File 44 - Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1959

Identity area

Reference code

IE IJA MSSN/ZAM/44

Title

Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1959

Date(s)

  • 8 January-4 December 1959 (Creation)

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File

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39 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

(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

(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

(25 March 1906-02 November 1981)

Biographical history

Born: 25 March 1906, Lisnagry, County Limerick
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939
Professed: 02 February 1943
Died: 02 November 1981, Clongowes Wood College, Clane, Co Kildare

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 20 July 1959-1965

by 1938 at Petworth, Surrey (ANG) health

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
Arthur took as his model and ideal his Master of Juniors, Fr Charles O'Conor Don, whose motto, ‘faithful always and everywhere’, Arthur took as his own.

Note from Tommioe O’Meara Entry
One summer on villa (summer holidays), the local parish priest was invited to dinner and was being introduced to the scholastics, one of whom was Charles O'Conor-Don (a descendant of the last High King of Ireland). He was introduced as ‘This is the O’Conor-Don’, when Tommie immediately pipes up ‘I'm the O’Meara Tom’.

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A file of letters written during the year 1958 relating to the Chikuni Mission, Northern Rhodesia.

  • Includes a letter from Fr Daniel L Meagher SJ, Superior of the Mission, St Ignatius, PO Box 125, Lusaka to Fr Coyne SJ. concerning a communication from the Apostolic delegate informing him that the S C of Propaganda Fide accepts the proposition regarding the division of Lusaka Vicariate (17 February 1959, 1p).
  • Includes a copy of a letter from Irish Fr Provincial Michael O'Grady SJ to the Superior of the Mission Fr Daniel Meagher SJ concerning the appointment of a Vicar Apostolic for the Southern Province. Instructs Fr Meagher to establish a terna and to submit the names to him (5 March 1959, 1p).
  • Includes a letter from Fr Brian MacMahon SJ, Chikuni Mission, PO Chisekesi, Northern Rhodesia to Irish Fr Provincial concerning the terna for the appointment of a Vicar Apostolic. Submits three names (11 April 1959, 2pp).
  • Includes a report of the inspection team of Canisius College, Chikuni Mission (3 June 1959, 25pp).
  • Includes copies of correspondence relating to the election of Ecclesiastical Superior for the Mission. It would appear that the initial submission of names was rejected by Fr. General (5 July- 6 September 1959, 3 items).
  • Includes a letter from Fr Daniel L. Meagher SJ, Superior of the Mission, Kasiya Mission, PO Box 54, Pemba, N. Rhodesia to Irish Fr Provincial Charles O'Conor SJ concerning the election of Ecclesiastical Superior of the Mission. Remarks 'I am in complete agreement with your Reverence that we cannot now produce a suitable candidate from the present mission personnel…I am now convinced that it would serve no more useful purpose by referring this question back to our Consultors and I personally am very convinced that the only line left for us to take is to select from Ireland (21 September 1959, 2pp).

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