Finding Aid Date
RG 11.2 JamaicaSC: WalshMB
Biographical Sketch: Maurice Bernard Walsh was born in Wakefield, MA on March 14, 1916. He was the son of Maunee F. and Agnes T. Walsh and had two sisters and a brother. He graduated from Wakefield High School in 1933 and attended Boston College for one year before entering the Jesuit novitiate, Shadowbrook, in Lenox, MA. He did the usual four years of ascetical and liberal arts studies there, then came to Weston College, Weston, MA to complete the three-year philosophy curriculum, followed by a year at Boston College where he earned a master’s degree in Latin studies. His competency in this language was of great practical value in his later career as a canonist, researching and explaining official Church documents. Next he taught for a year at Fairfield Prep School, Fairfield, CT and in 1943 returned to Weston College for a year to begin theology studies which he completed in 1947 at the Jesuit faculty in Montreal, Canada. He next did a year of advanced ascetical studies and pastoral work in Pomfret, CT and after that was selected to earn a doctorate in canon law at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome. He accomplished this in 1951 and returned to Weston College to teach systematic theology and canon law, and to serve as dean of the theology faculty and administrator for philosophy students. He was an excellent teacher, much respected by his students, but also much liked by them and by his colleagues for his friendly and approachable manner and his readiness to be of help. He was a very bright man, clear-minded and quick to learn.
In the early 1950’s Fr. Walsh was called upon to assist Fr. John McEleney, S.J., the newly-appointed apostolic- administrator of the Church in Jamaica, West Indies. There was great need of a person with canonical expertise to deal with the many lingering pastoral problems there. By the time Vatican Council II began, Fr. McEleney had been ordained as Bishop of Kingston and he regularly brought Fr. Walsh with him to Council sessions to be his peritus,or expert, in canonical matters. Archbishop McEleney’s successor, Archbishop Samuel Carter, S.J., likewise brought Fr. Walsh with him when he attended synods of bishops in Rome. As a result of these experiences Fr. Walsh was well-informed about developments, problems, and opportunities in the Church throughout the world.
In 1968 he transferred to the Jamaican Mission and served variously as assistant chancellor of the archdiocese of Kingston 1968-1993, vicar for religious communities 1968-1973, professor of moral theology and of canon law at St. Michael’s Seminary in Jamaica 1970-1974, dean of the Archdiocesan marriage tribunal 1994-2000, consultor to the Antilles Bishops’ Conference 1994-2000, and member of Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
In 2000, he returned to the United States, living at Campion Center, formerly Weston College, Weston, MA. He died on October 1, 2003 at the age of 87. He is buried in the Jesuit cemetery at Campion Center.
Scope and Content: The collection consists of 1 linear foot of papers, 1 folder of photographs, 1 scrapbook and a commemorative award. The collection dates from 1951-1997. The papers are largely his writing on aspects of canon law, a copy of his 1951 dissertation: “Suarez and the Decretalists on the Dispensation of Vows and Promissory Oaths,” and copies of columns written for the Jamaican Catholic Newspaper, the Catholic Opinion during the 1980s-1990s. The photographs are family portrait photos. The scrapbook includes family photos, photos of Jesuits and other small items.
New England Jesuit Province Archives; New England Province of the Society of Jesus; and Walsh, Maurice B. SJ, "Maurice B. Walsh, SJ Papers" (2015). Finding Aids, Special Collections. Paper 23.