" That which is important for me... are the simple eternal truths: the Incarnation, the Redemption and the Holy Eucharist "
Bl Kaspar Stanggassinger CSsR
  • main
  • main2
  • main3
  • main4
  • main5
  • main6
  • main7
  • main8
  • main9
  • main12
  • main14
  • main15
  • main16
  • main17
  • main19
  • main20
  • vocations7
  • CSsR Voc Pic

Fr John Howard 

On Wednesday, December 28th 1960, Father John Howard died in hospital in Birmingham. He had suffered a fall the day before that caused him to be admitted to hospital. Father Howard, at the time the oldest Father in the Province,  was in his 86th year of age. His great charity and consideration for others was manifested when, a little while before his death, he wrote a brief account of his life. With a blessing on him for his thoughtfulness, we reproduce the account just as he wrote it.

“In the event of my death, which cannot be very far off at the age of 85, to save trouble to the chronista of the house I thought it well to put on record the main facts of my life which are as follows.

Born 20th March 1875, at Derry-villane Rockmills, Co. Cork, Ireland,  my parents, Timothy and Margaret Howard (O’Keefe) were of the farming class. I was the second son in a family of nine children, four boys and five girls. As a child, I was sent to the national school at Ballingdangern and later to the Christian Brothers school at Mitchelstown. At the age of 17 I entered the seminary at Mount Mellerey to study for the priesthood. In 1896 I applied at Mount St Alphonsus, Limerick and was accepted for the Redemptorist Congregation. That same year I entered the noviciate at Bishop Eton, Liverpool. In December 1896 the novitiate was transferred to Perth Scotland, and on August 15th, the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption I made my perpetual vows.

From Perth I went to the House of Studies of the English Province. The Irish Province had not yet been formed. After two years at Teignmouth, Devon, I volunteered to remain a member of the English Province when the Irish Province was formed.  I was sent with the English students – who were too few to form a House of Studies of their own – to Beauplateau, in Belgium. After two years in Beauplateau, we were transferred to the House of Studies in Mautern in Austria where I was ordained priest on July 31st 1902.

Owing to my poor state of health it was arranged by our Father Provincial that I should return to England immediately after ordination and continue my studies under the guidance of Father Stebbing, Rector of St Benet’s Sunderland.

From 1903 to 1948 I had been engaged giving missions and retreats from the various houses of the Province with the exception of a short break when I was chaplain to the forces for three years in the First World War. I spent three years of my missionary life at Heathfield in South Africa.

For the past years I have been stationed at this our House of Studies. “Only a brief moment now when He who is coming will be here and He will not tarry on the way”. Yes, the time of preparation for the greatest event of all is now short, at the age of 85, so I must make the most of it. St Joseph’s Hawkstone is an ideal house for such preparation where all is peace and tranquillity. With more than fifty confreres consecrated to God and serving Him from early morning to late at night, while the grand work of preparing young men for the Priesthood goes on day by day. I can never be sufficiently grateful for the privilege of ending my days in such holy company. Deo Gratias et Mariae”

Father Howard was moved from Hawkstone to Birmingham just a few weeks before his death During his short time in Birmingham, his sister 'Sister Philomena Howard' of the Sisters of Charity died.

His requiem was on Tuesday, 3rd  January at Erdington Abbey, and he was buried in the cemetery there on that day.

(Obituary based on that published in CSsR News

apologies for any transcription errors re placenames.)