A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Fr Philip John Soulsby SM

Born 13 October 1931
in Saltash, Cornwall, England
Professed 2 February 1966
Ordained 26 April 1969
Died 22 April 2019 in Brisbane

Phillip John Soulsby, known to all of us as ‘Jack’, was born in Saltash, Cornwall, in the UK. His parents, Ronald and Margaret had two daughters as well as their son, Jack. Ronald was a boilermaker. Jack’s formal education, 13 years of primary and secondary, took place in Saltash, Cornwall. The Soulsby family emigrated to Australia and settled in Sydney. Jack attended Sydney Technical College for five years and qualified as a civil engineer. 

A newspaper item one day brought to Jack’s notice the Aquinas Academy. Jack followed it up and was introduced to Thomistic philosophy by Doc Woodbury. With a fierce passion for something that we all know Jack is capable of, he became engrossed in his studies at the Academy. This led Jack, at 33 years of age, to enter the Marist Fathers in February 1964. His profession was made in February 1966 and he was ordained in April 1969 at St Patrick’s, Church Hill. 

Fr Jack’s first appointments were to Woodlawn and Burnie colleges, followed by two years’ parish work at St Patrick’s, with short visits to Burnie and Hunters Hill. In 1975 he did a course at Nemi (Rome) during the first half of the year and completed the year acting as assistant to the vocations director. After another year at Woodlawn teaching, he returned to parish work at St Patrick’s and Gladstone. 

Fr Jack had become very involved in the charismatic renewal movement in the early seventies. More and more he was being drawn into a charismatic prayer and healing ministry. In 1978 he moved to Toongabbie where his special assignment was to give retreats and to animate prayer and healing gatherings. 

In 1980 Fr Jack moved to Brisbane where, first from Ashgrove and later from Herston, he was involved in retreats, crusades, prayer and renewal ministry in Australia and abroad. 

His ministry took him to ninety-one countries in crusade work mostly in Africa, Asia and Europe. 

In 2018, Fr Jack’s health declined and he took up residence at Holy Spirit Centre, Aspley, Brisbane, ever-cheerful and faith-filled, welcoming confreres and visitors until his final days. 

On April 22, 2019, he died peacefully at St Vincent’s Hospital, Brisbane, four days before his golden anniversary of priesthood. May he rest in well-deserved peace.   

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