Maher, Michael (1860–1918), Jesuit priest, philosopher, and psychologist, was born 29 April 1850 in Church St., Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow. Educated at the school of Mr Conwell in Leighlinbridge, he later entered the Jesuit college at Tullabeg, King's Co., where his uncle, Fr William Delany (qv), was serving as rector. He studied for a BA while at Tullabeg, eventually obtaining his degree from London University, to which Tullabeg was then affiliated.
In October 1880 he joined the English province of the Society of Jesus, entering its school for novices at Roehampton. On completion of his noviciate (1882) he began studying philosophy, and on obtaining his degree was appointed a philosophy lecturer at Stonyhurst College (1885–91). He took an MA in philosophy and economics through London University, graduating in 1887. Alongside philosophy he studied psychology and in 1890 published Psychology: empirical and rational, which was immediately recognised as a comprehensive textbook, well written and showing intellectual sophistication. It became a standard text in a number of universities, especially catholic universities, in both Europe and America; by 1918 it had run to nine editions and remained a key text until the 1930s.
Ordained at St Beuno's, north Wales, in September 1894, he spent some time in France before returning to Stonyhurst, where he again taught philosophy (1896–1903). In 1900 he was awarded a D.Litt. by London University for Psychology: empirical and rational. Appointed as superior of the Jesuit seminary at Stonyhurst in 1903, he later served as an examiner for the RUI (and subsequently for the NUI) and, from 1914, for the University of Edinburgh. In failing health, he went into semi-retirement in 1917 yet still tried to undertake some duties as a university examiner. He died 3 September 1918 at Petworth, Sussex.
While his best-known publication was Psychology: empirical and rational, he also wrote articles for the Dublin Review, the Month, and the original Catholic encyclopaedia. He later published Tationis Diatessaron (1903) and English economics and catholic ethics (1912).