Fr. Ivan Hurley, C.Ss.R.

Born: 31 October 1926
Professed: 16 October 1947
Ordained: 22 August 1954
Died: 28 May 2014

Tribute to 2 Significant Persons

by Fr. Willy Jesena, C.Ss.R.

Picture12It was sad to stand beside Fr. Ivan Hurley’s remains to bid him goodbye. He is one of the significant persons in my life. I believe he lived as a true missionary till the end. He spent about 40 years in the Philippines, mainly in the Ilonggo speaking Provinces. I remember many times how he  welcomed me in Iloilo community. He was very interested in my mission in South Korea. We talked about his missions in the rural areas in Negros Occidental, especially in the haciendas, and the many retreats he had given. I believe he is one of the important persons in the history of the Redemptorists in the Philippines. He built the beautiful Scala Retreat House in Bacolod City. Unfortunately, he had developed allergy with the sugarcane flowers, and had to leave Bacolod House for good. When he was in Iloilo, he joined the movement to remove the big rice mill near our House because of the pollution it was causing. It had affected the health of the people in the populated area around the mill. The mill was eventually closed. He was once the Novice Master, and served as Director of St. Clement College for some years. He was a good spiritual director and had helped several women enter the convent. He served the Mission Hospital well by his visits to the sick. The Province is grateful to him for his dedication to the Redemptorist Associates who took care of the formation fund. He lived a long and fruitful life in the service of our Redeemer. Thank you, Fr. Ivan for offering your life for the Filipinos.

Angeles (4th from Left) was visited by the Iloilo Community

Angeles (4th from Left) was visited by the Iloilo Community

The same day that Fr. Ivan was buried, another important person for the Iloilo community had also her funeral Mass at St. Clement’s church. She was Angeles Gemora. For many years, she was the “angel” of the community. She worked as office secretary and took care of many needs of the parishioners of St. Clement’s, and the devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. She was a no nonsense person in the performance of her office responsibilities, but kind as well to the people who come needing service. The Superiors and parish priests of the Iloilo community are indebted to the “angel” for making their work easier through her responsible way of getting things in order and efficiently done. Angeles was not only a staff worker. She was a friend to most of the confreres who had lived in Iloilo community.  After knowing that Fr. Ivan and Angeles died only a few days after each other, some young formands in a lighter moment, jokingly imagined Fr. Ivan being greeted by St. Peter. When asked by the heavenly gatekeeper about his credentials, Fr. Ivan presented St. Peter, Angeles, the secretary who carried his papers. ….That was Angeles, a treasure of a woman…

May both these holy persons intercede for us who are struggling to see them again someday…



To Cebu Provincial and Province

Greetings from Dublin on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.

I write to express prayerful solidarity with you and the other confreres of the Cebu Province at this time; we offer our sympathy to you and to all those others who mourn Fr. Ivan Hurley in the Philippines. Though Ivan was unwell for some time, it is nevertheless a time of loss.

I’m writing this in the kitchen of my family home in Ballinacurra in Limerick, under a picture of the Sacred Heart signed by Ivan Hurley and dated the 21st February 1962 (the day my parents were married). Paud Sheils was in this kitchen some years ago and saw the picture. He was surprised and asked my mother why Ivan had been asked to sign this consecration of our family to the Sacred Heart. She replied that Fr. Ivan was a neighbour; was brought up across the road, and that the two families had been friends for many years. Paud was satisfied enough with her answer and then went on to ask her many more questions as he tucked into apple pie!

I questioned Jim O’Connor about Ivan earlier today. He said to me that Ivan was a loyal friend and that he had a quaint sense of humour. Ivan was certainly both loyal in his friendship and good humoured with our family. Whenever he was in Limerick, he called regularly and kept especially my mother informed as to his state of health and visits to doctors in Ireland and in the Philippines. She also fed Ivan and did other little jobs for him. I remember Ivan’s visit as a little more formal than the visit of his two sisters Mary and Peggy. When they were home from New Zealand they tended to saunter in the back door at any stage of the day and to chat in the kitchen; Ivan was more a man for the sitting room. But Ivan was always more than welcome. His brother Brian lived in the family home across the road and his sister Eveleen and brother in law Paul lived directly opposite our house.

Ivan went to the Philippines in the mid 1950s and was assigned to Bacolod. He was there during the building of the church but he will be remembered particularly for his work in the building and running of the Scala Retreat House in Bacolod. I had an opportunity to visit that Retreat House some years ago. Ivan, I’m told, was meticulous in the planning of its construction. He also paid great attention to detail in the recruitment of retreatants, inviting the men “to spend a week-end with God”. After his time in Bacolod he was assigned to Iloilo where he was involved in church ministry and hospital visitation. He was also very active in following up Redemptorist Associates. Ivan was very popular with people. He was a very good missioner in his day and was also involved in raising money for church building.

Paud Sugrue spent a long time in community with Ivan and called to mind recently that Ivan was 34 when he first met his sisters Mary (Sr. Helen) and Peggy (Sr. Clement) as they had left Ireland as young girls to join the Mercy Sisters in New Zealand. When he was returning to Ireland after his first six years in the Philippines, in 1962 or 1963, he was given permission to travel via New Zealand so that he could meet them. There were so many nuns at the airport when he arrived that he didn’t know which two were his sisters! Mary died in New Zealand last year aged 100 – Meriam Meskell, sister of Derek, also with Ballinacurra roots and John Goode of the Mount St. Alphonsus Community helped to ensure that Mary received a gift from the President of Ireland before she died, to acknowledge her 100th birthday.

Ivan was very careful about his health and did great research on symptoms and possible treatment. As his health dis-improved, Ivan celebrated Mass in the community oratory, often with some of his friends; but until a few years ago he also did a day’s duty each week. In more recent times, as he got weaker, Ivan was blessed with great care. We in the Dublin Province have reason to be very grateful to all those who showed such generous care to him. Thank you to one and all; may you be abundantly rewarded for your kindness.

I was on pilgrimage to the Redemptorist places in Italy last week when word came through of Ivan’s death. I celebrated Eucharist for him at the Shrine of Blessed Gennaro Sarnelli in Ciorani on Thursday morning and prayed for him at the tomb of St. Alphonsus later that day. Today, I celebrated the Eucharist of the Ascension for him and for his family in Mount St. Alphonsus in Limerick. May uncle Des, a life long friend of Ivan’s, was present at that Mass and afterwards regaled me with stories of how he and Ivan were part of the Air Raid Precautions in Limerick during World War Two!

By ascending into his heavenly glory Christ completed the work of our redemption. May the Redeemer now draw Ivan, a committed and zealous Redemptorist missionary, into His heavenly glory.

Please pass on our prayerful solidarity to all those who mourn Ivan’s passing. May he rest in peace. We will continue to remember Ivan in our prayers here in Ireland. I hope to celebrate Mass for him in the Philippines in August.

With every good wish and blessing, as always.

Michael Kelleher, CSsR
Provincial, Dublin Province

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