Newsletter and Review
The Sheaf newsletter has been from the very beginning, and remains to-day, at the core of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society.
After the death of her husband and son, our foundress, Olivia Mary Taaffe, devoted herself to a Confraternity of St Joseph. This was the Irish branch of the confraternity that she had joined in Maranville, France. She soon decided that if it’s work could be done in France, then why not in Ireland too? Enlisting help from a convert Jesuit, Fr. Joseph Darlington and imitating the French model, she began to produce an English language version of the French newsletter La Gerbe, calling it St. Joseph’s Sheaf, which was first issued on a feast of St. Joseph in1895. The significance of the title is that Abbe Roy in France saw the purpose of his newsletter as producing a ‘sheaf of good works for St. Joseph’.
Her first appeal in Ireland was for a young altar boy in Dun Laoghaire. He had all the dispositions and the wish to be a priest, but his parents were not in a position to help pay for his education. Along with putting up some of the money for him, she also looked for support from readers of the newsletter. The appeal was successful, and the young man was able to go to Mungret College for his formation.
As a result of this success, she began looking for funds to help many more men in their journey to priesthood, and by the end of the second year the readers were contributing to the support of ten students.
St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society and The Sheaf had begun.