Rev. Fr. James Joseph Gilmore
Missionary / President St. Mary’s Rathmines
James Joseph Gilmore was born on January 9th, 1891 in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.
Following National and Secondary education James Gilmore was employed as a teacher at the Augustine’s school in New Ross. He entered the Juniorate at Blackrock College during 1951 to study for his matriculation. He was Professed in Kimmage Manor during 1917. From his time at St. Mary’s in Rathmines he attended university prior to his graduation with a B. A. during 1920. His 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 (whom he also could not understand their language) wished to travel very early in the morning to miss the mid – day sun: he deeply regretted his decision during the twenty – mile hike to Kilema! Bishop Henry Gogarty transferred him to Uru Mission as Director and 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 and supervised the school libraries. His promotion of the Arts – especially as he was an accomplished artist himself – included drama plus 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. With Fr. Terry O’Brien (who succeeded him as Dean of the Junior School) he set up 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 he died on March 30, 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.”