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Missioner Zambia (N. Rhodesia)

Benson, Patrick J, 1923-1970, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/735
  • Person
  • 19 December 1923-15 May 1970

Born: 19 December 1923, Kilkishen, County Clare
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 15 May 1970, Fordham University, The Bronx, New York, USA - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Part of the Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia community at the time of death

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The suddenness of Fr Paddy's death came as a great shock. He had left Chikuni for a well deserved leave in January 1970 and during the course of that leave went to the USA to do some career guidance. He had been doing this at Canisius Secondary School with great success and went overseas to acquire the latest techniques. He was staying at Fordham University when he died, and an extract from a letter from the Rector there, Fr James Hennessey S. J., gave the details of Fr Paddy's death:

"He had been here a month and we were delighted to have him. Rarely has anyone fitted into the community so well. He was always pleasant and his humour was delightful, he went about his business seriously and impressed all who came into contact with him. He was cheerful to the last; several who were with him at dinner last evening remembered that he had been in fine fettle. He must have retired early. This morning a relative, Br Bernard F.M.S., came to call for him. They had planned to spend the day together. It was about 10 a.m. and when Paddy did not answer, he went to his room and found him dead. It looked to me as if he had tried to get up, then had fallen back and died quickly and peacefully. There was no evidence of struggle or pain. Fr Minister anointed him and our house doctor pronounced him dead of a coronary".

Paddy was born in Co. Clare, Ireland, on 19th December 1923, an only child. He went to St Flannan's College in Co. Clare and after his final year in school, entered the Society on 7 September 1942 much to the regret of the diocesan clergy who would have liked him for the diocese. He went through the usual training in the Society doing his regency at Belvedere and Mungret. While at these places he was known for his selflessness and the memory everyone had of Fr. Paddy was of his willingness to help others in any way he could. He was ordained at Milltown Park on the 31st July 1956, a happy event which was tempered by the fact that neither of his parents lived to see him ordained. After his tertianship he came to Zambia.

After spending some time learning the language, he became Manager of Schools for a year, then did two years at Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College and finally came to Canisius in 1962, as Senior Prefect, a position he held until 1969 when he was acting principal for almost a year.

If one were to pick out two virtues in Fr Paddy, all would agree that his ever-cheerfulness and readiness to help others are the two outstanding ones. He was a man who rarely thought of himself or his own comfort and this combined with a simplicity of soul, endeared him to all who had dealings with him. In all the houses in which he had been, he left his mark, for he was gifted with his hands and electricity had always been his chief hobby. In Milltown Park, Dublin he did the wiring for the telephone system while he was studying there. In many houses in Zambia, both in the Society and elsewhere, there are "many things electrical" which are working due to Fr Paddy's dexterity.

He was never too busy to help others and was ready to drop everything in order to be of assistance to the many who called on him to do "little jobs", to fill in for a supply if someone was sick or unavailable, or just to be cheerful in conversation. This willingness to help others and his fondness for the steering wheel, gave him a certain mobility and it was not uncommon to see him disappearing in clouds of dust down the avenue.

He led a tiring life but even so, at the end of a hard week put in at the school work, he would go off on Mass supply to preach and baptise or help in the parish at Chikuni. To one who lived and worked with Fr Paddy for many years, the oft quoted Latin tag "consummatus in brevi, expleveit tempora multa" (he accomplished much in a short time) takes on a new meaning.

Though he died in New York his body was returned to Ireland to be buried at Mungret where he had taught and which was not too far from his old home.
Many letters of sympathy came to Fr O’Riordan, Education Secretary General, not least from the Minister of Education and his Permanent Secretary. Here are some extracts: "Fr Benson will always be remembered for his warm humanity, keen sense of humour and willingness to assist others." (Minister of Education); "Fr Benson's calm and reasoned approach to education problems, his sense of humour and the cooperative and helpful spirit with which he went about his affairs, remain in the memory." (Permanent Secretary, Min. Ed.).

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 45th Year No 3 1970

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Benson SJ (1923-1970)

The news of Fr. Benson's death in New York on May 15th had a stunning effect on those, and they were many, who but a short time previously had welcomed him back for the holiday break from Zambia; he had spent some intervals in his native Clare and had visited a number of friends in the various houses and professed himself sufficiently fit to do an educational course at Fordham before returning to the missions proper.
After the first announcement of his death Fr. James Hennessy, Rector of Fordham, set himself immediately to give a more detailed account : “Several of those who were at dinner with him last evening remarked that he had been in fine fettle. He must have retired early. This morning a relative, Br. Bernard, F.H.S., came to call for him. They had planned a day together. It was about 10 am, and when Paddy did not answer Br. Bernard went to his room and found him dead. It looked to me as if he had tried to get up, then had fallen back and died quickly and peacefully. There was no evidence of struggle or pain. Fr. Minister anointed him and our house doctor pronounced him dead of a coronary”.
Fr. Provincial here was contacted and it was decided to have the burial at Mungret sixteen miles from Fr. Paddy's native place Kilkishen, across the Shannon.
In Fordham the obsequies were not neglected; over twenty Jesuits were present at the exequial Mass on May 18th; the lessons were read by Frs. Joseph Kelly, Brian Grogan and Hugh Duffy. Fr. Paddy Heelan gave an appreciation of his contemporary and friend at an evening Mass previously and Fr. George Driscoll, Superior of the Gonzaga Retreat House for boys, with whom Fr. Benson had already formed a firm friendship, gave the homily or funeral oration. The suffrages on Fr. Benson's behalf from the Fordham community amount to 150 Masses.
Fr. Paddy was a student at St. Flannan's College, Ennis, and had come to our novitiate in 1942 in company with his fellow collegian Michael O'Kelly whose lamentable early death occurred when later they were theologians together in Milltown. Paddy followed the conventional courses - juniorate and degrees from UCD at Rathfarnham; colleges at Belvedere and Mungret, and theology at Milltown, priesthood 1946.
He went to Zambia (North Rhodesia then) in 1948. An energetic teacher and missionary with considerable versatility and skill in practical matters - his flair with electric fittings saved the mission considerable incidental expenses, obliging and resultantly much in demand. He possessed a pleasant sober manner, not dominating but willing to take his share quietly in the conversation, a sense of humour and a droll remark where apposite. About five years since he was home for the normal break and on this present occasion no one from his appearance would have surmised that the end was approaching; since his death we have been informed that in Africa, he had recently experienced a bout of languor which made it advisable that he take a change which he did in Southern Rhodesia and he appeared to have been re-established on his return to Ireland; the sad and unexpected event of May 15th proved other wise. May he rest in peace.

Fr. C. O'Riordan has forwarded the following letters of sympathy from the Minister of Education and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education in Lusaka :

Dear Fr. O'Riordan,
I have learned, with a deep sense of shock, of the untimely death of Fr. Benson whilst in New York. To those of us who were privileged to have known and worked with Fr, Benson, this comes with a heartfelt sense of regret.
Fr. Benson, apart from his long and dedicated service both at Charles Lwanga Training College and Canisius Secondary School at which, towards the end of last year, he acted as principal, will always be remembered for his warm humanity, keen sense of humour and willingness to assist others.
I am writing to you because of Fr. Benson's involvement in education, but would be most grateful if you could convey my sincere condolences, coupled with those of the Minister of State, to Fr. Counihan and to His Lordship, Bishop Corboy, to each of whom Fr. Benson's death must be a grievous loss.
Yours sincerely,
W. P NYIRENDA (Minister of Education).

Dear Fr. O'Riordan,
I was deeply shocked to hear, from our telephone conversation this morning, of Fr. Benson's death.
One is conscious of the significant contribution he made, both at Canisius Secondary School and Charles Lwanga during the years he served in Zambia. His calm and reasoned approach to education problems, his sense of humour and the co-operative and helpful spirit with which he went about his affairs, remain in the memory.
Please accept not only my own heartfelt condolences, but those on behalf of all my officers within the Ministry, who I know will feel Fr. Benson's death keenly.
Yours sincerely,
D. BOWA (Permanent Secretary).

Byrne, Daniel, 1920-1964, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/731
  • Person
  • 20 June 1920-05 May 1964

Born: 20 June 1920, Knockaney, Hospital, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambua
Died: 05 May 1964, St Mary’s Hospital, Choma, Zambia

Part of the Sacred Heart, Monze community at the time of death.

by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
It was about 11.30 that morning of 5 May 1964 that the hospital in Choma was asked by the police to send an ambulance immediately to a spot about 15 miles out on the Livingstone road where an accident had occurred. When the ambulance arrived back at the hospital bearing the two survivors who had been found still breathing, the Sister of Charity who met it realized that one of them was wearing a roman collar. On looking closer, she recognised Fr. Dan (who had a sister in Ireland who was a Sister of Charity). In spite of the terrible shock, she immediately phoned the church and Fr Luke Mwanza was on the scene within minutes and gave him Extreme Unction. The bishop had just arrived back in Monze from Chikuni when the news reached him.

No one knows exactly how the accident occurred. Between Livingstone and Choma it is mostly tarred road but at that time there was a stretch of about 25 miles remaining untarred. It was on this "dirt" road that Dan was in head-on collision with another car coming from Livingstone. The coroner at the inquest remarked on the deplorable condition of the road at the part where the collision took place. In the car with Fr Dan were Mr Mungala, his manager of schools, a loyal and devoted supporter of Ours, as well as the manager's nephew. In the other car were Mr Nash, a teacher, and his wife, their two year old daughter and a Mr Hassan. The only survivor of the accident was the child who escaped with relatively light injuries. No witness has been found although the man who first found the crashed cars said at the inquest that, when he returned with the police, the bodies in the Nash's car had been removed from the car to the side of the road.

The burial of the three who died took place at Chikuni on Tuesday 6th May. At the end of the Mass, the Bishop spoke of the universal anguish at the great loss sustained by the Church and the teaching profession.

Fr Dan, who was 44, was born at Knockaney, near Hospital, Co. Limerick. He completed his secondary school at Mount Melleray (Cistercians). He admitted later in life that it was a retreat given at Mount Melleray by a Jesuit that set him on his way to Emo which he entered in 1938. During his formation years, his gifts were more practical than speculative: he liked working with wood and there is hardly a house in the Irish Province which has not got some evidence of his handiwork. He noticed things that needed to be done. There was a quality and finish about everything he set his hands to; he did indeed 'do all things well'.

It was inevitable that Dan's practical abilities should have been recognised and used on the missions. He had not been many months in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) when he was hard at it, building schools and teachers' houses. From then until his death it is true to say that he had more than a 'finger' in all the major (and minor) building activities of the Mission. Some of the churches he designed and built, for example Fumbo and Kasiya. Later, as education secretary, he really found himself and had much more scope for his talents. His mind was very orderly and he never allowed himself to be snowed under by the mass of architects’ drawings, bills and letters that streamed into his office. When death removed him so tragically from the scene, he had left everything as if he were about to hand over to his successor.

Dan remained always a shy man although he concealed it with a brusqueness that became more pronounced as he got older. This disconcerted people who did not know him; at times they thought him off-hand, casual and blasé. He had little time for non- essentials, came to the point quickly and liked others to do the same. He was completely detached from personal comfort and convenience; at times he expected the same detachment and integrity from others, not doubting that others were as self-sacrificing as himself.

The same attention to essentials was apparent in his spiritual life. There were no 'spiritual frills' in Dan's life. Even in the novitiate there was a quality of robustness about his spirituality. That his devotion went deep is evident by the life he led. He was very much a "faithful and prudent servant" intent on service, indifferent to what people thought of him. He conquered all human respect early in life. One who lived with him in Monze for several years said that he never knew him to miss a spiritual duty, a remarkable thing in a man so busy.

Bishop Corboy said of him: "He was a truly saintly man – in the chapel every morning at five o’clock with his Mass at six. He was unassuming and never displayed his holiness and the love of God that inspired his whole life. Back in the office at 7.30 a.m. a day began that could have fully occupied two men, and that was true of six days in the week. On Sunday he regularly said two Masses at out-stations, and returned here to Monze for lunch. On Sunday afternoon when he was free, he would visit some schools to inspect a building he was erecting. He never took a day off and never had a holiday. He is a great loss, but may God's will be done’.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 39th Year No 3 1964

Obituary :

Fr Daniel Byrne SJ (1920-1964)

The Rhodesian Mission has had its calamities over the years but none as sudden and unexpected as the tragic death of Fr. Dan Byrne on May 5th last. Little did His Lordship Bishop Corboy think, as he bade farewell to Father Dan that very morning at Chikuni, that on the following day he would be officiating at Fr. Dan's burial in the cemetery at Chikuni.
A week before the accident Fr. Byrne had been in hospital at Mazabuka. He was treated for malaria and after a few days rest was back at work. On Saturday, May 2nd he attended a Conference on educational matters. The Monday following he took part in a meeting between a Delegation of Teachers and the Bishop, together with a group of the priests. This meeting, for which he had done a good deal of the preparatory work, lasted until afternoon. He was due in Livingstone on the Wednesday for yet another educational meeting. As his own car was in Monze garage for repairs, the Bishop offered him the use of his. On Tuesday 5th there was to be a Priests' Meeting at Chikuni, called by the Bishop; but Dan had been exempted from attending this. However, he did take His Lordship to Chikuni. On arriving at Chikuni, Dan said to the Bishop “Are you sure you wouldn't like me to stay for this meeting?” The Bishop assured him that it wasn't necessary and Dan left with his African passengers for Livingstone (180 miles).
It was at about 11.30 that morning that the Hospital in Choma was asked by the Police to send an ambulance immediately to a spot about 15 miles out on the Livingstone road where an accident had occurred. When the ambulance arrived back at the hospital bearing the two survivors who had been found still breathing, the Sister of Charity who met it realised that one of them was wearing a Roman collar. On looking closer she recognised Fr. Dan. In spite of the terrible shock, she immediately phoned the Church, and Fr. Luke Mwansa was on the scene within minutes and gave Extreme Unction. The Bishop had just arrived back at Monze from Chikuni when the news reached him.
No one knows exactly how the accident occurred. Between Livingstone there is mostly tarred road, but one untarred stretch of about 25 miles remains. It was on this dirt road that Dan was in head-on collision with another car coming from Livingstone. The Coroner at the Inquest, remarked on the deplorable condition of the road at the part where the collision took place. In the car with Fr. Dan were Mr. Mungala, his Manager of Schools, a loyal and devoted supporter of ours, also the Manager's nephew. In the other car were Mr. Nash, a teacher, and his wife, their two year old daughter and a Mr. Hassan. The only survivor of the accident was the child who escaped with relatively light injuries. No witness has been found although the man who first found the crashed cars said at the Inquest that when he returned to the scene with the police, the bodies in the Nash's car had been removed from the car to the side of the road.
The burial of the three who died in the Bishop's car took place at Chikuni on Tuesday, 6th May. The Requiem was sung by Very Rev. Fr. O'Loghlen. Crowds came for the Mass; there were as many outside the Church as inside and for them Fr. Conway conducted a separate service. Many cars came from as far as Broken Hill and Livingstone, bringing representatives of Government and Education bodies. The Churches were also represented -even to Dan's opposite number in the Salvation Army! At the end of Mass the Bishop spoke of the universal anguish at the great loss sustained by the Church and the teaching profession.
Dan, who was 44, was born at Knockaney, near Hospital, Co. Limerick. He was at school with the de la Salle Brothers at first; then he went to Mount Melleray, where he completed his Secondary schooling. He admitted later in life that it was a Retreat given at Mount Melleray by one of Ours that set him on his way to Emo, which he entered in 1938. In the noviceship he was reserved, and shy. In Rathfarnham he had a broken head for some time, which perhaps forced him to turn his attention to mundane and practical things in the house and grounds. His gifts were more practical than speculative; he liked working with wood and there is hardly a House in the Province which hasn't got some evidence of his handiwork. Even when Dan was on a rest, it was more than likely that he would notice something that needed repairing. He noticed things that needed to be done. one remembers him looking in a calculating way one day at the old pavilion of the tennis courts at Milltown Park. Within a few days thie pavilion had been 'stripped down and in a matter of weeks it had been replaced by a bigger and (of course) better structure. There was a quality and a finish about everything he set his hands to; “he did, indeed, do all things well”. He was the perfect Sub-beadle, an office which he was burdened with from noviceship to tertianship. When Dan took office, there was a big reorganisation, unwonted order was introduced, everything was given its place and it was a delight to use the Sub-beadle's Press.
Dan taught at the Crescent and Belvedere. He was a good teacher, exacting, who was respected by his pupils. It was always hard to know what he thought about things; but one who knew him and worked with him said that he couldn't imagine Dan volunteering to teach for the rest of his life. In Theology, he was always abreast of the work and was better than average at Moral. He had begun in Milltown, to suffer from the anaemia which dogged his days to the end but of which he spoke little.
It was inevitable that Dan's practical abilities should have been recognised and used on the Mission. He hadn't been many months in Rhodesia when he was hard at it building schools and teachers' houses. From then till his death it is true to say that he had more than a “finger” in all the major (and minor) building activities of the Mission. Some of the Churches he designed and built for example those at Fumbo and Kasiya. Later as Education Secretary he really “found” himself and had much scope for his talents. His mind was a very orderly one and he never allowed himself to be snowed under by the mass of architects drawings, bills and letters that streamed into his office. It was the Bishop who said of him that he never knew a man who kept better files, for he could find any document in a matter of seconds. When death removed him so tragically from the scene, he had left every thing as if he were about to hand-over to his successor.
Dan remained always a shy man although he concealed it with a brusqueness that became more pronounced as he got older. This disconcerted people who did not know him : at times they thought him off-hand, casual, blasé. He had little time for unessentials; came to the point quickly and liked others to do the same. Often he had little small talk and could be preoccupied by his work. He was completely detached from personal comfort and convenience; at times he expected the same detachment and integrity from others, not doubting that others were as self-sacrificing as himself.
The same attention to essentials was apparent in his spiritual life. There were no “spiritual frills” in Dan's life; even in the noviceship there was a quality of robustness about his spirituality. That his devotion went deep is evident by the life he led. He was very much “servus prudens ac fidelis”, intent on service, in different to what men thought of him. He conquered all human respect early in life. One who lived for several years with him in Monze said that he never knew him to miss a Spiritual duty - a remarkable thing in a man so busy. And so he had lived since 1938. In the attache case which was retrieved from the wreckage of the car was found, as well as his few toilet things, a book for Spiritual Reading . . . Can we doubt but that he has already received that “unfading crown of glory” of which he read in the last Mass he said, a few hours before he died?
In a letter Fr. O'Loghlen said of Fr. Byrne : “From every point of view it is a terrible blow. He was a first class religious, and there is the consolation of knowing that if anybody was prepared to meet his death he was. The first thing I found in his bag was a book on the Mass which he used. In his work he was equable and capable. He will be very hard to replace”.
Bishop Corboy said of him : “He was a truly saintly man-in the chapel every morning at five o'clock with his Mass at six. He was unassuming and never displayed the holiness and love of God that inspired his whole life. Back in his office at 7.30 a.m, a day that could have fully occupied two men began, and that was true of six days a week. On Sunday he regularly said two Masses at out-stations, and returned here to Monze for lunch, On Sunday afternoon, when he was free, he would visit some school to inspect a building he was erecting. He never took a day off and never had a holiday. He is a great loss but May God's will be done”.

Very Rev. Fr. Provincial received the following letter :
Parochial House,
Fethard,
Co. Tipperary,
May 13th 1964.
Very Rev. and dear Fr. Provincial,
I would like to offer my sympathy to you and to the Fathers of the Irish Province on the sad death of Fr. Daniel Byrne S.J. in Northern Rhodesia.
It is a matter of regret for me that I cannot attend the Mass for him in Gardiner Street tomorrow. I have already offered Mass for him.
He was the first boy in whose vocation I had a hand as a young curate and he was one of the best. One could not fail to be impressed by his sincere piety, kindly disposition and twinkling humour.
I wish too to sympathise on the loss to the Mission of so competent a priest in educational matters. May he rest in peace.
With kind personal regards,
Sincerely yours in Christ, Christopher Lee P.P.

Collins, Bernard P, 1910-1987, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/97
  • Person
  • 24 November 1910-12 August 1987

Born: 24 November 1910, Laragh, Swatragh, County Derry
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 03 February 1953
Died: 12 August 1987, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia Province (ZAM)

Part of the Namwala Catholic Church, Narwal, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

Early education at St Columb’s College Derry

by 1948 at Rome Italy (ROM) - editing “Memorabilia”
by 1952 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fourth wave of Zambian Missioners

Tertianship at Rathfarnham

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Bernard Collins (known to his friends as Barney) was born in the north of Ireland at Laragh, Co Derry. He entered the Society in September 1929. His course of studies was the usual one followed by members of the Irish Province. After the novitiate, a degree at the university in Dublin in humanities and a Higher Diploma in Education, philosophy in Tullabeg, and theology in Milltown Park where he was ordained on 31 July 1943.

At the university he took a classics degree, Latin and Greek, and when he did the Higher Diploma, he got a certificate to enable him to teach through Irish. He went to Rome for a number of years after his tertianship as an assistant secretary to the English Assistant. He added an extra language to his store, namely, Italian.

In 1951 he accompanied the first two scholastics, Bob Kelly and Joe Conway, and Br. Jim Dunne, on their way to the then Northern Rhodesia. The ship's doctor diagnosed heart trouble in Barney so that he spent most of the voyage immobile in the prone position including when going through customs. At the Blue Sisters hospital in Cape Town, he was pronounced healthy and free from any heart ailment. It must have been the sea air that cured him as they were at sea for two weeks!

From 1951 to 1960 he was parish priest in Chikuni. It was here his renowned proficiency in Tonga showed itself. His earlier linguistic studies stood him in good stead as he composed several booklets. In Tonga, he produced 'Lusinizyo', his pamphlet against the Adventists; ‘Zyakucumayila’, 61 Sunday sermons for harried missionaries; a Tonga grammar (now used in schools); a short English/Tonga dictionary; a translation of a pamphlet on the Ugandan Martyrs; and ‘A Kempis' which was written but never published. His knowledge of the villages and people of his time is legendary and he was always willing to give of his time to any willing ear that might wish to know the Chikuni people and their relationships. Towards the end of this period in Chikuni, he founded the first Pioneer Total Abstinence Centre.

From 1960 to 1966, he worked in Chivuna as parish priest and Superior and also taught the language to the scholastics, who delighted in relating stories of far off days when they struggled to master the prehodiernal past.

Barney moved to Namwala parish from 1968 to 1973 with Fr Clarke as his companion in the community to be joined later by Fr Eddie O’Connor (and his horse). From 1973 to 1977 he was parish priest at Chilalantambo and returned to Chikuni in 1977 to be assistant in the parish to Fr Jim Carroll. He went back to Namwala as superior and parish priest with Fr Piekut as his assistant. The scene changed in 1984 when Fr Frank 0'Neill became superior and Barney was the assistant in the parish. This was his status at the time of his death
It was during lunch at St Ignatius, Lusaka, on Wednesday 12th August that Barney began to show signs of not being well. By five that evening he had gone to his reward. The funeral took place at Chikuni with 29 priests concelebrating. Fr Dominic Nchete, the principal celebrant, paid tribute to the long years that Fr Collins had mingled closely with the Tonga people. Bishop Mpezele in both English and Tonga re-echoed the sentiments of Fr Nchete.

Fr Collins, a very unassuming man, had a deep knowledge of the Tonga people and was truly an incarnation of becoming all things to all people. With his fluency in Tonga, it was a delight to listen to him preach which he did in the grand manner. He had a sympathy and understanding of the mentality and customs of the Tonga that few from overseas have achieved. Here are the concluding remarks of the funeral oration: "We pray that Fr Barney may have eternal rest where we are sure he will be able to sit and speak with so many from Tongaland that he had sent on before him"

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 62nd Year No 4 1987

Obituary

Fr Bernard Patrick Collins (1910-1929-1987) (Zambia)

The following obituary notice has been adapted from the one printed in the newsletter of the Zambian province, Jesuits in Zambia.

Fr Bernard Collins, born on 24th November 1910 in northern Ireland, entered the Society on 2nd September 1929. His course of studies was the usual one followed by members of the Irish province: noviciate (at Tullabeg and Emo, 1929-31), juniorate (at Rathfarnham, 1931-34) with university degree in classics, philosophy in Tullabeg (1934-37), regency in Belvedere (and Higher Diploma in Education: 1937-40), theology in Milltown Park (1940-44, with priestly ordination on 29th July 1943), and tertianship in Rathfarnham (1944-45). After two more years' teaching in Belvedere (1945-47) he was sent to the General Curia in Rome, where he worked as substitute secretary for the English assistancy (1947-51). There he also edited the Latin news-periodical, “Memorabilia Societatis Iesu”, which was a forerunner of the present-day “SJ news and features”.
In 1951 he accompanied the first two scholastics, Bob Kelly and Joe Conway, and Br Jim Dunne on their way to Northern Rhodesia (as Zambia was then called). En route the ship's doctor checked Barney's medical condition and diagnosed heart trouble, so that for most of the voyage and the passage through customs he lay flat and immobile. At the Blue Sisters hospital in Cape Town he was pronounced healthy and free from any heart ailment.
From 1951 to 1960 Barney was parish priest of Chikuni, and it was here that he developed his renowned proficiency in Tonga and wrote his Grammar, also “Lusinizyo”, his pamphlet against the Adventists. His knowledge of the villages and people of the Chikuni area were legendary, and he was always ready to give of his time to any hearer wishing to learn about the Chikuni people and their interrelationships. It was in April 1958, towards the end of his first time in Chikuni, that he founded the first Pioneer Total Abstinence centre.
From 1960 to 1966 he worked in Chivuna parish and was vice-superior of the community. He also taught the language to newly-arrived scholastics, who still entertain us with stories of those happy far-off days when they struggled to master the intricacies of the pre hodiernal past. During this time he was also a mission consultor.
From 1969 to 1974 Barney worked in Namwala parish with Frs Arthur Clarke and Edward O'Connor as his companions in the community. In 1975 for a short time Barney was parish priest at Chilalantambo. In 1976 he returned to Chikuni to be parish assistant to Fr Jim Carroll. During this his second spell in Chikuni, he had for some time Frs Joe McDonald and T O'Meara as collaborators. In 1983 he went to Namwala as superior and parish priest with Fr Antoni Piekut as his assistant. In 1984 the scene changed, with Fr Frank O'Neill becoming superior and Barney becoming parish assistant: this was his status at the time of his death.
It was during lunch at St Ignatius (Lusaka) on Wednesday, 12th August, that Barney began to show signs of illness. By five o'clock that evening he had gone to his reward. His funeral took place on the Friday (14th), with 29 priests concelebrating Mass. Fr Nchete as principal celebrant paid tribute to Fr Collins for mingling so closely with the Tonga people for long years. Bishop Mpezele in both English and Tonga re-echoed Fr Nchete's sentiments.
Fr Collins, a very unassuming man, had a deep knowledge of the Tonga people, and was truly an incarnation of the Pauline ideal of being all things to all people. He had a sympathy and understanding of Tonga mentality and customs that few from overseas have achieved. We pray that Fr Barney may have eternal rest where, we are sure, he will be able to sit and speak with the many from Tongaland that he had sent on before him.

Dowling, Maurice, 1896-1965, Jesuit priest, chaplain and missioner

  • IE IJA J/729
  • Person
  • 23 December 1896-27 August 1965

Born: 23 December 1896, Sallins, County Kildare
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 August 1929, Valkenburg, Netherlands
Final vows: 15 August 1933
Died: 27 August 1965, Lusaka, Zambia

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

1942-1946 Military Chaplain

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 colourful 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 endeavouring 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.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941
General :
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr. Hayes reports from Redcar Yorks that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 18th Year No 1 1943

Fr. Maurice Dowling was awarded substantial damages with costs in the action against Great Southern Railways Co. which came before Mr. Justice Hanna and a jury in the High Court on 4th November. It will be remembered Fr. Dowling met with his serious accident 18th August, 1941, when the bus in which he was travelling from Limerick to Dublin in order to report for active service was involved in a collision near the Red Cow, Clondalkin.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Dowling and Gill will be leaving soon for the Lusaka Mission, N. Rhodesia.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949

Frs. Dowling and Gill who left Dublin for the Lusaka Mission, N. Rhodesia, on 7th October reached their destination on 4th November; for the present they are stationed at Chikuni and Lusaka respectively.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 3 1949

LETTERS :

Fr. M. Dowling in a letter from Chikuni Mission, N. Rhodesia :
He says there are now 282 boys in the Central Boarding School ; and 60 girls under the care of the Irish Sisters of Charity. All are native Africans, 95% baptised and but a few catechumens. The staff consists of Fr. M. Prokoph, Principal of the School, Fr. Dowling himself, Fr. Lewisha, an African, two Sisters of Oharity, an English laymaster, and four African teachers.

“I am teaching Religious Knowledge, Chemistry, General Science, History and Maths. My classes vary in number between 45 and 50. We are rather understaffed and so are kept busy. The top classes at present reach a standard equivalent to our Inter-Cert. There is also a course for Teachers, and a Trades School for carpenters and brick layers.
The mission depends on us for its Catholic teachers and the number of Catechumens depends on them too. The mission is very short of men and many are old and ill. Many of the Polish Fathers have been out here 20 and 25 years without a break.
Normally the rainy season begins here in October and lasts till March. This year it has been a failure. We have had 18 inches of rain instead of our usual 35-40 and there is grave danger of famine in all Central Africa. Famine has already begun in Nyassaland.
There are six different African languages spoken by different sections of the boys. All teaching above standard IV is in English. Many are quite good at English.
The weather is pretty hot, which I like but some don't. It has averaged 95 degrees in the shade for a long time recently. I have lost two stone since I came here and gone down from 16 stone to 14. You wouldn't know my slender form!”

Irish Province News 41st Year No 1 1966

Obituary :

Fr Maurice Dowling SJ (1896-1965)

Fr. Dowling's death was a great shock even for us on the mission. His operation had been successful, he was making a good recovery, and then the end came suddenly and unexpectedly in a heart attack. Rev. Fr. Superior, who was in Lusaka at the time, was called by telephone and was able to give him Extreme Unction and recite the prayers for the dying. He died during the prayers without regaining consciousness.
The funeral, preceded by Requiem Mass, took place on Sunday afternoon. He was buried in Chikuni, as he certainly would have wished, beside Fr. A. Cox and Fr. D. Byrne, and close to the founders of the mission - Frs. Moreau and Torrend. Fr. Dowling had known Fr. Moreau, he had been with him for a few months before his death in January 1949, and had anointed him before he died.
There was a very big attendance at the Mass and funeral, for he had made many friends during his seventeen years in the country. They came not only from the neighbourhood but even from Livingstone, Lusaka and Brokenhill. They included boys whom he had taught many years ago and who were now young men of importance in Government positions, Sisters and Brothers of several congregations to whom he had given retreats, and many priests both African and European. His Grace the Archbishop of Lusaka and His Lordship Bishop Corboy were also able to be present as they had not yet left for Rome.
In his panegyric during the Mass, Rev. Fr. Superior paid tribute to Fr. Dowling's 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. His life had been a full one, in the classroom, in the army and in the mission, and his reward must therefore be very great.
When Fr. Dowling came to Chikuni in 1948, there was only one secondary school for Africans in Northern Rhodesia, a Government school at Munali which had been founded ten years before. He played a big part in founding the second school, Canisius College. Speaking of his work in the college during the first few years, Fr. 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”. He described how in the initial difficult days Fr. Dowling had stood by him on every occasion, always ready to help, never questioning a decision, absolutely loyal. Loyalty then 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. He was a man of whom it can be truly said that it was a privilege to have known him and to have lived with him.

Death of a Jesuit Friend
The first intimation our family received on Easter Monday, 1916, that the Volunteers had risen, taken over the General Post Office and other key buildings, was when a neighbour, Mr. P. A. Dowling, Registrar of the College of Science, knocked at the door and excitedly told us the news.
This morning (2nd September 1965) I attended a Requiem Mass in the Jesuit Church, Gardiner Street, offered for the soul of Fr. Maurice Dowling, S.J, second son of the neighbour who rushed to us with the news of the Rising. Fr. Maurice, though he had undergone a serious operation some time ago, had, I under stood, made a good recovery and it came as a great shock to his relatives and friends at home to hear that he died suddenly last month in Zambia, on Friday, 27th August, and was buried the following Sunday.
As I take a look at the ordination card, printed in Irish, he sent me from Germany in 1929, I notice he died - 36 years later on the anniversary of his ordination.
Maurice and his brother Desmond (his senior by a year or so) were educated at Clongowes. After the death of their mother early in her married life, Mr. Dowling eventually married again and it was when he and his second wife came to live on Anglesea Road, a few doors from where we then lived, that the two families became friends. We, as children, came to know the second family very well, only meeting Desmond and Maurice at holiday time and, in any case, they were older than I was by six or seven years. That age gap makes a great difference in early youth, later on it does not.
I recall one incident in the boyhood of the future Jesuit perhaps never known to his step-brothers and step-sisters - to whom he was always devoted as they were young children at the time. I myself was about 10 or 11 years of age, I suppose, and it was Mrs. Dowling who related the incident to me :
Both families used to spend a month or two in Skerries in the summer. Maurice Dowling was a keen, strong swimmer and one morning he saved the life of a girl from drowning. He went home to lunch and never mentioned the incident. It was when the family had finished tea and Mr. Dowling was enjoying a read of the evening paper that he came across a paragraph or two describing the plucky rescue by his son. Passing no comment, he scribbled “Bravo!” about the paragraph and silently handed the paper across to his son.
But the future Jesuit, teacher, Army chaplain, African missioner, was no quiet, retiring youth in other respects. Of a natural bright, cheerful, optimistic disposition, he was immensely popular with both girls and boys of his own age.
As a young Jesuit he learned to speak Irish fluently, spending many a holiday in the Gaeltacht. But most important of all, he genuinely loved the language and when home on what was to be his last “leave” he was delighted to hear from me that there were in existence Irish-speaking praesidia of the Legion of Mary. He had a great admiration for Edel Quinn who had died working for the Legion in Africa and, if I recollect rightly, I gave him a copy of the prayer for her canonisation printed in Irish.
We only met him for a few hours on the rare occasions he came on holidays from Rhodesia. He was always very attached to his family, relations and friends. I could never keep track of all his cousins and friends he mentioned in conversation but I do remember the names of two friends, perhaps because I know both by sight, Fr. Leonard Shiel, S.J, and Very Rev. Fr. Crean, now P.P. of Donnybrook, but Head Chaplain in the last war in which Fr. Maurice also served as chaplain.
He loved to visit the home near Naas of his step-sister, Shiela and her husband, Paddy Malone, taking a great interest in their son and three daughters. The young man is now helping to manage the farm; one of the girls is in the Ulster Bank in Baggot Street, another is training as a nurse in St. Vincent's Hospital and the third is still at school.
Thus, another Irish priest dies in voluntary exile for love of the African people. Go ndeinidh Dia trocaire ar a anam.
Nuala Ní Mhóráin
From the Leader Magazine

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 126 : Christmas 2005

MISSIONED TO ZAMBIA : MAURICE DOWLING

Taken from some 50 “portraits” submitted by Tom McGivern, who works in the Archives of the Province of Zambia Malawi.

The family of Fr. Maurice used to spend a month or two of the summer in Skerries, a seaside resort in Co. Dublin. He was a keen, strong swimmer and one morning, as a teenager, he saved the life of a girl from 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 passage and silently handed the paper to his son. This incident in some way sums up a characteristic of Maurice which developed at that age - modest in his achievements and helpful to others.

He was born in 1896. 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 for their secondary education. At the age of 18, on August 18th 1914, Maurice entered the Jesuits at Tullabeg, and followed the normal course of studies followed by Irish Jesuits of the time. He was ordained on August 27th 1929. In the thirties, he spent some time in the colleges (e.g. the Crescent, Limerick) as teacher and prefect. As a young Jesuit, he learned to speak Irish, spending many a holiday in the Gaeltacht. 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.

Come the Second World War, Maurice 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 travelling. As he lay on the ground in his own blood, he heard one of the rescuers say to another, as he nodded towards Maurice: “He's had it!” (but in much more colourful language). After the war, when the Jesuits in Northern Rhodesia were looking for men, two volunteered in 1946, to be followed by two more in 1947 - Maurice and Joe Gill. They came to Chikuni.

The Bishops had been endeavouring 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, 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 M 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 weekend to say Mass, long before the station was opened there in 1957; also to Kalomo still further south. Then back to the school for another week of teaching. In 1962 he went to the newly built mission in Namwala as the first resident priest, bringing with him some Sisters of Charity. Later, in 1964, he moved to Civuna.

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 had 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.

Gill, Joseph Mary, 1915-2006, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/623
  • Person
  • 03 February 1915-22 June 2006

Born: 03 February 1915, Westport, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 22 June 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Uppe Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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 Mission 1880- 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 counsellor. 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 parlour, 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 counsellor 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.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948
Frs. Dowling and Gill will be leaving soon for the Lusaka Mission, N. Rhodesia.
Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Frs. Dowling and Gill who left Dublin for the Lusaka Mission, N. Rhodesia, on 7th October reached their destination on 4th November; for the present they are stationed at Chikuni and Lusaka respectively.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007

Obituary

Fr Joesph (Joe) Gill (1915-2006)

3rd February 1915: Born in Westport, Co. Mayo
Early education in Mercy Convent & CBS Westport and Clongowes Wood College
7th September 1934: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1936: First Vows at Emo
1936 - 1939: Rathfarnham -Studied Arts at UCD
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg -Studied Philosophy
1942 - 1946: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
31st July 1945: Ordained at Milltown Park
1946 - 1947: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1947 - 1948: Crescent -Spiritual Father (boys) & Teacher
2nd February 1948: Final Vows at Sacred Heart College
1948 - 1949: St. Ignatius Church, Lusaka
1949 - 1951: Canisius College, Chikuni - Minister and Teacher
1951 - 1952: Kasiya - Building Outstations
1952 - 1954: Civuna and Fumbo -Building Outstations
1954 - 1956: Canisius College, Chikuni - Minister and Teacher
1956 - 1958: Catholic Workers College, Dublin - Minister
1958 - 2006: St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street -
1958 - 1977: Pastoral Ministry; Director SFX Social Services;
1977 - 1985: Ministered in the Church
1985 - 1989: Sub-minister
1989 - 2002: Assisted in Church; Director of the Sodality of Our Lady and St. Patrick and the Association of Perpetual Adoration and work for poor parishes.
2002 - 2006: Cherryfield - praying for the Church and the Society.
22nd June 2006: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Micheál MacGréil wrote in the Mayo News July 12th 2006:
Joseph Mary Gill was born to the late Dr Anthony and Mary (nee Mulloy) Gill of Westport on February 30, 1915. He got his early education in the Mercy Convent and the Christian Brothers' Schools in Westport and in Clongowes Wood College.

At the age of 19 years, Joe entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Emo Park (near Portarlington) in 1934, and took his first vows as a Jesuit 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, County Offaly 1939-1942) and in Theology (at Milltown Park, Dublin 1942-1946). He was ordained a priest at Milltown Park on July 31, 1945. Following a third spiritual year (Tertianship, 1946-1947), he taught for a year in the Crescent Secondary School for boys in Limerick. Fr Joe took his final vows as a Jesuit on February 2, 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 he worked tirelessly as pastor, builder, teacher and administrator in St Ignatius Church, Lusaka, in St Peter Canisius College, Chikuni, and in mission outstations in Kasiya, Civuna and Fumbo.

On his return to Ireland in 1956, Fr Joe was made Minister (administrator) 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, Father 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 wider range 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 parlour, Father Joe encouraged an extraordinary collectivity 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. Father 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), Father Joe's health began to fail somewhat. This extraordinary pastor kept up his role as spiritual counsellor 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, Father Joe Gill kept constant contact with the parish of his birth and early rearing. He is survived by his sister, Moya Gill, Westport; his nieces Marlene Lavelle (Achill), Brenda Furnace (Dublin), Janice Gill (England) and by his nephews, Joe, James, Peter and Vincent McGovern (Newport, Westport, Galway and Naas), John and Paul Gill (Dublin), Anthony, James, John and Joseph Gill (England).

Fr. Joe was predeceased by his twin sister, Ella McGovern, and his brothers, Dr Anthony, Lt. Col. Gerrard (Engineer Corps) and Xavier (Xavie) Gill. His removal and funeral Mass were celebrated in St Francis Xavier Church, where he ministered for so long. The final tribute to Father Joe was given by the Jesuit Superior of St Francis Xavier's Community, Father Derek Cassidy, SJ, during his sermon at the funeral Mass. There was a very large and representative attendance at Fr Joe's funeral Mass, including members of his extended family from Ireland and abroad.

The Irish Jesuit Provincial, Father John Dardis, SJ, and the former Jesuit Provincial of Zambia, Father Paul Brassil, SJ, concelebrated the Mass with scores of other priest colleagues of Father Joe's. A substantial representation of Jesuit Brothers, and Sisters and Brothers of other congregations also took part.

It was very fitting that so many friends travelled from west Mayo to make their prayer of farewell to 'one of their own', whose great love was boating on Clew Bay, Sagart dilis, muinteartha, carthanach a bhí ann. Rinne sé a dhícheall ar son an tsoiscéil bheo. I bhfochair Dé go raibh sé.

MacMahon, Brian, 1907-1960, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/293
  • Person
  • 24 October 1907-15 August 1960

Born: 24 October 1907, Streatham, London, England
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
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 Honours. 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-humoured 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!

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 35th Year No 4 1960

Obituary :

Fr Brian MacMahon (1907-1960)

Fr. Brian MacMahon died in a Dublin Nursing Home on 14th August, 1960. He was born in London on 24th October, 1907, was educated at Clongowes Wood College and entered the Society at Tullabeg on 1st September, 1925. Having taken his Vows in 1927, he went to Rathfarnham Castle, where he studied for his M.Sc. degree at University College, Dublin. He was sent in 1931 to Valkenburg for Philosophy. He did special studies in Biology, for one year at Munich and two years at Louvain, where in 1936 he obtained his degree of Docteur en Sciences Naturelles at Louvain University. Having returned to Ireland, after one year's teaching at Clongowes, he went to Milltown Park for the study of Theology and was ordained in 1940. He did his Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle. He was Minister, Professor of Cosmology and Biology at Tullabeg 1942-43, Minister of Milltown Park 1943-44, and Prefect of Studies at Clongowes 1944-47. On 25th July, 1947, Fr. MacMahon was appointed Rector of Mungret College, Limerick, an office which he held until 1950, when he was sent among the first missionaries to the new Irish Jesuit Mission in Northern Rhodesia. For several years he was Rector and Prefect of Studies of St. P. Canisius College, Chikuni. In July 1959, he became Catholic Education Secretary for the Southern Province of Northern Rhodesia and also Superior of St. Ignatius Church, Lusaka.
On 14th April, owing to serious illness, he returned to Ireland and after four months of suffering he went to his eternal reward.
Fr. MacMahon's death was not sudden, for he had been in hospitals in Rhodesia and in Ireland for several months. Yet it was surprising that it came so soon; it seemed to cut him off while he was still in full vigour and on active service. “A short life in the saddle, Lord, and not a long life by the fireside” is a prayer that might come to mind when meditating on the possibility of an inordinate affection for length of days. Fr, MacMahon's twenty years from the time of his ordination was a short life of priestly activity. He did not easily resign himself to its close. His habit of hard work and constant devotion to duty made him eager to recover from the blood-poisoning and cancerous growth which proved fatal in the end. Those who visited him in hospital did not have to cheer him up; he remained buoyant and optimistic as long as there was any shred of hope of recovery. And then in simple faith and acceptance he answered the call to eternity.
Many will remember Br. MacMahon as a novice, who was primus inter pares, in stature head and shoulders above the rest of us, an out standing Br. Porter, the very symbol of stability and regularity. He enjoyed looking up old Porters' Journals in order to find precedents for “Coffees” - indeed he claimed a record in this respect for his term of office. He enjoyed recreation and he liked to see others enjoy it. But, as schoolboy, as novice and as man, he was always ready to put work before play. His normal life was of steady application to duty, whether it appealed to his taste or not. He was an excellent example both as novice and schol astic, who was not exaggerated in any way, neither excessively recollected nor excessively austere, always a man of duty of the “no nonsense” variety. He was kind and helpful to the weak; he helped them to help themselves. He was both good humoured and strict in a remarkably well blended way.
Brian MacMahon had been a talented student in Clongowes, his strongest subject being mathematics. But his course of studies in the Society was not in accordance with his tastes, though well within his ability. He would have liked to include Political Economy - then taught by Fr. Tom Finlay, S.J.- among the subjects for his Arts degree; if that were not allowed, then mathematics would have been the obvious choice. But he was transferred to the Science faculty and the B.Sc. course in Biology. Holy obedience, sheer plod, mental acumen and a good memory brought him through triumphantly to the B.Sc., the M.Sc. and a Travelling Studentship. Two years of relentless application to Philosophy followed at Valkenburg, Holland, the North German Province's Collegium Maximum. Then three further years of Biology, one at Munich, till Professor Wettstein died, and two at Louvain under the direction of Professor Gregoire. This enforced move from one University to another meant for Brian a new start. He had to commence a line of research approved by his new Professor-an investigation into the chromosomal peculiarities found at meiosis of the pollen mother-cells of Listera ovata. It meant also a change of vernacular from German to French-no small cross for one who had very little gift for acquiring languages. Yet there may have been compensations; he may have found the circumstances and companionship at Louvain more congenial. He obtained the Doctorate in Science in the form of “Aggregé”, which is equivalent to First Class Honours or summa cum laude. He had done what he was told to do, had done it with éclat.
People looked up to him, and he spoke down to them. Everyone accepted the fact that it simply had to be so. Dominant in height, 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 humoured way he had. In the College of Science Mr. MacMahon was long remembered with respect and affection. He had been a very popular Auditor of the Natural History Club. He would have been welcomed as a Lecturer in the Botany Department. Officials and former fellow students took a friendly interest in his later career,
Among his contemporaries in the Society, Brian also won a considerable degree of respect and affection. He was respected as a model religious, conscientious, exact, living up to the greater and lesser obligations of his vocation. He was an example: what standards he maintained one felt one ought to aim at; what little liberties he allowed himself, one knew one could take with impunity. As regards affection, one might search for another way of expressing it: he was well liked, he was popular, for all his dignity he was a thoroughly decent fellow. He was a good community man; he fitted easily into any community and became one of its better ingredients. At an early stage in the Society someone had the courage to tell him that he was speaking and acting like a bishop. General agreement consecrated him with the nickname of “Bishop MacMahon”. But lest perhaps this might seem to declare him more pontifical than he really was, it was almost immediately reduced to its homely form “The Bish”. Those who knew him well will find far more meaning and pleasant memories in the mention of his nickname than in the bald statement that he was popular.
During the 1940's Fr. MacMahon experienced several changes of status: the fourth year at Milltown, Tertianship at Rathfarnham, Minister and Professor of Biology in Tullabeg, Minister in Milltown, Prefect of Studies in Clongowes, Rector of Mungret. His general capability made him an obvious choice for so many various appointments. As soon as he could be spared in one place he was sent to fill a need in another, especially a need for organisation and administration. He was eminently reliable; he could grasp and control a new situation at short notice. No doubt there are records of his successes at Clongowes and Mungret, for he was chosen to guide the educational policy of our Mission in Northern Rhodesia, a very important task to which as a matter of fact he devoted the remaining decade of his life. Round about 1930 he would have been glad to be chosen for the Hong Kong Mission, but his Travelling Studentship intervened; twenty years later he was suddenly asked to go to Rhodesia. As always he responded immediately to the wishes of superiors, to the will of God: “Here I am, Lord, send me”.
As Rector of the community at Chikuni, Fr. MacMahon was head master and Prefect of Studies of St. Canisius College, the secondary school for boys.
On completing his term as Rector he remained on as Principal. It was in this capacity that he is best remembered by students and staff. Under his direction the school was improved and enlarged and Senior Secondary Courses introduced. 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-missionaries devotion to his work and to the interests of the school was well known. And the government officials with whom he collaborated held him in the highest regard.
In 1959 Fr. MacMahon was appointed Education Secretary-General to the Catholic Schools of Northern Rhodesia and Superior of St. Ignatius Residence, Lusaka, where he lived for six months before illness forced him to return to Ireland, The last months he spent in hospital, suffering a good deal, until death, for which he was well prepared, came to release him. His loss is very deeply regretted by his colleagues on the mission and by all those who benefited by contact with him" (Extract from Your St. Ignatius Newsletter, Lusaka, 21st August, 1960).
Under News from the Missions, Northern Rhodesia, in this issue will be found the panegyric preached by Fr. Dominic at the outdoor Requiem Mass at Chikuni on 19th August.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 124 : Summer 2005

MISSIONED TO ZAMBIA

Brian MacMahon

Taken from some 50 “portraits” submitted by Tom McGivern, who works in the Archives of the Province of Zambia Malawi. Brian MacMahon was one of the first group assigned to Zambia in 1950. He died in 1960, the first Irish Jesuit in Zambia to die.

At an early stage of his life 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 Mac Mahon”, almost immediately reduced to its homely form of "The Bish". Brian was born in London, England, in 1907, and educated at Clongowes Wood College. After vows, he studied for his B.Sc. and then his M.Sc, at UCD, also obtaining a Travelling 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 Honours, or summa cum laude. 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 at Tullabeg and Professor of Cosmology and Biology 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 he departed for Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) with the first batch of Irish Jesuits that were assigned there in 1950. For several years he was Rector and Principal of Canisius Secondary School. In 1959, he moved to Lusaka as Education Secretary to the Bishops' Conference. Serious illness brought him back to Ireland where he died of cancer on August 15, 1960, at 53 years of age, and 20 years as a priest.

What of the man himself? He was a big man. Fr. Dominic Nchete preached at the Funeral 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”. “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 humoured way he had”. He loved to keep up with world news, and his brother had sent him a subscription to the airmail 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!”

As schoolboy, as novice and as 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 Maths and Political Economy (under Fr. Tom Finlay) but obedience took him down a different path of studies. 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 interest 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. And in simple faith and acceptance, he answered the call to eternity.

McDonald, Joseph, 1918-1999, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/680
  • Person
  • 19 January 1918-11 June 1999

Born: 19 January 1918, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni Zambia
Died: 11 June 1999, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1952 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fourth wave of Zambian Missioners

Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Joseph McDonald finished his secondary schooling at Belvedere in 1936, the year he entered the Society at Emo, leaving behind him a smart red vehicle, one of the very few school leavers in Ireland at that time who had his own car! He was born on 19 January 1918 in Dublin and grew up at his father's established Law firm. After the normal course of Jesuit studies, he was ordained priest at Milltown Park on 31 July 1949. For his regency, he had gone back to Belvedere for which he had a great love.

In 1950, nine Irish Jesuits departed for Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to aid their fellow Jesuits there and in 1951 the second batch of nine followed, among whom was Fr Joe. They traveled by boat to Cape Town and then by train to Chisekesi Siding, six miles from Chikuni, the only mission station at the time and described as a place ‘of pit latrines, oil-lamps and candles’.

Building was just beginning at Fumbo, Kasiya and Chivuna which were to become mission stations. Fr Zabdyr from Chikuni had set up a school at each of these places some years previously. Now they were being developed to house a resident priest. Fr. Joe first and foremost was a priest and an apostle. For him, ministry held top priority: for the sick, for the hungry and for the spiritually hungry. He preached the good news in his own inimitable way, both in season and out of season. He would make available the means of grace and salvation to the people.

He worked in Chikuni, Fumbo, Kasiya, Chivuna and Nakambala, all the time his concern was for 'the people'. Of all places Joe administered in, Fumbo was the favorite of his apostolic life. He lived and worked there for 16 to 17 years having gone there in 1952, just when the mission station was beginning. In fact he was known as ‘Fr Fumbo’! Though he was minister in Chikuni and Chivuna at times, it was parish work he preferred in whatever place he was posted.

He built up Fumbo and its wide outreach. Over the years there, he was on his own for much of the time. He was so sensitive to the growth and spread of the faith in the valley that he was known to become frustrated from time to time and would let this frustration be known in writing both to his Superiors and to the Bishop of the diocese.

There are many stories of Joe from these days. At one time, as Manager of Schools in the Fumbo area, a pompous Education Officer from the Gwembe Boma kept referring Joe to his circulars on procedure. On one occasion, as the story goes, Joe wrote back to him, ‘The people find your circulars very useful for smoking paper’!

Then there was the Father on the staff of Canisius Secondary School on the plateau who expressed doubt as to whether there were elephants in Fumbo. Joe sent him a cardboard box containing some dried elephant dung – the doubt vanished. The classic remark from Joe was made on a day when Joe, bemoaning the fact that the Bishop was not coming to Fumbo as often as Joe would have liked him to come: ‘There's very little of the shepherd about James!’ Joe had a good sense of humor and liked a good laugh.

As the years crept up on Joe, he was posted to Chikuni, helping in the parish and visiting the sick regularly in the hospital. His death occurred at Chikuni in his 50th year as a priest. The day was Friday, 11 June, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an important day for Joe who was deeply devoted to the Sacred Heart. He collapsed while on his way to early morning Mass in the Domestic Chapel. After rallying for a short time, he passed away in the presence of his brother Jesuits.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 129 : Autumn 2006

MISSIONED TO ZAMBIA : JOSEPH M MCDONALD

Taken from some 50 “portraits” submitted by Tom McGivern, who works in the Archives of the Province of Zambia Malawi.

Fr, Joe finished school at Belvedere in 1936, the year he entered the Society at Emo, leaving behind him a smart red vehicle, one of the very few school leavers in Ireland at that time who had his own car! He was born on 19th January 1918 in Dublin and grew up at his father's established Law firm, After the normal course of Jesuit studies, he was ordained priest at Milltown Park on 31st July 1949. For his regency, he had gone back to Belvedere for which he had a great love.

In 1950, nine Irish Jesuits departed for Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to aid their fellow Jesuits there. And in 1951 the second batch of nine followed among whom was Fr. Joe. They travelled by boat to Cape Town and then by train to Chisekesi Siding, six miles from Chikuni, the only mission station at the time, described as a place “of pit latrines, oil-lamps and candles”.

Building was just beginning at Fumbo, Kaşiya and Chivuna to become mission stations, Fr.Zabdyr from Chikuni had set up a school at each of these places some years previously, Now they were being developed to house a resident priest. Fr. Joe, first and foremost, was a priest and an apostle. For him, ministry held top priority...for the sick, for the hungry, for the spiritually hungry. He preached the good news in his own inimitable way, in season and out of season. He would make available the means of grace and salvation to the people.

He worked in Chikuni, Fumbo, Kasiya, Chivuna and Nakambala, all the time his concern was for the people'. Of all places Joe administered in, Fumbo was the love of his apostolic life;he lived and worked there for 16 to 17 years having gone there in 1952, just when the mission station was beginning. In fact he was known as “Fr. Fumbo!” Though he was minister (provider) in Chikuni and Chivuna at times, it was parish work all the time, in whatever place he was posted.

He built up Fumbo and its wide outreach. Over the years there, he was on his own for much of the time. He was so sensitive to the growth and spread of the faith in the valley that he was known to become frustrated from time to time and would let this frustration be known in writing to both his Superiors and the Bishop of the diocese.

There are many stories of Joe from these days. At one time, as Manager of Schools in the Fumbo area, a pompous Education Officer from the Gwembe Boma kept referring Joe to his circulars on procedure. On one occasion, as the story goes, Joe wrote back to him, "The people find your circulars very useful for smoking paper!"

-oOo-

When you have met a legendary character, you are not the first to attempt to have your own sketch of him. I first met Fr. Joe on the escarpment that leads down to Fumbo, from the Chikuni area in Southern Zambia in 1959. He was in his heyday at the time - busy, shy, frail in build, and with a wonderful smile. On that particular day he was going up to Chikuni and four of us were going down to see his house in Fumbo.

Having walked through his kitchen we looked in the fridge' and all that was found was a frozen can of beer! As Joe was a strict Pioneer it was obviously not for himself. The British flag was blowing in the breeze at his school or "university" - as he would call it. To myself I wondered how long would that flag be flying in what was then Northern Rhodesia. From his front door one could see cars and lorries coming down the twisting escarpment towards the Mission and on to Munyumbae or Chipepo at the river Zambezi - before Lake Karita had finally settled down. That particular area, Fumbo, is part of the great and hot Zambezi Valley, where the first Jesuit missionaries had come to from the South in the early 1880's. Fr, Terorde, the first man to die after about a month, now lies under the waters of Lake Kariba.

Fumbo Mission had been founded in 1951 and was then part of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. In the late fifties and early sixties Joe was Master of his own mission area; the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes had been built and a new house for the Fathers; the water problem had been solved; local schools had been built where the missionary would go and visit people and say Mass occasionally. One of Joe's favourite places was Bbondo - not too easy to reach, but Joe's zeal and consistency made little of all this. His Tonga was not great but the people knew their own Cure D'Ars when they met and got to know him. He was a "natural" missionary, bringing people up and down to hospital and always on call - up at all hours of the morning before Vincent or I appeared! We were there for six months getting to grips with the Tonga language. A missionary driving a big car or one who was not "a real pastor" would not be that welcome! But, of course, Joe would always be cordial.

As manager of schools he would tell us sometimes he "had blown the boots" off some poor teacher who was performing below standard and had come to report on his needs and worries. But the people saw Joe had their interests at heart, answering their requests for help or lifts. He would sometimes be called out at night to go up to Chikuni hospital with a very sick person.

One morning we had a visit from Lord and Lady Dalhousie, when he was Governor of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1960). Lady Dalhousie had gone over to pay a visit to our church. As I looked out of the kusilikwa (medicine room) I saw himself standing outside. Having recognised them, I brought them both up to meet Joe and he gave them a great welcome. Later he often got Christmas cards from them.

He could flare up at times, but the lasting impression remains of one close to God, who put his flock before his own needs and was not too worked up about the trials of the moment. "Quid ad aeternitatem?" would be his comment on ventures that to him made little sense! Later having come back up to the Tonga plateau he spent some years in Chikuni parish visiting the sick in the hospital and saying Mass in some of the stations.

In his sermons in Tonga he would often speak about the time of our death and of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the time of his own death (1999) he was living in our community house and was suffering from malaria. On the actual day of his death he left his room to say an early Mass and was going along the corridor leading to the chapel when he collapsed. He was brought back to his room and complained about being "very tired". Later in the morning the Good Lord called him to Himself. It was the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

McSweeney, Joseph, 1909-1982, Jesuit priest, chaplian and missioner

  • IE IJA J/297
  • Person
  • 31 March 1909-14 February 1982

Born: 31 March 1909, Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 24 June 1948, Collège Sainte Famille, Cairo, Egypt
Die:d 14 February 1982, Milltown Park, Dublin

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03/12/1969; ZAM to HIB 1980

Chaplain in the Second World War with the Royal Air Force.

Early Education at Christian Brothers School, North Brunswick Street, Dublin

by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Born in Dublin on 31 March 1909 Fr Joseph Augustine McSweeney grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and completed his secondary education with the Christian Brothers in Dublin. He worked for a short time before entering the Society in 1930. He followed the normal university studies, philosophy, regency and theology, being ordained in 1943. In 1945 he was assigned to be chaplain in the Royal Air Force where he served until 1949. He enjoyed his years in the armed forces, especially the opportunity they gave him of seeing the Holy Land and the Middle East. In later years, his recollection of those years seemed to bring him real joy. After a year in Belvedere he was missioned to Chikuni in Zambia. There he taught as a Jesuit priest for 17 years, from 1950 to 1967. Because of poor health, he then returned to Ireland. He celebrated his jubilee, 50 years as a Jesuit, in 1980. Two years afterwards, he died in Dublin in 1982.

A single quotation from one of his letters will best describe the type of dedicated man Joe McSweeney was: ‘I have the normal 28 periods a week, and as these are all in Forms 5 and 6, they involve much preparation and correction of homework. During this term, I have felt bound to give 4 more periods a week to teaching hymns to Forms 1,2,3 and 4, because the singing of hymns at Mass and Benediction has become very poor. This makes 32 periods. I give 7 hours a week attending at the Spiritual Father's room; this is the equivalent of another 10 periods a week; altogether 42 periods’.

Besides being a highly competent teacher, Fr McSweeney was a most devoted spiritual Father in Canisius. Throughout his 17 years he was always concerned about providing his students with both religious and moral training, never taking the easy way out. ‘Training in responsibility needs continual supervision’ was one of his beliefs with the result that he was present at all student Masses throughout the week, being available to them in the confessional, at all times promoting among them a habit of regular attendance at Mass and reception of the sacraments.

It was he who introduced and promoted religious groups like the Crusaders of the Blessed Sacrament, Apostleship of Prayer and the Sodality of Our Lady. His serious conscientiousness was evident in all that he did. The young students appreciated his gentleness and thoroughness. In the homily in Gardiner Street at his funeral, Fr Paul Brassil, the Zambian provincial, told of the past pupils' appreciation and gratitude for all that they had received from him. “An outstanding, successful teacher” was the description of Joe that those who worked with him in Chikuni gave him.

By no stretch of imagination could Fr Joe be termed a modern, well-integrated priest. He was just an old-fashioned, slightly nervous and tense priest, but he did dedicate himself fully to the improvement of his students. And they were his students, particularly the senior ones for whom he had a great sensitivity.

Towards the end of his teaching at Canisius, Fr Joe began to suffer from his nerves, finding it more and more difficult to cope with the normal tensions of a dedicated teacher's life. Of course he had always been a perfectionist. Even in his more relaxed days he had required at least a month's notice to prepare his choir for a sung Mass. It is quite easy to imagine the agony that the more casual attitudes of today can be to a perfectionist! But even when he felt the lack of special attention in the way of food more suitable to his needs, he retained his sense of humor: ‘I hope at 57 I am not going to be asked to approach the minister, plate in hand like Oliver Twist, toties quoties, for some more’.

In Joe's case, it is now clear that in this nervous person, God provided us with a great example of care and dedication and He no doubt even now rewards Fr McSweeney’s dedicated response to this vocation.

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 57th Year No 2 1982

Obituary

Fr Joseph McSweeney (1909-1930-1982)

I have an early memory of Joe McSweeney in Emo noviceship coming out to recreation wearing a peaked tweed cap. The memory remains because the incident was unusual, yet it puts Joe in context. He was a late arrival to the noviceship (November, 1930) and a late - though not very late - vocation. Chronologically he was only a few years older than the rest of us schoolboys of the previous June, yet his experience of having had a job seemed to invest him with a maturity we didn't have.
Then as always, seriousness was his outstanding characteristic. He tackled the outdoor works, which were a real trial to him, with the determination of a man whose job depended on doing so much in a fixed time. One of the jobs the novices had to do with pick and shovel was to clear the overgrown paths of the vegetation which had spread unchecked for fourteen years. Joe applied the principle Age quod agis to every task and ministry he ever undertook, as few men have applied it.
When we moved to Rathfarnham for juniorate, Joe enjoyed the studies, and to my mind was a far happier person than he had been when using pick and shovel in Emo. Though serious, he had a good sense of humour, and responded positively to our jovial ragging with a laugh. As a junior he was put in charge of our Pioneer total abstinence branch, and when one night he grew weary of the jocose cases of conscience we were giving him, he just stood up, bowed, and with a laugh announced “The meeting is over, gentlemen” and ran.
In Tullabeg, as in Rathfarnham, he got real satisfaction in study - this time of philosophy. He never gave the impression that he ambitioned being an academic, yet in conversation he showed how thoroughly he had mastered the matter in hand, and what relish the mastering of it had given him. He played games, though he was not an athlete, and took part in everything that was going on in the scholastic community. We knew him as a very self-contained person whose prime relationship was with God. He was never late for “morning oblation”, nor did he “hit the floor” for any other faults that brought many of us to our knees in the refectory.
He was apprehensive of life in the colleges, but when the time came and he was posted to the Crescent, he dedicated himself entirely to his teaching. He showed his courage and generosity in undertaking to teach a beginners class Greek, though he had never studied it previously.
He was delighted to be sent to Milltown after a two-year regency. In those years the Second World War kept all the native scholastics within the shores of Ireland. Theology interested Joe as much as, if not more than, philosophy, and it afforded him scope for his interest in argument and discussion. Here as always he was the unobtrusive obliging one you could always rely on to do the job you could coax no one else to do.
His post-tertianship status - chaplain to the RAF - came as a great shock to most of us, his contemporaries. We thought Joe’s academic outlook and innate reserve and shyness would make a chaplain’s life a very trying one for him. He didn't seem to view it that way at all. In his simple direct approach, he took it as God's will for him, and God would see him through. So quite undaunted he donned the officer's uniform. He enjoyed his years in the armed forces, especially the opportunity they gave him of seeing the Holy Land and the Middle East. In recent years his recollection of those years seemed to bring him real joy.
My knowledge of Joe’s success as a teacher in Zambia (1950-'70) comes from those who shared the burden of the day with him there. That serious conscientiousness was as evident there as it had been elsewhere. The young Zambians appreciated and valued his gentleness and thoroughness more than their less studious Irish contemporaries seem to have done. Paul Brassil, the Zambian Provincial, in his homily at Joe's funeral Mass in Gardiner street, told us of his past pupils’ appreciation of and gratitude for all that they had received from him. An outstanding successful teacher, was the description of Joe that those who worked with him in Chikuni gave us. Yet Joe himself seemed unaware of his success and equally un concerned about it. He rarely initiated conversation about either his teaching or his week-end parish ministry. It was part of what God's providence had brought about through him. That seemed to be the view of the truly humble, obedient, unassuming Joe.
He returned to Ireland (1970) a semi invalid, taught in Mungret for two years, but discovered that his energy was unequal to the task; moved to Rathfarnham to do secretarial work, thence to Monkstown (1974) and finally to Milltown Park (1975). Those of us who had known him as a younger man, and accompanied him in his last years in Milltown, were saddened to see how ill health had affected him so seriously. In recent years, when he felt well, he could still enjoy an argument or discussion as much as ever. However, his nervous debility dictated for him a routine pattern of living that seemed almost compulsive.
For example, he went out every afternoon and had a cup of tea: in Bewley's restaurant, if he got as far as the city centre; or in a Ranelagh tea-room if he could go no farther.
He was up at six every morning, said his prayers and offered Mass. This daily act of worship had come to be the occasion of considerable anxiety to him. He concelebrated with us frequently, but we were aware of the strain that so doing caused him. Meals were a big part of the compulsive routine that he seemed forced to follow. He found it difficult to follow the letter of the law that the doctor laid down for him, but frequently spoke of the kindness and consideration of the kitchen and refectory staff in helping him to do so. The staff in turn, despite Joe's ill-timed visits to the kitchen, his ever recurring questions and requests, saw and appreciated the gentleness and courtesy that his illness had obscured but not destroyed. They had a real affection for him.

Here is an excerpt from Fr Tom O'Brien's tribute in the newsletter of the Zambian Vice-Province (Jesuits in Zambia: News): A single quotation from one of his letters will best describe the type of dedicated man Joe McSweeney was:
I have the normal 28 periods per week, and as these are all in Forms 5 and 6, they involve much preparation and correction of homework. During this term I have felt bound to give 4 more periods a week to teaching hymns to Forms 1, 2, 3 and 4, because the singing of hymns at Mass and Benediction has become very poor. This makes 32 periods. I give 7 hours a week attending at the Spiritual Father's room: this is the equivalent of another 10 periods per week; altogether, 42 periods.
Besides being a highly competent teacher, Fr McSweeney was a most devoted Spiritual Father in Canisius (Secondary School, Chikuni). Through out his twenty years [in Zambia) he was
always concerned about providing his students with both religious and moral training, never taking the easy way out. ‘Training in responsibility needs continual supervision' was one of his beliefs; with the result that he was present at all student Masses throughout the week; was available to the students in the confessional at all times; and promoted among them a habit of regular attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments of confession and communion, It was Fr McSweeney who introduced and promoted religious groups like Crusaders of the Blessed Sacrament, Apostleship of Prayer and the Sodality of Our Lady, giving to this apostolic work his meagre spare time.
By no stretch of imagination could Fr McSweeney be termed a modern, well integrated priest. He was just an old fashioned, slightly nervous and tense priest, who dedicated himself to the improvement of his students, for whom he had a great sensitivity, particularly for the senior ones. In reaction to some derogatory remarks made by his fellow Jesuit teachers in regard to the boy-girl mores of Chikuni, Fr McSweeney once had this to say: “If such fathers had more pastoral experience, they would have more respect; and respect is very important in affecting our words and actions towards others”. In fact it was his conviction that his students at Canisius were superior in this regard to their peers in other countries.
Towards the end of his teaching at Canisius, Fr Joe began to suffer from his nerves, finding it more and more difficult to cope with the normal tensions of a dedicated teacher's life. Of course he had always been a perfectionist; even in his more relaxed days he had required at least a month's notice to prepare his choir for a sung Mass. It is quite easy to imagine the agony that the more casual attitudes of today can present to a perfectionist?
However, even when he felt the lack of special attention in the way of food more suitable to his needs, he retained his sense of humour: “I hope that at 57 I am not going to be asked to approach the Minister plate in hand like Oliver Twist toties quoties for some more”.
In Joe’s case it is clear that in this nervous person God provided us with a great example of care and dedication, and no doubt rewards even now such a response to this vocation. We praise and thank Him, and ask Him to look mercifully on the soul of our fellow-worker. [He died on 14th February 1982.]

Meagher, Daniel Louis, 1911-1980, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/245
  • Person
  • 18 August 1911-14 April 1980

Born: 18 August 1911, Dublin
Entered: 14 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1968, Sacred Heart, Monze, Zambia
Died: 14 April 1980, Mater Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya - Zambia Province (ZAM)

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

Older brother of Paddy - RIP 2005

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 counselling, 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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 55th Year No 3 1980

Obituary

Fr D Louis Meagher (1911-1931-1980)

(The following piece, by Fr Socius, Zambia, is copied from the VPZ Newsletter:)

Normally I would ask someone else to write an obituary. But in this case I wish to do it myself; partly, I suppose, because my friendship with him goes as far back as 1948, when I was a schoolboy at the Crescent in Limerick.
Fr Louis died in the Mater hospital, Nairobi, on 14 April, 1980, having said Mass on the same day. Cardio-respiratory failure was the final cause of his death at the age of sixty-eight.
Requiem Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Family, Nairobi, with a cardinal and about 50 priests concelebrating. His remains were flown home to Zambia, and he was buried at Chikuni on 19 April. Though both Bishop Corboy and Bishop Munhandu conducted the funeral services, with nearly 50 fellow-priests concelebrating, I would say that the most noticeable fact of Louis’s funeral was the manner in which the ordinary Tonga people seemed very clearly to take over the burying of their own priest. It would have been unthinkable to bury Fr Louis elsewhere.
Ordained in 1944, Fr Louis taught for a while in the Crescent College and then came to Zambia in 1950, working principally in the Chikuni area till he was appointed Superior of the Jesuits of the Chikuni Mission in 1955. In the early 1960s he began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which crippled him increasingly till his death. His work as Vicar-General of the Monze diocese was highly appreciated by all. In recent years, as chaplain to St. Joseph's secondary school, Chivuna, Louis was the friend and inspiration to all.
At a special requiem Mass at St Ignatius, Lusaka, I was asked to preach the homily, in which I tried to highlight three outstanding characteristics of Louis - in an attempt to learn the meaning of his life. I would like to repeat these briefly:
His undiminished interest in other people: You would excuse interest diminishing through age or sickness; but in him there was none of these. Louis retained a warm and appreciated interest in everyone, to such a degree that they all considered themselves to hold a special place in his heart. And of course this deep interest enabled Louis to converse with absolutely anyone - on any subject under the sun.
His humility and freedom from conceit: 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. He would never have considered himself outstanding - a gifted preacher, an intellectual, a specialist, a famous Jesuit (!) or a holy priest. In God’s own wisdom it was the way he bore his illness for nearly 20 years that made Louis extraordinary. To listen to him talk and laugh you could easily imagine he hadn't a worry in the world, though he was largely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Such inspiring acceptance indicated a very deep spirituality.
“Let there be sunshine in my world together with you” are the words of a popular song today. And they apply very much to Fr Louis. It is possible for people who suffer seriously over a long period of time to find solace in the mystery of the Cross; but often such people communicate a faith which stays at the Cross. Louis however was definitely an “Easter person”, who by both word and deed reflected the good news of the victory of the Cross and the joyfulness of the Resurrection. It is possible to resign oneself to suffering, but very difficult to bring sunshine also into the world of others; this calls for great faith, hope and charity.
I think it was Louis’s remarkable ability to proclaim charismatically “Praise the Lord” with his crippled body that was his outstanding gift to us all.
In his obituary notice on Louis Meagher, Fr Tom O'Brien has rightly emphasised Louis' courage and cheerfulness in his sickness and often painful suffering during the last twenty years of his life. I would like to add that this courage and determination was something which was built into Louis's character during his years of formation and his early work in the Society before bad health came upon him.
Louis found extremely difficult not only the studies in the Society but also the preparation for many of the works such as preaching and the giving of retreats. Study for him was always a real grind, but he had tremendous determination and a great sense of mission and this carried him through, so that at the end of his training he was better equipped to carry on the apostolic works of the Society than many others who were endowed with greater intelligence and other natural gifts.
There was however one gift with which Louis was endowed to an extraordinary degree, and that was a very attractive and cheerful personality. This natural charm enabled him to make friends with people of every, age and sex. It was quite an experience to see Louis meeting strangers (sometimes unfriendly strangers) and in no time
they were at ease and enjoying his company.
When Louis came to Zambia he needed all his courage and determination. A few years after his arrival he found himself saddled with the job of religious superior of the Irish Jesuits here and that of vicar-general of their section of the archdiocese of Lusaka. These were difficult times for Louis due to lack of finance and other circumstances beyond his control. The appointment came as a great shock to Louis. I can well remember that for once he looked really down in the mouth. However he faced up to the situation as he had faced up to all the difficulties in his years as a scholastic. To a large extent he concealed all his worries and anxieties and he surprised us all by his ability to lead and to govern during those difficult years.
I would like to single out one special virtue which was very evident to me in his administration of the Mission. I was closely associated with him as a consultor for most of those years, and I can honestly say that I don't think that he was ever influenced by self-interest in any of the decisions he made. His likes and dislikes of other people (and like any normal person he had his likes and dislikes) never influenced his decisions. When he made mistakes they could never be attributed to selfish motives.
When sickness and pain came upon Louis it was no surprise to me that he bore it with courage and unselfish cheerfulness to the end. Louis was only continuing to live his life as he had always lived it.

With Louis Meagher’s death, the communities at Civuna have lost a great friend and a loyal support. The mission at large will miss him for his great enthusiasm and inspiration; but as Christ said to the Apostles, one feels that it is better that he should go to his Father because now he will help us all the more and his spirit will continue to inspire us.
“I only want to complete the work the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the good news about the grace of God”. In Louis’ last days in a Nairobi hospital he still had one great wish, namely to return to Civuna and continue his apostolate. That was not to be; but the tributes at his burial at Chikuni were a sign that not only at Civuna but in the diocese as a whole, his life and work made a lasting impact on the people. About 50 priests concelebrated Mass with our bishop, James Corboy, and the bishop of the neighbouring diocese of Livingstone, brothers, sisters and the ordinary people in great numbers.
Louis could have called a halt twenty years ago when he first developed arthritis and the doctors declared that he had only a few months to live. But that wasn’t Louis Meagher. He fought against his illness every day since then, never giving in and never complaining, but took all the medical attention he could get, including the hip operation. Finally, when the arthritis made him almost unable to walk, he made his journey to Nairobi to see if anything could be done for his feet.
As a community man he was always cheerful and available. He was interested in everything that was going on in the parish; the numbers at Mass in each centre, the leaders, the catechists, development work and the youth. He had a deep impact on the life of the Secondary school and helped to form both staff and pupils into a happy community through his visiting, his counselling, his interest in each one's welfare, the academic achievements of the girls and in sport. Probably one of the best tributes to his time in Civuna is the formation of the new diocesan congregation of sisters, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, who celebrated their 10th anniversary on Pentecost weekend (24th-25th May). They now have 12 sisters, all past pupils of the school; four are teaching here and others are still in training for their future ministries. They always came to him for advice and help, and the encouragement they received is evident in the very pleasant family spirit which they have developed: each one's personality and talents are able to be brought together for the good of all.
I think if there is one single lesson that Louis's life teaches it is this, . to use whatever talents the Lord has given us, perfect them through developing them for the sake of others, until we all attain maturity, contributing to the completed growth of Christ. It is no coincidence that Louis took to the Charismatic Renewal in the Church as a fish takes to water, and in spite of his ill-health, attended the local and national conferences and inspired many people by his presence. The Spirit of the risen Lord was certainly evident in him, but it was a light shining from the daily cross of physical suffering. May he enjoy a rich reward for his life of faith and service to others and may he always inspire us to go and do the same.

Murphy, Dermot J, 1916-1979, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/262
  • Person
  • 26 May 1916-08 December 1979

Born: 26 May 1916, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
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 byword. 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 laboured 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 humour 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.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 55th Year No 1 1980

Obituary :

Fr Dermot Murphy (1916-1935-1979)

Dermot Murphy and myself walked up the Emo steps for the first time on the 7th September 1935. In that year we were the only two candidates who had been at school in Belvedere. On that heart freezing day it was a help to see somebody one knew, and Dermot, as usual, was cheerful, which I was not.
Although we came across one another little enough in Belvedere, Dermot was always friendly and cheerful. He was - and remained so all his life - the kind of person one was glad to meet. We were always glad to have Dermot with us walking on the hills from Rathfarnham or in the boats from Tullabeg. There was something gentle and peaceful about him. He had a sense of humour 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 community man; a good guy.
In Clongowes, where we were scholastics together, the community used all be given a test for vulnerability to diphtheria. All were found to be immune. Dermot, however, went down shortly afterwards with a bad bout of diphtheria, and the test, as a result, was abandoned by the medical profession. Diphtheria can affect the heart, and it was his heart that went against Dermot in the last years.
I think I remember him on one of the younger teams in Belvedere but it was golf not rugby that was his game. We always said he was born on a golf course! Playing on the seaside course near his home from an early age, he became one of those players who are marvellously natural and easy.
One day, in half a gale and rain, we were playing Portmarnock, There is one hole in the second nine which used to be almost unplayable in bad weather. From a low tee you looked up at a high sandhill which blotted out the sky. Later they took away part of the sandhill because it was too difficult for the Canada Cup players. Dermot asked “What’s the line?” We pointed to the white stone which was hardly visible. “How far?” We told him. His drive went straight and effortlessly into the wind, rising over the stone, and we found the ball in the middle of the fairway.
That was like the man: in spite of difficulties, assured, straight, undeviating, reaching the desired place which could not even be seen. That is how he was with people. That, I believe, is how he went to God. May the Lord be exceptionally good to him.
J C Kelly SJ

Irish Province News 55th Year No 2 1980

Obituary

Fr Dermot Murphy († 8th December 1979)

A contribution from Zambia

Fr Dermot Murphy joins Frs Brian McMahon and Walter O’Connor, to bring to three the number of the 1950 arrivals on the Mission who have departed this world, Lord rest them. .
Fr Murphy learned chiTonga soon after his arrival in Zambia, and was based mainly at Fumbo and at Chikuni during his first five years in Africa. Many were the stories told about his apostolic adventures in the Gwembe valley and along the line of rail during those years. His resource fulness in coming up with needed articles was also a byword. He seemed to have had a ready reserve supply of things required by his brethren - tools of every kind, apparel for various occasions. The writer, setting out on a visit to a distant outpost in very hot conditions, wished to take some butter and other perishables. Fr Dermot, on hearing of the problem, considered a moment, and said in his unhurried way, “I think I have a refrigerator bag”. And sure enough he had, at a time when most of us did not know that such things were obtainable!
In the second half of 1956 he was posted to Lusaka as parish priest of St Ignatius. He immediately launched the building of the long-planned church. His predecessor, Fr Paddy O’Brien, had left the parish with enough resources to get the work started: but to keep it going a great deal more money and material was needed. These Fr Murphy sought tirelessly, perseveringly and with remarkable success, and in doing so he acquired a host of friends, acquaintances, and - some would add with affectionate facetiousness – victims! On one occasion he is said to have approached a Lusaka motor dealer. The gentleman in question offered a donation of £10, Dermot intimated that only a larger donation would match the esteem in which his listener was held. After an exchange of pleasantries the businessman said, “Just to listen to you, Father, is well worth £25. Here is my cheque”.
To general rejoicing the church was blessed and opened in December 1957. Over the next few years the parish priest added to it with loving care a distinctive side-altar, the sanctuary stained-glass (donated by his aunt, Mrs Scanlon of Killaloe), electronic equipment, etc. He also made improvements to the already existing parish hall, and in particular pro moted youth entertainment.
Fr Dermot continued as PP until 1964, when he went on well deserved overseas leave. On his return he was assigned to Roma township, where the cathedral was to be built. While there, he presided over the building of the cathedral, the church of St Charles Lwanga at Chilenje, and the 'Doxiadis' church at the new Kafue industrial centre.
In 1972 his health began to fail, and increasing heart trouble made it advisable for him to live at a lower altitude. Accordingly, he left Zambia in February 1973, and took up parish work at sea-level in Brighton, England, where he laboured with his customary zeal and success until his regretted death.
At the memorial Mass in St Ignatius church, Lusaka (17th December), the main celebrant was Fr Provincial, and about thirty of Dermot's Jesuit brethren concelebrated. Fr Paddy O’Brien in his homily reminded us that while St Ignatius church stood, Fr Dermot Murphy would always have a fitting memorial. Speaking in lighter vein of his priestly commitment, devotion and unction, he recalled the lament of a lady parishioner shortly after his departure from Lusaka: “Who will baptize our children, now that Fr Murphy has gone? The mothers who were accustomed to him do not think that the other priests baptize properly in comparison with him!” Among those at the Mass were several survivors of Lusaka twenty years ago who welcomed the opportunity to pay their last respects to an esteemed and well-beloved Pastor and friend. Among them with his wife was Mr Conor McIntyre the contractor, who gave his services freely for the building of the church in 1956-'57, and who is now Irish Honorary Consul to Zambia.
We in Zambia are grateful to Clongowes for providing Fr Dermot with a Community in Ireland and for welcoming his remains. May he rest in peace!

O'Connor, Sean P, 1920-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/690
  • Person
  • 20 July 1920-04 September 2006

Born: 20 July 1920, Dublin
Entered: 04 October 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 04 September 2006, Loyola House, Nairobi, Kenya - Africa Orientalis Province (AOR)

Transcibed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969; ZAM to AOR 21 December 1982

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1953 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fifth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1962 at St Paul’s, Brokenhill, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) teaching
by 1968 at Katwata, Lusaka, Zambia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
After secondary school, Fr Sean entered the novitiate at Emo in October 1937 and after vows he progressed through the normal course or studies, viz. university in Dublin, philosophy in Tullabeg, regency in one or our colleges, theology in Milltown Park, Dublin where he was ordained in 1950. His final year of tertianship was in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

The first large batch of nine Jesuits had gone to Africa in 1950 and the African mission was in the air. So in 1952, Fr Sean departed for Northern Rhodesia to Chikuni where he began to learn the local language, CiTonga. After a year there he then worked for some time in Chivuna and Fumbo mission stations.

In 1955 at the request of Archbishop Adam, Fr Sean went north to Kabwe to Mpima Minor Seminary to teach for eleven years. During this time he was very active both teaching and being chaplain at St. Paul's secondary school some miles away. For nine months he was parish priest in a church in Kabwe and even lived at St .Paul's for some time.

1967 saw him back in Lusaka as archdiocesan coordinator for the Lay Apostolate, a post he held for a year. He was also asked to work on radio and TV in the absence of Fr E Milingo who was studying in Nairobi. From 1968 to 1975 he gave religious instruction in nine Government schools in the Lusaka area. He was then appointed fulltime Communications Secretary for the Archdiocese. This entailed a great deal of work giving basic training in radio, TV and journalism. He helped to produce 26 Sunday morning services and many shorter programs. This was really his last job in Zambia.

He returned to Ireland on health grounds for a year and a half. While convalescing his active mind was constantly enquiring about different courses which he might follow. He went to Tanzania in 1977 where he worked in the minor Seminary in Tabora for six and a half years. He became Vocations Promotor for the East African province for about twenty years. He traveled all over East Africa visiting schools and families of those aspiring to religious life, giving retreats and workshops, directing young men into seminaries and religious life. He retired from this work in 2004 as his health was failing and he returned to Ireland but on rallying, he returned to Nairobi. He died in Nairobi on 5 September 2006 at the age of 86. This is a broad outline of a long active life.

What of the man himself? He was a good letter writer to superiors keeping in touch with them in Zambia and elsewhere. In one of his letters he wrote: ‘It's not the teaching that counts but giving students your time, interest and energy’. This Fr .Sean lived throughout his long life with his contact with young men in minor seminaries, in government schools, in Christian Life Groups and in his vocation promoting work. While in Zambia, he edited for eleven years a magazine called "The Sun" for young people, finding material, advertisers, photos, prizes and himself editing all these materials. He was also very active in the Christian Life Groups and the Pioneer TTA movement.

Early on, he became involved in refereeing when he was asked by his superior in Mpima if he would help the referees in their work in Kabwe. He became chairman of the local branch of referees and became so involved with this work that later he was honorary secretary of the Referee Board of Zambia. For many years in Zambia he both refereed and trained referees. In 1972, an article of his appeared in the Mirror newspaper ‘Know the Soccer Laws’ and in the same year a 26 page booklet also appeared entitled, ‘How to be a Football Referee’. This was very successful with 4000 copies printed which the Daily Mail called the “the perfect referee's ‘Bible'”. It cost 9 ngwe in that year! He was most influential in this field of work as it dealt with youth. So much so that in November of 2004, he was awarded a certificate:

‘The Football Association of Zambia in recognition of your contribution to Zambian Football bestows the award of:
OUTSTANDING REFEREE to FATHER SEAN O'CONNOR’.

Communications was another love of his life, speaking and writing, radio and TV – all of which took a lot of his time. He completed communication courses in Dublin, Wisconsin (US) and elsewhere. He encouraged the youth to write wherever he was, for he considered this the apostolate of the printed word.

As with so many people who are active, always looking ahead, people in a hurry, details were often forgotten which caused misunderstandings with fellow workers. Still, in his letters he was always at pains to clear up any such misunderstandings. In spite of such a hectic life, he was always ready to give retreats.

O'Connor, Walter Mary, 1910-1967, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/322
  • Person
  • 22 May 1910-26 July 1967

Born: 22 May 1910, Waterford City, Waterford County
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 26 July 1967, St Anne's Hospital, Harare, Zimbabwe

Part of the Jesuit Novitiate, Mazowe, Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe community at the time of death

Brother of Eddie O’Connor - RIP 1993 (their father Peter had been an Olympic triple jump champion)

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, Northern Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1962 at Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (ANG) Socius to Novice Master

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
He was born in 1910 at Waterford, Ireland, into a large family of nine children, son of Peter O'Connor, a local lawyer. Walter's elder brother Eddie had already entered the Society five years before that (1923) and Walter entered the Society in 1928. He was educated by the Christian Brothers and completed his secondary education at Clongowes Wood College. Ordained at Milltown Park in 1942, after tertianship he was appointed minister at Mungret College for a year and again as minister at Rathfarnham, the juniorate. He liked what was described as practical work and he was never short of ideas as to how this, that and the other might best be done – subjectively, and often opposed by others. Still his cheerfulness remained undiminished. He had a 'stick-to-it-attitude' in the projects he undertook. His zeal and enthusiasm were qualities that stayed with him all his life. While minister at Rathfarnham, he developed an apostolate in the promotion of the family rosary in Dublin. He collected and presented films and other aids for this apostolate.

As a scholastic at Clongowes during regency, he did much to build up the athletics, perhaps inspired by the fact that his father had been an Olympic triple-jump champion. His health was never very strong but his psychic energy was never low. He was passed by the doctors to travel to Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) as one of the nine Irish Jesuits who went there in 1950. As parish priest at Chikuni he entered into the new work with the same spirit that had always characterised him. A very familiar sight was Fr Walter on his heavy motor bike either coming or going on supply. He took a great interest in the condition of the lepers in the area and did much for them. His efforts to establish a leper settlement for them bore fruit after he had left the area.

Due to ill health, he returned to Ireland for three years during which he did retreat work and lectured about the Mission. This resulted in a number of benefactors who donated churches and other benefits to the mission.

He returned to Zambia in 1960 and moved to Harare (Zimbabwe) to assist the Master of Novices when the joint novitiate was set up. He gave retreats, established the Pioneers at Harare and developed a new apostolate for the consecration of families to the Sacred Heart. He was appointed Director of Vocations for the archdiocese of Harare and traveled a lot with Fr Regis Chigweduc on vocation promotion. Fr Regis paid tribute to Fr Walter at his funeral for his holiness and his work in promoting vocations; his zeal, energy and enthusiasm in everything.

On July 21st 1967 he was operated on at St Anne's Hospital in Harare but when opened up, inoperable cancer was found. He died five days later on the 26 July in the company of his brother, Fr Eddie and fellow Jesuits.

Tributes that came in after the funeral were many and sincere and they could be summed up by what a fellow Jesuit wrote about him, ‘He was always full of charity, cheerfulness and on fire with a zeal that consumed him; he was steeped in a spirit of prayer’.

Note from Eddie O’Connor Entry
Fr Ernest Mackey S.J. was a well known school retreat giver. The vocations of Fr Eddie 0'Connor and a few years later of Walter, his brother, were influenced by him. The father of the two brothers was Peter 0'Connor a local lawyer and former Olympic champion. The story has it that Peter, encountering Fr Mackey after Fr. Eddie had entered the Society, said
‘That man has taken one of my sons’. Fr Mackey's undaunted reply was, ‘And now, he is coming to take another (Walter)’.
His driving ability was not good, mainly because of failing eyesight. It is told that once when driving with his brother Walter, Walter suddenly shouted, ‘Look out for that cow’! ‘What cow’? says Fr Eddie. After that it was decided that he stop driving. How now to get around his far-flung parish? Easy. He got a horse and this worked extremely well. He became a familiar sight trotting near and far, in fact one of the local farmers used to refer to him as 'Galloping Jesus'.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 43rd Year No 1 1968

Obituary :

Fr Walter O’Connor SJ (1910-1967)

Fr. O'Connor died in St. Anne's Hospital at Salisbury on 26th July. He had gone to St. Anne's about ten days previously because he had been having grave trouble in swallowing and eating for some time and the doctors suspected an ulcer. When he was operated on, on the 21st July, cancer was discovered, and of an inoperable kind. He was then told that his days were numbered but in the next few days pneumonia developed. He was too weak to resist its virulence and his condition rapidly deteriorated. He died at 3.15 a.m. and was quite conscious till the moment of death and participated fully in the prayers that were being said by his brother, Fr. Edward, and by Frs. Ennis and Berrell of the English Mission.
After Fr. Walter's death numerous letters of sympathy were received by the members of his family and especially by his sister, Mother O'Connor, R.S.C.J. In these letters there is presented a portrait of Walter contributed to by those who knew him well. In one of the letters a Jesuit confrere has written “Fr. Walter was one of those rare people, in a worldly age, who was a professional man of God - whose main interest always was, not studies or writing or teaching or any of our other concerns but simply the Kingdom of God”. Another Jesuit has written of him, “I can truly say that I regarded him as one of the best Jesuits I ever knew, and I am, thank God, nearly fifty years in the Society. He was always full of charity, cheerfulness, on fire with a zeal that consumed him and steeped in a spirit of prayer. I always found that even a few minutes talk with him was a tonic, and invariably the conversation would very soon turn to something concerned with God's interests. I knew well, too, that he got plenty of ‘knocks’ some of them very hard. I could never discover any vestige of bitterness on these occasions”. From these excerpts and others, Walter O'Connor emerges as a man of God, a man of zeal, and like all zealous men he had to meet the problems of clash and conflict but never lost his own integrity which was protected by his spirit of charity.
Walter was born at Waterford in May 1910, the fourth of a family of nine children. He was educated by the Christian Brothers at Waterpark and completed his secondary education at Clongowes Wood College. He entered the Society in 1928 and followed the usual course. While teaching in Clongowes as a scholastic he did much to build up the athletics. After Tertianship he was minister in Mungret for a year after which he went to Rathfarnham as minister. He liked what is described as practical work and he was never short of ideas as to how this, that, and the other might best be done, Walter's ideas of the “best” ways were often more subjectively influenced than objectively and in this he found that others could hold different views. But his cheerfulness was not diminished. He was persistent and had what across the Atlantic is called “sticktuitiveness”. He was always interested in getting a “good bargain” and took delight in pointing out the technical and practical advantages of what he was able to come by as a bargain. Again, he found that others did not quite see things the same way and their ability to unveil the disadvantages was sometimes stimulated as a counter to Walter's enthusiasm. And he was an enthusiast. His persistence and enthusiasm produced advantages for his brethren and one of them was the first swimming pool in a house of formation in the Province, at Rathfarnham. While he was minister there he developed an apostolate in hte promotion of the family rosary in Dublin. With his usual zeal and enthusiasm he collected and presented films and other aids to fos ter this apostolate and his energy in its promotion provoked others to develop the new ways of fostering exercises of religious devotions. His health was never very strong but his psychic energy level was never low.
In 1950 despite his weak health he was passed by the doctors for work in the new mission in Zambia. After his arrival he was made “parish priest” at Chikuni. He entered into the new work with the same spirit that had always characterized him and around Chikuni there appeared many shrines of Our Lady as the fruit of his ideas and zeal. He took a great interest in the condition of the lepers in that area and did much for them. His efforts to establish a special settlement for them bore fruit after he had left the area and the nucleus of it might be said to have been in the special outdoor Mass-shrine which Walter built and where he often said Mass for the lepers.
Walter as usual lived on his nervous energy and his health was again weakened. All his life in the Society this lack of good health was a harassment to him and the tempo and intensity of his personal life are hardly without some relationship to the physical disabilities he suffered. He returned to Ireland from the Missions because of this ill-health. From 1956 till 1959, when he again went back to Zambia, he taught in Bolton Street Technical School (as it was then named). It was the same Walter who again showed his zeal and enthusiasm in his work for the students there. In addition, he did retreat work and much lecturing on the Mission and its needs and through his efforts a number of benefactors were found to donate churches and other benefits to the Mission.
When he returned to the work in Zambia he was appointed to Kasiya to assist in the work of the Parish. Later he moved to Lusaka for work at Chilimbana and Munali where there is one of the largest and best secondary schools in the country (often classed as the rival of Canisius College!). Walter's health did not improve and when the joint novitiate was set up at Salisbury he was sent there to assist the Master of Novices in 1960. In addition to the work of socius he gave many retreats in Southern Rhodesia, including Long Retreats. He established the Pioneers at Sailisbury and developed a new apostolate of the consecration of families to the Sacred Heart. But the great work in which he was engaged at the time of his death was the fostering of vocations among the Africans. This work meant so much to him that in his dying hours many of his prayers were for its success. He was appointed Vocations Director for the archdiocese. He worked with Fr. Regis, an African priest, and they went all over the country on lecture tours, visiting practically all the mission schools. Walter used his previous knowledge and experience and collected films and other visual aids which he employed with benefit in the vocations work in the mission schools. Fr. Regis who accompanied him paid a warm tribute at the funeral to Walter's holiness, zeal, energy and enthusiasm in the work of promoting vocations. Fr. Wallace of the English Mission has written “Walter will have all the outlets for zeal he could ever have desired on earth, and much more. He had that something in his soul that found expression in his energy and urgent manner, he will certainly be another who will spend his Heaven on earth doing good. And what I said about his being nearer to us, I don't at all regard as a pious wish, but as solid fact to be perceived by faith”. Letters from Jesuits in Sailisbury testify that “Walter approached his operation with complete calm and a happiness to accept God's will whatever it might prove to be. He knew the operation would be a severe strain on his system which he might not survive; he did not want the family to be caused anxiety by knowing beforehand that he had to undergo this. His courage, his devoted acceptance of God's Will, and his energetic coping with the consequences of this in his own life are, as they have been before, most impressive and I am sure he will be deeply satisfied to have this last challenge and to be given the chance to go to God - one might say with full knowledge and consent, knowing what is happening and able to offer one's life to God with full deliberation and even timing”.
When Fr. O'Connor was dead four different obituary notices, as well as the official one, appeared in the daily newspaper. They were tributes to his memory from people who knew him well. This is a quotation from one of them, “In memory of a wonderful person, a good friend, and an inspiration to all who knew him. Remembered with love and affection by ... (the signatures follow”). One of his former Rectors has written “He was my Minister at ... and I have the happiest memories of him. We worked very well and harmoniously together. He was a great help and always cheerful. Everywhere he went he did good work in spite of delicate health. He was a splendid missioner. Nothing would have pleased him better than to work for his converts to the end”.
Walter O'Connor was buried at Chishawasha - “where many of our missionaries from the pioneer times are buried ... this is what Walter wanted” - after Requiem Mass in Salisbury Cathedral. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Eddie O'Connor, Fr, O'Loghlen, Fr. Ennis, Fr, McKeown and Fr. James Wallace. The Archbishop of Salisbury presided and performed the absolutions at the coffin. There was a very large congregation and imong them all the novices from Silveira House. The prayers at the graveside were recited by Fr. Eddie O'Connor assisted by Fr. Meagher, Vicar General of Monze, who was representing the Bishop, Very Rev. Dr. James Corboy. In many of the letters from priests the quotation “Well done, good and faithful servant” was used as their theme. May he rest in peace.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 125 : Autumn 2005

MISSIONED TO ZAMBIA : WALTER M O’CONNOR

Taken from some 50 “portraits” submitted by Tom McGivern, who works in the Archives of the Province of Zambia Malawi.

Fr. Walter was born in Waterford in May, 1910, and was ordained in Milltown Park in May, 1942. The M in his name stands for Mary and he had a great devotion to Our Lady. He used to say that he would die in May as well, and would laughingly add, “If I am alive on June 1st, you'll know I'll be with you for another year!” His wish to die in May was not granted, for it was on the 26th July 1967 that he died in Harare, Zimbabwe, at the early age of 57. He was born into a large family of nine children, the son of Peter O'Connor, a local lawyer. He entered the Society in 1928 (His elder brother, Eddie, had already entered the Society five years before that in 1923). He was educated by the Christian Brothers and completed his secondary education at Clongowes Wood College. Ordained at Milltown Park in 1942, after Tertianship he was appointed Minister at Mungret College for a year and again as Minister at Rathfarnham, the Juniorate.

He liked what was described as practical work and he was never short of ideas as to how this, that or the other might best be done....subjectively, and often opposed by others. Still his cheerfulness remained undiminished. He had a 'stick-to-it iveness' which saw projects to the end. Zeal and enthusiasm were qualities that stayed with him all his life. While Minister at Rathfarnham, he developed an apostolate in the promotion of the family rosary in Dublin. He collected and presented films and other aids for this apostolate. As a scholastic at Clongowes during regency, he did much to build up the athletics, perhaps inspired by the fact that his father had been an Olympic triple jump champion. His health was never very strong but his psychic energy was never low. He was passed by the doctors to travel to Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) as one of he nine Irish Jesuits who went there in 1950. As parish priest at Chikuni he entered into the new work with the same spirit that had always characterized him. Fr Walter was a very familiar sight on his heavy motor bike, either coming or going on “supply”. He took a great interest in the condition of the lepers in the area, and did much for them. His efforts to establish a leper settlement for them bore fruit after he had left the area.

Due to ill health, he returned to Ireland for three years, but did retreat work and lectured about the mission, which resulted in a number of benefactors donating churches and other benefits. He returned to Zambia in 1960 and moved to Harare (Zimbabwe) to assist the Master of Novices when the joint novitiate was set up. He gave retreats, established the Pioneers at Harare, and developed a new apostolate of consecration of families to the Sacred Heart. He was appointed Director of Vocations for the archdiocese and travelled a lot with Fr. Regis Chigweduc on vocation promotion. Fr. Regis paid tribute to Fr. Walter at his funeral for his holiness, zeal, energy and enthusiasm in the work of promoting vocations. On July 21st 1967, he was operated on at St.Anne's hospital in Harare, and inoperable cancer was found. He died five days later on July the 26th in the company of his brother, Fr. Eddie, and fellow Jesuits.

Tributes that came in after the funeral were many and sincere. They could be summed up by what a fellow Jesuit wrote about him, “He was always full of charity, cheerfulness, on fire with zeal that consumed him, and steeped in a spirit of prayer”.

O'Loghlen, Desmond, 1918-2003, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/691
  • Person
  • 03 March 1918-04 September 2003

Born: 03 March 1918, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1954, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 04 September 2003, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia Mission : 27 November 1962
Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03/12/1969

by 1951 at Paray-le-Monial France (LUGD) making Tertianship
by 1952 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fourth wave of Zambian Missioners
Mission Superior Chikuni (HIB) 21 November 1962 - 1969

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Des (as he was known to his fellow Jesuits) died on 4 September 2003 at the age of 85, completely unexpectedly. His mother lived to be 101 and all thought that Des would follow suit. He had gone to the Mina Medical Centre with a touch of 'flu with another member of the community, and then he died.

He was born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1918, attended school at Blackrock College and Ballyfin and then entered the Society at Emo Park in 1936. The usual course of studies, arts, philosophy, theology, brought him to ordination in 1949 at Milltown Park, Dublin. For his tertianship he went to Paray-le-Monial in France, 1950/1951.

The second batch of Irish Jesuits to come to the then Northern Rhodesia in 1951 included Des who came to Chikuni to be Assistant principal of the newly opened Canisius College, 1951-52. He then went north to learn CiBemba for a year and came to Lusaka to work in the Regiment church for a few months before moving to St. Ignatius (1953-l959), doing parish work at Chilanga and Kafue, and being chaplain to Munali Secondary School and Chalimbana Teacher Training College. He became judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese. He moved to Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College to teach for a few months in 1960. He returned to St .Ignatius as Superior and chaplain as above.

He was appointed Regular Superior of the Mission from 1962 to 1969, first residing in Choma and then in Mazabuka in Moreau house. As Des never gave a snap decision but one which was cautiously thought out, where he lived became known as ‘Tomorrow House’. He returned to Lusaka to St. Ignatius in 1970 where he spent the rest of his life. Parish priest there from 1970 to 1977, he then became full time chaplain to the University Teaching Hospital, a devoted priest to the sick and dying. This was from 1977 to 1991 where he also built a chapel in the hospital. Even after retiring as official chaplain, his devotion to the sick took him twice a week to other hospitals in Lusaka, Hill Top, Mina Medical Centre and Mine Hospital etc. At the same time parish work in St Ignatius: Masses, funerals, marriages, occupied his ever busy life right to the end.

Des was a very hospitable person, sincere and genuine in his relationships with others. He was sensitive to the needs of others and had a great serenity about him. He never became upset, was 'unflappable' as the homilist at his funeral described him. He ‘hastened slowly’ and was known to arrive for meals or any other function always 'slightly late'.

He had a marvellous memory for people and occasions, and could be relied upon to remember who was who, and recall when such an event took place. ‘Ask Des’ was always the solution when one was looking for information about the past. In fact after he died, letters, newspaper cuttings, records etc were found in his room, in short, ample material to gladden the heart of the archivist!

He would never be rushed. Once when he was having a cuppa in the sitting room at St Ignatius, someone came to the parish office to see him without an appointment. He continued with his tea even pouring a second cup and was reminded that someone was still waiting at the parish office. He is said to have remarked ‘I am not a fireman’! But, despite that, he was always kind and understanding to all who came to him. He was the perfect example of a gentleman in his graceful old age who had spent 52 years of dedicated priestly service in Zambia and especially Lusaka.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005

Obituary

Fr Desmond (Des) O’Loghlen (1918-2003) : Zambia-Malawi Province

3rd March, 1918: Born in Waterford, Ireland
7th Sept. 1936: Entered the Society at Emo
1944 - 1946: Crescent College, Limerick, teaching, regency
31st July, 1949: Ordained
1950 - 1951: Tertianship at Paray-le-Monial, France.
1951 - 1952: Chikuni, Canisius, assistant principal
1952 - 1953: Chingombe, Kabwe, Mpika, language study
2nd Feb 1954: Professed of four vows
1953 - 1959: Lusaka, St. Ignatius, pastoral work
1955 - 1959: Chaplain at Chalimbana
1956 - 1959: Chaplain at Munali
1959 - 1993: Judicial vicar for Archdiocese of Lusaka
1960: Chikuni, Charles Lwanga, teaching
1960 - 1962: Lusaka, St. Ignatius, Superior,
1962 - 1967: Choma, Regional Superior for Chikuni Mission
1967 - 1969: Mazabuka, Regional Superior for Mission
1970 - 1977: Lusaka, St. Ignatius, Parish Priest
1977 - 1992: St. Ignatius, Chaplain, University Teaching
1992 - 2003: St. Ignatius, Assistant PP, Hospital Chaplain
Sept. 4th 2003: Died in Lusaka, Zambia.

Des had been planning for home leave in 2004 and had gone to visit his brother, Dinnie, who was dying in Durban. On returning to Lusaka, he contracted a chest infection which, indeed, many had picked up. On September 4, he was driven to the clinic, although there was no sign of anything critical. However, his breathing suddenly became very acute and he was anointed. Shortly afterwards, he died.

Clive Dillon-Malone writes:
Des entered the Society after secondary school in 1936 when he was eighteen years old. He went through the ordinary formation of Jesuits: novitiate, juniorate at University College, Dublin, philosophy, regency in Limerick, theology, ordination in 1949, tertianship and final vows in 1954.

It was in the years 1950 and 1951 that the Irish Province of the Jesuits had been asked especially to help the Polish Jesuits in staffing their work in what was then Northern Rhodesia. The Irish Province responded generously and sent eight to ten men in each of these two years in order to lay a solid foundation for their work. Des was amongst the group that came in 1951.

He became Superior of Chikuni Mission in 1962, the year in which the late Bishop Corboy was ordained Bishop of Monze. While the greater part of Des's life was spent in the Archdiocese of Lusaka, he spent seven years as Superior of Chikuni Mission from 1962-1969 in the Diocese of Monze, residing in Choma from 1962-1967, and at the newly-built Moreau House in Mazabuka from 1967-1969. As a result Des, though in many ways a man of cautious bent, was closely associated with the energetic and far-sighted expansion of the early years of Bishop Corboy's tenure in Monze. During those years, many new parishes were established and Jesuits served in those of Mazabuka (1964), Chilalantambo (1967), Chirundu (1967), Nakambala (1967), and St Mary's Monze (1969). Charles Lwanga Teachers' Training College had opened in Chikuni in 1959, Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma in 1966, and St. Kizito Catechist Training Centre in Monze in 1967. A Jesuit had also become Chaplain of St. Edmund's Secondary School in Mazabuka in 1964.

In Lusaka, the new residence at St. Ignatius was built in 1966. Des presided over a talented and generous group of Jesuits whose achievements he would have been the first to
recognise. He had the vision to encourage a number of younger Jesuits, who saw the need to do further studies, especially in anthropology, sociology, music and linguistics.

Des loved to recall stories of his travels in small aircraft using various remote airfields in different corners of East and Central Africa. He accompanied Fr. General Arrupe during his early visit to Zambia in 1965 and delighted in pioneering meetings with other Major Superiors, meetings which were the remote forerunners of the Jesuit Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) and the establishing, years later, of the African Assistancy. It was at the end of his time as Superior in July 1969 that the famous meeting took place in Chikuni at which the Jesuits of Chikuni Mission agreed in a cliff-hanger of a vote to be part of the proposed new Vice-Province of Zambia (3rd December, 1969). Des was justly proud of his part in the setting up in 1969 of the Jesuit Novitiate at Xavier House in Lusaka, a novitiate which was soon to cater not only for Zambia and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), but also for the five countries of the East Africa Region as well as the Nigeria-Ghana Region.

In 1969, Des was assigned to St. Ignatius Parish in Lusaka where he spent the rest of his life. From 1970 -77, he was the parish priest; then followed his long stint as chaplain at the University Teaching Hospital which he finished in 1991. During his time in Lusaka, he was also the vicar for the archdiocese of Lusaka.

He was always a man of caution. No quick decisions, no hasty moves. He looked ahead and planned carefully. Everything he did was done well and conscientiously. If mistakes were made, they were very few. He would go to any lengths to help and would see a problem right through to the very end. Despite his more conservative bent, he remained open to change and could joke about the internet, e-mails and computers which he acknowledged to be out of his reach. His good humour and wit were even more pronounced in his later years.

Punctuality was not one of his greatest virtues. In fact, arriving late for everything seemed to Des to be itself a virtue in view of his appreciation of the value of time. And he adamantly refused to be rushed. There is a true story of how, one day when he was taking his afternoon tea in the recreation room, a member of the community came in and told him that some woman wanted to see him at the reception area of the parish offices. As always, he enquired if she had an appointment and, when the answer to that question was negative, he continued taking his tea. About ten minutes later, the same member of the community returned to the recreation room. Seeing Des still taking his tea, he gently said to him: “I hope, Des, that you understand that there is a woman waiting to see you at the parish reception area”. His comment was: “We're priests, not firemen”.

Des was always available and so anxious to help everyone with his advice and wisdom. Well versed in Canon Law, he had a way of cutting through the legal technicalities and focusing on the persons involved. He felt for people in a special way and his pastoral sensitivity ran through everything he did. His pastoral work spanned three generations, and he had a phenomenal memory for people and places. He would take delight in telling young married couples of having married their parents and having known their grandparents. He touched so many through baptisms, weddings, marriage counselling, funerals, the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist. He was always on call in the parish and his phone was seldom silent.

But perhaps his endless concern for the sick and the dying is what stands out more than anything else in his life. As Chaplain at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Des will be remembered especially for his kindness to the sick and the dying and their families, as well as for his unfailing interest in the medical staff and their formation, especially the nurses and doctors. The Chaplaincy Centre with its Interdenominational Chapel which was the outcome of persistence and determination on his part is a lasting memorial to his far-sightedness in the face of many difficulties. When he retired from being official chaplain there after over twenty years, he continued to visit three smaller hospitals to cater to the needs of all patients without distinction right up to the end. He brought healing to so many on so many different levels. He was a living channel of God's loving care and concern for the suffering and the dying.

Des was a wonderful community member, always ready to share in whatever problems arose. He was a most pleasant, heartfelt and sincere person to live with, and always a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He was kind, compassionate and gentle in all that he did. He might get angry with people at times for breaking appointments or coming late but it was a momentary frustration. He would always find a way of excusing those involved. He would get so sorry if he felt that he had hurt anyone and would go out of his way to put things right. He was incapable of becoming bitter or holding a grudge.

Des was a man of God and a man of the people. First thing every morning, he would be there in our small oratory with the Lord. Every evening last thing, he would be there in that same small oratory. But his contact with the Lord continued throughout the day in his contact with people. Des loved people and he loved the people of Zambia in particular. After coming to Zambia, he had become a Zambian citizen as a sign of his total commitment. It was his ardent wish to live and die here. He got his wish.

Walsh, Patrick J, 1911-1975, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/436
  • Person
  • 17 February 1911-02 May 1975

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Early education at Mungret College SJ; Tertianship at Rathfarnham

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.”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. O'Brien and Walsh left Dublin on January 4th on their long journey to North Rhodesia (Brokenhill Mission of the Polish Province Minor). They hope to leave by the "Empress of Scotland" for Durban very soon.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

From Rhodesia.
Frs. O'Brien and Walsh reached Rhodesia on February 21st. They were given a great welcome by Mgr. Wolnik. He has his residence at Lusaka and is alone except for one priest, Fr. Stefaniszyn who did his theology at Milltown Park. Lusaka is the capital of Northern Rhodesia and is a small town of the size of Roundwood or Enniskerry.
Fr. O'Brien goes to Chikuni, which is a mission station with a training school for native teachers. Fr. Walsh is appointed to Broken Hill. where he will work with another father. ADDRESSES : Fr. Walsh, P.O. Box 87, Broken Hill, N. Rhodesia; Fr. O'Brien, Chikuni P.O., Chisekesi Siding. N. Rhodesia

Fr. Walsh, Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia, 16-2-46 :
Fr. O'Brien and I arrived in Durban on February 6th, having come via Port Said and the Suez Canal. The voyage was a tiresome one, as the ship was overcrowded - in our cabin, a two-berth one in normal times, we had thirteen, so you can imagine what it was like coming down through the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa. We had a large contingent of British soldiers as far as Port Said. They got off there to go to Palestine. We had also about six hundred civilians, demobilised service-men, their wives and children. We had ten Christian Brothers, two Salesian priests, two military chaplains (both White Fathers), six Franciscan Missionary Sisters going to a leper colony quite near Bioken Hill, four Assumption Sisters, and two Holy Family Sisters, so we had quite a big Religious community.
Our first stop was Port Said where we got ashore for a few hours. We moved on from there to Suez and anchored in the Bitter Lakes for a day and a half. There we took on three thousand African (native) troops, most of them Basutos. The Basuto soldiers were most edifying. There were several hundred of them at Mass every morning, very many of whom came to Holy Comnunion. They took a very active part in the Mass too - recited the Creed and many other prayers in common, and sang hymns in their native language, and all this on their own initiative. They are certainly a credit to whatever Missionaries brought them the Faith.
Our next stop was Mombasa, Kenya, then on to Durban. The rainy season was in and it rained all the time we were there. We arrived in Joannesburg on Saturday night, February 9th. We broke our journey there, because we were very tired, I had a heavy cold, and there was no chance of saying Mass on the train on Sunday. We were very hospitably received by the Oblate Fathers, as we had been also in Durban. I could not praise their hospitality and kindness to us too highly. Many of them are Irish, some American and South African. We remained in Jo'burg until Monday evening and went on from there to Bulawayo. We had a few hours delay there and went to the Dominican Convent where we were again most kindly received - the Mother Prioress was a Claddagh woman. We were unable to see any of the English Province Jesuits. Salisbury, where Fr. Beisly resides, would have been three hundred miles out of our way. Here at Livingstone we visited the Irish Capuchians. We were both very tired, so we decided to have a few days' rest. We have visited Victoria Falls - they are truly wonderful. The Capuchians have been most kind to us and have brought us around to see all the sights. It is wonderful to see giraffes, zebras and monkeys roaming around. Recently one of the Brothers in our mission was taken off by a lion. We expect to come to Broken Hill on Wednesday night. Most of our luggage has gone on before us in bond. We were able to say Mass nearly every day on the boat, except for a few days when I was laid up with flu. I think we are destined for the ‘Bush’ and not for the towns on the railway. It is very hot here, but a different heat from Hong Kong, very dry and not so oppressive. On the way up here we could have been travelling anywhere in Ireland, but they all say ‘wait till the rainy season is over’.”

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Rhodesia :
Fr. P. Walsh, P.O. Box 87, Broken Hill, N. Rhodesia, 15-8-46 :
“On the day of my final vows I ought to try to find time to send you a few lines. My heart missed a few boats while I glanced down the Status to see if there was anyone for Rhodesia. Fr. O'Brien and I are very well and both very happy. I met Fr. O'Brien twice since I came out, once when he came to Broken Hill, and again last month when I went to Chikuni to give a retreat to the Notre Dame Sisters who are attached to our mission there. Chikuni is a beautiful mission. The school buildings there are a monument to the hard work done by our lay brothers. The brothers whom I have met out here have struck me immensely. They can do anything, and are ready to do any work. Yet they are wonderfully humble men and all deeply religious. I am well settled in to my work now, You may have heard that I have been appointed Superior of Broken Hill. I am blessed in the small number of my subjects. My main work continues to be parish work among the white population. As well as that I am Principal of a boarding school situated about eight miles outside Broken Hill. We follow the ordinary school curriculum for African schools, and we also have a training-school for vernacular teachers. Most of the work is done by native teachers. I go there about three times a week and teach Religion, English and History One lay-brother lives permanently at the school. He is seventy two years of age but still works on the farm all day. The farm is supposed to produce enough food to support the boys in the school (and sometimes their wives), The hot season is just starting now. It has been very cold for the last month. L. have worn as much clothes here in July and August as ever I wore in the depth of winter at home. Although we do not get any rain during the cold season, still the cold is very penetrating. It will be hot from now till November or December, when the rains come. We were to have Fr. Brown of the English Province here as a Visitor. (He was formerly Mgr. Brown of S. Rhodesia). He had visited a few of our missions and was on his way to Broken Hill when he got a stroke of some kind. He is at present in hospital. One leg is paralysed completely and the other partially. He is 69 years of age, so he will hardly make much of a recovery. It is difficult to find time for letter writing. I seem to be kept going all day, and when night-time comes there is not much energy left”.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 50th Year No 2 1975

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Walsh (1911-1975)

In 1926 and 1927 a team of three boys representing Mungret at Feis Luimnighe swept away first prizes for Irish conversation and debate. Small wonder, since they were all native speakers. All three of them became missionary priests. Séamus Thornton, SJ suffered imprisonment at the hands of Chinese communists; Tadhg Manning is now Archbishop of Los Angeles, and Paddy Walsh was one of the six boys three “lay” and three “apostolic” - who joined the Irish Province from Mungret on the 1st of September, 1928.
The transfer of the novitiate from Tullabeg to Emo took place about a month before his first vows, Juniorate at Rathfarnham and UCD, and Philosophy in Tullabeg followed the normal pattern, but for regency Paddy went to Hong Kong. Before long, a spot was discovered on his lung and he was sent to the Blue Mountains in Australia, where he felt his isolation from the Society, but where he was cured. Ordination in Milltown (1943) and Tertianship in Rathfarnham completed his course and then, in 1945, an urgent cry for help came from the Polish Province Mission to Northern Rhodesia. Paddy O'Brien and Paddy Walsh were the first two Irish Jesuits to answer. There are about seventy three languages and dialects in that country, so they had to learn the one used by the Tonga people who inhabit the southerly region in which Canisius College, Chikuni, is situated. It was, however, after his transfer to the capital, Lusaka, that the main work of his life began. It entailed learning another language, Nyanja, and plunged him into pastoral work. As Parish Priest of Regiment Church, so called because it lay near a military barracks, and Chaplain to the hospital, he laboured untiringly for the spiritual and temporal well-being of his flock, with whom he identified himself. They were poor, sick and sometimes leprous. Father Paddy’s letters to the Press, exposing their misery and calling for action, made him unpopular with some of the Colonial administrators, but enthroned him in the hearts of his African people.
Their aspiration to political freedom found a ready sympathiser in one whose boyhood home in Rosmuc had frequently received Padraic Pearse as a welcome visitor: Leaders of the Nationalist movement, Harry Nkumbula, Simon Kapapwe and Kenneth Kaunda, were emerging: They trusted Paddy and he stood by them in face of opposition from Colonials. When they were imprisoned, Paddy administered the fund - largely subscribed by the British Labour Party - for the support of their wives and children. It was Paddy who drove Kenneth Kaunda’s wife and family the three hundred miles to visit him in Salisbury gaol.
When independence was won in 1964, Paddy took citizenship in the new Republic of Zambia (named after the Zambezi River) and its first President Kenneth Kaunda conferred the highest civil honour upon him, Commander of the Order of Companions of Freedom. With the destiny of their country in their own hands now, the new rulers of Zambia faced the enormous problems of mass illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty. Using their wealth of copper to enlist aid from abroad and finance huge development plans, they have made gigantic progress.
Paddy continued his priestly work in Lusaka until a heart attack struck him down in 1969. Though the air-journey would be risky, it was necessary to send him home for surgery. President Kaunda and Cabinet Ministers carried the stretcher that bore him to the aeroplane. BOAC had heart specialists ready at Heathrow Airport, who authorised the last stage of the journey to Dublin, Paddy FitzGerald inserted a plastic valve in the heart, with such success that Father Paddy's recovery seemed almost miraculous.
He returned to Zambia, but felt that more could be done for his beloved poor. He was very disappointed, too, by the passing of a law permitting abortion. Maybe, he had a dream of a Zambian utopia, and could not bear to think that it had not been realised. He returned to Ireland; worked for a very short time in Gibraltar, and, finally, went to Pretoria as Secretary to the Papal Nuncio in 1973. There he died suddenly on the 2nd of May, 1975.
It was as impossible for Paddy to dissemble or compromise as it was to spare himself in the pursuit of his ideal. The driving force of his life and of his work for Zambia was his love of Christ. In the retreat that Fr John Sullivan gave us before our first vows in Emo, he said: “Any friend of the poor is a friend of Christ. It is the nature of the case”. Paddy both learned and lived that lesson. An dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Irish Province News 51st Year No 3 1976

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Walsh (1928-1975)

“Fr Paddy Walsh was amazingly and touchingly honoured by the nation when President Kaunda preached a eulogy of him at a funeral Mass on 13th May 1975. The huge Christian love that ‘KK’ displayed in his talk was wonderful to hear. There were few dry eyes in the Church”. (So runs a letter from Fr Lou Haven, S.J., Zambia.)
A Zambian newspaper article (by Times reporter') featuring the event says:
President Kaunda has vowed that he would fight tooth and nail to ensure that the rich did not grow richer and the strong stronger in Zambia. Dr Kaunda broke down and wept when he made the pledge before more than 400 people who packed Lusaka’s Roma cathedral to pay their last respects to missionary Fr Patrick Walsh who died in South Africa. He revealed that Fr Walsh, an old friend of his, had decided to leave Zambia because “we had failed in our efforts to build a classless society”. In an emotion-charged voice, Dr Kaunda told the hushed congregation: “Fr Walsh revealed to me in a long letter that he was disappointed with me, the Party, Government and people of Zambia. He had gone in protest because we were allowing classes to spring up in our society”.
The President, who several times lapsed into long silences, said: “Please, Fr Walsh, trust me as you know me. I will not allow the rich to grow richer and the strong to grow stronger”.
To the Kaundas, Fr Walsh meant “something”. He came to help when the President was in trouble because of his political beliefs. “Fr Walsh looked after my family when I was away from home for long periods due to the nature of my work ... What can I say about such a man? He drove Mrs Kaunda to Salisbury to see mę while I was in prison ... What can I say about such a man?” ... he asked, In 1966, Dr Kaunda decorated him with the rank of Officer of the Companion Order of Freedom. He was a Zambian citizen.
Fr Lou Haven adds: “Paddy had been the support of the President's family when many of his friends deserted him during the struggle for independence. Dr Kaunda often had to be away from his family for long stretches during that time, rousing the people hundreds of miles away to a desire for independence, and sitting in jail, Fr Walsh was father to his whole family for years.'

Fr Walsh arrived in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in 1946, as one of the first two Irish Jesuits sent out here, the second being Fr PJT O'Brien.
An ardent Irishman, deeply steeped in Irish history and culture, he nevertheless wholeheartedly answered the Lord's call to leave his beloved Ireland and to go to the ends of the earth’ to serve his less fortunate brethren. First, as a scholastic, he was sent to China, but because of his poor health there seemed to be little hope of him every becoming a missionary. He was sent to Australia to recuperate his health, then back to Ireland. There he heard the appeal for help in Zambia, where the mission confided to the Polish Jesuits was in great difficulties as a result of the war and then of the post-war situation in Poland. He offered himself immediately, and was accepted. Arriving here in February, 1946, he gave his all to his newly-found mission, firstly in what was the apostolic prefecture, then the vicariate, and finally the archdiocese of Lusaka. He was appointed superior, first in Kabwe (then Broken Hill), then, after four years, in Chikuni. Finally, he was transferred to Lusaka as parish priest in St Francis Xavier's (“Regiment”, today St Charles Lwanga) church, where he re-roofed the old church and built the first parish-house. In 1958 he became my secretary, acting at the same time as chaplain to what was then called the African hospital, and as parish priest in Kabwata, where he built the first church.
It was not very easy to know and to understand Fr Walsh well. Only gradually I think that 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 and the efficiency with which he applied himself to whatever duties were imposed on him, I admired his total disregard for himself. This became so evident to me when I had to supply for him in the hospital during his absence. Only when trying to do what he was doing day after day, week after week, did I realise what a hard task he took on himself as a “part time” occupation. For years he used to get up shortly after 4 a.m. to bring our Lord to the sick and to comfort the suffering. Every evening, once again he used to go to the hospital, to find out new cases and to hear confessions. He took particular care in baptising every child in danger of death.
The second quality which I admired so much in him was his feeling for the underprivileged. On seeing one who was poor or downtrodden, he automatically stood by him, and would not only show his sympathy openly, but would do everything in his power to assist him. It was not just sentiment that made him take such a stand, but a deep feeling for justice, on which he was absolutely uncompromising. I know of one case when, in spite of his sympathy towards the “liberation movements”, he completely broke off relations with one of them: he was convinced that they had committed an act of grave injustice against those whom they were fighting
I think that St Ignatius, who had such a great sense of loyalty, found a worthy son in Fr Walsh. Once he had given his loyalty to people or to a cause, he remained 100 per cent loyal. He gave his loyalty to Zambia and her people: he was absolutely, 100 per cent, loyal to them: some might have reason to say 105 per cent. I think this was typically Irish, in the best sense of the word. He gave his loyalty to the Lusaka mission - he remained absolutely loyal to it. On a more personal level, he gave his loyalty to me as his archbishop, and he was 100 per cent loyal - probably 105 per cent. I must mention yet another of his loyalties: he came here to help the Polish Jesuits in their need, and he was and remained absolutely loyal to them. Being a Polish Jesuit, I can never forget this.
I came to bid farewell to him before his departure from Zambia in 1973. I could not stay until his actual departure from the airport, because it was a Saturday, and I had to be back to say Mass in Mumbwa. He accompanied me to my car, then suddenly took me by the hand. All he could say was a whisper: “Pray for me"...and he nearly ran back to his room.
God called him since to Himself, I lost a loyal friend, and Zambia lost a very loyal son,

  • Adam Kozlowiecki, SJ, Chingombe, written on the first anniversary of Paddy's death