File 8 - Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1950

Identity area

Reference code

IE IJA MSSN/ZAM/8

Title

Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1950

Date(s)

  • 10 January-19 December 1950 (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

67 items

Context area

Name of creator

(17 February 1911-02 May 1975)

Biographical history

Born: 17 February 1911, Rosmuc, County Galway
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943
Professed: 15 August 1946
Died: 02 May 1975, Vatican Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1937 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1939 at St Aloysius, Sydney, Australia - health
by 1940 in Hong Kong - Regency
by 1946 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - First Zambian Missioners with Patrick JT O’Brien
by 1947 at Brokenhill, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working
by 1962 at Loyola, Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Sec to Bishop of Lusaka

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
In 1926 and 1927, a team of three boys from Mungret College at Feis Luimnighe (Limerick Festival) swept away the first prizes for Irish conversation and debate. The three boys were native Irish speakers. They were Seamus Thornton from Spiddal who became a Jesuit in California and later suffered imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese communists, Tadhg Manning who became Archbishop of Los Angeles and Paddy Walsh from Rosmuc who joined the Irish Province Jesuits in 1928.

Fr Paddy was born in the heart of Connemara, an Irish speaking part of Ireland and grew up in that Irish traditional way of life, a nationalist, whose house often welcomed Padraic Pearse, the Irish nationalist who gave his life in the final struggle for Irish independence. Fr Paddy came to Northern Rhodesia in 1946 and felt an immediate sympathy with the aspirations of the younger and more educated African nationalists.

For regency, he went to Hong Kong, China, but a spot on his lung sent him to Australia where he recovered in the good climate of the Blue Mountains. Back in Ireland for theology and ordination in 1943, he once again volunteered for the missions, this time to Northern Rhodesia where he came in 1946.

His first assignment was Kabwe as superior and education secretary. Chikuni saw him for two years, 1950 and 1951, and then he went north to Kabwata, Lusaka as parish priest where he constructed its first church. From 1958 to 1969 he was parish priest at Kabwata, secretary to Archbishop Adam, chaplain to the African hospital and part-time secretary to the Papal Nuncio. He became involved in the problems of race relations, an obvious source of prejudice, and he had a hand in setting up an inter-racial club in Lusaka where the rising generation of both Africans and Whites could meet on an equal footing. His own nationalist background led him to participate in their struggle which he embraced with enthusiasm. When many of the leaders were arrested and sent to prison, Fr Paddy was a constant source of strength and encouragement, especially for their bereft families. He administered funds for their support which in large part came from the Labour Party in England. He was a friend of Kenneth Kaunda and looked after his family and drove his wife to Salisbury to visit Kaunda in prison. Within six weeks of Independence, Fr Paddy had his Zambian citizenship and at the first annual awards and decorations, the new President Kaunda conferred on him Officer of the Companion Order of Freedom.

In 1969 Fr Paddy had a heart attack and it was decided that he return to Ireland. As a mark of respect and appreciation, the President and some of the ministers carried the stretcher onto the plane.

Fr Paddy recovered somewhat and returned to Roma parish in 1970 but his health did not improve and it was felt that a lower altitude might improve things, so he went back to Ireland and Gibraltar to work there. The Papal Nuncio in South Africa, Archbishop Polodrini who had been in Lusaka, invited Fr Paddy to be his secretary in Pretoria. He accepted the offer in 1973. 0n 2 May 1975 Fr Paddy died in Pretoria of a heart attack and was buried there, a far cry from Rosmuc.

Fr Paddy was completely dedicated to whatever he did, especially in the African hospital where he ministered and he bitterly complained to the colonial powers about the conditions there. He had a great sense of loyalty to people, to a cause, to the Lusaka mission, to the Archbishop himself and to the welfare of the Zambian people and the country.

At the funeral Mass in Lusaka, attended by President Kaunda and his wife, the Secretary General, the Prime Minister and some Cabinet Ministers, Kaunda spoke movingly of his friend Fr Paddy. He said that he had had a long letter from Fr Paddy saying ‘he was disappointed with me, the Party, Government and people of Zambia because we were allowing classes to spring up within our society. Please, Fr Walsh, trust me as you know me, I will not allow the rich to grow richer and the strong to grow stronger’.

Archbishop Adam wrote about Fr Paddy who had worked as his secretary for eleven years: ‘It was not very easy to know and to understand Fr Walsh well. Only gradually I think I succeeded – sometimes in quite a painful way. But the more I knew him the greater was my affection for him, and the respect for his character and qualities. Apart from his total dedication, I admired his total disregard for himself, his feeling for the underprivileged and his deep feeling for justice’.

Note from Maurice Dowling Entry
After the war, when the Jesuits in Northern Rhodesia were looking for men, two Irish Jesuits volunteered in 1946 (Fr Paddy Walsh and Fr Paddy O'Brien) to be followed by two more in 1947, Maurice and Fr Joe Gill. They came to Chikuni.

Note from Bob Thompson Entry
With Fr Paddy Walsh he became friends with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other leaders at the Interracial Club. This was all during Federation days.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-truth-without-fear-or-favour/

A hundred years ago, Paddy Walsh was born in Rosmuc to an Irish-speaking family that frequently welcomed Padraic Pearse as a visitor. Paddy was the first Irish Jesuit missionary to “Northern Rhodesia”. He felt a natural sympathy with the leaders of the struggle for independence. When Kenneth Kaunda (pictured here) was imprisoned by the Colonials, Paddy drove his wife and family 300 miles to visit him in Salisbury gaol. As a citizen of the new Zambia, Paddy was trusted by Kaunda. He upbraided the President for permitting abortion, and for doing too little for the poor. Kaunda revered him, insisted on personally carrying the stretcher when Paddy had to fly to Dublin for a heart operation, and wept as he eulogised Paddy after his death: “This was the one man who would always tell me the truth without fear or favour.”

Name of creator

Name of creator

(24 October 1907-15 August 1960)

Biographical history

Born: 24 October 1907, London, England
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1943
Died: 15 August 1960, Dublin

Part of St Ignatius community, Lusaka, Zambia at the time of his death.

by 1932 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1934 at Kaulbachstrasse, Munich, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1935 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
At an early stage in the Society, someone had the courage to tell Brian that he was speaking and acting like a bishop. General agreement consecrated him with the nickname of ‘Bishop MacMahon’, almost immediately reduced to its homely form of ‘The Bish’.

Fr Brian was born in London, England in 1907 and educated at Clongowes Wood College. After vows, he studied for his BSc and then his MSc at University College Dublin also obtaining a traveling scholarship. He went to Valkenburg, Holland, for philosophy. This was followed by a further three years of Biology, one of them at Munich, Germany and the other two at Louvain (changing from German to French!) where he obtained a Doctorate in Science with First Class Honors. He taught for a year at his Alma Mater and then went to Milltown Park for theology and ordination to the priesthood in 1940.

He was minister, Professor of Cosmology and Biology at Tullabeg 1942-1943, minister at Milltown Park 1943-1944, prefect of studies at Clongowes 1944-1947. He became rector at Mungret College, Limerick, in 1947 until 1950 when he departed for Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) with the first batch of Irish Jesuits. For several years he was rector and principal of Canisius Secondary School. In 1959, he moved to Lusaka as Education Secretary of the Bishops' Conference. Serious illness brought him back to Ireland where he died of cancer on 15 August 1960, at 53 years of age and 20 years a priest.

What of the man himself? He was a big man. Fr Dominic Nchete preached at the Mass for Brian at St Ignatius Church, saying, ‘Fr MacMahon was a big man. He had a big body, a big heart, big brains. He thought big, he spoke big, he acted big. Amid his many and varied occupations, he remained calm, kind, charitable, considerate and, above all, extremely patient; he was kind to all whether they were white or black’.

As a school boy, as novice and as a man, he was always ready to put work before play. His normal life was a steady application to duty whether it appealed to his taste or not. He would like to have studied Mathematics and Political Economy (under Fr Tom Finlay S.J.) but obedience took him down a different path of studies.

“He was dominant in height”’ one wrote about him, “but not domineering in manner. He could achieve a certain loftiness of style that well matched his bulk, but his dignity had a fatherly flavour about it; his natural superiority was almost lost in that kindly, friendly, good-humored way he had”. He loved to keep up with world news and his brother had sent him a subscription to the air edition of the Times which Brian loved to read, sitting in his office. As one scholastic once remarked, ‘The Bish's biography should be entitled “20 years behind the Times'”

Under his direction, Canisius Secondary School was improved and enlarged. He was headmaster (then called principal) from 1951 to 1959. Senior courses leading up to the School Certificate were introduced by him. Among the large number of African schoolboys who passed through his hands, he enjoyed a unanimous reputation for patience and kindness combined with an unwavering sense of justice. To his fellow Jesuits, devotion to his work and to the interests of the school was well known. Government officials whom he dealt with held him in the highest esteem.

He did not easily resign himself to the close of his life. He fought the blood poisoning and cancerous growth to the end. He remained buoyant and optimistic as long as there was any shred of hope of recovery. Eventually, in simple faith and acceptance, he answered the call to eternity.

Note from Patrick (Sher) Sherry Entry
For the next 30 years he served the young Church in Zambia selflessly and with unbounded generosity. In Chikuni he served as a kind of ‘minister of supplies’. Fr MacMahon would lean heavily on him but Sher had his little hideouts which constituted his survival kit!

Name of creator

(1882-1960)

Biographical history

First apostolic prefect of Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia,1946-1950.

Name of creator

(03 February 1915-22 June 2006)

Biographical history

Born 03 February 1915, Westport, Co Mayo
Entered 07 September 1934, Emo
Ordained 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed 02 February 1948
Died 22 June 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1949 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - joined Patrick Walsh and Patrick JT O’Brien in Second group of Zambian Missioners
by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The sad and peaceful death of Fr Joe Gill, SJ, took place in the afternoon of 22 June, 2006, in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield, Dublin. His passing marked the end of an era, for he served 72 years in the Society of Jesus. May his noble soul be at the right hand of God.

Joseph Mary Gill was born to the late Dr Anthony and Mary (nee Mulloy) Gill of Westport on 3 February 1915. He got his early education in the Mercy Convent and the Christian Brothers' Schools in Westport and in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare.

At the age of 19, Joe entered the Jesuit noviceship at Emo Park in 1934 and took his first vows in 1936. During the following ten years (1936-1946) he completed his third-level studies in arts (at UCD, 1936-1939), in philosophy at Tullabeg (1939-1942) and in theology at Milltown Park, Dublin (1942-1946). He was ordained a priest at Milltown Park on 31 July, 1945.

After his tertianship (1946-1947) he taught for a year in the Crescent Secondary School for boys in Limerick. He took his final vows as a Jesuit on 2 February 1948.
In 1948, Fr Gill was chosen to become one of the 'founding fathers' of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia in Africa (then known as Northern Rhodesia). During his eight years in Zambia he worked tirelessly as pastor, builder, teacher and administrator in St Ignatius Church, Lusaka, in St Peter Canisius College, Chikuni, and in the mission outstations of Kasiya, Chivuna and Fumbo.

On his return to Ireland in 1956 Fr Joe was made minister of the recently founded Catholic Workers' College in Ranelagh, later to be known as the National College of Industrial Relations and today renamed as the National College of Ireland.

It was in 1958 however, that Father Gill was given his major appointment for the pastoral, spiritual and administrative care of souls in St Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. This was to be his spiritual vineyard for the next 48 years. For the first 44 years of his time in Gardiner Street, Fr Joe achieved an extraordinary grace as pastor and spiritual counselor. He spent hours upon hours hearing confessions and trying to bring peace of mind to a wide variety of penitents from the ranks of clergy, religious and laity. He was always available as long as his health enabled him. In addition to the onerous tasks of the confessional and the parlor, Fr Joe encouraged an extraordinary gathering of devout souls in the Sodality of Our Lady and Saint Patrick and the Association of Perpetual Adoration. He became spiritual director of both groups in 1989. Every year his dedicated friends would make a wonderfully colourful variety of vestments for Churches in Ireland and in the Mission fields. Fr Joe was extremely proud of the creative work of his team.

Following an accidental fall in 2002 which resulted in a hip replacement (in Merlin Park Hospital. Galway), Fr Joe's health began to fail somewhat. This extraordinary pastor kept up his role as spiritual counselor in the Jesuit Nursing Home until all his energy had faded away. His passing marked the completion of a very full life as a priest and as a kind friend.

Fr Joe will be sadly missed by his Jesuit brothers and members of his family. Although living and working away from Westport, he kept constant contact with the parish of his birth and early rearing. He is survived by his sister.

Note from Maurice Dowling Entry
After the war, when the Jesuits in Northern Rhodesia were looking for men, two Irish Jesuits volunteered in 1946 (Fr Paddy Walsh and Fr Paddy O'Brien) to be followed by two more in 1947, Maurice and Fr Joe Gill. They came to Chikuni.

Note from Bill Lee Entry
In 1951, two of these places (Kasiya and Chivuna) became new mission stations. Kasiya was set up by Fr. Bill Lee in 1951, the year after he arrived in the country. Later in December, he was joined by Fr J Gill.. When Fr Gill arrived and a 250cc motorbike was available, Fr Gill looked after the station and set out to visit the centers of Christianity within a radius of up to 30 miles.

Name of creator

(19 January 1912-17 June1997)

Biographical history

Born: 19 January 1912, Dublin
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Professed: 05 November 1977
Died: 17 June1997, St Joseph's Home, New Kowloon, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

Oldest brother of Ted (RIP 2003) and Des RIP (1996)

by 1938 at Loyola, Hong Kong - studying
by 1941 at Pymble NSW, Australia - studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father John Collins, S.J.
(1912-1997)
R.I.P.

Father John Collins SJ., died on 17 June 1997 at St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged in Kowloon. He was 85 years old and a priest of the Society of Jesus for 53 years.

John Collins was born in Dublin, Ireland on 19 January 1912 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1929. After his novitiate he did his university and philosophical studies in Ireland and then left for Hong Kong, arriving in September 1937. He spent his first two years here studying Cantonese. He became a fluent speaker and read Chinese with ease. He spent a year teaching in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong.

In January 1939, while still a language student, he had a very significant experience, which greatly influenced the course of his life. He went with some other Jesuits to an area near the border to help look after 1500 refugees who had fled the advance of the Japanese army. This experience gave him a feeling for those in trouble and made him a patient, resourceful and well informed battler for a wide variety of the sick, the poor and the dispossessed.

He learned then to recruit others to work with him in his activities on behalf of fairness and justice. Many of his recruits became loyal followers, trusted associates and close personal friends.

In 1940 Father Collins left Hong Kong for Australia where he studied theology and was ordained priest in 1944. A long voyage across the Pacific and the Atlantic in the last weeks of World War II brought him to Ireland when he finished his ecclesiastical studies.

He returned to Hong Kong in 1946 where, apart from two years of study and numerous trips abroad in the course of his work, he remained until his death. These two years of study brought him to London University for Chinese studies and to the Philippines and Fiji to observe the Credit Union movement.

Father Collins taught for several years in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong and Wah Yan College, Kowloon. He also devoted himself to pastoral work outside the schools.

Gradually, however, Father Collins began to move into the area of social work. He became deeply interested in the Credit Union and was a founder and permanent adviser of the Credit Union League of Hong Kong. He would probably regard his greatest achievement in this work as being able to distance himself gracefully from the day-to-day running of the League. The followers he inspired made the League a real Hong Kong body and had much to do with spreading the Credit Union movement to other parts of the world.

By an almost parallel involvement Father Collins became one of the most practical advocates of the rights of the disabled to as normal a life as possible. He was a founder member of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation. He was actively involved in the work of the St. Camillus Benevolent Association and held posts too numerous to mention in Local, Asian and international organisations for the disabled.

Father Collins was an internationally known expert on access and transport for the disabled. He advised Government in these two areas and strove to ensure that the disabled were given a chance to earn their living. He represented Hong Kong at many meetings overseas and received numerous awards in recognition of his work for the disabled.

In 1979 he became an MBE He was an executive committee member of the Hong Kong Council of Social Services and helped found the Educators’ Social Action Committee. He was a director and instructor of the Hong Kong Centre of the Gabriel Richard Institute which trains young professionals in developing confidence.

Father Collins was an Advisory Committee member of the Red Cross a former chairman and member for twenty years of the Family Welfare Society and a chairman of the International Year of the Child Commission. He also helped to found SELA (Committee for the Development of Socio-Economic Life in Asia), and organisation for Jesuits engaged in socioeconomic work.

Father Collins made innumerable friends. Being a perfectionist and relentlessly hard worker he knew exactly what he was talking about in his chosen areas of work. He was dogged and intelligent campaign for those who did not have much power and influence. He worked to ensure that not only were those in difficulty helped, but that they learn to help themselves and others.

Because he was a fighter he no infrequently clashed with other. However, his dedication and sincerity probably led most of his sparring partners to forgive him for his pugnacity. He also knew when a battle was lost. He complained vigorously regrouped and tried another strategy.

Father Collins kept meticulous files. He was proud of them and the were a solace to him. He worked for as long as he could. Progressively health made it impossible for him sally forth to pursue his numerous causes. He spent the last months his life in retirement in hospital, Wah Yan College, Kowloon and with the Little Sisters of the Poor Ngauchiwan.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 29 June 1997

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
John made his University and Philosophy studies in Ireland. He came to Hong Kong in 1937 to study and become fluent in Cantonese. By 1929 he was working to help the refugees, sick, poor and dispossessed, and he fought for fairness and justice.
1940 He left Hong Kong for Australia to study Theology at Canisius College Pymble and he was Ordained there in 1944. The last weeks of WWII saw him able to return to Ireland and Milltown Park and there he finished his studies.
He then went to the Philippines to observe the Credit Union movement. He was a founding member of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation (HKSR) and the St Camillus Benevolent Association (now St Camillus Credit Union)
1979 He was awarded an MBE and was an Executive Committee Member of the Hong Kong Council of Social Services, and he was also in the Education Social Action Committee, Advisory Committee Member of the Red Cross, and was for a time Chair of the Family Welfare Society. He also served on the Committee for the Development of Socio-Economic Life in Asia (SELA - Jesuits in socio-economic work). He was involved in the building of a special Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped.
In 1962 he began organising Credit Unions in Hong Kong.

In 1929, while a Regent, he had a significant experience which greatly influenced the course of his life. he went with some Jesuits to an area near the border to help look after ,500 refugees who had fled the advance of the Japanese army. This experience gave him a feeling for those in trouble, and it made him a patient, resourceful and well-informed battler for a wide variety of the sick, poor and dispossessed. he also leaerned then how to recruit others to his work on behalf of justice and fairness. Many of his recruits became loyal followers, trusted associates and close personal friends.
He taught for several years at Wah Yan College Hong Kong and Kowloon, and he also devoted himself to pastoral work outside the schools. Gradually he moved more and more into the are of Social Work. he started with the lepers who came to Telegraphic Bay in the late 1940s. He became deeply interested in Credit Unions, and he was a fouder and permanent advisor to the Credit Union League of Hong Kong. The followers he inspired made the League a Hong Kong body and were involved in spreading the Credit Union movement to other parts of the world.
By an almost parallel involvement, he became on of the most practical advocates of the rights of the disabled, involved in founding HKSR. In this he represented Hong Kong and received many awards for his achievements. As well as his involvement in the St Camillus Benevolent Association, he was involved in local, Asian and international organisations for the disabled and became a world expert on access and transport for the disabled.
Meanwhile he also was a founding member of the Hong Kong Centre for the Gabriel Richard Institute, which trained young professionals in developing confidence.

According to Freddie Deignan it was a deliberate decision by the Provincial of the day to release John from teaching so that he could engage in social woirk.

Note from Ted Collins Entry
When he returned to Hong Kong he was devoted to setting up the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council (CMAC) and helping the marginalised in Hong Kong. In this he was following in the footsteps of his older brother John who had set up credit unions, and fought for the rights of the diabled.

Note from Herbert Dargan Entry
He freed Fr John Collins for fulltime social work, set up “Concilium” with Frs Ted Collins, John Foley and Walter Hogan. he also set up CMAC in 1963. He sent Fr John F Jones for special training in Marriage Life. He also sent Fr John Russell to Rome for training in Canon Law. he was involved with rehabilitation of discharged prisoners and he visited prisons.

Name of creator

Name of creator

(1911-2007)

Biographical history

Appointed Apostolic Administrator of the new Prefecture of Lusaka in 1950

Name of creator

(26 May 1916-08 December 1979)

Biographical history

Born: 26 May 1916, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948
Professed: 02 February 1951
Died: 08 December 1979, St Mary’s, Surrenden Road, Brighton, Sussex, England - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Brother of John - RIP 1986

by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1968 at St Paul’s. Mulungushi, Brokenhill, Zambia (POL Mi) teaching
by 1969 at Lusaka (PO Mi) working
by 1975 at Worthing Sussex (ANG) working
by 1976 at Brighton Sussex (ANG) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Just at the end of his tertianship, Fr Dermot was selected to go to the then Northern Rhodesia and was one of the nine Irish Jesuits who went there in 1950. The Irish Province had been asked by Fr General to send men to aid their Polish colleagues there. When they arrived, Fr Dermot was based mainly at Fumbo and Chikuni during his first five years. Many were the stories told about his apostolic adventures in the Gwembe valley and along the line of rail during these years. His resourcefulness in coming up with needed articles was also a byeword. He seemed to have a ready supply of things required by his brethren. One Father setting out on a visit to a distant outpost in very hot conditions, wished to take some butter and other perishables. Fr Dermot said to him, ‘I think I have a refrigerator bag'. He produced the bag when most of his brethren did not know that such things were obtainable.

The second half of 1956 saw Fr Dermot in Lusaka as Parish Priest of St Ignatius. He immediately launched the building of a long-planned church which involved a great deal of finding both money and material. In doing this, with remarkable success, Fr Dermot acquired a host of friends, acquaintances and some would add with affectionate facetiousness – victims. On one occasion when a motor dealer offered a donation of £10, Dermot intimated that a larger donation would better match the esteem in which the listener was held. After an exchange of pleasantries, the business man said: ‘Just to listen to you, Father, is well worth £25; here is my cheque’.

The new church was blessed in December 1957 and, over the next few years, Dermot added to it with loving care. He also made improvements to the already existing parish hall and, in particular, promoted youth entertainment.

Returning from leave in 1964, he was assigned to Roma township where the cathedral was to be built. While there, he presided over the building of it as well as the Regiment church at Chilenje.

In 1972 Dermot's health began to fail and increasing heart trouble made it advisable for him to live at a lower altitude. While he had been a scholastic at Clongowes doing his regency, diphtheria had broken out. All the community were tested and found to be immune. Dermot, however, went down afterwards with a bad bout of diphtheria. This can affect the heart and it was his heart that went against him at this time. Accordingly he left Zambia in February 1973 and took up parish work at sea level in Brighton, England, where he labored with his customary zeal and success until his regretted death on 8 of December 1979. His brother John, also a Jesuit, was with him when he died. When John arrived, Dermot was in a coma. John wrote, ‘He (Dermot) did not give any sign of recognition but I had the uncanny feeling that he knew I was there’.

A strict contemporary writing about Dermot, said, ‘Dermot was, and remained so all his life, the kind of person one was glad to meet. It was always good to have him in the company. He had a sense of humor and an original dry verbal wit. After one of his verbal shafts, he would cackle happily. I think he was incapable of an uncharitable remark and he never showed disappointment or bitterness. He was a good community man’. Before he left Zambia, Dermot could become depressed, maybe the result of his health. However when in the parish in Brighton he was most apostolic as witnessed by the parishioners there.

Name of creator

(18 August 1911-14 April 1980)

Biographical history

Born: 18 August 1911, Dublin
Entered: 14 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1968
Died: 14 April 1980, Nairobi, Kenya - Zambia Province (ZAM)

Part of the Chivuna, Monze, Zambia community at the time of death.

Mission Superior Lusaka Superior of the Poloniae Minoris Jesuit Mission to Lusaka Mission : (POL Mi) 11 August 1955
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Chikuni Mission: 01 January 1957

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners
Mission Superior Lusaka (POL Mi) 11 August 1955
Mission Superior Chikuni (HIB) 01 January 1957

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them’ (Shakespeare, Twelfth Night). These words in some way could be applied to Fr Louis (nobody called him 'Daniel'). In human qualities Fr Louis was very ordinary. He saw himself as a great 'chancer' (his own word), meaning that he was willing to try his hand at anything, though not highly gifted for anything in particular. In fact, he found the studies in the Society extremely difficult but he realized that they were a preparation for the works of the Society like preaching and retreat giving. His tremendous determination and great sense of mission carried him through these difficulties so that at the end of his training he was better equipped to carry on apostolic works than many others more talented than he was. He had ‘greatness thrust upon him’ as he was appointed superior of the Irish Jesuits in Zambia a few years after arriving there.

He had come to Zambia in 1950, one of the original nine Irish Jesuits appointed to come to Chikuni Mission. The appointment came as a shock to Louis but he faced up to the situation as he had faced up to all the difficulties in his life. He was also appointed Vicar General of the Monze diocese where he was so highly appreciated by all.

After school at St Finians and Belvedere, he entered the Society at Emo in 1931. For regency he taught at Clongowes Wood College and then proceeded to Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1944. Afterwards he went to the Crescent, Limerick, to teach there until he came to Zambia in 1950.

In the early 60s, he began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis which crippled him increasingly until his death. It was in this that Louis ‘achieved greatness’ in the way he bore his illness for nearly 20 years. He could laugh and talk as if he had not a care in the world. He was an 'Easter person' who by word and deed reflected the good news of the victory of the Cross and of the joyfulness of the Resurrection. It is possible to resign oneself to suffering but it is a very different thing to bring sunshine into the lives of others at the same time. This calls for great faith, hope and charity. Louis retained a warm and appreciative interest in everyone to such a degree that all considered themselves to hold a special place in his heart.
He had a happy interest in the life of the secondary school at Chivuna and helped the community there through his visiting, his counseling, his concern for each one's welfare, for their academic achievements as well as their prowess in sports.

Finally when arthritis made him almost unable to walk, he made the journey to Nairobi in Kenya to see if anything could be done for his feet. While there in hospital, he was anxious to get back to Chivuna for the opening of the school term. However, cardio-respiratory failure was the final cause of his death there at the age of 68.
His remains were flown to Zambia and he was buried at Chikuni on 14 April 1980. The most noticeable thing about Louis' funeral was the manner in which the ordinary Tonga people seemed very clearly to take over the burying of their priest. It would have been unthinkable to bury Louis elsewhere, he who had lived and worked among them for 30 years

Name of creator

(23 December 1896-27 August 1965)

Biographical history

Born: 23 December 1896, Sallins, County Kildare
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 27 August 1929
Professed: 15 August 1933
Died: 27 August 1965, Lusaka, Zambia

Part of the Chivuna, Monze, Zambia community at the time of death

by 1921 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1927 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1932 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1949 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - joined Patrick Walsh and Patrick JT O’Brien in Second group of Zambian Missioners
by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Maurice’s family used to spend a month in Skerries, an Irish seaside resort, in the summer. Maurice Dowling was a keen, strong swimmer and one morning, as a teenager, he saved the life of a girl who was drowning. He went home to lunch and never mentioned the incident. It was when the family had finished tea and Mr Dowling was reading the evening paper, that he came across a paragraph or two describing the plucky rescue by his son. Passing no comment, he scribbled "Bravo"! beside the passages and silently handed the paper to his son. This incident in some way, sums up a characteristic of Maurice that he had already developed at that age, – he was modest in his achievements and helpful to others.

He was born in 1896 in Dublin. His father was the Registrar of the College of Science in Dublin. His mother died early in her married life leaving Maurice and his brother Desmond behind. Both boys went to Clongowes Wood College for their secondary education.

At the age of 18, Maurice entered the Jesuits at Tullabeg and followed the normal course of studies which were followed by Irish Jesuits of the time. He was ordained in 1929 on 29th August. He spent some time in the colleges as teacher and prefect e.g. the Crescent, Limerick in the thirties.

As a young Jesuit, he learned to speak Irish, spending many a holiday in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area). He genuinely loved the language and when home on what was to be his last leave, he was delighted to hear that there were in existence Irish-speaking praesidia of the Legion of Mary. He had a great admiration for Edel Quinn who died working for the Legion in Africa.

During the Second World War he volunteered as a chaplain. Just before departing, he was involved in an accident where he was thrown through the window of the bus in which he was traveling. As he lay on the ground in his own blood, he heard one of the rescuers say to another nodding towards Maurice "He's had it"! (but in much more colorful language).
After the war, when the Jesuits in Northern Rhodesia were looking for men, two Irish Jesuits volunteered in 1946 (Fr Paddy Walsh and Fr Paddy O'Brien) to be followed by two more in 1947, Maurice and Fr Joe Gill. They came to Chikuni.

The Bishops had been endeavoring then to set up a Catholic Secondary school for Africans. There was only one secondary school for Africans in the whole country, a Government school at Munali, Lusaka which had been founded a few years before. In 1949 Canisius Secondary School opened its gates to the first class. Speaking of Maurice's work in the college during the first few years, Fr Max Prokoph who had been instrumental in getting Fr Dowling for the mission and who had been his principal, said of him, "I have never met a more loyal man". Fr Prokoph described how in the initial difficult days, Maurice had stood by him on every occasion, always ready to help, never questioning a decision, absolutely loyal.
While at Chikuni, he would travel south to Choma at the week-end to say Mass long before a mission was opened in 1957; also to Kalomo still further south. Then back to the school for another week of teaching. In 1962 he went to Namwala to the newly built mission as the first resident priest bringing with him some Sisters of Charity. He later moved to Chivuna in 1964 and died in Lusaka on 26 August, 1965.

Fr Maurice had great qualities: his deep spirituality and union with God, his great zeal for souls, his kindness and courtesy to all, his optimistic outlook even when things looked by no means bright. He had a zest for life, his cheerfulness was catching. He was loyal as Fr Prokoph remarked. Loyalty would seem to have been the source of his strength, loyalty to God as a priest and religious, loyalty to his country as shown by his deep love of it, loyalty to the Society as shown by his great respect for it and his dislike of even the slightest criticism of it, loyalty to his Alma Mater and to his many friends as shown by his great interest in all that concerned them. His life had been a full one, in the classroom, in the army and on the mission.

Name of creator

(30 November 1904-03 August 1978)

Biographical history

Born: 30 November 1904, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1933
Professed: 02 February 1941
Died: 03 August 1978, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

by 1935 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - working
Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 15 August 1947-30 July 1953.
Mission Superior, Hong Kong, 09 May 1957
Father General's English Assistant (Substitute), at Rome Italy (ROM) 1962

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Thomas Byrne, S.J.
R.I.P.

Father Thomas Byrne, Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits from 1957 to 1960, died in Ireland on 3 August 1978, aged 73.

Father Byrne was born in Ireland in 1904. He joined the Jesuits in 1922 and was ordained priest in 1933. In 1934, the Irish Jesuit Province lent him to Hong Kong, where he taught Philosophy (1934-1936) and Dogmatic Theology (1936-1939) at the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen. He returned to Ireland in 1939 to complete his Jesuit training.

After a period as Master of Novices, he was appointed provincial Superior of the Irish Jesuit Province.

He returned to Hong Kong as Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits in 1957. In 1960, he was summoned to Rome to be Assistant to the Jesuit Superior General (1960-1963).

In his last years he was assistant priest at St. Ignatius Church, Galway, Ireland.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 August 1978

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Educated at O’Connell’s School Dublin, he Entered the Society in 1922 at Tullabeg. He obtained a BSc and MSc and then did Philosophy at Milltown Park. He then went straight from Philosophy to Theology
In 1936 he was sent to the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen as Professor of Dogmatic Theology.
In 1939 he returned to Ireland to make Tertianship and was then sent to Tullabeg to teach Philosophy.
In 1945 he was appointed Master of Novices
In 1947 he was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province
In 1957 he was appointed Superior of the Hong Kong Mission

During his term as Provincial (1947-1963) he sent many Jesuits to Hong Kong, and then in 1951 he started the Irish Jesuit Mission to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He also saw the needs in Singapore and Malaysia and sent Jesuits to work there - like Kevin O’Dwyer, who built St Ignatius Church in Singapore; Patrick McGovern who built St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, and also Liam Egan, Gerard (Geoffrey?) Murphy and Tom Fitzgerald. He opened the Novitiate in Cheung Chau in 1958, starting with 10 Novices.

In 1960 he was brought the Roman Curia as the English Assistancy Assistant to Father General, and held this riole until 1965.
In 1965 he returned to Ireland and teaching Theology at Milltown Park.

He was an intellectual. His social contribution in public committees included the housing Authorities and Discharged Prosoners Society.

Name of creator

(26 December 1910-21 March 1991)

Biographical history

Born: 26 December 1910, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 14 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1953
Died 21 March 1991, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Part of the St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969

by 1938 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1946 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - - First Zambian Missioners with Patrick Walsh
by 1947 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Before Fr Paddy entered the Society at Emo in1935, he had already attended university, was a graduate and a solicitor in the family firm. He was born in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland in 1910 and went to school at Clongowes Wood College. After his novitiate, since he was already a graduate, he went straight to philosophy in Jersey, the French-speaking philosophate in the Channel Islands. He stayed there two years but as World War 2 had broken out, he returned to Tullabeg, Ireland to finish his philosophy. After his theology at Milltown Park he was ordained in 1943.

After tertianship in 1945, he volunteered to come to Northern Rhodesia which he did with Fr. Paddy Walsh in 1946. He went to Chikuni to teach until he moved to Lusaka to St Ignatius as parish priest for nine years where he was also chaplain to the hospital and taught at both a primary and secondary school. He alternated with Mgr Wolnik as chaplain to St .Francis and Regiment Church.

He taught at Munali Secondary School and Hodgson Trade School and gave spiritual talks to the Dominican Sisters and the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood. For a year he was secretary to Archbishop Kozlowiecki. Then he went to the Southern Province as parish priest in Choma for three years and chaplain to the hospital, 1959 to 1961. He acted as education secretary at the Catholic Secretariat in Lusaka for six months in 1962, teaching again at Munali and Chalimbana where he was also chaplain to the two institutions. From 1969 to 1974 he was secretary to Archbishop Milingo, and from 1974 to 1988 he was secretary to the Papal Pro-Nuncio. All the occupations of parish priest, chaplain, teacher, secretary, fitted into his educational background.

He had an abiding sense of the presence and the majesty of God. He found God in simple daily devotions like the Rosary. He was also fascinated by the wonders of nature and the discoveries of science. In them he found material for prayer. All these things for him were reflections of the wisdom, the power and the love of the Creator. He was a great reader and liked to communicate what he had assimilated in retreats, in sermons and even in conversation. He was interested in people, keeping in touch with his many friends, and being ecumenically minded with people of other denominations.

He was always ready to ‘uphold his priestly ministry even when it cost’. In his early days in Lusaka, a young man involved in a fatal shooting came to Fr Paddy for advice and counselling. The young man gave himself up to the police and Fr Paddy was put into the witness box and asked to testify that the incriminating weapon, a rifle, had been handed to him by the accused. Fr Paddy refused to give evidence and was committed for contempt of court.

A newspaper reported:
“What is described as the most sensational murder trial ever to be held in Northern Rhodesia came to an abrupt end when the magistrate at Lusaka dismissed the case against Lawrence Sullivan, 24, who was charged with the murder of Mrs. Christina Margarita Fuller. The sensation was caused by the persistent refusal of a priest, Fr P J O'Brien, S.J. to take the oath as a witness. Fr. O'Brien maintained that there ‘there was a conflict of duties’ and, although warned by the magistrate of the risk he look, said he could not give evidence which might look like a breach of confidence. He insisted that it was for the public good that a man or woman who had done something seriously wrong should feel free to have recourse in confidence to their priest or minister of religion”.

A fall which seriously damaged his hip and other long standing health problems, brought him back to Ireland to the Jesuit Nursing Unit in Dublin in 1989. On 21 March 1991 at the age of 80, Fr Paddy died of a heart attack. He was a wonderful story teller!

Note from Maurice Dowling Entry
After the war, when the Jesuits in Northern Rhodesia were looking for men, two Irish Jesuits volunteered in 1946 (Fr Paddy Walsh and Fr Paddy O'Brien) to be followed by two more in 1947, Maurice and Fr Joe Gill. They came to Chikuni.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Solicitor before entry

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A file of letters written during the year 1950 relating to the Chikuni Mission, Northern Rhodesia. Includes numerous letters relating to the announcement that eight Irish Jesuits are to be sent to the Chikuni Mission and the need for these men to learn the language (Chitonga). Many letters express concern over the lack of preparations being made for their arrival and a reluctance to comply with Fr General's instructions that all eight men are to be housed together for one year to obtain a firm grasp of the language.

  • Includes a letter from the Apostolic Delegation, PO Box 468, Mombasa to Irish Fr Provincial Thomas Byrne SJ concerning the division of the mission between the Irish and Polish Jesuits. Advises Fr Byrne to send a suitable Jesuit to Northern Rhodesia to take on the role of Vicar Apostolic of Lusaka when the division takes place (12 June 1950, 1p).
  • Includes a memorandum by Fr John Collins SJ concerning Bantu courses in London University (nd, 2pp).
  • Includes a photograph published in the Irish Independent of the nine Irish Jesuits (eight priests and one brother) before their departure for Chikuni, Northern Rhodesia (19 July 1950, 1p).
  • Includes a letter from Fr Brian MacMahon SJ to Fr Provincial Thomas Byrne SJ announcing their safe arrival in Lusaka (7 August 1950, 2pp).
  • Includes a letter from Fr Patrick J Walsh SJ describing a trip he and Fr Louis Meagher SJ made in the Zambesi Valley (22 September 1950, 2pp).
  • Includes a letter from Fr Brian McMahon SJ, Chikuni Mission PO Chisekesi, Northern Rhodesia to Fr Provincial Thomas Byrne SJ describing the school system here and the training colleges for African teachers (2 October 1950, 7pp).

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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: archivessj@gmail.com

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No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.

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