Mike Drennan SJ
Fr Mike Drennan was born in 1942. Like every good young Kilkenny boy his recreation centred around hurling. After secondary school he entered St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny where he studied for the priesthood and was accepted for the diocese of San Diego, California. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Collier on 6 June 1965.
In August 1965 Mike set sail for San Diego where he was to serve for the next 12 years. By all accounts he was very popular as a young priest. He served in many parishes. Some ten years after ordination he was sent to Rome by his diocese to study psychology at the Rulla Institute in the Gregorian College. It was in Rome that his interest in the Society of Jesus was nurtured. He was very successful in his studies and entered the Jesuits in 1977. Mike used to refer to himself as a backdoor Jesuit. There certainly nothing backdoorish about his commitment and his life as a Jesuit. He was a true follower of St Ignatius and that was to be borne out in his study and work in the area of the “Exercises”. He made them his own and that is to be seen in his last publication.
Mike operated through the “Mo direach”. He always believed in calling a spade a spade. I shudder to think how many people he directed and helped through the Exercises, too many to count. Apart from the “Exercises” he also used his skills in psychology to help many people. Some times Mike was often seen as working with “Religious” but his lay clientele was also quite sizeable. Because of his life as a diocesan priest he was able to help many diocesans who came to see him for advice and help. Mike was all things to all people. At the time of his passing and since his funeral I’ve received many letters and cards of praise in thanks giving for his help and advice.
Mike died three days short of his 81st birthday in April 2023. His life was a life of great achievement and help. Many will miss him. Mike did not leave us high and dry. We are all beneficiaries of his wisdom and Christian commitment. He helped many in his work but he also trained many directors and there lies his great legacy. Mike was humble and shy about his achievements and never boastful. As I write this script I’m being careful not to canonise Mike, as he’d not appreciate that. He deserves every praise we can give him and thank God for having been such a great presence. “May he rest in peace”.
William Reynolds SJ, May 2023