Former Protestant schoolboy from Fermanagh beatified by Pope Francis

Fr John Sullivan
Fr John Sullivan

A Co Fermanagh school is celebrating after Pope Francis approved the beatification of one of its former pupils, Fr John Sullivan.

Educated at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Fr Sullivan was born in 1861 and raised a Protestant. But in his 30s he became a Catholic and then a Jesuit priest.

Fr Sullivan, who died in 1933, was one of 39 clerics who were granted papal approval for beatification on Wednesday.

Portora’s headmaster, Neil Morton, told the News Letter that his school was looking forward to the possibility that Fr Sullivan could be made a saint.

“His father had been Attorney General of Ireland so he was a very affluent guy and he lived well for 35 years before he found Catholicism and converted and within two years became a Jesuit,” said Mr Morton.

In 1900 Fr Sullivan took up a teaching post at Clongowes Wood College – a Jesuit-run Catholic boarding school in Co Kildare. Mr Morton said Portora have “a very close relationship with Clongowes based upon our joint ownership of Fr John”.

He said staff and pupils from Portora attended a service in Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral last year to celebrate the life of Fr Sullivan.

The service was addressed by both the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson.