File 40 - Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1955

Identity area

Reference code

IE IJA MSSN/ZAM/40

Title

Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1955

Date(s)

  • 2 January-19 December 1955 (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

104 items

Context area

Name of creator

(1911-2007)

Biographical history

Appointed Apostolic Administrator of the new Prefecture of Lusaka in 1950

Name of creator

(08 September 1911-07 June 1969)

Biographical history

Born: 08 September 1911, Cappagh, Ballinasloe, County Galway
Entered: 01 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1941
Professed: 02 February 1945
Died: 07 June 1969, College of Industrial Relations, Ranelagh, Dublin

by 1946 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire (ANG) studying

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 31 July 1953-19 July 1959.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Summerhill College, College Road, Knocknaganny, Sligo student

Name of creator

(25 April 1918-09 September 1995)

Biographical history

Born: 25 April 1918, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949
Professed: 02 February 1952
Died: 09 September 1995, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

by 1952 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fourth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1962 at Loyola, Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
‘He was radical, he had vision and he made things happen. He was single-minded and, not least, he was stubborn as a donkey’. These words were spoken by Mr P J Kirby, chairman of Clane Community Council at the graveside of Fr Thompson on 12 September 1995.

Fr Bob was born in Mallow, Co Cork in 1918, went to school with the Patrician Brothers and then on to Clongowes Wood College. He entered the Society at Emo Park in 1936 and after studies and ordination in 1949 and then tertianship, he straightaway went to Northern Rhodesia where he stayed for 12 years. While there at Chikuni, he was involved in general teaching, in teacher training, scouting and teaching of religion. He moved to Lusaka and was editor of a newspaper "The Leader" which advocated independence, was very pro-UNIP and was critical of the colonial government. With Fr Paddy Walsh he became friends with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other leaders at the Interracial Club. This was all during Federation days. In fact, the then Federal Prime Minister Roy Welensky wrote to Fr Bob's brother who was a doctor in Rhodesia, ‘Tell that Jesuit brother of yours he is causing me a lot of trouble’. At Independence in 1964, Kaunda brought Fr Bob back from Ireland for the occasion.

Fr Bob was very intelligent, had plenty of ideas in a very active mind and would 'take up the cudgels' as it were, for worthy causes. Many did not see eye to eye with him and often it was mutual, yet he got things done and was never shy of speaking out.

When he returned to Ireland in 1963, he was on the Mission circuits for five years, traveling throughout Ireland and then stayed on retreat work at Rathfarnham and Tullabeg for seven years. In 1977, he was transferred to Clongowes Wood College and became assistant curate in the parish of Clane, a nearby village. For ten years he took part in the life of the parish and the local community: primary schools, the restoration of the old Abbey, renovation of Mainham cemetery, projects for tidy towns, negotiation for a site for a new business enterprise centre and a memorial to Fr John Sullivan S.J. ‘He made things happen’. After leaving Clane for Moycullen in Co Galway, he was called back for the unveiling of a plaque at the restored Abbey which read: “This plaque is erected to the tremendous contribution of life in the locality by Rev R Thompson S.J. during the years 1977 to 1987”.

Bob's remark about this tribute was that he was the first Irishman to have a plaque erected to him before he died. A business centre was built and opened in 1996 after Bob's death and is called the Thompson Business and Enterprise Centre.

In 1987 he retired to Moycullen, Co Galway, for the quiet life as assistant curate and a bit of fishing. The word 'retire' does not really apply to him as his active mind soon saw him involved with concern for the environment, the collapse of the sea trout stocks and the rod license dispute, being on the side of the fishermen. He helped in the Church and stayed there for four years up to 1991. He returned to Clongowes and Clane and four years later he died in Dublin on 9 of September 1995.

He was a man of big ideas he had ‘a remarkable ability of having a new idea every day’ yet he never praised himself for his achievements. He was a devoted confessor. There was nothing artificial in his dealings with parishioners and he was always so sympathetic to those going through hard times. He looked after poor people in a sensitive and low key way that protected their dignity. He had an abiding interest in encouraging young people to use their talents and had total confidence in their ability to improve on what the last generation had done. He motivated those around him, especially the young people. Nobody got preferential treatment, least of all those who believed they deserved it!

‘He was single-minded and tireless’.

Name of creator

(17 February 1911-02 May 1975)

Biographical history

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

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

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

Name of creator

(24 October 1907-15 August 1960)

Biographical history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name of creator

(22 January 1917-28 October 1980)

Biographical history

Born: 22 January 1917, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948
Professed: 05 November 1977
Died: 28 October 1980, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Part of the Mukasa Seminary, Choma, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Brian entered the novitiate at Emo on 7 September 1935 and went through the usual Jesuit formation. The war determined that the scholastics of these days would receive their academic and spiritual training – sound though perhaps unimaginative – within the shores of holy Ireland, uncontaminated by the philosophical stirrings on the continent. The utter dependability that was to be a characteristic of Fr. Brian's priestly life was noticeable during those years. Here was someone ready to help in picking potatoes on a cold November day, to rake the autumn leaves off the gravel in Rahan, a 'he-man' to fill up a crew for the row down the canal and the River Brosna to Shannon Harbour – the congenial Brian would never let you down.

In 1950, the Irish Province committed itself to the short staffed Polish African Mission, and, at the end of his tertianship, Brian was assigned to Zambia. For thirty years he labored in that field. He did not leave any lasting monument of brick and mortar, but no one could quarrel with this assessment written years after he had left Kasiya: “none of us touched the hearts of the people as Fr Brian did”.

His successors on the mission would be reminded again and again, 'Fatha Shaakee baptized me', 'Fatha Shaakee married me'. This was the more remarkable as Brian did not acquire a fluency in their language. The reason for their response and the depth of their feelings towards him may be gathered from this letter of sympathy from a Form 2 boy who met Brian once, on retreat. He wrote: “It's very sad that such a man should pass away. He was so kind and such a peace-loving man. He was always so eager to help the students. Even though we never lived together, my life has been changed by him”.

The most striking quality in Brian Sharkey that everyone noticed during his 30 years in Zambia, was what may be summed up as his benevolence. The list of places where he served is alone enough to show his availability: Chikuni 1950 to ‘53, Kasiya 1953 to ‘63, Namwala 1963 to ‘70, then, between 1970 and 1974 Civuna, Kasiya again, Fumbo, Kizito and finally Mukasa where he remained until his life ended. After one such sudden switch he remarked to a colleague, ‘You know, there can be the last straw’! But for him, his vows were a sure guide. At a discussion on obedience, he once said, ‘One may always state objections but if the superior holds to his decision, the subject should lay aside his objections and throw himself unreservedly into the task’. St. Ignatius, who wished his sons to be outstanding in obedience, would have been pleased with Brian's performance. He was pre-eminently 'the man in the gap', who could be called upon when there was an emergency to be coped with, an awkward vacancy to be filled, or a contrary person to be accepted.

His devotion to duty resulted in his having a remarkable personal interest in all those committed to his care, whether as parishioners or pupils. He knew each one by name as well as all the other members of that family, the places from which they came and their cross-relationships with other people. Detailed information of this sort was very valuable to him in his apostolate and was a matter of admiration and, at times, of surprise to his brethren. His devotion to duty likewise kept him working to the last. He was carrying a full teaching load of 24 periods a week with exam classes, right up to eight days before he died. He gave no indication that he was ill during the preceding months. The only thing that the community at Mukasa noticed as different from usual about him, was that he tired easily and went to bed early and that he was eating less and sometimes did not appear at meals.

As a result, his death, coming so quickly and without any apparent period of illness beforehand, was not only a great shock but a real puzzle to his colleagues at Mukasa. Yet, during the greater part of that year, he must have been suffering considerably at least from internal upsets and physical exhaustion, if not from actual pain.

His benevolence showed itself in many ways. His kindness to all was common knowledge and there was no limit to the trouble he would take to oblige anyone. His tolerance of the shortcomings of fallen humanity, both within and outside the Society, seemed almost a reflection of the Divine magnanimity. Consequently, he was hardly ever heard to utter a critical word about anyone. Finally, he was renowned for an unruffled calm which was proof against even the most provoking situations, or people. His keen sense of humor which led him to savor and to recount little human tales, if they hurt no one, kept him chuckling good-humouredly to himself.

When he was dying, he said to the rector of Mukasa, showing his concern for both the Rector and the boys: “I am letting you and the boys down”. He then went on to give him details of what he had planned to do in the classes that remained before the exams began and explained where his notes could be found. Long before the words ‘a man for others' became a catch-phrase, Fr Brian was a living example of such a person.

Name of creator

(26 May 1916-08 December 1979)

Biographical history

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Brother of John - RIP 1986

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

(1907-1989)

Biographical history

Name of creator

(20 June 1920-05 May 1964)

Biographical history

Born: 20 June 1920, Knockaney, Hospital, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952
Professed: 02 February 1955
Died: 05 May 1964, St Mary’s, 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 recognized 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 recognized 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’.

Name of creator

(19 January 1918-11 June 1999)

Biographical history

Born: 19 January 1918, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 05 November 1977
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.

Name of creator

(24 November 1910-12 August 1987)

Biographical history

Born: 24 November 1910, Laragh, County Derry
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 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

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

◆ 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"

Name of creator

(18 August 1911-14 April 1980)

Biographical history

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

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name of creator

(02 December 1896-17 July 1985)

Biographical history

Born: 02 December 1896, Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary
Entered: 22 May 1920, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1928
Professed: 15 August 1937
Died: 17 July 1985, Chikuni College, Chisekesi, Zambia - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

by 1930 Third wave Hong Kong Missioners
by 1935 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
Mission Superior of the Irish Province Mission to Hong Kong 09 November 1935-1941

by 1952 in Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was educated by the Christian Brothers at Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary. Afterwards he attended University taking a BSc (Engineering) from the University of London and a BSc (Hons) from University College Dublin.

1922-1929 After First Vows he studied Philosophy and Theology at Milltown Park Dublin, and was Ordained in 1928.
1929-1945 He was sent to Hong Kong, where he became Rector of the Seminary (1929-1945) and became Superior of the Mission (1935-1941). This also included a break to make his tertianship at St Beuno’s, Wales (1934-1935)
He lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong (December 1941-August 1944). He left for Macau for a short time and then moved to Australia as his health had broken down.
1945-1953 He taught at St Ignatius College Riverview where he related well with everyone and was an efficient Prefect of Studies. Many people sought his counsel. He taught general Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and achieved good examination results. His students felt his interest in them and found him very supportive and encouraging.
1953-1985 He went to the Irish Province Mission in Zambia and remained at Chukuni until his death. From 1955-1970 He was the Mission Bursar. When the Teacher Training College at Charles Lwanga was to be built in the late fifties, he was the one who looked after the construction of a dam. before the spillway was ready there was an exceptionally heavy rainfall that caused the dam to fill rapidly, so that there was a danger the dam wall would be swept away by the pressure of water. Every morning during those critical days, he was down early to scrutinise the rising levels of water.

He had a real fondness for animals. He rarely took a holiday but loved a visit to a game park.

He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and he had an extraordinary gift for making people feel welcome at Chikuni, carrying the bags of visitors, making sure they were looked after and would try to e present when they left to wish them a good journey.

He was a very dedicated and painstaking teacher of Mathematics and Science at Canisius College and was appreciated by his students - no nonsense was ever tolerated in his classroom!

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
On 17 July 1985 in his 89th year, Fr Tom Cooney went to his long awaited reward. He was born on the 2 December 1896 in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, Ireland. He attended the Christian Brothers school in Carrick-on-Suir and won a scholarship to the university in his last year at school. He was a brilliant student and took his B.Sc. from London and a B.Sc. from Dublin, getting honors in the latter. He was a mechanical and electrical engineer.

He first learned about the Jesuits from the Encyclopaedia Britannica which did not speak too highly of them in that particular edition but Tom decided to join them. While an engineering student in Dublin (1915-1919) he used a lot of his spare time in the making of bombs in the Dublin Mountains as his contribution to the final struggle for independence.

He joined the Society in 1920 and, after the usual studies, he was ordained a priest in Milltown Park on 31 July 1928. He was appointed superior of Hong Kong while still in tertianship and arrived out there in 1929. While there, he was Rector of the Major Seminary and also acted as Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University in Hong Kong. He lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and left for Macao for a short time before moving on to Australia (1946-53), as his health had broken down. He had a hard time persuading the Japanese that being Irish was not English, but he succeeded and so was not interned.

In Riverview College, Sydney, he taught for seven years, being completely fulfilled in the job. He often said that he liked the Australian boys. He was heart and soul in the effort then being made to overhaul the curriculum. In the senior Mathematics and Physics classes he was able to bring promising pupils to their full potential.

When the Irish Jesuits came to Zambia in 1950, the Provincial, Fr Tommy Byrne, was on a visit in 1952 and was being asked for more men especially for one or two senior men. He thought of Fr Tom in Australia and wrote to him that evening inviting him to come, extolling the excellence of the climate (it being the month of May!) and describing it as a veritable paradise. Fr Tom flew to Johannesburg and from there took the three day train journey to Chisekesi, arriving on 15 February 1953 in the middle of a downpour of rain which did not let up for two weeks. His transport got stuck in the Magoye river on the way to Chikuni and for a fortnight after his arrival he could be seen at midday sloshing his way in wellingtons and umbrella across the campus to the dining room. More than once he was to exclaim, "This is what Tommy Byrne called a pleasure resort"!

From 1953 to his death, he always lived at Chikuni both as a teacher at Canisius Secondary School and as procurator of the mission for many years. No big decision was taken on the mission without sounding out the advice and experience of Fr Cooney. When the Teacher Training College at Charles Lwanga was to be built in the late fifties, Fr Cooney was the one who looked after the construction of the dam. Before the spillway was ready, there was an exceptionally heavy rainfall which caused the dam to fill rapidly, so that there was danger of the dam wall being swept away by the pressure of water. Every morning in those critical days an anxious Fr Cooney was down early to scrutinize the rising level of the water.

He had a fondness for animals. Though he rarely took a holiday, a visit to a game park was an occasion he would always rise to. The instant memory people have of Fr Tom is the sight of him walking in the evening with his dog. His favorite one was a collie called Pinty.

Fr Cooney was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He had an extraordinary gift for making people feel welcome to Chikuni and would carry the bags of visitors, making sure that they were looked after and he would try to be present when visitors left, in order to wish them a safe journey.

He was a devoted, dedicated, painstaking teacher at Canisius, something which the pupils appreciated and realized that no nonsense was ever tolerated in his classroom. In the early years, when Grades 8 and 9 were usually 'fails' in the Cambridge examination, he would tell his pupils, "Gentlemen, Grade 8 is a fail and Grade 9 is a first class fail"!

He was a good Jesuit and had a great devotion to the Mass and the Divine Office. His kindliness and welcoming traits reflected that inner appreciation of the person of Christ which flowed out in his attitude to people. He was so willing to help others. Fr Tom was lent to the mission for two years but stayed 32 years until his death.

A strange thing happened on the day Fr Tom was laid to rest in the Chikuni cemetery. "Patches", his last dog, died on that same day.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He lectured (Electrical Engineering) at the University of Hong Kong, as he had graduated from University of London in that subject. During the war years (1942-1945) he went to Macau teaching at Luis Gonzaga College. He was Rector of the South China Regional Seminary in Aberdeen, Hong Kong in 1931. In 1936 he was responsible for obtaining a large telescope from Ireland which he used in the Seminary for the education of the seminarians. His idea was that Hong Kong would join the Jesuits in Shanghai and Manila in astronomical observation and meteorological work.
In 1953 he was Mission Superior in Zambia where he died.

Note from Joseph Howatson Entry
He came to Hong Kong as Regent with Seán Turner who was a different peronality and whose whole world was words and ideas. Travelling with them was Fr Cooney who was bringing the Markee telescope

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

(31 May 1919-02 December 1992)

Biographical history

Born: 31 May 1919, Oranmore, County Galway
Entered 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 05 November 1977
Died: 02 December 1992, Heathrow Airport, London, England in transit to Jesuit Residence, Kitwe, Zambia.

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
In a letter written in January 1953 by Fr Colm (as he was known and not by his other names) to his Provincial, he wrote ‘Since July, new schools have been finished at Pemba, Haamapande, Siggubu, Ntambo, Lumbo, and Ntanga; new teachers' houses at Pemba, Ntambo, Sikabenga, Njola, Civuna, Fumbo, Ntanga and Nyanga’. He was Manager of
Schools since 1952 having learned ciTonga after he arrived in 1951. So much in so short a time!

Colm was born in Galway in the west of Ireland on 31 May of 1919. He was fluent at the Irish language which influenced the other languages in which he was proficient. After juniorate, philosophy, regency in Clongowes Wood College and theology, he was ordained priest in Milltown Park, Dublin in 1949. After tertianship, he came to Zambia in August 1951.

Education was his field of work for the forty years he lived and worked in Zambia. As Manager of Schools, he built both new schools and teachers' houses as exampled above. He became education secretary in Chikuni, Civuna and Monze up to 1960 and was responsible for building the church at Monze town. In the early days, he traveled by bicycle, motor bike and landrover setting up, visiting and inspecting schools.

Someone compared Fr Colm to that Irish 6th century Saint Columba (after whom Colm took his name). ‘He (Columba) was able, ardent and sometimes harsh but mellowed with age. The description is also apt for Colm. He was extremely able. As an educationist and administrator he was highly capable and was driven by a generous zeal for the Lord's work. Like other outstanding people there was also a negative side to his very positive character, at times he would appear moody or even harsh. But this was only a passing phase; like his patron Columba, he mellowed with age’.

His work in education continued in Lusaka from 1960 to 1976. He worked in the Catholic Secretariat as Education Secretary General 1960 to 1964 and combined this with the job of Secretary General 1964 to 1976. He was convinced of the value of education and the apostolate of education was his first preference. Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College was launched by him and he was responsible for the establishing and developing of lay missionary teachers (LMA T) so sorely needed in the early days of independence. He came to be widely known as a good organizer and administrator, a chairman who could be relied upon to give satisfaction, get work done and produce results.

In 1970 he was nominated by the President of Zambia to be chairman of a high level commission to review salaries, salary structures and conditions of service for the Public Service, including police and defense forces on a nationwide basis. However, he had not left his building skills behind in Monze for he planned and executed the Catholic Secretariat Building – Unity House on Freedom Way, as well as the residence at St. Ignatius Church in Lusaka.

His work became widely known and he was invited to cooperate in the setting up of a Bishops' Secretariat in Lesotho which occupied him from 1977 to 1978. He retired to Kitwe to be engaged mainly in pastoral work.

He was very loyal to his friends and devoted to others, ready to put himself out to help them. In the midst of all his education work, he was first and foremost a priest, very conscientious to his call to grow in the love and service of the Lord and bringing others to Him, helping others to seek and find God in their lives by his preaching, Mass, sacraments, retreats and counseling.

As the years went by, his health became quite a serious problem especially heart and circulation difficulties. He was in Ireland for treatment but his mind was made up to return to Zambia since he had become a Zambian citizen in 1966. At Heathrow airport on his way back, he collapsed and died on the 2 December 1992.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - MICHAEL O'Riordan

Name of creator

(26 December 1910-21 March 1991)

Biographical history

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A file of letters written during the year 1955 relating to the Chikuni Mission, Northern Rhodesia.

  • Includes a letter from Fr Robert Thompson SJ, PO Box 125, Lusaka to Irish Fr Provincial Michael O'Grady SJ concerning the Teacher Training College. Remarks that the establishment of a new Training College was formally passed in principle and that a decision on the proposed site at Monze-Lubwe will be made shortly (5 January 1955, 2pp).
  • Includes a newspaper cutting reporting on the appointment of Fr Adam Kozlowiecki SJ as Bishop-Elect of the Lusaka Vicariate (22 August 1955, 1p).
  • Includes a copy of the minutes of a consultation held at Chikuni Mission. The first item relates to the partition of goods between the Vicariate Apostolic of Lusaka and the Society of Jesus (15 & 16 September 1955, 6pp).

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