Kavanagh, Isodore, J., 1855-1920

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Kavanagh, Isodore, J., 1855-1920

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Isodore Joseph Kavanagh was born in Montreal, on October 12, 1855. He studied at the Montreal Commercial Academy and at Collège Sainte-Marie, in Montreal, before entering the Society of Jesus on November 12, 1877. After his spiritual training at Sault-au-Recollet, in Montreal, he went to study in England for a year, studying classics at Manresa College, Roehampton, and then to Stonyhurst College, Oxfordshire, to study philosophy, from 1880 to 1883. There he devoted much time to the physical sciences, especially geology and astronomy, under Stephen Perry, S.J. In 1883-1884, he was at Victoria University, in Manchester, to study geology under Henry Roscoe, who had been in having vanadium added to the periodic table of elements. Kavanagh's own research that year was recognized by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Father Kavanagh then returned to Canada to teach physical science to the Jesuit students at Collège Sainte-Marie. In 1886, he began to study theology at Immaculée-Conception, in Montreal. He was ordained a priest on December 2, 1888. Father Kavanagh resumed his teaching of science to the Jesuit philosophers, but, in 1890, he returned to Great Britain for another year of dogmatic theology at St. Beuno's College, in Wales, and for his year of spiritual theology at Roehampton.

In 1892, Father Kavanagh was appointed professor of science at Collège Saint-Boniface, in Manitoba. After four years of teaching there, he was transferred to Montreal to join the small group of Jesuits in the newly-opened Loyola College on St. Catherine Street. He was also lecturing at Collège Sainte-Marie and rejoined the staff there from 1898 to 1901. Thereafter, he thought at Loyola until 1912.

From his days at Stonyhurst, astronomy remained Kavanagh's principal interest, conducting research and given lecture on the topic. He was elected a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and in August 1905 was asked to join the Canadian Government Expedition to Labrador to photograph the solar eclipse. In 1908, he was awared an honorary doctorate by St. Francis Xavier University, in Antighonish, Nova Scotia.

In 1913, he was named Minister and Treasurer at the new Jesuit novitiate in Guelph, Ontario.

Kavanagh also regularly carried out other assignments, for example serving as chaplain at the Royal Victoria Hospital, from 1903 to 1905, and at the Catholic Sailors Club, from 1898 to 1900, and from 1909 to 1911. Father Kavanagh died on June 5, 1920.


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