File 137 - Letters from Irish Jesuits in Zambia to the Mission Office, Ireland

Identity area

Reference code

IE IJA MSSN/ZAM/137

Title

Letters from Irish Jesuits in Zambia to the Mission Office, Ireland

Date(s)

  • 12 October 1950-8 July 1969 (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

88 items

Context area

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

(11 April 1916-08 March 1995)

Biographical history

Born: 11 April 1916, Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1938, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1951
Professed: 05 November 1977
Died: 08 March 1995, John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambiae Province

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
After leaving school at Clongowes Wood College in 1933, Arthur worked for about five years in the Hibernian Bank. Later he enjoyed recalling his days as an oarsman in a crew of eight, racing on the river Liffey in Dublin.

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. He was noticeable for his observance of rules, regularity at prayer, simple faith, thoroughness in his work – even polishing the floor of his room. He was outstanding for his charity especially towards those in trouble or unwell. These traits remained with him all his life. One who lived with Arthur said that he had a characteristic blend of the ridiculous with a stern sense of duty.

When he finished tertianship, Arthur became socius to the Master of Novices for about two years and then became Minister at Clongowes Wood College for two years. The job of Minister seemed to have followed him in all the houses he was posted to.

1958 saw him in Zambia, in Chivuna where he studied ciTonga and acted as Minister. He was transferred to Chikuni, again as Minister, but after two years became Rector there, In the role of rector, as in the rest of his life, Arthur never once showed the slightest trace of malice, vindictiveness or favouritism. During his six years as rector, he was blessed with such outstanding heads of Canisius as Dick Cremins and Michael J Kelly. Arthur's vision for Canisius as a leading secondary school was influenced by his experience of Clongowes Wood College in Ireland. First, he wanted a proper house for the community. Though the actual building was the responsibility of Fr McCarron and Br Pat McElduff, the siting and design of the spacious community house are largely Arthur’s. Then came the expansion of Canisius with better quality classrooms and dormitories, a fitting dining room and kitchen. Arthur was deeply involved too in the design of the college chapel.

From 1967 to 1973 he was at Namwala Government Secondary School as teacher and later as Deputy Head. Arthur revelled in giving himself to the demands made on him: teaching, conscientious correction of assignments, availability to students, and counsellor to his fellow teachers. Becoming Deputy gave him the extra load of maintaining discipline and setting high standards of behaviour and work among the students. This seems to have been one of the happiest times of Arthur's life in Zambia and every indication was that he had excellent relations with the staff and pupils, due no doubt to his inherent kindness and generosity. He actually wore himself out and was then transferred to the smaller Mukasa minor seminary in Choma in 1974.

However, in 1974, he went on long leave to Ireland where he was exposed to new styles of living the religious life and nuanced modifications of traditional ways of expressing Catholic doctrine. Arthur became confused and deeply upset, as his simple faith had always delighted in accepting the traditional textbook expression of the Catholic faith which he had learnt in theology. So he held on grimly to his convictions for the rest of his life, as he continued to think and preach in scholastic categories. He found Mukasa too small for him after the vastness of Namwala and was moved after two years. His eight years (1976–1984) at Charles Lwanga T.T.C. gave him fresh scope for his zeal and energies. He enjoyed being in a large community house which he kept spotlessly clean during his years as Minister. His lecturers were meticulously prepared and all assignments corrected. He was tireless in supervising teaching practice. He worked hard to build up the morale of a small group of Catholic pupils at Rusangu Secondary School.

In the end he wore himself out again and was transferred to St Ignatius in Lusaka as assistant in the parish (1984-1990). He was especially devoted to hearing confessions and generous in answering calls on his time. When Fr Max Prokoph began to fail, Arthur was as assiduous as ever in helping him. Ascetical in his own life, stern towards those for whom he felt responsibility, Arthur was surprisingly indulgent towards the various strays and ‘inadequates’ who quickly detected in him and easy touch and flocked around St Ignatius.

He was moved to the infirmary at John Chula House as his mind began to fail even though his body was strong and healthy. It was painful to see him slowly losing touch with the outside world as Alzheimer’s took its inevitable toll. At the end, Arthur died quite suddenly. It was discovered that he had widespread cancer of which he never complained. He was never one to vacillate or waffle and when the time came he took his leave of life as he had lived it, with dispatch and no nonsense.

Note from Bernard (Barney) Collins Entry
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.

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

(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

(03 February 1915-22 June 2006)

Biographical history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name of creator

(07 December 1915-04 June 1992)

Biographical history

Born: 07 December 1915, Waterford City, County Waterford
Entered: 09 October 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947
Professed: 02 February 1950
Died: 04 June 1992, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at the time of death

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Bill went through the usual studies of the Jesuits, was ordained in 1947 and after tertianship was posted to Limerick. Plans were then afoot to send Irish Jesuits to what was then Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Bill conceived a keen desire NOT to go there. He was just settling down in the Crescent when he received a letter telling him to get a medical check-up with a view of going to Northern Rhodesia. The Irish Jesuits had been asked to help out their Polish colleagues there. So in 1950, nine Irish Jesuits sailed from Ireland, including Fr Bill.

For many years, Fr Zabdyr had moved out from Chikuni, his base, in order to set up elementary schools in various places. 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. A letter from Fr Bill to Fr Zabdyr dated 17 June 1951 reads:

‘I have been in “permanent residence” here since the beginning of May, more or less, and will continue so for the future. I am busy building my Mission-station and it is going fairly satisfactorily. A space has been cleared in the bush, foundations are down, a well dug in the river, and grass for thatching cut and piled. After that, things will go smoothly as far as I can foresee. Somewhere near the end of July the house will be finished as far as I can do it this year. I may have to wait until later for cement to make proper floors. lt will be a two-roomed house, with a small kitchen near it. In the meantime I have a class going each evening for Christians who have not married in church’.

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. Bill was transferred to Fumbo and later to Chikuni where he taught and was Spiritual Father to the African Sisters. He was also, for a time, secretary to the Bishop of Lusaka.

Having spent seven years in Zambia, he returned to Ireland to Gonzaga College for 30 years, teaching physics etc. up to 1987. The remaining five years of his life he spent at University Hall and at 35 Lower Leeson Street. He died in St Vincent's Hospital on 4th June 1992.

Bill came from a large Waterford family and was distinctive among them, ‘he alone of the 10 children greeted orders with “Why” and all information with “How do you know”? and he always enjoyed a good argument as much as other children enjoyed a party. He endearingly retained these characteristics to the end’. He loved discussion and debate but his kindness, good humor and generosity were no less noticed and appreciated. He was a good teacher and had a marvelous rapport with his students who really loved him. He was a colorful member of his community, enjoying the interchange and contributing much to it. He always had a sense of wonder. As he watched a fellow Jesuit perform some simple 'magic' tricks, he would be enthralled and laugh.

In pastoral work he was most successful, if somewhat diffident. Indeed he was suspicious of those who trafficked in certainties. Nor was he one for laying down an inflexible code of behaviour. He accepted people as he found them and in whatever circumstances they were in. He was keen to help them to make sense of their lives in their own way and to give their own meaning to their lives. He never entertained the idea that he could solve all people's problems but he did try to help others to live more easily with those human and religious problems that everyone experiences and that are beyond solution in this life. He was especially good with those whose faith was fragile, whose link with the Church was tenuous or whose practice was spasmodic. He himself lived happily with questions unanswered and problems unsolved but with the absolute certainty that the day would come when he would get his answers and solutions.

Pulmonary fibrosis was what took him in the end. Actually he had planned to visit Zambia with his sister in the autumn of the year he died but the Lord had other plans for him.

Name of creator

(17 April 1912-05 January 1986)

Biographical history

Born: 17 April 1912, Dublin
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1946
Died: 05 January 1986, Monze, Zambia - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Part of the Kasisi Parish, Lusaka, Zambia at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1956 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fifth wave of Zambian Missioners

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Because Joe was such a ‘character’ - widely known and admired (as it were from a distance), fondly mimicked, amusedly quoted in his characteristic phrases like ‘old chap’, ‘nonsense!’ ‘My community’ etc, perhaps the full depth of his humanity and Jesuit identity were known only to a small circle of friends with whom he felt totally comfortable. His achievements as a missionary can easily be narrated for the edification of others or the annals of history.

Born on 17 April 1912, to a Dublin family of Cork stock, Joe had to compete with several brothers and sisters for the approval of his father; his mother had died when Joe was very young. After secondary school with the Christian Brothers, he entered the novitiate at Emo on 3 September 1930. As a junior he finished with a B.Sc. in Mathematics from U.C.D. Philosophy, regency and theology brought him to ordination at Milltown Park on 29 July 1943. He went to teach at Clongowes Wood College and was looked upon as a very competent teacher. From his oft repeated anecdotes of his life there, it is very clear that he enjoyed himself immensely.

A call for volunteers to meet the needs of the Jesuit Mission in the then Northern Rhodesia, saw Joe packing his bags to say goodbye to Clongowes. His ability to discard the comforts of life would be a feature of his life right up to his dying moments, despite the fragility of his body and the poor state of his general health. He came out with the first nine Irish Jesuits in 1950.

In the late 50s, Joe pioneered the Chivuna Mission where he built the community house, church and Trade School with the co-operation of Br Jim Dunne and won the esteem and affection of the people in the locality who fondly spoke of him as ‘Makacki’. For four years he was in Namwala, again building the mission house, a sisters' convent and outstations. In both these places he was full time parish priest.

The new Bishop of Monze, in his wise fashion appointed Joe as his Vicar General in the newly established diocese of Monze. Few (if any) could match Joe's qualifications for such a post: clear-sighted, wide experience in pioneering Church expansion, adroit in negotiating with local authorities, well able to collaborate with so varied a group of people, and an ability to make most of the limited funds available. Joe contributed enormously to the expansion of the church in Monze diocese during those years.

At the Bishop's request he was assigned to Chirundu, to the Zambezi Farm Training Institute, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Milan. In those ten years Joe became known in the vicinity and was highly appreciated by government officials, trainees and their families.

It was characteristic of Joe that wherever he lived and worked soon became ‘his’. He would speak of ‘my’ mission, ‘my' road, ‘my’ community etc. He loved to reminisce about the good old times of his life as he got older, amusedly recalling the characters of the old days, their witty sayings that indicated their nimbleness of mind. Such memories provided him with immense entertainment. The older he got the more he tended to repeat himself.

The Society he loved and felt part of was the Society of pre-Vatican II days, the Society in Ireland before the 60s; or the pioneering Society of Chikuni Mission characterized by the thrust and energy of the newly arrived Irish Jesuits, enjoying a degree of autonomy and homogeneity. How often would he later recall those great times. The present-day emphasis on community meetings, faith-sharing, more open dialogue between the members of the community continued to baffle him and defeat him to the very end.

His health was never very good and began to wane. After surgery in early 1977, Joe realized the strong possibility of the recurrence of the cancer. However some years later, the end came quickly. Jim Carroll was with him for his last four hours of life. When taking his leave of Jim in his final moments, Joe revealed so much of himself in his final words: ‘I think you should leave me here, old chap; there are certain formalities to be undergone from here on’! Within minutes Joe had died, leaving behind so many friends regretfully but at the same time looking forward to meeting so many others.

Name of creator

(24 December 1927-14 January 2017)

Biographical history

Born: 24 December 1927, Newry, County Down
Entered: 07 September1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 14 January 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Raised in Newry, County Down and Galway.
Part of the Loyola, Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Early Education at Coláiste Iognáid and Clongowes Wood College

1947-1950 Rathfarnham - Studying at UCD
1950-1953 Tullabeg - Studying Theology Philosophy
1953-1954 Lusaka Mission - Studying CiTonga language
1954-1956 Chikuni Mission - Regency : Teaching Religion, History, Maths; Assistant Games Master; Health Prefect for students; Scouts
1956-1960 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1960-1961 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1961-1972 Canisius College - Prefect of Discipline; Teacher of English and Latin; President Junior Academy; Photographic Society; Scouts & Cadets; Retreats
1971 Headmaster (1971-1972)
1965 Teacher of Geography and Geology
1972-1975 Teacher; Spiritual Father to House and students; Spiritual Exercises at Kohima Barracks (Kabwe); Consultor
1975 Choma, Mukasa, Zambia – Headmaster, teacher
1976-1982 Canisius College – Rector, Teacher
1982-1997 Luwisha House, Lusaka - Religious Education Inspector for Department of Education and Culture (to 1993)
1988 Revisor of Archives for Province
1993 Education Secretary, ZEC (1993-1997)
1995 Consultor
1997-2001 Choma, Zambia - Teaches English & Geography at Mukasa Minor Seminary, Choma
2000 Librarian
2001-2011 Xavier House, Lusaka - Minister; Works in JTL and Archives at Fr John Chula House (Infirmary)
2005 House Treasurer; Works Archives at Fr John Chula House (Infirmary)
2011 Prays for the Church and the Society at Fr John Chula House
2011-2016 Loyola House, Dublin
2011 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/tom-survives-a-battering-2/

Tom survives a battering
Galway-born Tom McGivern SJ was locking up Chula House in Lusaka, Zambia, on Thursday evening when he was set upon by a thug demanding money. Tom had very little, and
the exasperated thief bashed him over the head with an iron bar. The community found him slumped on the floor. He needed ten stitches to his head, but after observation and a scan in the ICU, the scene has improved. Fr McGloin reports from Lusaka on 10 January: “I’ve just returned from visiting Tom in hospital. He seems to be greatly improved. He recognizes people; he is talking, though sometimes he gets confused; he is eating quite well; he has walked to the toilet; he was sitting up for a while today. This morning the surgeon does not believe any surgery will be required. But pray for him. Aged 83, he faces a struggle.”

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/tom-mcgivern-sj/

Tom McGivern SJ: a man without guile
Michael J. Kelly SJ gives an account of his late missionary friend Tom McGivern SJ who passed away on 14 January, 2017 in his 90th year.
Just a month before his death, the British Journal Religion & Education referred to Tom as “father of Zambian RE” and elsewhere as its “hero”. During the years 1982–1993, he served as Zambia’s first Inspector for Religious Education. At this post, Tom was not only responsible for ensuring the quality of RE in all secondary schools across the country, but he also served as the chief professional and technical advisor to the Government on matters relating to RE.
Tom recalled very laconically his appointment to this post: “The word came to me through my superiors that I had been appointed as the Inspector of RE. So I packed my bags and headed to Luwisha House which was to be my abode for the next eleven years.” He responded very courageously to this challenge and was instrumental in developing a syllabus which, with minor modifications, is still in use today.
Sadly, Tom was not fully aware in the final years of his life how significant his work for RE in Zambia had been. What led to this was as a result of an attack by a thief which left him brain injured at his home in Lusaka, in January 2011. He was later repatriated to Ireland in September 2011 for more specialized investigations and care. Despite being away from his beloved Zambia where he had lived for most of his life, he showed much gratitude to everybody who stretched out a hand to help him. And it was in Cherryfield that, following a fairly short illness, he handed over his great self to God.
Furthermore, Tom had three great characteristics: his smile, his loyalty and his open childlike nature. In some ways he was the incarnation of a smile. It seemed to be there always, even when he had to reprimand or correct, as those who had him as a prefect of discipline can well recall. He loved a good joke – and he loved to repeat back to you any good joke you might have told him! Maybe it was because he was born on Christmas Eve that he had such a good sense of humour, such a realisation that there was plenty to smile about in life, even if there were also sad and disturbing things.
As for loyalty, Tom’s was almost legendary: loyalty to the Church, loyalty to the Society, loyalty to his companions and friends, loyalty to Zambia. If Tom was on your side, you were safe. He would never let you down. This loyalty showed itself in a very special way when he set out to do something on behalf of religious Sisters: if one of them let it be known that she had a problem, Tom would be off his mark at once, seeing what he could do to help.
And Tom always embodied in his person the words of Jesus, “Unless you become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” He was always a child and had all the loveableness of a child. When somebody would produce some sweets or a piece of chocolate, Tom would stand there, eyes opening wide, expectant like a child. Indeed, jokingly it was sometimes said of him that he showed himself, less as a man among boys but more as a boy among boys!
Finally, Tom was a great inspiration and model for all of his Jesuit brethren. He was the kind of Jesuit St. Ignatius of Loyola would have wanted him to be, the kind of person God had in mind when He created him. Like Nathanael in the Gospel, he was a person in whom there was no guile, a most lovable, kind, cheerful man. We in Zambia are poorer without him. The world is poorer without him, but heaven is better off for having him. Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/518-irish-men-behind-the-missions-fr-tom-mcgivern-sj-rip

IRISH MEN BEHIND THE MISSIONS: FR TOM MCGIVERN SJ RIP
Fr Tom McGivern SJ passed on to his final reward on the 14th January 2017 in his 90th year. Encouraged by his friends and family, he had completed his biography in January 2011.The following excerpts are drawn from ‘As I Remember’ as Tom relates his life story weaving into it references to some of the momentous historical events of the 20th century.

Family values and Catholic education
Born on Christmas Eve 1927 into a family of two boys and two girls, Tom went to the Jesuit primary school ‘The Jez’ in Galway and then to Clongowes Wood College for second level education. He went to train for the priesthood in the Society of Jesus in County Laois, then known as 'Queen's County'. After his ordination in 1959, he went on to spend most of his life in Zambia.
In his biography, Tom comes across as a modest, straight talking and honest man. His parents Eileen and Edward, while very understanding, expected nothing less than the truth from their children. When young Tom was caught out in a lie about a visit to the local cinema, he was grounded and his punishment was to write out 100 times: ‘No lie can be lawful or innocent and no motive however good can excuse a lie, because a lie is always sinful and bad in itself.’
This Catholic catechism definition and punishment left a lifelong impression on him!

Into the silence
World War II had just ended when Tom began his Jesuit novitiate at the age of 18. A new life opened characterised by study, silence and prayer into which the ‘outside world’ only occasionally intruded.
Tom remembers Fr Frank Browne SJ, made famous for his rare photos of the Titanic when he sailed at the beginning of the ship’s only voyage from England to Ireland in 1912. An old man by the time Tom stumbled, covered in embarrassment, across his path in the chapel, Fr Browne had served as aChaplain in the trenches during WW I.
The novitiate came to an end after two years with the taking of perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

On to university life in Dublin
As the newly arrived students at university, the young Juniors were given the oldest bikes to cycle from their seminary to the University. It was a punishing five miles each way. Rationing was still in place after WW II and the young men were given a tin of sugar lumps each month, used for sweetening the tea and as money for playing poker!
During this time, the Free State of Ireland left the Commonwealth and ushered in the birth of the Irish Republic.
A primary Arts degree was followed by a further three years of Philosophy—taken to acquire critical and precise thinking. The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of life were often on his mind. It reveals something of Tom’s twinkling humour bubbling up throughout his biography, that one assignment submitted was entitled ‘Man, the Laughing Animal’.

‘Go South, young man’
It was 1953 and the young Queen Elizabeth had ascended the throne. The Irish Province had been assigned to send men to Northern Rhodesia as the Polish Jesuits who usually served there, were now unable to travel after the fall of the Iron Curtain that divided post WW II Europe. Tom had volunteered to go on mission to Alaska but was instructed to travel south of the Equator instead to Zambia—then Northern Rhodesia, a colony of the British Empire.
Zambia is about nine times the size of Ireland and Chikuni Mission where Tom went to live, is roughly the same as the island of Ireland. Tom’s first task was to learn Chitonga, the language of the Southern Province.
Being understood wasn’t always easy. In class, teaching about the Holy Trinity and the four gospels, Tom once asked the students how many persons were in the Trinity. “ Four” they said, “ Matteo, Marko, Luka and Johanne”. He admitted he had a lot to learn about teaching but little did he know he was to spend 40 years in education (http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/WgSDS2KHccxNSESQi9xb/full)!
The building of Chikuni mission was slow but steady in every sense of the word—from molding bricks in the sun to bringing a meaningful understanding of Christ and religion to the people.
Following a period away from Chikuni and a one year Tertianship in Ireland and England in 1960, Tom returned to immerse himself in education. During that period he taught English, French, Geography, Geology, Literature, Mathematics and Religious Education.

‘The reluctant hero’
Across the years, Tom McGivern lived through the civil and political unrest preceding Zambian independence, rolled up his sleeves in the building of a fledgling nation and devoted his life to its growth along with his Jesuit brethren and members of other religious organisations.

https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/520-michael-j-kelly-sj-and-the-man-with-the-beaming-smile

MICHAEL J KELLY SJ AND THE MAN WITH THE WELCOMING SMILE
Father Tom McGivern, S.J. Memorial Mass, St. Ignatius 28th January 2017
Fr Michael J Kelly SJ and a large number of priests concelebrated a Memorial Mass in Lusaka, Zambia for their friend and colleague Tom McGivern SJ. Presided over by Fr Emmanual Mumba SJ, Provincial of the Zambia-Malawi Province and attended by over 130 people including the Irish Ambassador Séamus O'Grady and his wife, a large part of the congregation were former students from four decades of Tom's teaching and religious sisters with whom he had worked.
The Homily given by Michael J Kelly SJ expresses the deep appreciation of Fr Tom's work and comradeship across the many years he served in Zambia.

Homily by Fr Michael J Kelly SJ
Friends, I welcome all of you very warmly to this memorial Mass for Father Tom McGivern who died in Ireland two weeks ago today. And as we remember Tom and celebrate his life, we think lovingly of his sister Mary and brother Eddie in Canada; of his nieces, nephews, relatives and their families in Ireland, Canada, and Switzerland; and of the thousands of people here in Zambia and elsewhere in whose lives he made such a difference for good. To all of them we extend our sincere sympathy. They have lost a great brother, a great uncle and a great friend, but they can be absolutely certain that Tom continues in his love for them and his concern that all should go well with them in every aspect of their lives.
It’s more than seventy years since Tom and I first met. The occasion was my arrival at the Jesuit novitiate in Ireland where Tom had already completed his first year. I remember it so well. It was five past four, the afternoon of Saturday, September 6th 1946, and Tom was the first Jesuit novice that I met. He immediately stretched out his hand – his hairy hand, I might say – and gave me a very warm welcoming smile, telling me that if he had stuck it out this long, then I should be able to do the same! That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted literally a lifetime and that was stronger than the brutal assault Tom experienced six years ago this very month, stronger than the death that took him from us two weeks ago today.
Most of us know what happened to Tom that fateful night in Chula House on the Airport Road - how when he was locking the security gate into the house a thief sprang on him and with an iron bar gave him a few hefty blows on the head. Because of his strong physique and the great care he got in hospital and subsequently in Chula House, Tom recovered to the extent that his life was no longer in danger. But damage had been done to his brain and as the months passed it became clear that he needed more specialized investigations and care. So it was that in September 2011 he was repatriated to Ireland, to Cherryfield, the Nursing Home there for elderly and infirm Jesuits. There he received the wonderful love and care that enabled him to live peacefully for the final years of his life, generally in reasonable physical health but with his mind gradually slipping away from him all the time. And it was there that, following a fairly short illness, he handed over his great self to God at half-past-ten in the morning on Saturday 14th January.
These were difficult years for Tom when he was away from Zambia and the people he loved, and when he could no longer remember people or events and needed nursing assistance in looking after himself. But some things remained with him: his great, broad beaming smile; his graciousness; his sense of fun; his gratitude to everybody who stretched out a hand to help him. And occasionally in the early days of his handicapped existence back in Ireland, I even heard Tom express this gratitude in Chitonga, as his faltering memory brought up words from the past: “Eh-hee. Mbubo.Twa lumba1.” Zambia was where he had lived for most of his life and Zambia was close to his heart up to the very end. And it was truly fitting that, although he did not die in Zambia, one of his many Zambian friends, Mable Chilenga, was with him, holding his hand when the time came for him to go home to God. Thank you, Mable, for being there at that time.
Here in Zambia we find it hard to think of Tom as being enfeebled, having difficulty in speaking, not being able to recognise people, weary and tired. That was not the Tom we knew. The Tom we knew was a vigorous active man; a great Jesuit and a wonderful priest; a loyal friend and delightful companion; a man of heart-warming kindness and immense concern for anybody in need, especially if that person was a religious Sister; always bright and cheerful; steadfastly loyal, true and trustworthy. And for more than fifty years he put all of these great qualities at the service of the people of Zambia, principally through education but also and more strikingly through the kind of person he was.
Tom spent almost twenty of his early years in Zambia at Canisius College in the Southern Province, as teacher, prefect, headmaster and Rector. Those who came under his influence there will always remember how he formed them into being persons of integrity and character, hard-working, honest, and fired with concern for others. It was he who established the Cadet Force at Canisius several months before Independence. As Captain the Reverend Thomas McGivern he had the privilege in September 1964 of marshalling these into a Guard of Honour for inspection by Kenneth Kaunda, who was then Prime Minister of what was still Northern Rhodesia, the very first Guard of Honour that the future President of Zambia ever inspected. And in later years, under Tom’s dynamic leadership, the Canisius Cadets won the top awards at army camps held at Arakan Barracks.
When Tom left Canisius he brought his vitality, practicality and deeply religious Christian spirit to his work at Mpima Minor Seminary and later at Mukasa in Choma. Through his life and work in both places he inspired many youthful would-be seminarians to commit themselves to following the Lord who had called them, wherever He might go. In this way, Tom played a significant role in bringing it about that today we have so many good Zambian priests. I don’t think he could have left us a finer legacy.
The next phase of Tom’s apostolic life (https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/517-fr-tom-mcgivern-sj- may-he-rest-in-peace)saw him breaking altogether new ground, both for himself as a person and for Zambia as a country. This was when he launched out into the field of Religious Education. He has the distinction of being the country’s first Inspector of Religious Education and through his dedication in this area over a period of more than ten years, he established RE on a sound footing within the Ministry of Education, raised it to a status comparable with that of other school subjects, and gave the teaching of it a tremendous boost in the schools across the country. Moreover, with the help of a group of very dedicated people, lay and religious, he also developed a syllabus for RE that has stood the test of time. Given that his own academic and teaching backgrounds were in English and Geography, all of this was a tremendous achievement on Tom’s part. What for somebody else would have been the work of a lifetime, he just took in his stride, seeing this as his way of serving God at the moment.
From the Ministry of Education Tom moved to the Zambia Episcopal Conference where for a number of years he put his long experience as teacher, administrator and inspector of schools at the service of the Church as its Education Secretary General. During these years he consolidated much that he had initiated in the field of Religious Education and made good use of his understanding of the workings of the Education Ministry to help the Catholic education system adopt and adapt to emerging education policies and new directives.

Three of Tom’s great characteristics were his smile, his loyalty and his open childlike nature. In some ways he was the incarnation of a smile. It seemed to be there always, even when he had to reprimand or correct, as those who had him as a prefect of discipline can well recall. He loved a good joke – and loved to repeat back to you any good joke you might have told him! Maybe it was because he was born on Christmas Eve that he had such a good sense of humour, such a realisation that there was plenty to smile about in life, even if there were also sad and disturbing things.
As for loyalty, Tom’s was almost legendary. Loyalty to the Church, loyalty to the Jesuits, loyalty to his companions and friends, loyalty to Zambia. If Tom was on your side, you were safe. He would never let you down. He was always that way, but this became even more characteristic of him as he grew older. And this loyalty showed itself in a very special way when he set out to do something on behalf of religious Sisters. Sometimes you hear somebody like Mother Teresa being referred to as the saint of the poor. I think Tom will always be remembered as the saint of the Sisters, whether those at the Marian Shrine, or the Sisters of Charity in Kabwata or Roma, or Sisters wherever: if one of them let it be known that she had a problem, Tom would be off his mark at once, seeing what he could do to help, even to the extent of pestering you or somebody else to come to her help. Ever loyal, ever faithful, ever energetic on the Sisters’ behalf.
And Tom always embodied in his person the words of Jesus, “Unless you become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” He was surely one of the children to whom our Father in heaven revealed the mysteries of the kingdom, as we heard in the Gospel today. Tom was always a child and had all the loveableness of a child. I can still see his eyes opening wide when somebody would produce some sweets or a piece of chocolate, wide-eyed and expectant like a child. Indeed, we Jesuits sometimes joked among ourselves that at Canisius and elsewhere Tom always showed himself, not so much as a man among boys but more as a boy among boys! Again, maybe he had this most endearing trait because his birthday was Christmas Eve when God gave him to the world 89 years ago as a most delightful Christmas present.
And underlying all this and giving it life were Tom’s deep faith and his total Christian commitment. Always and everywhere he was a man of God and a man of prayer; a man who endeavoured to praise, reverence and serve God in everything he turned his hand to; a man consumed in very practical ways by the love of God and who was always concerned that he should let that love have its full way with him.
Friends, I could go on forever talking about Tom, a man who was such an inspiration and model for all of us Jesuits, the kind of Jesuit St. Ignatius of Loyola would have wanted him to be, the kind of person our heavenly Father had in mind when He created him. But let me end by going back to my first meeting with Tom and that warm welcoming hand extended to me nearly 71 years ago. It is my earnest hope and prayer that when I too am called to our Father’s home Tom will be there with his lovely smile, stretching out to me the same hand, welcoming me home, and both of us hearing the reassuring words of the Lord Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many places to live in. Your place is now ready for you. That’s why I am taking you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
Two weeks ago today, after a long and faithful life, Tom’s place was ready and the Lord Jesus came to take him to himself, so that where Jesus is Tom also might be. That is our assurance. That is our faith. And we express it in a short prayer in the Irish language, a language Tom knew and loved so well: “Ar dheis laimh De go raibh a anam dilis,” words which mean “may his lovely soul always be there at God’s right hand”.
Mu zyina lya Taata, ilya Mwana, ilya Muya Musaante2. Amen Author: Fr Michael J. Kelly, SJ

https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/517-fr-tom-mcgivern-sj-may-he-rest-in-peace

HOMILY FOR FR TOM MCGIVERN SJ BY JOE HAYES SJ

When I think of you Tom the image that comes to my mind is that of the reluctant hero reluctant because you are the last to realize that in so many of our eyes you are a hero. You spent your life as part of critical movements you did not initiate but which you did your best to move forward. You are a very private man about your inner dreams but I suspect that privacy didn't come from shyness alone but from a sense that the second reading is trying to communicate. "We are earthenware vessels, doing the best we can, but always appreciating we are part of a deeper movement, the movement of our transcendent God."
I found Tom in the midst of what I call the Chikuni/Canisius movement, the movement to educate potential male and female leaders to be ready to play key roles in the emerging Zambian State. Young Tom helped pupils deepen their appreciation of nature through his Geography classes. He helped improve their communication skills through his English teaching. He modelled the virtues needed as the young Zambia took more control of its copper resources. This is also the period where one saw Tom leading his troop of cadets as he inspired the youth to value a career in the uniformed services.
Tom then switched to participate into the movement to educate and encourage young men to become priests so that the emerging Christian communities would be served by their own people.
From there Tom was invited to help oversee the teaching of religious education in schools and from there to oversee the overall participation of the Christian Churches in their partnership with government in providing formal education for Zambian Children.
While here, Tom was drawn into another movement, the movement by Zambian women to claim their dignity and move towards a partnership with men that respected the unique qualities of each gender. Key players in this movement were the young members of women's religious orders.There Tom made many special friends and it was so nice to hear that one of those special friends was with him as the time clock ran out. Thank you Mable.
For the past few years Tom has been more consciously invited into the most important movement within which all the other movements get their meaning. To the eyes of mere experience we have seen the cruel assault, the movement into dementia, the loneliness of leaving behind his work and friends, the dying away from the place where he would have loved to have died. To the eyes of faith that invitation is one into the paschal mystery of Christ as the Gospel reading hints. "God working to make all people appreciate they are his friends, doing it Christ's way. Not focusing on our sins, our failure to live up to our potential but inviting us to be his ambassadors of reconciliation so that all will know they are God's friends."
I would imagine there were times that Tom, with Christ asked the question of God "My God, why have you forsaken me." But we sense too that many times he prayed with Christ "Father into your hands I commend my Spirit." Tom gave us glimpses that he was singing that deeper song when, amid the darkness, we experienced his smile, that smile that said a special thank you to those who visited, to those who cared for him in Cherryfield. A special thank you to his family and to those in the mission office.
Tom, you have walked the walk. Thank you for being a mentor, an inspiration, a friend

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

(03 March 1918-04 September 2003)

Biographical history

Born: 03 March 1918, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1954
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 lgnatius: 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 marvelous 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 lgnatius, 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.

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

(12 December 1920-03 February 2014)

Biographical history

Born: 12 December 1920, Ballybunion, Co Kerry
Entered: 07 September 1938, Tullabeg
Ordained: 31 July 1952
Professed: 02 February 1955
Died: 03 February 2014, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB : 31 July 1982

by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1970 at Fulham, London (ANG) studying
by 1990 at Biblicum, Rome, Italy (DIR) Sabbatical

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Irish Jesuit Mission Office, 2013.

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File of correspondence from Irish Jesuits mainly in Chikuni and Choma, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to Fr Thomas J. Martin SJ, Mission Office, Milltown Park (later Upper Sherrard Street), Dublin concerning the Chikuni Mission (administration, building plans, school life, finance, requests for supplies and general life there). Includes letters from Frs Dan Byrne, Arthur Clarke, Bernard Collins, Tom Cooney, Joseph Mary Gill, William Lee, Joe McCarthy, Tom McGivern, Louis Meagher, Des O’ Loghlen, Charles O' Connor and Brian Sharkey.

  • letter from Fr Joseph Mary Gill SJ indicating the work he has to do as a teacher as well as been Mission Procurator '...the farm is a big worry. There is something wrong with the cattle and five have just died and a number of the others are sick' (12 October 1950);
  • statement by Fr Brian Sharkey SJ entitled 'Some highlights in missionary life for me' which outlines his time at the Chikuni Mission [1951];
  • letter from Fr Tom Cooney SJ in which he describes the plant needed from Bord na Mona, 'the 60 K.V.A. would be rather large for Chikuni' (16 September 1953); - Chikuni Mission statistics for the year ending 31st December 1953; - letter from Fr Thomas McGivern SJ which includes plan of a map of the buildings at Chikuni (1 January 1954);
  • letter in which Fr Louis Meagher SJ is frustrated with the lack of skills of those been sent out to the mission, 'Could it not be possible to arrange that the brother in Tullabeg be detailed off to give lesson to the scholastics once their names are made known for the missions' (29 September 1956);
  • letter from Fr Des O' Loghlen SJ, Choma, Northern Rhodesia informing of the death of Fr Danny Byrne SJ (6 May 1964);
  • account of the death of Fr Arthur Cox (11 June 1965).

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

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

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2013

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