Ordination of Interest to West Coast

     Father Leon Francis Dowden, S.M., who was ordained in St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, on July 26 of this year, is the second grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Hero North, of Colton, to become a Priest. He is the eldest son of the late Captain Noel E. Dowden, R.A.E., A.M.I.E., and Mrs. Dowden, formerly Monica North, of Colton, S.A.      

The other Priest is Father Paul Jackson, O.P., son of Mr. W. Jackson and Mrs. Jackson (nee Iris North), of Mount Gambier, who was ordained last year. Fr. Dowden. was educated at River view College, and later at Blessed Peter Chanel Seminary, Toongabbie, N.S.W.

     During his first Mass, celebrated at Loreto Convent, Normanhurst, he was assisted by Fr. Paul Jackson, O.P.      

     Amongst those present at his Ordination and First Mass were his aunt, Mother Catherine (Dowden), who flew from Loreto Convent, Claremont, W.A., and his sister, Sister Mary Ignatius, from Loreto Convent, Ballarat. His grand-aunt, Mother Mary Celestine (Dowden), a member of the Commu nity of Loreto Convent, Normanhurst, was also present. 

      Fr. Dowden's second Mass was celebrated at Riverview College, his third at the Convent of the Marist Sisters, Wahroonga, the fourth at Loreto Con vent, Kirribilli, and his fifth at Normanhurst. Fr. Dowden's fourth Mass was celebrated on the tenth anniversary of his father's death.      

      There were many relatives and friends from Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia present at his Ordination and First Mass, amongst whom was Miss Bridget Kenny, of Tranrnere, S.A., a neighbor and close friend of Mrs. Dowden at Colton.


     On his father's side, Fr. Dowden has an unofficial martyr in his family tree. His great-great-grand-uncle, Edward Kearney, gave his life for his faith, being hanged on suspicion of sheltering a Priest. His name is on the national monument in Cork. Fr. Dowden's great-grandfather, Richard Dowden, of Cork, was a first cousin of Professor Edward Dowden, of Shakespearean fame. Richard was a Unitarian, so both families opposed his courtship of Kate Kearney (niece of Edward Kearney mentioned above). Richard sailed for Australia just one hundred years ago. In Melbourne he became friendly with a Priest and made enquiries about the Faith.

     When word reached Ireland that Richard was under instruction, Kate Kearney was allowed to come to Australia with her eldest sister, Mrs. Dennehy, who, with her husband and infant son Richard, was setting out for this new land.


     Richard Dowden received the gift of Faith in St. Francis' Church, Melbourne, and was baptised there, made his First Communion, and was married, all on the one day, February 20, 1854.

     When their eldest son William was only ten years old, Richard died, leav ing Kate to bring up their four chil dren. The boys, William and Frank, married. The girls, Anne and Eliza beth, entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto), Ballarat.

     William Dowden's three sons, Brian, Kenneth and Noel, R.I.P., all served their country in World War I, as did Frank's only son, Richard, while their respective daughters all entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Noel's youngest daughter is a member of the same Institute.