Sunday, 9 August 2020

A little about Joseph Teeling aka Fr Camillus

Born on 31 August 1908, at 7 Upper Jane Place, Dublin city, Joseph Teeling was the youngest of Sarah (McGrane, Daly) Teeling’s 15 children. He only ever knew his brothers Myles and Richard Daly from his mother’s first marriage, and Mary, Francis (Frank) and Elizabeth (Lily) from her second with Joseph's father, Christopher Teeling. All Joseph's other siblings died before he was born. He then lost his sister Lily to TB on 9 June 1918.

Joseph attended St Laurence O’Toole’s National School in Seville Place, and went on to study at O’Connell Christian Brothers Secondary School in Richmond Street. As boys, Joseph and his brother Frank joined O’Toole’s GAA club, though Joseph was never quite as talented a player as Frank.

Joseph Teeling, O’Toole’s GAA club

Joseph entered the Roman Catholic Order of Cistercians (Trappist) monks. The Cistercians were an enclosed order of strict observance. He joined the monastery at Mount Melleray Abbey, located in the Knockmealdown mountains in Co. Waterford. He was ordained a priest at St John’s Cathedral, Waterford on 8 June 1944 and celebrated his First Holy Mass at Mount Melleray Abbey, the following day. He became known Fr Camillus.

Fr Camillus, ordained 8 June 1944

Fr Camillus spent most of his life inside the monastery, though he was sent to England in later life. Supposedly, for a time, he was the chaplain at Brixton Prison. He died suddenly at ‘the Presbytery’, Warrick Road, Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire, England, on 24 March 1979. They brought his body home for burial and he shares a grave with his brother Frank and Frank’s wife Lily, at Glasnevin Cemetery.

Joseph was a first cousin of my maternal great-grandfather James Byrne, and a great pal of my grandaunt Kathleen Byrne.

1. Copy birth, marriage and death registers, accessed Civil Registers,
2. Michael Meehan, In the front gate and out the back, The story of Frank Teeling (2007, Dublin), accessed in the National Library of Ireland.
3. Souvenir of Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood, 1944, in family papers of Mary, Joseph's third cousin once removed.


  1. So sad that his mother lost so many children before he was born. I think it's wonderful that you've honored Fr Camillus with a post.

  2. Tragic Cathy, and she basically lost Joseph too when he entered the monastery.

  3. How tragic to lose so many children! And then a surviving one goes and leaves home. Poor lady.

    1. They must have been made of sterner stuff than us, Ellie.

  4. That's a great photo of Fr Camillus. I wonder what motivation, if any, WWII had on his entering the monastery and then becoming an ordained priest.

  5. I'd say he was quite young when he entered the monastery, Michael. He was ordained in 1944, probably after many years of contemplation and study.


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