Sept 1st, 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Monsignor Michael Olden, past President of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
Monsignor Olden generously gave twenty years in the service of the College in a variety of roles, initially joining the staff of the College as Dean in the same year as lay students started studying in NUI Maynooth in 1966. This was followed by appointments as Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Vice-President in 1976, and College and University President from 1977-85. As President of the College, Monsignor Olden had the distinction of hosting Pope John Paul II on his visit to the College in 1979 when he laid the foundation of the now John Paul II Library, the University Library.
Successive Presidents have built on the foundations of his work and the network of loyal friends introduced to the College. As a result, not only was the John Paul Library built but the College Chapel magnificently restored, the Pugin buildings reroofed and refurbished, and many other capital projects completed that would have been otherwise impossible.
In his time in Maynooth he distinguished himself not only as an administrator, but also as an academic, contributing to Archivium Hibernicum and other journals.
Above all his achievements and legacy here in Maynooth, Monsignor Olden will be remembered for his priestly witness, his faith, kindness, wisdom, approachability, good humour, eloquence, and many other fine human and spiritual qualities. These were the very same qualities that enabled him take up with ease pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore as parish priest in the parishes of Kilsheelan/KIlcash, Clonmel and Tramore, where he ministered with distinction while also much sought after as retreat director in every diocese of the country.
Despite the demands of parish ministry and retreats, his enduring bond with the College was deeply appreciated: as the President of the Maynooth Union and in his role as a Trustee and regular contributor to The Furrow.
In recognition of Monsignor Olden’s contribution to St Patrick’s College Maynooth, a special scholarship was initiated in 2020 on the year of his Diamond anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood. Known as the Monsignor Michael G. Olden Scholarship, it will be awarded annually to a postgraduate student, lay or cleric.
This small gesture is a sign of the esteem with which Monsignor Olden was held here in St Patrick’s College.
We ask that you remember him in your prayers.
Rev. Prof. Michael Mullaney