In 2004 Fr General Kolvenbach encouraged Jesuit Brothers to interest themselves in theology and spirituality. 70-year-old Martin Murphy, a veteran of the Zambian Mission, was living in Gardiner Street with time on his hands, struggling with failing eyesight from macular degeneration. He had earned himself an ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence), which enabled him to present essays well.
He recognised the General’s call as something startling: there was a time when Jesuit brothers got precious little encouragement to improve their education. Martin saw a notice in Alive about a theology course in the Priory Institute, Tallaght. He applied and was accepted for the second highest of four levels, leading to a Diploma in theology. His studies included Scripture, Philosophy, Christian Spirituality, Fundamental Theology, Moral Theology, and Church History.
For five years Martin worked his way right up to the last assignment, on “The Just Society”, at which he balked. Why? Because I never lived in a just society and do not know what it is like. His supervisor persuaded him to do the assignment, and on 10th November, aged 78, he received his Diploma of Higher Education in Theology from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales at Lampeter which accredits the Priory course.