Death Notice: Fr. Cornelius JUSTICE O.C.S.O.

1984-12-13 52b Fr Cornelius Justice - Mount Melleray
Fr Cornelius Justice (December 1984)

The death has occurred on Friday, December 21, 2012 of Fr. Cornelius JUSTICE O.C.S.O. of Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Waterford, and formerly of Minor Row, Millstreet, Co, Cork. On 21st December 2012, Peacefully Fr. Cornelius O.C.S.O. Deeply regretted by his loving nephews Donal, John, Conor and Robert Guerin, niece Lillian Guerin grand-nephews, grand-nieces, cousins, relatives, friends and his Monastic Community. May He Rest in Peace.
Concelebrated Mass on Sunday at 11.00am in Mount Melleray Abbey Church, Followed By Burial in the Community Cemetery.

Arrangements by Aidan Walsh & Sons Funeral Directors, Cappoquin.Tel.: 058-52788 / 087-2847831

—–
Fr Cornelius was ordained in 1950.

There is a piece in the book “CISTERCIAN LIFE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY” (pages 248-251), outlining the work of Fr. Cornelius in drafting the Constitutions of the Trappist-Cistercian Order in the 1980s

“2. Drawing Up a New Ratio

The 1986 Mixed Preparatory Meeting (MPM I) asked each Region to write a new draft of this Ratio—or if that could not be done, a document that would summarize its contents—and send it to the Central Secretary for Formation before March
1, 1987. Fr. Cornelius Justice of Mount Melleray was then elected to this task. His job was to present a synthesis of these texts at the following meeting.

The second Mixed Preparatory Meeting (MPM II) decided that Fr. Cornelius, working with the Regional Secretaries of Formation, would prepare a draft text of the Ratio to submit to the next MGM scheduled for 987 in Rome.
1987: The Chambarand Text / and the MGM of 1987 Fr. Cornelius established an impressive network of  communication, and called forth an important reflection in the Order. During a meeting of three weeks with almost all the Regional Secretaries of the Order, he prepared a draft text that would be known by the name of Chambarand I and which was communicated to the Capitulants during the General Chapter, the program of which was already extremely overloaded, since the last revision of the Constitutions had to be finished before presenting them to the Holy See”

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FR. CORNELIUS JUSTICE O.C.S.O.

Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
It is with sincere sadness and regret that we record the passing of Fr. Cornelius Justice, O.C.S.O., Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford and formerly of Miner Row,
Millstreet, Co. Cork, which sad event occurred peacefully on 21st December, 2012.
Removal took place from Walsh’s Funeral Home, Cappoquin
on Friday evening to Mount Melleray Abbey Church. Concelebrated Mass was celebrated on Sunday morning. Burial took place in The Community Cemetery. May he rest in peace. We extend our deepest sympathy to his loving nephews Donal, John, Conor and Robert Guerin; niece Lillian Guerin; grandnephews, grand-nieces, cousins, relatives, friends and his Monastic Community.
(Funeral arrangements by Aidan Walsh & Sons, Funeral Directors, Cappoquin and Tallow).

– from the Dungarvan Observer – January 2013

26 thoughts on “Death Notice: Fr. Cornelius JUSTICE O.C.S.O.”

  1. I was a student at Mount Melleray during the 1960’s and Fr Cornelius Justice O.C.S.O.was the Dean of the College during my stay there. I found him to be a man of enormous and at times of almost formidable intellect and with a strong personality to match. I grew to admire him immensely once I got know him for his abilities. He could honestly be described as being tough but fair in his dealings with the students. It might be no co-incidence that the college closed a brief few years (1974) after he finished up with his responsibilities as Dean there! I visited him last year and though getting frail at the time he still was able to show me some of his old sharp intellect and also (not many may know this) a great sense of humor. I was privileged to be asked to make a speech in his honour at the Past Pupil’s Reunion, in Cork in 2010. May he rest in peace. Millstreet should be proud of this man.

    Kindest regards,

    Kevin McCarthy
    December 24th, 2012.

  2. As a student at Mt. Melleray 1954-1959 and a neighbor to the Justice family in Minor Row, I was sad to see this news. Fr. Cornelius was a Chaplain, teacher and Assistant Dean during my years at Melleray. Fr. Con’s sister Lily Guerin Justice was the person who urged me to go to school at Mt. Melleray and always came to see me when she visited Fr. Con. I also knew their brother, Fr. Bob. What a wonderful family . My deepest sympathy to the Guerin and Justice families.

    1. Hello Pat . I remember you in Melleray . Sat my Leaving in 1962. You were in same year as my Tipperary neighbour and friend. Willie Teehan. My older brother ,Pat was one year ahead of you. Known as Spike as I was. Cornelius was an amazing man in every respect . Typical Cork , played it hard but fair. I honestly believe he was the best Dean the College ever had and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have him as Dean during my time in the College. With Fr. Cornelius we all knew exactly where we stood . Observe a few rules which were anything but harsh and one had no problems with Cornelius. I will always be grateful to him for many things but especially for his rigorous enforcing of the smoking ban as a result of which I never smoked thereafter .
      Yes indeed, he was a man apart.
      Dan Lynch

  3. I was a student at Mt Melleray 1956-1961. Fr Cornelius had a huge and positive influence in my life – an influence that lasts to this day. His intellect was amazing; his view into the future matched his intelligence. He was a man of perfect integrity, totally honest in word and in deed. He also taught me Christain Doctrine. Though a priest of an enclosed order he was so broad minded and so insightful I still treasure the memory of those classes. He did not teach dry dogma – we went down less travelled roads and discussed eternal questions – what is it all about?
    And the final thing I will not forget about this lovely man was how one morning at about 5.30am he called me from my sleep to view Sputnik the first sattelite launched by Russia in 1957. Because he knew I was interested in such things he tapped my foot on the bed with his breavery and told me to get up. We went outside and in the cold mountain air stood looking up at the sky to see the first object launched by man into space.
    It passed like a star over our head and dropped down behind the Knockmealdown Mountains. But the memory of that viewing never left my memory. Years later I saw an image of the same Sputnik hanging from the ceiling in the entrance to the United Nations Building in New York.
    Those images and the man who got me out of bed to view that satellite
    occupy a part of my brain where I store that which I consider precious.
    My love and prayers go to that revered mentor, Cornelius Justice.
    Pat Linehan. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  4. What wonderful tributes to the late Fr. Cornelius Justice by Kevin and the two Pats. Fr. Cornelius was such a true gentleman and inspiring priest whose love and regard for Millstreet was very much part of his life. In one of the many tributes paid at his funeral Mass it was stated how he so very truly lived up to his surname (Justice) throughout his life in the sincere manner he approached all aspects of his life with such consistent fairness and justice. Pat Linehan recalls the Sputnik – I can so identify with that time and that very same Sputnik when the late Jeweller, Michael Riordan, assembled a group of us all – the children of Minor Row and the Square, Millstreet – and like Fr. Cornelius – pointed out the amazing sight of a satellite in the sky to the total fascination of all of us. I’ve never forgotten that experience as I’m sure it was the same for all others present because it was as if we had been given the privilege of witnessing a sight so rare then right in the middle of outer space. Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam Fr. Cornelius Justice.

  5. he was a man take him for all in all
    we shall not look upon his likes again
    Rest easily fr Cornelius you will always remembered with respect and gtatitude
    I was present at the funeral in Mount Melleray last Sunday now back in London

    1. Hi Tom
      Would you have been in the College in the 58/60 era and from the Ring/ Old Parish area. If so I remember you. My name is Dan Lynch known in Melleray as ” Spike “. Your tribute to our Mentor and dear friend Father Cornelius is beautiful and deeply touching. I find it amazing that we all loved and respected a man who’s official title at the time was Dean Of Discipline. It has an austere tone to it but the reality was the complete opposite. Of course there were rules but in Father Cornelius we had a man who ensured that such rules were observed by treating us all as with respect and dignity while at the same time being firm but scrupulously fair. Every time I go up Melleray Hill I think of him and those wonderful long Sunday walks ,resting on the Bridge before the last push for the Hill. What memories of a wonderful time and a fantastic man , Father Cornelius Justice.
      Deep Appreciation. Dan Lynch

      1. Hello Spike
        I am Pat Linehan (Tiny). I was a close friend of Tom Graves …. and yes he was from Old Parish/Ring. Our friendship endured long past our school days. Sadly Tom passed away four years ago. He lived in Ealing in London … was in the publishing business and well respected.
        Hope you are well and keep in touch sometimes.
        Best
        Pat Linehan (Chiang Mai Thailand)

        1. Hi Pat . Thank you for informing me about the sad passing of Tom Graves. I first met Tom in July 1957 when sitting the Melleray entrance Exam. We were staying in the College Residence during those few days and Tom ,as a current student was helping Cornelius for the duration of the Exam. What wonderful ambassadors they were for the College and what a lovely experience for a 13 year old that has remained with me since. Cornelius we all know about but I also had tremendous respect and admiration for Tom afterwards. I have no doubt both of them are still looking after me 60 years later. Best Wishes Pat. Spike

  6. I was really saddened to hear of Fr Cornelius’ (Corry’s) death, news of which has just reached me today – 4th March 2014. May God bless him and reward him for all eternity.

    It was wonderful to read the erudite and beautifully expressed tributes by the other correspondents here, one of whom ( Mr McCarthy) I remember very well indeed, although he won’t remember me as I was a very small junior at the time. He was, with his brother Martin, one of the finest basketball players I have ever seen, and an all round sportsman par-excellence, among many other fine attributes .

    As a past pupil of Mount Melleray myself (1965-69) Father Cornelius had a most profound impact on my life. He really was quite a remarkable man. Truly extraordinary. At times like this it is easy to lapse into sentimental eulogy, as the passing years bathe everything in a rosy hue of fond recollection. The man himself would have been extremely disenchanted by this of course, for he was above such things. Among his many very fine attributes he was, above all, a realist. So rest assured I speak literally and objectively when I say that, next to my parents, he had the greatest influence on my life. He shaped my philosophy, challenged my thinking, imbued me with a sense of fairness, objectivity and social awareness, and helped me appreciate my individuality rather than follow the pack. High praise indeed!

    For those of us who spent time under his care, memories are legion, and anecdotes abound. I certainly felt that he had two very special attributes –
    (a) he could be in two places at once, or at least teleport himself from one part of the school to another in an instant, and
    (b) that he could see right inside my head and know when I was being economical with the truth.

    Yes he was strict. Yes he was formidable. But always, always, he was totally fair. It is really only in the years since I left Melleray that I have come to understand the full extent of the skill, energy and commitment he brought to the role of Dean. Being in sole charge of 200 or so boys and young men is an awsome responsibility – yet one he discharged quite magnificently. But there was much more to him than being a top class disciplinarian. His intellectual prowess was immense, his understanding of the world, magnificent (especially considering he had been in a contemplative order from the age of 18), and his knowledge of human nature both deep and insightful. He was a visionary, a pragmatist, a scholar and a philosopher. At a time when the spectre of corporal punishment still stalked the corridors of schools, he eschewed it. And when the educational education philosophy of the day was to crams us full of academic knowledge, he encouraged us to think, to question, to formulate our own ideas and support those ideas articulately and cogently. Under his stewardship, social events with local convent schools were organised, drama and light opera flourished, music of various types was encouraged, a 5th and 6th year meeting room was provided, debating and public speaking was introduced and sporting activity was expanded. (Incidentally he was a wonderful basketball coach and under his guidance the college ruled at both county and provincial level for several years). In the present day all of this kind of thing is very much par for the course, but in the 1960’s it was truly innovative, indeed revolutionary. Such things simply did’nt happen back then.

    Several years ago my work took me to the United States for a highly demanding meeting with some very important customers. A great deal rested on the outcome, and as my flight descended into Los Angeles I felt apprehension coursing through me. These were very serious, very demanding people, and I would have to deal with them on their terms, on their turf, on my own. own. In that moment I wished I was anywhere else. Then, unbidden, a memory flashed into my brain, and I was, once again, standing at the side of the ambulatory in Melleray waiting to report for some misdemeanour or other before ‘first stud’. Gradually the throng of human bodies disappeared, the noise ebbed away, and I was left, alone in the forbidding silence, to face the ordeal ahead. Then, after an eternity, a familiar shadow appeared below the infamous green door, and a moment later Corry came into view, walking with solemn and unhurried tread inexorably in my direction. And all the while he fixed me with THAT look. The one that could freeze molten lead at 100 paces. Suddenly, back in the present day I began to feel better. After all I had faced the best in the business and I had survived. Then I remembered something else about Corry. On my very last day in Melleray – 27th June 1969 – he came in at the end of breakfast to say grace for the last time. The final Leaving Cert exam was taking place at 9.30am and everyone was leaving immediately after at 12.30. No one was staying for lunch. Before the words of the grace he spoke to us all, and I can still remember what he said as if it was just yesterday. “You will probably be surprised to hear me say that it has been a pleasure to know you all. We have had our, er, moments, over the years after all. But that is only to be expected. Overall you have been a fine group of fellows, and I wish every single one of you the very best for the years ahead. Come back and see us, won’t you? Don’t forget us. Don’t forget what you learned here. And above all, don’t forget that the world, and what is in it, is now passing to you, and to your generation. This is your time. Use it wisely. Accept that responsibility. Cherish it, and put what you have learned here, both in class and outside it, to good use. God bless you all!”
    In that instant I knew I would be all right at my meeting. And I was!

    Forget him? Absolutely not. Thank you Fr Cornelius OCSO. For everything!

    1. Gerard . Great to finally meet you at recent Reunion. The proposed on line site is a brilliant idea of yours and no doubt would be hugely supported if we are to judge by the contributions made by former Melleray students in the article on Father Cornelius on the Millstreet Website which I think most of only happened upon by chance . My email address is lynchdan44@gmail .com. Perhaps you could send me yours if that’s not asking too much. Thank you Gerard for being a great MC at Reunion and for your ongoing efforts to keep the memory of Mount Mellary College to the forefront where it rightfully belongs

  7. Hi,

    I just want to say thank you for the very kind words about Fr Con. It has been so interesting for my brothers and I to read these comments and we have learnt so much more about Uncle Conny, our much loved and missed uncle. Uncle Conny and our times with him in Mount Melleray and Ballydaly played such a big part in our lives and I am proud and fortunate to be part of his family.
    Kind regards,
    Lillian

  8. My pleasure Lillian, and thank you for your lovely response. Fr Con deserves everything – and much more – than what I have written here. I could fill a book with my recollections of him, and his marvellous contributions to our lives.

    He will always be in my prayers

    God Bless
    Gerard

  9. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t, of course, bother the good people of Millstreet with the following announcement about the Mount Melleray College Past Pupils Union. However this years gathering is particularly special because it is our first meeting since the death of Fr. Cornelius OCSO. May he rest in peace. In the circumstances we are using every avenue possible to get in contact with past pupils and invite them to attend. We hope to dedicate the entire event to Fr Cornelius and celebrate both his life and his time with us.

    The reunion will be held at the Rochestown Park Hotel, Rochestown, Co.Cork on Saturday 27th September 2014 from 7.30 pm. If you are a past pupil of Mt Melleray, or know of anyone who was, please get in touch with me through this website and I will let you have my email address and other contact details.

    Gerard Hennessy <email>

  10. Many sincere and heartfelt tributes were paid to Fr Cornelius Justice OCSO, late of Minor Row, Millstreet, at the Mount Melleray Past Pupils Reunion Dinner in Rochestown Park Hotel on Saturday evening last – 27th September. This was the first such event to be held since his death in December 2012. Earlier in the day at a very simple and very beautiful ceremony held at Mount Melleray Abbey, a wreath was laid on Fr Cornelius’ grave by a delegation of Past Pupils led by Michael Condon and Kevin McCarthy. At the same ceremony a wreath was also laid on the grave of Fr Francis Carton who succeeded Fr Cornelius as Dean of the College in 1969.

    While Fr Cornelius has gone to his Eternal Reward, there is no doubt that his influence is alive and well, and living in the hearts and memories of all past pupils who knew him at the college.

    Ar dheis Dé raibh a n’anam

  11. It is last day of September 2014 and I am in Chiang Mai Thailand where I live. I have been on a spiritual path for many years. I meditate and do other recommended spiritual practices but I don’t have a ‘guru’. I often think I need one.
    This morning – just twenty minutes ago – I was sitting at the table having eaten breakfast and I was thinking. I was thinking of who or what a suitable ‘guru’ might be or where he may come from.
    And then he came into my mind. Out of the blue Fr Cornelius came to my mind. I thought he would be the perfect guru for anyone. I thought to myself ‘I will keep him in my mind while I do my spiritual practices.’ And I even thought I could possibly make contact with him in his spirit form.
    There is a saying in Buddhism: when the student is ready the teacher will appear.
    And then I thought ‘I wonder if that page of tributes to him is still open on Internet or …’ And then I came to check my e-mail and there was the report of the Past Pupils reunion and the tribute to Fr Cornelius.
    Just now I feel in my chest it was meant to be. There is no such thing as co-incidence.
    As I said before – after my parents Fr Cornelius was the biggest and most positive influence in my life. ‘Was’ and is and will be.
    Namaste Fr Cornelius.
    Pat Linehan (1956 – 61 in Mt Melleray)

  12. Hi Gerard,

    Many thanks for letting us know of the tributes paid to Uncle Con – it is good to know his influence lives on, as it does in our family’s lives. I hope you had an enjoyable night.

    Kind regards
    Lillian

  13. Dear Lillian and Pat

    How lovely to hear from you both and to know that you saw my short update about the wreath laying and the reunion dinner.

    The entire event was very much a tribute to Fr Cornelius and I only wish I could have made a soundtrack recording of the evening so you could have heard all the wonderful comments. Suffice to say Fr Cornelius was, is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to everyone who attended Melleray in the years he was Dean.

    I have found an old video recording made at the first ever Reunion Dinner in 1992. Fr Corneluis spoke at that event and his entire speech is on the video, together with various other comments he made throughout that evening. I am currently in the process of having the recording digitised and the sound files extracted. I would be happy to share those with you when the are available. Numerous people who attended Saturday’s even have already asked for them, and I shall be sending them copies also.

    Pat – your story about checking the website is amazing, and you are indeed correct in saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. In my speech on Saturday evening I said that I arrived in Melleray as green as grass, and left it as a man. Our Heavenly Father sent Fr Cornelius into my life at exactly the right time and he taught me more than I can ever put into words.

    God Bless you both

    Gerard Hennessy
    <email>

  14. Student in College 1957 to 1962. I remember Pat Lenihan . Lots of us got nick names ,how they were coined and by whom I will never know. They just seemed to arrive overnight. I was known as Spike Lynch as was my older brother ,Pat ,during his time in College. You were known as Tiny Lenihan Pat,. You were far from tiny in stature and appearance. I loved the wonderful tributes paid to Father Cornelius, nicknamed of course as Corry. I meet my Brother every week and the main topic of our conversation is always Melleray and Fr. Cornelius. What a wonderful and amazing gentleman he indeed was. I look back on my time in Melleray as the most enlightening, enjoyable years of my life due in no small part to the influence and example of Cornelius. I have never met a former student who had nothing but the highest praise and respect for him.

  15. Great to see that Fr C is still remembered with the respect and gratitude that he deserves. He was, and always will be, one in a million. Many thanks to everyone for their wonderfully warm and uplifting posts.

    The next past pupils reunion takes place at Rochestown Hotel, Cork on 1st April. I have no doubt that recollections of the great man will once again predominate. If anyone wants more information about booking arrangements please respond here and I will make sure everything is passed on to our marvellous organiser-in-chief Michael Condon, through whose hard work and dedication the PPU continues to flourish

    Gerard Hennessy
    Melleray (1965-69)

  16. Gerald, Spike and others,

    I am delighted to stumble upon this thread by accident! I was looking for some information / history about the school – hard to find!
    I was a student at Melleray from 1958 to 1963 and have fond memories of many of the students and teachers including Fr. Cornelius and Fr. Stephen.
    I will not be able to attend the reunion in April (I live in Canada), but I have some photos of my time there that I would be pleased to share with the group.

    1. Hi Pudsy!

      I often wondered where you ended up … you and Charley McGarvey … both from Sligo and both gentlemen who impressed me in many ways.
      Drop a line sometime and tell me things!
      Pat Linehan.

    2. Hello Peter Flanagan. Spike here, domiciled in South Tipperary, 25 miles from Melleray. Absolutely delighted to read your contribution after all those years. Thankfully I am in a position to visit Melleray regularly which I do at least once a month. Would love to see those photographs which you might send to me at <email>. Also when I receive your e-mail I will start updating you on Melleray, its Community, Teachers, former students from our era etc. since I left in 1962 to the present day. It would be my privilege Peter if you so wish.
      Again Peter, what a pleasure to hear from you. Spike

  17. Hi All, just came across the kind words about the late Father Cornelius. I was in Melleray from 1956 to 1961. Great start in life. I am from Rush and still live there. Would like to get in touch with fellow students from that era. Padraic (Paddy) Connolly.

    1. Hello Padraic
      I remember you well as I do all the Rush contingent . Was in same class as John Murtagh and Eric Monks for a while. In my time I remember yourself Padraic , John as mentioned and his brother Paul , Joe Monks ,Gerry Langan. A great group in every way. Corry was undoubtedly a unique man . Strict to a point but absolutely fair. I’m in contact lately with Pat Lenihan ( Tiny). He has a few tributes on this site as you have seen. Hopefully the Monastery will continue. Community now 15 with only 8 resident with the others in Nursing Homes including Fr. Bonaventure whom no doubt you remember well . Always had that smile God bless him.
      Until we make further contact best wishes to you Padraic and all from Rush who graced ” The Groves of Melleray “. Dan Lynch ( Spike )

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