Yesterday, 31 May 2022, we received this message from the President of CLC in Australia, Jenny Gardner:
“I wanted to inform you that we heard today that our dear friend in CLC Fr Patrick O’Sullivan SJ died overnight…Patrick will be sadly missed. He made an enormous contribution to CLC over many, many years, with many of us being graced by his life and the wisdom he so generously shared with us. Patrick was Vice Ecclesial Assistant to the CLC World Community and also Ecclesial Assistant to CLC Australia for several years.
We remember in prayer particularly his family and his Jesuit community.”
Patrick O’Sullivan was born in Queensland. He grew up in Brisbane, Australia, where he was educated by the Christian Brothers. After school, he went to Melbourne to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree. He joined the Jesuits in 1951.
From 1973-79 he was provincial of the Australian Province of the Jesuits and then, from 1979 to 1986, Secretary for the Christian Life Communities (later, Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant) in Rome where he worked in strict collaboration with Josée Gsell. Later, he spent some time in East Africa as pastoral assistant to JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) , and then returned to Australia. Returning to Australia, Pat became a member of the first State Guiding Team (ExCo) for the state of Victoria. He guided 3 groups, including a group for Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous. At the end of 1998, he was moved to Sydney and has been invited to be a member of the State Guiding Team of New South Wales.
Patrick is being mourned by many Jesuits and CLC and members in Australia.
He was a much loved and a very significant person, a holy man and a friend, with a great wit and capacity for stories. A “beautiful man” and a very kind man.
Eadaoin HUI, from CLC in Hong Kong, shared with us the graced moments with Pat:
“We called him Pat or Fr. Pat. He had a great sense of humour and raised our spirits with his jokes. ‘What does the Big Chimney tell the Small Chimney? You are too young to smoke’. After the implant of stents in the 1990s, he said he had to practice ‘obedience’ to his medical doctor and had to stop smoking. So he alerted us that his homilies might not be as good as they used to be. Of course this was not true. He kept on inspiring us through his insightful inputs and writings, like the books ‘Sure Beats Selling Cardigans’, ‘God Knows How To Come Back Home’, ‘Prayer and Relationships’, ‘I Call You Friends’. He wrote just as he spoke. A lot of jokes when delivering deep spiritual messages. He was a person who could bring a smile to everyone’s face, even in difficult times.
Pat presented his message with precise words. “God does not deliver us from suffering. He delivers us through suffering”; “When one is in the position of power, it is an opportunity to serve”. When I shared with him about our friend facing illness, he responded: “When I contemplate my scholastics, my Lord loves them far more than I do”. In facing conflicts within the community, he remarked: “We are all people of the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises, not yet of the Third Week”.
I have known Pat since 1981, as the World vice-EA, then spiritual guide, friend. He played a significant role in our transformation from the World Federation to being a World Community. He loved and respected the CLC. We give thanks to God for the wonder of the being of Fr. Patrick O Sullivan, Pat our friend.”
We join in prayer for him, for the Society of Jesus in Australia and for the Christian Life Community in Australia and around the world as he served as National Ecclesiastical Assistant and World Vice Ecclesiastical Assistant (1979-1986). We thank God for his life of dedication and sharing in his various missions.
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