assigned to the Dublin parish mission team and three years later was named rector of Marianella. During his rectorship (1990-1993) he introduced the weekly perpetual novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in our Dublin chapel.
This period was followed by a sabbatical in the U.S.A., a year of theological renewal. On returning to Ireland he was back in Esker and preaching missions and solemn novenas.
In the late 1990s and the early years of the new millennium he was president of the National Council of Priests of Ireland, then a term as Director of Vocations Ireland, a subsidiary of CORI (Conference of Religious of Ireland). These roles did not cause him to neglect his mission and novena work.
Over the past four years Fr. Jim had continued his work in the vineyard of the Lord in the posts of part-time chaplain in Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin and in other institutions as well as playing his part in the life and work of the community.
Fr. Jim enjoyed life and played the odd game of golf, also keeping up his interests in other sports especially in the fortunes of the hurling and football teams of his native Galway. He had a fondness for puns, sometimes to the irritation of his confreres and he was also noted for his jokes even if they were of the slap-stick variety.
In the recent past one could see that his health was failing but even so he doggedly kept going; even on Sunday morning, the day before he died he honoured the commitments he had of celebrating Masses in two hospitals in the Leixlip area (outskirts of Dublin). Still, it was a great shock for our community, his family, friends and the Irish Redemptorists when the news broke that he had died suddenly. It is a reminder to us of the words of Jesus himself: “Watch therefore, for you do not know not the day nor the hour” Matt. 25.13
Above we mentioned that he had responsibility for the building of the chapel in Marianella but evidently he felt that the project was incomplete. Looking back one can wonder if, earlier this year, he had a premonition of his approaching death. Anyway just before the beginning of Lent he came to his confrere who has responsibility for the chapel with a proposal to put a little indicator under each of the fourteen images, e.g. 3. Jesus falls the first time. He reasoned that as the images were of an abstract nature many people had difficulty in deciphering the representations. As there was no problem with his suggestion within a day or two the indicators were in place. For this writer, anyway, these little plaques will always be a reminder of Fr. Jim.
Jim was a loveable character and a great community man and his prayer life meant a lot to him.
May he rest in peace, with the God he served so well and for so long, together with Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Proposed wording for death notice: Please check with papers for final arrangements, or check www.rip.ie .
STANLEY , Fr. Jim C.Ss.R. (Redemptorist Community, Marianella, Dublin 6) April 2, 2012, (suddenly), brother of the late Fr. Pat (Australia), deeply mourned by his Redemptorist Community, loving brothers and sisters Liam, Mary, Sean, Pearl, Richard, Joseph, Noel, Sr. Teresa, Fr. Cathal, Sam, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, nieces, nephews and their families, relatives and friends. Rest in peace. Reposing in Fanagans Funeral Home, Aungier Street. Removal to Marianella Chapel, 75 Orwell Road, Rathgar on Monday (April 9) for 5.30 o’c. Mass. Funeral on Tuesday (April 12) after 11 o’c. Mass in Marianella to Deansgrange Cemetery.
Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for him