RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/96
TitleFr Robert Mills SJ (1900-1979)
DateMid-late 20th Century
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionThis collection contains spiritual writing, engagement diaries, correspondence, and papers relating to Fr Mill's will.
Admin_HistoryRobert Dickinson Mills was born 17 April 1900, in Sutton, St Helens. He was educated at Cowley Grammar School, St Helens, before beginning studies to become a Solicitor. Following a move to Southport with his father, Mills played an active role in services at the Anglican church of St Luke's, Southport and the pre-Reformation church of St Cuthbert's, Churchtown.

In September 1925, Robert went to Edinburgh Theological College for Episcopalians, giving up his legal training to study to become an Anglican minister. Robert chose to leave Edinburgh in November 1926, following the death of his father. He was admitted into Durham University, where he completed the first stage of his Licentiate in Theology. It is thought that spiritual difficulties with Anglican Orders also influenced Robert to leave Edinburgh and to join the Catholic Church and begin vocational studies to become a priest.

Robert studied at Beda College, Rome, and also received a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Whilst at Beda, Robert's interest to join the Society of Jesus was encouraged by Fr [Joseph] Welsby, and Robert joined the Society in 1930. He returned to the Gregorian in July 1935 for further studies in theology, and was ordained a priest at San Ignacio, Rome in July 1935.

Robert was then appointed as a professor to the Seminary at Gozo, in the Mediterranean. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, Robert was appointed at the Holy Name, Manchester, and mainly worked as hospital chaplain at the Royal Infirmary.

After this Mills began his tertianship at St Bueno's in 1942, whilst acting as Socius to the Novice-Master. He returned to the Holy Name in 1943, and after a year was to Malta until the War's end. He was then appointed to Blackpool, where he would remain for roughly twelve years and later become superior and Parish Priest. During his time here, Robert managed diocesan funds.

In 1958, Robert was appointed Rector of the College in Preston, which made him Superior of the community and Parish Priest at St Wilfrid's. After nine years, and nearing seventy years of age, Robert was assigned as Rector of the noviciate at Woodhall, Juniper Green in Edinburgh, where he would remain from 1967 to 1970, and for another two years as caretaker. In 1972, Robert became Minister at St Francis Xavier's Church in Liverpool, where he stayed for five years despite his poor health. In May 1977, he joined the Craighead community in Glasgow, where he remained until his death on 2 September 1979.
Related MaterialBlackett Letter Book: Vol.19 ff 219, 372, 297, 408 (ref 10/4).

For the homily preached by Fr. Pridgeon at his funeral, see 49/14/1.

For a letter to Fr. Leo O'Hea, dated 05/03/1969, see 28/2/3/4.

For photographs see SJ/PH/869.

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