Rev. Fr. James Joseph Gilmore
Missionary / President St. Mary’s Rathmines
James Joseph Gilmore was born on 9th January 1891 in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.
Following national & secondary education James Gilmore was employed as a teacher at the Augustine’s School in New Ross.
He entered the juniorate at Blackrock College in 1951 to study for his matriculation. He was professed in Kimmage Manor during 1917. He spent time at St. Mary’s in Rathmines. During 1920 he attended university prior to his graduation with a B. A.
James Joseph Gilmore’s ordination was held at St. Mary’s, Rathmines by Bishop Shanahan during 1923.
The following year he was appointed to the vicariate of Kilmanjaro in East Africa. The fact that half of his luggage had been mislaid in London was perhaps a foretaste of his travelling troubles as the story was told of his insistence on following Mayo time when his mission carriers team (he also could not understand their language) wished to travel very early in the morning to miss the midday sun: he deeply regretted his decision during the twenty – mile hike to Kilema!
Director & Teacher
Bishop Henry Gogarty transferred him to Uru mission as director & teacher in the diocesan school of catechists. By 1930 that school had one hundred and fifty students: it was transferred to Kibosho then renamed St. Patrick’s Teachers Training school where Fr. Gilmore was appointed director.
During 1932 Fr. Gilmore returned to Ireland also for some rest: he was appointed to St Mary’s, Rathmines.
When requested by his superior, Fr. Peter Walsh to organize a junior school: Fr. Gilmore returned to education, obtained a H. Dip. Ed. At the school he provided the students with helpful guidelines, communicated enthusiasm to all, stocked & supervised the school libraries.
His promotion of the arts (especially as he was an accomplished artist himself) included drama & music. He was appointed President during 1952 following Fr. Walsh’s term. Fr. Gilmore continued to improve the organization of the school with a proposed St. Mary’s extension plan that included a new school chapel.
He founded the parent’s association to help defray costs incurred in the restructuring of his plans. Together with Fr. Terry O’Brien who succeeded him as dean of the junior school: he set up the parents’ association to help defray the expenses incurred in the restructuring of the school.
When Fr. Gilmore suffered a stroke during 1956: he decided to resign the presidency the following year. According to reports one of the abiding effects of his illness was an impaired memory. This led to some embarrassing and humorous incidents that, because of Fr. Gilmore’s jovial and loveable disposition, have passed into the Spiritan repertoire of ‘fioretti’ to be retold at reunions. For example: on one occasion he volunteered to represent the community at a special funeral service. On being asked late that evening how things went, he replied: ‘Oh the jumping was magnificent.’ He had followed the crowds to the horse show by mistake!
Fr. Joseph Gilmore was aged seventy-nine years when his demise occurred on 30th March 1970. He was interred at Kimmage.
Friends of Fr. Gilmore reported that ‘He was a holy man who loved his daily mass and office; a quiet man with a twinkle in his eye and a ready chuckle on his lips.’