John Hyde SJ

Yesterdays topic of miracles and healings reminded me of Fr John Hyde SJ, a regular visitor to my childhood home, a theologian and a man with the gift of healing.

I think Fr Hyde was also my primary inspiration to be a priest.

When he visited my home and had his normal meal of two boiled eggs, wheaten bread and tea, he always passed the top of his two eggs over to me. That was a big deal for a four-year old then

As a child, I instinctively knew I was in the presence of a very holy man.

My granny Kate always put on Fr Hyde’s hat to ward off headaches and she drank whatever tea he left in his cup.

In Milltown in Dublin he taught theology.

He was the the Irish speaking area of Cork and spoke beautiful Irish.

He was famous for hundreds of healings among the people of rural Co. Offaly around areas like Rahan and Pollagh.

Locals claimed have seen him walking in his bare feet on the old gravel roads around Rahan in the early hours of the morning doing penance.

He did have the penetential spirituality of the old Irish monks.

Theologically he was very conservative.

I once asked him: “Fr Hyde, how do you feel about Hans Kung”.

He answered:

“When I hear that name I get a pain in my belly. He’s almost a Protestant”.

When he was dying I asked him if he minded dying.

He answered: “I hate the fuss of it all. I wish they put me in a back room and came and got me when the smell gets too bad”.

I had the privilege of concelebrating Fr Hyde’s Funeral Mass when he died in Gardiner Street, Dublin in 1985.

I believe Father Hyde is an uncanonised saint.

And the Jesuits never truly appreciated him.

As another Jesuit friend used to recite out loud:

“The Jesuits

They join the order without knowing each other.

They live together without loving each other.

And they die together without mourning each other“.