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John Hayden was born in November 1870, to William and Mary Hayden (née Morrisey). He took the religious name of Augustine on entering the  Capuchin Order in November 1885. 

He was ordained a priest in the Augustinian Church, Thomas Street, Dublin, in November 1893, and was Guardian of the Church Street   Capuchin   community from 1913-16. 

He cultivated a strong interest in the Gaelic Revival and in particular preserving the Irish language.

During Easter Week, Fr Augustine helped the Cumann na mBan women in the hospital in Fr Mathew Hall, then on Thursday he went to the Volunteer position in the Four Courts.  

Fr Augustine wrote a Witness Statement (number 920), and detailed his activities under fire in the Four Courts area on Thursday and Friday, dismissing his bravery by saying “Well, I felt that I might be badly wounded, but I would not be killed outright”.

On Saturday morning, Augustine went to the British lines to explain that Fr Mathew Hall was being used as a Red Cross Hospital.

"In this I explained that I was a Capuchian [sic] priest, that the Hall was being used as a hospital, that I was there in charge of the wounded, and that, under the circumstances, I asked the favour of an interview. 

Having seen the Colonel at the barricade, after some considerable delay, he brought back to me the oral answer he had received and delivered it to me in words that I shall never forget. 'He said, Father, that we were all rebels and outlaws and that we would get none of the amenities of war'".

Fr Augustine was instrumental in conveying the surrender orders through the Dublin garrisons, and he particularly 

facilitated the meetings between Cmdt Thomas MacDonagh at Jacob’s factory, and Cmdt Eamonn Ceannt at the South Dublin Union and the British officers.

After the Rising Courts Martial, Fr Augustine attended the Volunteers and leaders in their cells in Richmond Barracks and Kilmainham Gaol, many in the hours before they were executed.  He saw Patrick Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, Sean McDermott, Con Colbert, and John MacBride in Kilmainham Gaol.

In 1917 he officiated at the wedding of Terence MacSwiney to Muriel Murphy and was also the celebrant at the marriage of McSwiney’s daughter in Cork in 1940. 

Fr Augustine died on 7 Feb. 1954 at the Bon Secours Home, Cork, and was laid to rest in Rochestown Cemetery.

(c) 2014 Joe Connell

This is the second of a series of articles devoted to the activities of the priests who ministered to the Irish in the Rising and thereafter.  Go here to start the series.

(Left) Fr. Augustine as depicted in the documentary series "Seachtar Dearmadta" on TG4.

These articles are abbreviated from "Rebels' Priests - ministering to Republicans, 1916-23" by Joe Connell,  published by Kilmainham Tales Teo. Further details here  

To see the other articles in this series go to the "Priests and Friars" homepage here

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