Bro. Stephen Russell - Good Samaritan of the down and outs

To have known Brother Stephen of the congregation of the Alexian Brothers was a privilege, but to have known Jim Russell, the man who became Brother Stephen, was indeed a revelation. I was privileged to have known the two sides of this wonderful man of God who to use a cliche, became a legend in his own lifetime this kindly loving and loveable character who became the apostle of the drop-outs and the winos and the Good Samaritan to the homeless and the lonely. I do not think I am doing his memory any injustice in referring to him as a drop-out and a misfit, since after are we not all drop-outs and misfits, unless and until we eventually find our true niche and answer the call to our real vocation in life! Some of us indeed never find it and so become all of our lives Jim Russell truly found his when he became an Alexian Brother.
After a rather hectic and varied career from the time he left school until he reached the age of 31 years he appeared to be carefree and happy but deep down in his heart and Soul he was lonely and unhappy and when eventually he found experession for his God given gifts of caring for and helping the outcasts and the homeless, he expressed his thoughts and feeling in poetry. The title of the little book is entitled Happiness and it reads as follows:
No millionaire can match my wealth, nor artist paint my dream My blessing are as countless, as the stars that nightly gleam for I am heir to heaven, and the glory there to be my treasure –trove is the boundless love of a God who died for me.

Cannon John Fitzpatrick P.P. (1803-1892)

 The Diocese of Ross was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cloyne prior to 1851 when Dr. William Keane then P.P of Midleton was appointed Bishop of Ross then became an independent diocese. It was decided that Bishop Keane would reside in Skibbereen. Rev. John Fitzpatrick who had been Administrator and Later Parish Priest of Skibbereen was appointed Parish Priest of Midleton in succession to Bishop Keane.
John Fitzpatrick was born in Freemount about 1803. He received his early education there but quickly progressed to a school in Fermoy which was conducted by his brother Rev. James Fitzpatrick.(He was an uncle of Canon Micheal Fitzpatrick, formerly Parish Priest of Cloyne.) He had a distinguished career as a student in Maynooth and after ordination was sent by Bishop Crotty to Castletownsend. With only six month s pastoral experience he was appointed administrator of Skibbereen. After four or five years he was appointed Parish Priest of Skibbereen where he ministered for seventeen years.
An Article in the Cork Examiner on January 17th 1851 gave a detailed account of the work done by Fr. Fitzpatrick in Skibbereen. At the time of his appointment in 1835, the Parish Church of Skibbereen was unfinished and £600 in debt. That was soon cleared and a handsome stone front to the church was erected at a cost of £900. Another Church was built in the parish at Rathmore (£800). A whole range of schools followed at a cost of £1400 and a sum of£250 was spent in erecting a wall around an 8 acre site for a future convent.

Fr Paddy Scully (Poem)

We all gather here tonight,
In jubilant celebration
Of Father Paddy Scully's
Fiftieth year of Ordinatian

In 1931 it all began
The place was Cappanagoul
When a little baby boy was born
To parents who were so proud.

He grew up and went to school
In this classroom (now heritage certre) where we sit
And he spent the next twelve years or so
With reading and arithmatic

There are those who shared his classroom
And some are here tonight
And if you'll just bear with me
I will name if you sit tight

From my research I've discovered
Thirteen that's eight Plus five
The girls took that maiority
The five boys tagged behind

Jerry Sullivan and Ben Murphy
Liam Guerin and Con Lane
Bridget Foley, Phil & Carmel Walsh
Jo Nunan and Liz Shea

Peg Flaherty, Kathleen Madden
Mary Egan and of course Fr Paddy - the invencable
The life blood and the force

Then he went off to St Colemans
A college in Fermoy
Where his hurling skills were noted
0n the field he was not shy

He made the college proud of him
With every match he played
And is still remembered in Fermoy'
His name holds pride of place

In'48 &'49 two years we won't forget
When they brought home the Harty Cup
From goals he landed in the net

In that same year of '49
That fine young man from ceap
Fielded out against Tipperary
The Cork jersey on his back

They fought the utmost galliant fight
That any team could do
But Tipperary had the upper hand
And managed to scrape through

Then l950 was the year
His Father had just died
Paddy went to Carlow
With a mission on his mind

With rul€es and regulations
And study for six years
He earned that Roman Collar
Through those enlightning Years

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