Brother Bonaventure Dagleish

Excerpt from necrology of Irish Province and copy of photograph of Brother Bonaventure contained in the necrology.


Bonaventure was born in Hull Yorkshire, in 1894*.  He entered the Order in Scorton in 1922, went eventually to Lyons in France, where in 1924 he made his first profession, followed three years later by solemn Profession.  The books, “Sown in Tears, Reaped in joy” by Brother Benignus or Mary Purcell’s “A time for Sowing” do not give any data on Bonaventure.  It’s very odd for he was in the novitiate with Benignus.  Recently, the writer was in Lyons and received a postcard showing Brother Francis in his lecture hall, standing among dozens of his medical and anatomical sketches.  On the blackboard beside Brother Francis is a list of the 1926 Medical class and the results of that year’s final examination.  With the aid of a magnifying glass one can detect the names and marks each candidate received.  Bonaventure heads the list with top marks, followed by Nobert McMahon, Ambrose Campion and Kevin Cassidy.


Bonaventure did not come back from France with the main contingent, he came about 1933 or 1934.  The delay as far as one can gather was due to his bad health, he had rather advanced TB by the time of his arrival.  He was a very handsome man and highly intelligent.  My memory of him is rather sketchy but about twelve months after his arrival he was obliged to take to his bed for prolonged rest.  He then developed a septic appendix, went to hospital, returned to Stillorgan after surgery but the wound never healed.


Before his health deteriorated so, just for a hobby, he took up the study of anatomy and physiology and their allied subjects.  The annual examination for RMPA (Royal Medical Psychological Association) which, after three years study, we were all obliged to take was approaching and Bonaventure asked to be allowed to sit it, though he was practically dying.  He left his bed and went to the examination hall, wrote for three solid hours, finally, exhausted he was taken to his bed.  A month later he rose again from his bed, racked with pain, knowing his days were numbered and sat his orals.  Shortly before his death the exam results were out and true to form Bonaventure took first place, as he did in Lyons some years earlier.  He died peacefully on the 25th January 1936 after years of suffering. 


His parents came to Stillorgan to visit him, all the way from Hull.  His father was then quite elderly.  About twenty years later, Brother Thaddeus and Oliver were doing a refresher course part of which was held in Hull.  While in Hull naturally the name of Dagleish came up in conversation with the Parish Priest in whose house the brothers were staying.  He said he had a family of that name in his parish and decided to take the Brothers there.  To their surprise it Bonaventure’s family and more amazing still his aged father was still alive. 


Bonaventure was 38 years old and been professed eleven years at the time of his death.  He had nursed Marshall Foch, the famous French 1st World War hero.  When Bonaventure did his final medical exams he won first place in France and was a gold medallist. 




 (*Incorrect, Bonaventure was born in Hartlepool in 1898 and moved to Hull between the ages of 12 & 15.  This accounts for his age not tallying with birth and death dates.  This piece seems to have been written by someone who knew him while he was in Stillorgan, probably a fellow monk, who knew him as being from Hull. 

(TMG 31.12.2005)


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