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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Jesuits lose a good man: Fr Joseph Senespleda, RIP

Fr. Joseph Maria de Senespleda, SJ died on Monday, September 19th at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Gilmore Place. His funeral was held on Wednesday, September 21st in the church. The Principal Celebrant was the Provincial Superior of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Michael Holman, SJ joined by many concelebrants, priests from his own community, Jesuits from around the country, diocesan priests and members of other religious congregations. Mgr. David Gemmell, V.G, represented his Eminence the Cardinal.
The church was packed with parishioners and many medical staff and ex-patients from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, people who in one way or another were grateful to Fr. Senes for his devoted care of them over the years.
Fr. Joseph Maria de Senespleda was born in Spain on 7th April 1927. He joined the Society of Jesus at the age of 16 and after his novitiate he began his studies for the priesthood and eventually was sent to a Spanish Jesuit mission in Pune (Puna), India, where he continued his studies and where he was ordained to the priesthood on March 24th 1958. Fr. Senespleda came into contact with the British Province (or English Province as it was then called), when he arrived in (British) Guyana where he became Administrator of the Cathedral. After some years in Guyana he came to Edinburgh where he spent about 40 years within the city, 28 years of that time being Catholic Chaplain to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. If anyone was faithful to his responsibilities, it was Fr. Senespleda. He was a well-known figure to doctors and nurses, to administrators and ancillary staff - but especially to the patients in the Royal Infirmary.
From morning till night he visited patients - bringing the consolation of Christ in the Sacraments, but also his own personal priestly kindness.
He leaves a gap in the Lauriston Jesuit Community where nothing was too much trouble for him. "If you need any help, just let me know" was typical of him.