Born: Limerick, Ireland, on September 8, 1824
Took the habit: N.-D. de l’Osier on September 8, 1842
Oblation: Marseilles on February 17, 1844 (No. 117)
Priestly ordination: Marseilles, on August 8, 1847
Dispensed from vows on November 5, 1852.

John Samuel Walsh was born in Limerick, Diocese of Limerick, on September 8, 1824. He began his novitiate in Notre-Dame de l’Osier on September 8, 1842. He made his oblation in Marseilles on February 17,1844. After three years theology in the Marseille major seminary he was ordained priest by Bishop de Mazenod on August 8, 1847.

He was sent immediately to England, and first of all to Penzance. He then spent some months in Grace Dieu where he did not get on with Father Perron the local superior. It was a serious enough matter to get referred to the General Council where it was discussed on 20 January 1848. The minutes of the meeting read: “There must surely have been some fault on Father Perron’s side, but there was much more on the part of Father Walsh, a frivolous subject and far from regular.” Father Walsh was then sent to Manchester. The Founder attributes him with an antipathy to Father Cooke.

In 1852 he asked to be dispensed from his vows. The dispensation was granted by the General Council on November 5, 1852. The reasons given were: “Father Walsh could hardly end up any differently. Already in the novitiate and during his Oblate studies he gave rise to fears over his perseverance. Since his ordination and his first steps in ministry in England, he has never ceased to be a source of annoyance and anxiety to his superiors. They were obliged to have him go through every house and nowhere could they put up with him for more than a few months. His repeated request to leave the congregation is therefore no surprise…” The Sicklinghall Codex records that Father Bellon received the dispensation in November 1852.

In a letter to Father Jean Verdet in Texas, dated 10 January 1853, Bishop de Mazenod confided: “What will become of these apostates? I tremble for them. I would like to hide their shame. You must know however that Dunne, Walsh and Grey are among these unfortunates. Ipsi viderint!”

Yvon Beaudoin
and Michael Hughes, o.m.i.