Lusaka Province (Zambia)

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Lusaka Province (Zambia)

Lusaka Province (Zambia)

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Lusaka Province (Zambia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 39th Year No 3 1964

Obituary :

Fr Daniel Byrne SJ (1920-1964)

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

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

Byrne, Davy, 1935-2013, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/805
  • Person
  • 15 January 1935-14 August 2013

Born: 15 January 1935, Dublin
Entered: 14 March 1957, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1975, St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street
Died: 14 August 2013, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Iona, Portadown, County Armagh community at the time of death.

by 1971 at Bethnal Green, London, England (ANG) studying

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/256-goodbey-to-davy-byrne

A uniformed band played ahead of the hearse as they brought Davy Byrne’s body down the Garvaghy Road to be buried. Davy came to Portadown 28 years ago, after working on social services in Gardiner Street.

◆ Interfuse

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/256-goodbey-to-davy-byrne

A uniformed band played ahead of the hearse as they brought Davy Byrne’s body down the Garvaghy Road to be buried.
Davy came to Portadown 28 years ago, after working on social services in Gardiner Street.

Interfuse No 153 : Autumn 2013

Obituary

Br Davy Byrne (1935-2013)

15 January 1935: Born in Dublin.
Early education at the National School, Rialto, and the Kildare Place Training College.
He was in employment from 1949 1956 as a mechanic on duplicating machines before joining the Society.
14 March 1957: Entered Society at Emo
29 March 1959: First Vows at Emo
1959 - 1960: Milltown Park - Cook at Gonzaga
1960 - 1967: Milltown Park - Refectorian
1967 - 1969: St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia - in charge of staff
1969 - 1970: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1970 - 1972: London – Courses in Sociology at Polytechnic, Barking College
1972 - 1974: Milltown Park – Working in Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street
1974 - 1985: North Circular Road - Working in Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street
2 February 1975: Final Vows at Gardiner Street
1985 - 2013: Iona, Portadown;
1985 - 1996: Community Development
1996 - 2004: Community Development and Reconciliation; House Consultor
2004 - 2011: Pastoral Visitation, Bereavement Counselling; Reconciliation
2011 - 2013: Pastoral Visitation, Ministry of Presence, House Consultor

Davy Byrne was born in Dublin on 15th January 1935. His mother died seven weeks later and he knew little about her. One of many things he came to appreciate about his adoptive family was that he got to go to a Protestant school for his early education, despite the protestations of his local parish priest.

He was in employment from fourteen years of age until he joined the Jesuits in 1957, and during that time he developed an enthusiasm for long-distance cycling. He took part in many team races and had one serious fall over the handlebars of his bike.

After the noviceship he worked mainly in the Milltown Park refectory for seven years. From 1967-69 he was in charge of staff at the high school in Lusaka, Zambia. There he experienced the alienation of the manual worker in relation to established Jesuits. He was, nevertheless, convinced of the role of the brother's vocation in the church. It really mattered to him that he was a Jesuit brother. He never had any desire to be a priest. He knew that he could do things as a brother that priests cannot. His friends among the Irish Jesuit brothers contributed wonderful music and prayers to his requiem.

After Tertianship he stayed with a religious community in London while taking courses in sociology at Barking Polytechnic.

Following this, he worked from 1972 to 1985 in the Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street, where he developed a lifelong friendship with his colleague Sister Emmanuel. There he looked after people on the streets who needed food, a wash and a shave. He had great stories about the characters he met. He cared for them, and could understand where they came from.

Being a Jesuit was a deeply important part of his life. Every year he would make the Spiritual Exercises. In these he would hear again the call of Christ to serve his Kingdom. He would also reflect on the experience of God that Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, had at the river Cardoner, near Manresa in Spain. Ignatius never spoke much about what went on in this, other than to say that he experienced God in a completely new way. From then on he was able to see God in all people and in all things. Davy would also remember Ignatius' vision at La Storta in which he saw Christ telling his Father that he wanted Ignatius to follow him. Davy heard that call and responded to it, however much he failed, like the rest of us.

He had a great love of God and of prayer. He used to talk of Holy Cross, the Benedictine monastery in Rostrevor, as his second spiritual home, especially in later years when his health failed. For many years he attended meetings of the European Jesuit Workers' Group. These were Jesuits who worked alongside people in difficult situations in factories and tried to find Christ in their situation. It was important to Davy that these Jesuits came from many different European countries: he knew the Society is an international body.

In 1985, as a fifty-year old true Dub, he took the courageous step of joining the new venture at Iona, Portadown, in the middle of The Troubles. Portadown was to become his home, where he wanted always to be, and he was the first ever Jesuit to be buried in Northern Ireland. There was a Jesuit house in Donard, County Down, in the 19th century with some Jesuit graves, but that was before the creation of Northern Ireland.

The Jesuit work in Churchill Park began with community development, and Davy was part of the setting up of the Drumcree Community Centre. People from there attended his funeral. He developed a more personal mission to people in stress, which was expressed in the Gingerbread group. Many people give testimony to Davy's presence and words of healing wisdom. He said that his real work was being present to people. When he was present and listening to them, God was present.

He made close friends among Protestants, especially in the Corcrain area which is across the peace wall from Garvaghy Road. In Corcrain they paint the kerbstones red and blue and burn foreign flags on enormous bonfires, but on the day of the funeral a woman from there commented on how he was mourned by so many there. It was very important to him that some of his closest friends were Protestants. Building relationships in Portadown between Catholics and Protestants was very important to him. He hated bigotry and sectarianism.

In 2012 he discovered that his mother was buried in Templemichael, near Arklow where she had grown up. He managed two trips to the grave, which meant very much to him. The final trip included a visit to Sr Emmanuel in Co, Wexford. Some months later she preceded him in death. Mutual friends arranged that he was buried with her rosary beads. His friend Gabrielle, of Gabrielle's flower shop, began to send him single red roses for his mother's grave. In the end he sent two for Davy's grave,

He would have loved his own funeral - the uniformed band preceding the hearse, the hosts of neighbours and friends, the sense of a life fulfilled. A fellow Jesuit said it was the happiest funeral he ever attended. The bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Sean Brady, presided over the liturgy, and while Davy may not have been impressed by celebrity, he would in this case have smiled. Fr Thierry OSB was there to represent the Benedictine community of Rostrevor. Davy had very little family but was always close to his nieces and their families in Birmingham. They obviously cherished him, visiting him during his illness and turning out in force for his funeral.

People regretted the passing of a gentleman, a friend, one whose presence was like a timely sent angel. He ambled along, trusting in the right moment, saying it as he felt it, and people got the message and loved it.

Byrne, Thomas, 1904-1978, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/82
  • Person
  • 30 November 1904-03 August 1978

Born: 30 November 1904, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1933, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Died: 03 August 1978, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Older brother of Patrick Byrne - RIP 1968

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

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

Father Thomas Byrne, Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits from 1957 to 1960, died in Ireland on 3 August 1978, aged 73.
Father Byrne was born in Ireland in 1904. He joined the Jesuits in 1922 and was ordained priest in 1933. In 1934, the Irish Jesuit Province lent him to Hong Kong, where he taught Philosophy (1934-1936) and Dogmatic Theology (1936-1939) at the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen. He returned to Ireland in 1939 to complete his Jesuit training.

After a period as Master of Novices, he was appointed provincial Superior of the Irish Jesuit Province.
He returned to Hong Kong as Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits in 1957. In 1960, he was summoned to Rome to be Assistant to the Jesuit Superior General (1960-1963). In his last years he was assistant priest at St. Ignatius Church, Galway, Ireland.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 August 1978

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

During his term as Provincial (1947-1953) he sent many Jesuits to Hong Kong, and then in 1951 he started the Irish Jesuit Mission to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He also saw the needs in Singapore and Malaysia and sent Jesuits to work there - like Kevin O’Dwyer, who built St Ignatius Church in Singapore; Patrick McGovern who built St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, and also Liam Egan, Gerard (Geoffrey?) Murphy and Tom Fitzgerald. He opened the Novitiate in Cheung Chau in 1958, starting with 10 Novices.

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 4 1978

Galway
The death of Fr Thomas Byrne on August 3 came as a great shock. He became unwell after dinner on August 2. When the doctor saw him, he ordered him into hospital immediately. His heart condition worsened that evening, and he died on the morning of August 3, R.I.P. The funeral Mass was on August 5. Dr Eamonn Casey, Bishop of Galway, presided. The Provincial, Fr Patrick Doyle, the Rector and Parish Priest, Fr Robert McGoran, and Fr Bernard Murray, were the chief concelebrants. Very many members of the Province travelled to Galway to pay their last respects to Fr Byrne.
Herewith is a tribute by Fr McGoran to Fr Byrne in the September issue of the Parish Newsletter
“Hardly had we recovered from the sense of loss at the death of Fr Jack Kerr, when God took to himself a second member of our Parish team, Fr Tommy Byrne. Although Fr Byrne had had a rather severe operation last February, he appeared to be holding his own in recent months - although everyone noticed that he had slowed down a great deal. However, for a week or two before his death he was visibly failing; yet he remained faithful to his parish duties right up to the eve of his death.
During his eight years here in Galway, Fr Tommy endeared himself to all the parishioners, and many felt his death as the loss of a close friend, and one who felt for them in their cares and difficulties. He was untiring in his visitation of families and utterly devoted in ministering to the sick and the aged. He took a keen personal interest in the families entrusted to this care and had a very special way with children. He was a kindly and encouraging man and seemed able to forget his own ailments in his solicitude for other people”.

Another tribute is paid by Fr Desmond O'Loghlen in the July/August issue of the Jesuits in Zambia News. Sincere thanks to him for it.
“Fr Thomas Byrne did not spend long in Africa, only three months. Nevertheless the occasion of his death calls for grateful remembrance of his lasting contribution of the Jesuit Mission effort in Zambia, To this end we may make use of a report on the Chikuni Mission written in 1967 for the Sociological Survey of the Society. (It should be borne in mind that at that time the Lusaka Mission and the Chikuni Mission had not yet amalgamated to form the Vice Province, but were still separate, attached to the Polish and Irish Provinces respectively).
Fr Thomas Byrne Irish Provincial at the time) arrived to visit Northern Rhodesia (as it then was) in April 1952. He spent about three weeks in Africa, met the Apostolic Administrator (Very Rev Adam Kozlowiecki SJ) and the Regional Superior (Very Rev Marian Folta SJ) and saw all the Irish Jesuits in the country. Fr Byrne was the Provincial, who, in 1950, had taken the generous step of Officially pledging the Irish Province to help the Mission. On his initiative nine new members, (eight priests and one brother) joined the Mission in 1950, and eight more in 1951 (five priests, two scholastics, and one brother) and others followed yearly. From this visit of Fr. Provincial, in consultation with the Apostolic Administrator and the Regional Superior, emerged the main lines of development followed by the Irish Jesuits for the next ten years, through the establishment of the Chikuni Mission in 1956 up to the establishment of the Diocese of Monze in 1962.
Plans were made to continue the pastoral and educational work already built up around Chikuni by Frs Moreau, Zabdyr, Prokoph, and others. Three new stations had been already started at Chivuna, Kasiya, and Fumbo. Plans were also made for pastoral coverage of Mazabuka, Monze, Choma, Kalomo, with an eventual westward thrust to Namwala. Provision was made for Irish Jesuits to work in Lusaka.
Fr Byrne again visited the Mission in 1963, now as Assistant of the English Assistancy, and took deep interest and evident satisfaction in the progress of the work, which owed so much to his earlier initiative. At this time he explored views about the possible union in one Province of the Jesuit Missions in Zambia and Rhodesia. However, this project was halted by the declaration of UDI to the south of us, and subsequent developments.
In December 1969, when the Zambia Vice-Province was established, Fr Thomas Byrne was an honored guest at an informal gathering in Dublin to mark the occasion. We can trust, now that he is in Heaven, his interest and his benign influence will continue to benefit the work in Zambia. May he rest in peace”.

Obituary :

Fr Thomas Byrne (1904-1978)

On August 3rd Father Tom Byrne died at Galway, where for nearly eight years he had been engaged on Parish work. This period in Galway was the peaceful, retired conclusion to an exceptionally active, varied and front-line work as a Jesuit.
Father Tom Byrne was born at Dun Laoire on November 30th 1904. He entered Tullabeg as a novice on August 31st 1922. Having pronounced his First Vows on September 1st 1924 at Tullabeg, he passed through the rest of the scholasticate training in Ireland: from Rathfarnham he studied Science at UCD (1924-1927); 1927 to 1934 were spent studying Philosophy and Theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on July 31st 1933. He completed his Tertianship at Rathfarnham: 1939-1940.
From the end of his Tertianship in 1940 to his commencement of parish work in Galway in 1970, Father Tom Byrne was a “specialist” in one form or another. He was Lecturer in Sacred Scripture and Dogma in the Regional Seminary, Hong Kong: 1934-1939. He lectured in Philosophy in Tullabeg 1941-1945; 1953-1957. He was Master of Novices in Emo for two years (1945-1947). He was Provincial in Gardiner Street from 1947 to 1953: and it was by his enterprise and decision that the “mission” in what is now part of the Vice-Province of Zambia was begun by the opening of the Irish Mission at Chikuni: eight priests and one brother reached Chikuni from Ireland in August 1950. They began at once to work in the Mission Church at Chikuni, to open “mission stations” further afield, and to staff Canisius College which rapidly developed to become a splendid Secondary School. For many years after our arrival at Chikuni there was only one other Secondary school in “Northern Rhodesia” (now Zambia): the Government Secondary school Munali in Lusaka.
Father Byrne visited us within a few years of 1950 and continued generously to send brothers, scholastics and priests, so that Ireland's commitment in what is now the Vice-Province of Zambia developed rapidly.
After his second period as Lecturer in Tullabeg - after being Provincial - (1953-1957), Father Tom Byrne went to be Superior in the Hong Kong Mission. He remained in this Office until 1960 when he went to Rome for five years as English Assistant, substituting for Father J Swain who was Vicar General (1960-1965).
Father Tom Byrne was Prefect of Studies and Spiritual Father in Milltown Park from 1965 to 1968. There followed two years in Tullabeg as Spiritual Director of the Sisters there (1968 to 1970). In 1970 he moved to take up the parish work in Galway which occupied the last eight years of his work-filled life.

One of his many admirers - Father Harold Naylor, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, writes:
“As a philosopher in Tullabeg I remember being impressed by the vigour of the religious observance of ‘Tommy’ who was then professing Psychology. He was the first at Morning Oblation at 6 am. I met him again in 1977 in Galway and found the same man I had always known, with alert mind and zealous heart. Assistant to the Parish Priest in St Ignatius, he was always ready to hear confessions and take calls at the door to help people. I noticed something else which is not common in Jesuits of over forty - he had great hope in the future of the Church and of the Society. He had well assimilated the thrust of the Second Vatican Council, and made his own the content of the last two General Congregations. He was at home in the new Church, and the modern Society and had no nostalgia for the past. He could appropriate to himself our new life style and see every advantage in it. I sometimes wondered if this was not partly due to what he taught on obedience of the intellect, and to a real self abnegation, seeing the Will of God in everything and having the real spirit of Ignatian indifference ...”
See also the special tributes included in the contributions from Galway, tributes from Galway and Zambia.

Irish Province News 54th Year No 1 1979

Galway

Fr Thomas Byrne RIP
We are greatly indebted to an unnamed contributor to the Hong kong Vice-Province Letter/August, 1978, for the following account of Fr Thomas Byrne's life. Sincere thanks to him. The account arrived too late for inclusion in the October issue of the Province News,
Fr Thomas Byrne, Superior of the Hong Kong Mission from 1957 to 1960, died on 3rd August, after a few hours of illness, aged 73. The following account of his life has been contributed by one who knew him well.
Though he is a major figure in the history of the Hong Kong Jesuits, Fr Thomas Byrne spent in all only eight years here. For information about his pre-Jesuit years, his forty-five Jesuit years in Ireland, and his three years in Rome, I have had to rely on vague memories and hearsay. Much must be left vague, and some details may be inaccurate. .
He was born on 30th November 1904, and was educated at O’Connell’s School, Dublin. In 1922, he entered the novitiate at Tullabeg, where he had as contempararies R Harris, C Daly, and G Casey. As a junior, he did a brilliant BSc. He later - during his philosophy at Milltown Park, I think tried for a travelling studentship (in Philosophy?), but was beaten, to the surprise of many, by the Clonliffe student who, as Fr. Boyland, was to leave the Dublin Archdiocese to become a Carthusian.
Mr. Tommy Byrne, already destined for a professorial chair, did no “colleges”, and went straight from philosophy to theology. He came, I think, to regret this gap in his formation, especially when appointment as a major superior made him responsible for the well being of many schools.
He was ordained priest on St Ignatius Day, 1933. In 1934, the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, found itself critically short of staff. The Irish Provincial, Fr L Kieran, lent Fr Byrne to Hong Kong, on the understanding that, when the Seminary could spare him, he should return to Ireland to do his tertianship and then settle down there as a professor, probably of philosophy. He came to Hong Kong, by ship of course, with Fr H Craig and two scholastics, F Cronin and T Sheridan, and for his first two years taught philosophy in the Seminary.
Since he had not come as a permanent member of the Mission, it was taken for granted that he should not even attempt to learn Cantonese - another gap in his formation that he was to regret in later years.
In 1936, he became professor of dogmatic theology in the Seminary. It was in that year that I first met him. I still feel gratitude for the warmth of the welcome he gave me on my arrival in Hong Kong. By then he had developed to the full his aptitude for giving lengthy analysis of any subject that might turn up - the state of the world, the calling of a bridge-hand, St Jerome’s outlook on bishops, or his own outlook on his duties as minister. This may suggest that he had turned into a bore. The suggestion is false. He was interested in your views as well as in his own, and he was unaffectedly delighted when you knocked him off his perch. This made all the difference.
He went to Ireland for tertianship in 1939, making no secret of his wish to return to Hong Kong if possible. However, when his tertianship ended, the course of World War II had made immediate return impossible. After tertianship, Fr Byrne went to Tullabeg to teach philosophy. In 1945 he was appointed Master of Novices.
He was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province in 1947. By then the world was beginning to settle down after the confusion and frustration of war and its aftermath. The time called for initiative, and Fr Byrne was ready to initiate. In the course of his provincialate the Manresa Retreat house and the Workers' College (now the College of Industrial Relations) were opened, and the Irish Province accepted a new mission in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Not since the legendary days of Fr Sturzo had any Irish Provincial added so much to the work of the province.
I myself left Ireland soon after Fr Byrne's appointment. I therefore know little about his administration or his dealings with individuals. I do remember an aged fountain of ideas. Fr R Devane,
saying rather sadly: “At last there is a Provincial who will listen to me; but I am too old now". There are rumours that scholastics were put off by Fr Byrne's highly characteristic habit of gazing into the middle distance and musing on the nature of things or giving gnomic advice. Presumably they felt inhibited from knocking him off his perch - unfortunate but inevitable.!
At the end of his term as Provincial, Fr Byrne returned to Tullabeg, and seemed likely to spend the rest of his days there. Then in 1957, to the surprise of the most highly skilled forecasters, he was appointed Superior of the Hong Kong Mission. He returned with delight; an eighteen-year-old dream had come true.
Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore was in great need of initiative. In Hong Kong, the two new Wah Yans had been built shortly before, and it would have been difficult to find staff for new works. In Singapore, the plans laid in the earlier 50s were moving towards fulfilment. In Malaysia, however, things were still tentative. The cancellation of a government invitation to undertake a major work faced the Superior with the decision: to go forward or to retreat. Fr Byrne decided to go forward. Perhaps nothing in his superiorship interested him more deeply than the problems of Petaling Jaya. A grasp of the geography of Kuala Lumpur and its environs became necessary for anyone who wanted to understand his conversation.
In Hong King, Fr Byrne’s main task was to encourage the work that was being done by individuals and institutions. For himself, he took up the work of public committees - the Housing Societry, the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society and so on. In Ricci Hall, where he lived, he quickly made many friends among the students. Equally quickly he made himself a welcome guest in all Jesuit houses. When he had to act as Superior he was unmistakably the Superior. At other times, like a famour duke, “he never remembered his rank unless you forgot it”. In spite of recurring bad health - stomach trouble and phlebitis - he enjoyed life, and he wished others to enjoy life. The brilliant frivolity of Fr J B Wood’s speech of farewell at the end of Fr Byrne’s Superiorship was a tribute to the friendliness and personal equality that he had made characteristic of his period of authority here.
He was Superior for only three years. In 1960 he was summoned to Rome as Substitute Assistant for the English Assistancy. Of what happened at that high level I know nothing except that Fr Byrne seemed to enjoy it.
He returned to Ireland after the 31st General Congregation, but his interest in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia never waned, as returning visitors from these parts will testify.
He spent his last years as curate in St. Ignatius' Church, Galway, and it was there that I last met him. He was unchanged - full of interest in the Vice-Province and better informed about it than I was - ready to speculate about the state of the world and of all things in it, and full of philosophical interest in the future of the Jesuit parish in Galway,
No hint had been received here that his health was failing. The news of his death came as a shock, and to many it meant, not “a former Superior has died”, but “a cherished friend is dead”.

Carroll, Denis, 1920-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/644
  • Person
  • 18 January 1920-29 October 1992

Born: 18 January 1920, Geashill, Walsh Island, County Offaly
Entered: 22 September 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, St Ignatiuis, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 29 October 1992, Kizito Pastoral Centry, Monze, Zambia - Zambiae Province

Part of the Mukasa Secondary School, Choma, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1953 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fifth wave of Zambian Missioners

Younger brother of John Carroll - RIP 1957

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Denis Carroll, known to his colleagues as "Dinny", was born in Offaly, Ireland in 1920, into a large family of farming stock, with strong religious traditions. These traditions were far more prominent during his life than his agricultural background, though at one stage he took charge of the school garden in Mukasa. Five of his sisters entered religious life and his brother, John, was a Jesuit on the Hong Kong Mission.

After his schooling at Mungret College, he entered the novitiate at Emo in 1937 and went through the normal training, being ordained a priest in 1950. Two years later he came to Zambia and went almost immediately to the eastern province to learn ciNyanja at which he became quite proficient.

Dinny's life can be divided into two distinct ministries: the apostolate of the school and the apostolate of the parish, the latter being determined to a large extent by his proficiency in ciNyanja. He served in many parishes along the line of rail in the Monze diocese. He started his parish work, however, in Regiment parish in Lusaka around 1953. He came to Chikuni in 1956 as Rector of the community, teaching and supplying at Mazabuka, Choma and Kalomo. A bout of sickness took him to Ireland for two years and when he returned he was posted to Choma parish in 1962. Mazabuka and the Sugar Estate saw him from 1968 to 1975.

One would never have classed Dinny as a well organised person whose program of work was drawn up with meticulous care. Yet despite his fluid approach, one thing was uppermost in his mind while he worked in the parishes: the administration of the sacraments. He made them available to his parishioners and was always willing to administer them. He was conservative in his theology and never liked the phrase "the people of God". His vision of God's people was as a Sacramental People, a Eucharistic People. He saw the Eucharist as the centre of Catholic parish life. He himself had a very deep faith and reverence for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

He tried to serve the people as he found them, offering liturgies in different languages. He preached strongly and upheld the sanctity and sacramentality of Catholic marriage. In his parish work he believed in family-by-family visitation. In that way he got to know his parishioners, both adults and youth. At a later stage, many would consult him on their marriages and the advice he freely gave was, solely and loyally, from the Catholic point of view. He worked with the St. Vincent de Paul Society and engaged the services of some of his adult parishioners in the teaching of catechism to the youth.

While his move from parish work to school work in the mid seventies was partly necessitated by considerations of health, (his arthritis was making constant physical movement around the parish more and more difficult for him) nevertheless he had a firm conviction of the value of Catholic education. He decried the closure of Jesuit schools here and there, and he saw the practice of superiors of allowing young Jesuits to choose apostolates other than teaching as abdicating responsibility for the Catholic educational apostolate. For 17 years he liked teaching and was not happy at the thought of possibly having to give it up because of failing health. The Lord read his mind and Dinny taught right up to three days before his death. He was a fine teacher, attaining excellent results in all his subjects, English and English Literature, History and even ciNyanja. He understood the youth and had good rapport with them. From time to time the unwise and misguided behavioru of boys would depress him, but by and large he had the understanding and patience to accept such conduct in its own context. He took it for granted and did not judge them harshly. He often acted as mediator between them and the administration, thus earning for himself the title of "Peacemaker" while, at the same time, he would never compromise the Headmaster, his fellow members of staff nor the aims of Mukasa Seminary. At his funeral Mass, at least five of the concelebrants were Zambian priests who had been past pupils of his.

As a religious and Jesuit, Denis Carroll was a man of prayer and deep faith with a personal closeness to Christ in the Eucharist. He was loyal to the Society and interested in its growth and its apostolates. He was worried about how devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus seemed to have taken a less prominent place in the life of the Society. He felt that it should be more actively promoted and practiced by all.

Though failing in strength little by little, his death was sudden and very simple. He had gone to St. Kizito's Pastoral Centre for ten days rest as ordered by the doctor. While waiting for supper on the second day there, the Lord called him home to his reward on 29th November 1992.

"Criost an Siol" was an Irish religious phrase frequently on his lips. It means "Christ of the Sowing" and they are the first words of a beautiful poem and Eucharistic hymn which talks about Christ sowing and reaping and bringing us from death to new life. In a way, it sums up Dinny's life of faith and the work Christ did through him even though at times he might have uttered them in order to express mild exasperation.

Chula, John, 1932-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/734
  • Person
  • 25 December 1932-04 May 1990

Born: 25 December 1932, Kasama, Zambia
Entered: 05 July 1963, Mumbai, India
Ordained: 24 May 1970, Bwacha Stadium, Choma, Zambia
Professed: 08 December 1983
Died: 04 May 1990, University Teaching Hospital, Nationalist Road, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi province (ZAM)

Part of the Matero Parish, Lusaka, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr John was born near Kasama, Zambia, on 25 December 1932 and at the age of four he was baptised at Kasisi Mission, outside Lusaka. After school studies he went to Chishawasha Seminary near Harare, Zimbabwe in 1956 where he studied philosophy for three years. He expressed a desire to enter the Society of Jesus so in 1963 he entered the novitiate in India, at Vanayalaya near Bombay. After the novitiate, he did another year of philosophy, gaining a licentiate. He studied theology and returned to Zambia in 1970 where he was ordained priest at Bwacha Stadium, Kabwe in May 1970; he was the first Zambian to be ordained a Jesuit priest.

His early assignments included pastoral work at Bwacha and Kasisi parishes and teaching at Canisius Secondary School.

In an article entitled ‘The Blind Priest and a Golden Cross’ Fr John wrote about himself: “I realise that my first response to God was not an unqualified “yes”...it was a “yes” and a ‘no’. I was selfish in my work as a priest and was preaching myself! I lacked patience (a serious fault in a priest but especially in a Zambian!), and did my work hurriedly in order to have more time to read and spend with my friends. My so-called friends were to be my downfall, as our meetings were occasions for drinking. I now see that I was running away from something – perhaps myself. Anyway I turned in on myself instead of outwards to my parishioners. My personal spiritual life was barren and this showed in my preaching.

The Lord's second call came about most mysteriously, as indeed it always does! On 6 April 1981, I suddenly became blind, with all the panic and helplessness which accompany such a shock. One month in the local University Teaching Hospital proved fruitless. In Harare an eye specialist said that my eyes were alright but the optical nerves were partially damaged. I now had to face the fact that I would probably never see again, at least well enough to read or to drive a car and so on. With a strength that was not my own, I was able to pray: Lord, I'm blind but I'm a priest. Use me as you want. I accept my situation”.

Fr John went on to describe how he began giving retreats and hearing confessions in different parishes around Lusaka. He wrote: “I am useful again. I now enjoy a deep peace and joy which was not there before. Indeed, I am often not aware that I am blind, until I walk into an object. I can negotiate the stairs, the garden walks, even say Mass alone in the event of nobody being free to join me. I do not use a stick, but maybe I am more of the stick in the hands of the Lord that Ignatius Loyola would have wanted us to be”.

Fr John continued his retreat work from Luwisha House until 1984 when he moved to Kasisi to help in the parish. In 1986 he moved back to Luwisha House to become the spiritual director for the young Jesuits in formation. Finally in 1988 he went to Matero Parish. At the time of his death, he was saying two Masses on Sundays, hearing confessions and preparing couples for marriage.

He took ill in May of 1990 and died on the 4th in UTH, Lusaka.

Clarke, Arthur J, 1916-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/646
  • Person
  • 11 April 1916-08 March 1995

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ 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.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 82 : September 1995

Obituary

Fr Arthur Clarke (1916-1995)

Arthur Clarke was born on April 11th 1916 in Dublin and went to school in Clongowes, After he left school he entered the Bank of Ireland, but was not fully satisfied. A close friend told me that both he and Arthur considered going to Kenya under a British Government scheme to grow coffee. On a solitary walking holiday in the South of Ireland Arthur stayed in a Trappist monastery and decided that this was what he wanted. A short stay with the monks led to their advising Arthur that “he was too introspective” for their way of life and directed him to the Society of Jesus. There he stayed until he died in the retirement home in Lusaka Zambia on 8th March 1995.

He entered the novitiate in Emo on November 5th 1938 and followed the usual course of formation, doing his regency in the Crescent College Limerick. After Tertianship he was Socius to the Novice Master and then Minister in Clongowes, where he learnt of his appointment to Northern Rhodesia in the normal way, by someone telling him casually on the way into the refectory.

Five of us travelled out by Union Castle to Cape Town. At the Rhodesian border in Bulawayo, Arthur, always a man of integrity, insisted on paying duty on all his new clothes, despite the efforts of the Customs to assure him that as all our goods and chattels were going to Chikuni Mission there was nothing to pay.

This illustrates Arthur's characteristic blend of a keen sense of the ridiculous with a stern sense of duty. When these two clashed, Arthur would resolutely do what he considered was his duty, while muttering the while that it was all a lot of nonsense, but we had to do it. This he applied to his stints as Minister in our communities. He made no secret of his dislike of the job, but laboured might and main to keep the house spotless, and turn out magnificent meals on big occasions, even though he was not at ease in celebrations. From time to time Arthur would recount hilarious incidents of his formation years, normally involving the deflation of some pomposity or affectation. The following morning there would be an attack of conscience resulting in a stern admonition to us scholastics to show more respect in speaking of the very people Arthur had been taking off the previous evening.

Arthur had a difficult time adapting to life in Africa at first, though not through lack of trying. He was of that generation which had done no studies outside Ireland and this must have been his first experience of another culture. He took a long time to shake free of the conventions of the Irish Province, many of which were ill suited to life in the bush.

Arthur became Rector of Chikuni where he ruled with an utterly unbiased if somewhat stern hand. Sean McCarron, in Zambia to build the Teacher Training College, would point out that even he had been taken to task by Arthur for some misdemeanour, leaving us mystified as to why he should consider himself immune to Arthur's sense of what was appropriate behaviour. In the role of Rector, as in the rest of his life, Arthur never once showed the slightest trace of malice, vindictiveness or favouritism.

After his stint as Rector, Arthur went to teach in Namwala Government Secondary School. The Zambian Principal, no doubt in recognition of Arthur's commitment to order and discipline, appointed him Vice-Principal and then allowed him to get on with running the entire school, while he pursued a more leisurely way of life. 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.

While stationed at St. Ignatius parish in Lusaka Arthur showed his compassionate side in his care for Fr. Max Prokoph who was deteriorating in health and required constant care around the house, which Arthur showed him to a remarkable degree of patience. Fr. Dominic Nchete, a Zambian priest, said that if for nothing else, this would assure Arthur's going straight to heaven. Ascetical in his own life, stern towards those for whom he felt responsibility, Arthur was surprisingly indulgent to the various strays and inadequates who quickly detected in him an easy touch and flocked around St. Ignatius.

For someone who led such an organised and full life, it was painful to see him slowly losing touch with the outside world as Alzheimer's took its inevitable toll. Increasingly it was clear that he did not recognise those who had lived with him over the years. At the very end Arthur died quite suddenly. He was never one to vacillate or waffle, and when the time came he took his leave of this life as he had lived it, with despatch and no nonsense.

Frank Keenan

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

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

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

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

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

Early education at St Columb’s College Derry

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

Tertianship at Rathfarnham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 62nd Year No 4 1987

Obituary

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

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

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

Corboy, James, 1916-2004, Jesuit priest and Roman Catholic Bishop of Monze

  • IE IJA J/590
  • Person
  • 20 October 1916-24 November 2004

Born: 20 October 1916, Caherconlish, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 24 November 2004, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at Cherryfield Lodge at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1951 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969
Bishop of Monze, 24 June 1962. Retired 1992

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The diocese of Monze was set up on 10 March 1962, an offshoot of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. Fr James Corboy S.J., at that time a professor of theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland, was appointed to be the first bishop of the new diocese. This new diocese was three-quarters the size of his own country of Ireland. It had a population of a million people, 16% of whom were Catholic. At that time there were 8 mission stations in the whole area centred at Chikuni. It was a daunting task ahead for the new bishop.

Bishop James was born in Caharconlish, Co Limerick, Ireland in 1916. He was the son of a country doctor who lived on a small farm. There he grew up appreciating nature and farming. He attended Jesuit schools and entered the Jesuits in 1935, followed the Jesuit course of studies, arts, philosophy, regency and theology, being ordained priest at Milltown Park on 28th July 1948. After tertianship, he went to the Gregorian University for a doctorate in Ecclesiology. Later as bishop he attended the Vatican Council and became really interested in theology, something that he continued to study passionately throughout his life.

He returned to Milltown Park to lecture and also take charge of the large garden. He always loved pottering around in the garden of any house he lived in. He became rector there in 1962.

At the age of 43 he found himself appointed to be the Bishop of a newly set-up diocese of Monze in Zambia, where the Jesuits had been working since 1905. So on 24th June he was consecrated bishop in Zambia. For 30 years he was the bishop of Monze. The task before him as he saw it was fourfold: development, pastoral work, health and education. He invited a number of congregations to help him in this task. Monze hospital was set up and run by the Holy Rosary Sisters. The Sisters of Charity and the Handmaids were already in the diocese. Presentation Sisters, Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Sisters of Charity of Milan and others entered into pastoral work, and the teaching and healing ministry. The Spiritans, Christian Brothers and John of God Brothers are the chief male religious groups who came to help in various fields.

As early as four years after becoming bishop, he put into effect a project after his own heart – promoting vocations from the people themselves. So in 1966, he built Mukasa, a minor seminary in Choma to foster and encourage young boys who showed an interest in the priesthood. Boys came here not only from the dioceses of Monze but also from, Livingstone, Lusaka and Solwezi. Over 50 Mukasa boys have been ordained priests and several are studying in the major seminaries.

Another project very close to his heart was the establishment of a local congregation of sisters – Sisters of the Holy Spirit – in 1971. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary helped out in this venture. These local Sisters are involved in teaching, pastoral work, nursing and formation work among their own people. The last eight years of his life Bishop James spent in Milltown Park, Ireland on the advice of doctors both here and in Ireland. Whenever anyone visited him from here, his first question invariably was: "How are the Holy Spirit Sisters”?

He regularised the eight mission stations as parishes and set up 13 more parishes. Development was another project close to his heart. With the help of Fr Fred Moriarty SJ Monze became the leading diocese in the country in promoting development

People found Bishop Corboy approachable, kind, caring and simple. He spoke simply (deceptively so, some said). He could explain himself in quite simple language, understood by all. He had to learn ciTonga in which he had a passable skill and even that was spoken simply but correctly. He was unassuming. Often in a crowd, one would often ask 'which is the Bishop?'. He loved to pray the Rosary. He was a very shy man and avoided large social gatherings when he could. Inevitably after doing a confirmation he would say, ‘Gosh, I’d love to stay for the celebrations, but I have some important business to get back to in Monze’.

On 24 October 1991 he was called to State House to receive the decoration of Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished Service for his work in the Monze Diocese.

He retired as Bishop in 1992, worked for four years at St. Ignatius in Lusaka before returning to Ireland because of his blood pressure. A short time before he died in St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, his nephew, Dr John Sheehan, was with him and thought the Bishop looked distressed and asked if he was in pain. Bishop James replied. "No. God bless you, and good bye"! He died on 23 November 2004, aged 88 years.

Note from Patrick (Sher) Sherry Entry
”Sher is a great loss. Apart from his work, he was a great community man”, said the Bishop of Monze. “He was part and parcel of everything that went on in the community. He was interested in parish affairs. He never stinted himself in anything he did. In community discussions he often brought them back to some basic spiritual principle’.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/celebrating-bishop-corboy-sj/

Celebrating Bishop Corboy SJ
The life and work of James Corboy SJ, Bishop of Monze, Zambia, was celebrated with the launch of his biography by Sr Catherine Dunne, in the Arrupe Room, Milltown Park on Thursday 24 January. It was a great occasion described by some there as a “reunion of the diocese of Monze”. Over fifty people attended the launch, including members of Bishop Corboy’s family, who had an opportunity to meet many of those who had known him in Zambia.

The Irish Jesuit Provincial, Tom Layden SJ, warmly welcomed the publication of Catherine Dunne’s book, ‘The Man Called James Corboy’, published by The Messenger Office and sponsored by the Irish Jesuit Missions. He recalled meeting Bishop Corboy, whilst studying for his Leaving Certificate at Clongowes, and he remembered how he spoke about the plight of farmers in Zambia with real concern.

The Provincial said reading the book he was struck by the impact Vatican II made on James Corboy and how its vision of the Church as the people of God was always to the fore in everything he did in the Monze diocese. It permeated his leadership style and his sense of purpose, he said.

He also referred to the fact that James was given the Tonga name of “Cibinda”, meaning a wholesome person who knows where he is going and where he is leading others. Listen here to his talk. (http://www.jesuit.ie/content/onsite/irish-jesuit-podcasts/two-funerals-for-jesuit- bishop)

Two of James Corboy’s nieces, Joanne Sheehan and Ann Ryan, painted an intimate picture of their uncle, especially in his later years at Cherryfield, far removed from his beloved Zambia.

Ann recalled how she and he shared a great love of gardening, flowers and muck! She said he also took great interest in the progress of his great nephews and nieces. Indeed, his great-nephews, Josh and Alan, and his great-nieces, Anna and Alice, were all present and received copies of the book from Catherine Dunne.
Joanne Sheehan told of how there had been Jesuits in the Corboy family for nearly 200 years. She said her uncle “gave his whole life to other people and in that way he was a real Jesuit – a true man for others.” But he only ever claimed a tiny role for his work in Zambia acknowledging the tremendous group of Irish people who had made an enormous contribution to the country besides himself.

Damien Burke from Jesuit Archives provided a recording of Bishop Corboy’s own words from 1962 on the occasion of his consecration as Bishop, along with slides from his early life and time in Zambia. In the recording Bishop Corboy said that “Africa owes a tremendous debt to the Irish people” and thanked everyone for their continued prayers and financial support.
Sr Pius, an 89 year old missionary nun who worked with him in Monze, recalled his attempts to teach them about Vatican II on his return from Rome. “He said that the Council changed his life forever, and he talked about ‘communio’ so often. Something about him touched our hearts as he tried to teach us about the Second Vatican Council – even us ‘noodley’ heads were moved.” She said he valued people and valued particularly the wisdom of women. “We owe him a great debt.”
Sr Catherine Dunne also spoke and read an appreciation of the book from Sr Rosalio of the Holy Spirit Sisters, the order founded by the Bishop with the assistance of Catherine herself.
She said she was encouraged to know the book meant so much to people because, “many’s a time whilst writing it I heard his voice from behind me saying ‘have you nothing better to do with you time?’ I’m glad I didn’t heed that voice now”.
After the launch and a celebratory lunch, Sr Catherine spoke in depth to Pat Coyle of the Jesuit Communication Centre about ‘This Man Called James Corboy”: Listen here : (http://www.jesuit.ie/content/onsite/irish-jesuit-podcasts/the-man-from-monze).

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 37th Year No 3 1962

GENERAL
On April 18th the midday news from Vatican Radio contained the announcement that Fr. James Corboy, Rector of Milltown Park, had been appointed bishop-elect of the newly-created diocese of Monze, Northern Rhodesia.
The bishop of Monze entered the Society at St. Mary's, Emo, in 1935.. and from 1937 to 1941 studied at U.C.D., where he obtained his M.A. Degree in Irish History. He studied Philosophy at Tullabeg and taught at Belvedere 1944-45. His Theology was done at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in July 1948. After his Tertianship at Rathfarnham, he attended the Gregorian University, where he obtained the D.D. in Dogmatic Theology. Since 1952 he has been Professor of Fundamental Theology and Rector since 1959.
The diocese of Monze comprises the mission area assigned to our Province in 1957 and, before its constitution as a separate entity, formed part of the archdiocese of Lusaka.
Bishop Corboy left Ireland on May 31st for Rome and thence to Rhodesia. The consecration has been fixed for June 24th at Chikuni and the consecrating prelates are Most Rev. Adam Kozlowiecki, S.J., Arch bishop of Lusaka, Most Rev. Francis Markall, S.J., Archbishop of Salisbury, and Right Rev. Timothy O'Shea, O.F.M.Cap., Bishop of Livingstone.
The Province and the Mission received with great joy the news of the erection of the diocese of Monze and of the election of its first bishop, who can be assured of the good wishes and prayers of all for a long, happy and fruitful pastorate.

Milltown Park
It was during the same week that news came of the appointment of our Rector, Fr. Corboy, to the newly-created diocese of Monze. Our pleasure at this compliment to Fr. Corboy and at the progress it signifies in the development of Rhodesia was marred only by our regret to be losing so kind and capable a Superior. A special lecture was organised on May 9th, the proceeds of which were presented to the bishop-elect. We are grateful to Fr. Moloney of the Workers' College for speaking on the title “Education for Marriage, 1962”. At a reception afterwards in the Retreat House Refectory, the Ladies Committee and the Men's Committee both made presentations to Dr. Corboy. A dinner was given in his honour on May 23rd and after it several speeches were made. Fr. Patrick Joy, Acting Rector, took the opportunity to assure Dr. Corboy of the continuing support of all those associated with Milltown, including the Ladies Committee. Fr. Brendan Barry, having prefaced his remarks with the words “Egredere de domo tua”, congratulated the mission on the erection of the new diocese and the election of its bishop. Fr. Tom Cooney then rose to voice on behalf of the missionaries their pleasure at welcoming one so young and capable to the government of Monze diocese. In fact he had to apologise for mistaking the bishop-elect a few days previously for a scholastic. In more serious vein, he went on to trace for us the history of the whole question of the Province's responsibility for a mission territory, since the appointment of a bishop has always been the corollary to that issue. He told us that it all went back to before the war, when it still seemed that we could expand in China. When that proved impossible there was question either of a territory in Rhodesia or of educational work in Malaya. Eventually it was Fr. General who decided on our taking responsibility in Rhodesia. Fr. Cooney viewed Dr. Corboy's appointment in the light of all that development and he wished to pay tribute to the constant generosity of the home Province, towards Australia, the Far East and Rhodesia. Fr. Kevin Smyth spoke on behalf of the Faculty, remarking that he was glad to note the departure from usual practice in selecting the bishop not from the canonists but, as he said, from the theologians. To the speeches of the upper community Mr. Guerrini, our Beadle, added his “small voice” on behalf of the scholastics. He proposed his tribute in the form of a thesis. This thesis, he said, was theologically certain, since it met with the constant and universal consent of the Theologians - not to mention the Fathers. There were no adversaries, and he went on to prove his point from the experience of the last few years. Dr. Corboy then spoke. He expressed his attachment to Milltown and of the debt of gratitude he felt towards all who had worked with him in Milltown. He commended the diocese of Monze to our prayers.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005

Obituary

Bishop James Corboy (1916-2004) : Zambia Malawi Province

Oct. 20th 1916: Born in Caherconlish, Limerick
Early education at The Crescent, Limerick and Clongowes Wood College
Sept. 7th 1935: Entered the Society at Emo
Sept. 8th 1937: First Vows at Emo
1937 - 1941: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1941 - 1944 Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1944 - 1945: Belvedere College - Teaching (Regency)
1945 – 1949: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
July 28th 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1952: Gregorian, Rome - Studied Fundamental Theology
1952 - 1962: Milltown Park:
1952 - 1959: Lecturing in Theology and in charge of farm
Feb. 2nd 1953: Final Vows
1959 - 1962 Rector; Lecturing in Theology; Prov. Consultor
June 24th 1962: Consecrated Bishop of Monze, Zambia
1962 - 1996: Pastor of Monze Diocese.
1996 - 2003: Retired as bishop; returned to Milltown Park; writer, House Librarian.
2003 - 2004” Cherryfield Lodge.
Nov. 24th, 2004: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Bishop James Corboy Pioneer of Catholic Church in Zambia

From: Times of Zambia, 18 Dec. 2004 Written by: James P. McGloin, S.J. (Socius, ZAM Province)

Bishop James Corboy, S.J., the retired bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Monze, died in Dublin, Ireland on 24th November 2004. On 10th December a well-attended memorial Eucharist was held at the Monze Cathedral with Bishop Emilio Patriarca of Monze presiding. Bishop Raymond Mpezele of Livingstone and many clergy from the diocese and elsewhere concelebrated at the Eucharist. Fr. Colm Brophy, S.J., the provincial of the Jesuits, preached.

In 1962 the Diocese of Monze was established from the southern part of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. In March of that year Fr. James Corboy was appointed its first bishop. At the time he was a professor of theology and rector of the Jesuit School of Theology in Dublin. He had never been to Africa before. Looking from our perspective, it seems like a very strange appointment. However, the area of the new diocese was a mission area under the auspices of the Irish Jesuits based in Chikuni. These Jesuits ran the mission, Canisius College and Charles Lwanga Teachers' College in Chikuni along with seven other mission stations in the new diocese. Perhaps the Jesuit missionaries who were already there were thought too independent minded to accept one of their own as bishop. Perhaps it was thought that someone from the outside might bring a new perspective to the work. Whatever the reason, James Corboy, without any experience of Africa, was appointed the first bishop.

Bishop Corboy was born in the small village of Caharconlish in County Limerick, Ireland in 1916. Being from a rural area, he grew up appreciating nature and farming, an appreciation he kept all his life. He did his primary school in the village and got a good basic education. For early secondary school he had to travel to the nearest town. This meant using a bicycle to the train station, then by train to the town, then a walk to school, and back again each day. Since, his travel took so much time each day, his parents later sent him to a Jesuit boarding school to finish his education.

After his secondary school in 1935, he entered the Jesuits and was ordained a priest thirteen years later in Dublin. He went to Rome, then, and studied at the Gregorian University, receiving a doctorate in theology. Returning from Rome, he began his career as a professor in the school of theology, where he eventually was made rector.

At the time of his appointment as bishop, the great reforming council of the Catholic Church, Vatican Council II, began in Rome. Bishop Corboy attend all four sessions of the Council from 1962 to 1965. The Council had an immense influence on him. He was wont to say that, despite his doctoral studies, he never really studied theology until the Council. During the Council he studied and read theology, something that he continued to do passionately throughout his life.

When he was ordained bishop in Monze in June 1962, there were about twenty Jesuit missionaries working in the area, some Religious Sisters of Charity, and one eminent Zambian priest, the late Fr. Dominic Nchete. Bishop Corboy began inviting other missionary groups into the diocese to improve the education and health services of the area. The Holy Rosary Sisters opened Monze Mission Hospital (now District Hospital) and Mazabuka Girls' Secondary School; the Christian Brothers began St. Edmund's Secondary School in Mazabuka and Mawaggali Trades Training Institute in Choma; the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary managed St. Joseph's Secondary School in Chivuna while the Presentation Sisters managed Kasiya Secretarial College; the Sisters of Charity of Milan opened a mission hospital in Chirundu and the John of God Brothers began a rehabilitation centre for the handicapped in Monze. Many lay volunteers came from overseas in these early days to help staff these new institutions.

In the area of development a well-run diocesan office was opened in Monze which, among many projects, offered agricultural advisory services and courses throughout the diocese. The Monze Youth Projects, managed by the Sisters of Mercy, was opened, offering catering, tailoring and carpentry training. In almost every parish in the diocese a homecraft or tailoring centre was begun.

Much of this development took place during the initial, exciting years of Zambian Independence. Bishop Corboy's vision of a better Zambia for all its people went hand in hand with the vision of the newly independent government. His contribution was recognized by President Kenneth Kaunda, who awarded him the honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished Service in 1991.

The bishop was also concerned with the pastoral development of his diocese. Besides inviting the Spiritans and Fidei Donum priests from other dioceses to open new parishes, he realised the importance of developing a local Zambian clergy. In 1966 he opened Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma as a secondary school for boys considering a vocation to the priesthood. At present there are nearly 50 ordained priests from the boys who began their schooling in Mukasa. These priests work in the Monze Diocese and in other dioceses that send boys to the seminary. He also saw the need for Zambian Sisters and in 1971 began a diocesan congregation of sisters, called the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. Today the sisters have convents in Chikuni, Choma, Chivuna, Mazabuka and Monze and offer a variety of services in the schools, hospitals and parishes.

From the Vatican Council, Bishop Corboy learned deeply that the Church was not just bishops, priests and sisters. Rather the Church, to use the Council's great image, is the People of God. Bishop Corboy wanted a well informed Catholic laity in his diocese, good Christians who could run parish councils effectively, preach and offer Sunday services when a priest was not available, teach young people the essential truths of their faith and prepare them to receive the sacraments. During his time as bishop, St. Kizito Pastoral Centre outside of Monze was open to offer courses in Christian and pastoral formation for the people of the diocese. Oftentimes, the bishop himself would present much appreciated talks on scripture and on different theological topics.

When Bishop Corboy came to Zambia, he studied Citonga and had a passable knowledge of the language. Whenever he preached in the language he spoke simply but clearly and correctly. Even in English, he always preached simply and sincerely also. Every year when he came to Charles Lwanga Teachers' College, his homily was essentially the same. He remembered still his own primary school teachers, men and women, who were dedicated to their work and concerned about the children. Then, he told the Lwanga students that they had chosen a noble profession and how they could be a force for good in the lives of so many young people.

True to his rural roots, Bishop Corboy loved nature and farming. For a day off he might spend a few hours bird watching at nearby Lochinvar National Park. He always had a small garden behind his house in Monze and would often be found there watering or weeding. It is said that sometimes. visitors who did not know him would be told that he was outside. They would meet the old man working in the garden saying, "Brother, we would like to meet the bishop." He would tell them to go back to the office and the bishop would be there in a few minutes. Shortly, the bishop, out of his garden clothes, would introduce himself to the surprised visitors.

A very shy man, the bishop avoided large social gatherings when he could. Inevitably, after doing a confirmation at one of the colleges or parishes, he would say, “Gosh, I'd love to stay for the celebrations, but I have some important business to get back to in Monze." Although shy, the shyness did not deter him from working well with different organisations and groups of people. He was able to listen, to offer advice and to give his lay and religious colleagues plenty of leeway to do their work without interfering.

Bishop Corboy tried always to defer to the opinions of the Zambian bishops in the Episcopal Conference. Archbishop Mazombwe, in a condolence letter, recalled an event in 1973 when he had just taken over from Bishop Corboy as president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference. Bishop Corboy wrote to him, "I am not coming to the Executive Board Meeting of ZEC and I am not going for the AMECEA (the Bishops of all of Eastern Africa) Plenary Meeting in Nairobi. I am tired, I have been teaching mathematics at Mukasa Seminary and I will be in retreat." The Archbishop, who was then Bishop of Chipata, relates how he interrupted his own retreat and said, "My Lord, I have never chaired a ZEC meeting, this will be my first time. I need you. I have never attended an AMECEA Plenary Meeting, I need you.” Bishop Corboy's response was immediate and to the point. "I will come to the ZEC Executive Board Meeting, but I will not go for the AMECEA Plenary because there are enough African bishops with experience."

Looking forward to the day when a Zambian would replace him, Bishop Corboy had his dream come true in 1992, after thirty years as bishop of Monze. In that year Bishop Paul Lungu, S.J. succeeded him as bishop. From the 8 mission stations at the origin of the diocese, there were 21 parishes when Bishop Lungu took over, Bishop Corboy was able to hand over a well-established diocese with an active and effective body of Zambian clergy, religious and laity.

Bishop Corboy did not leave Zambia immediately on retiring. He moved to St. Ignatius Jesuit Community in Lusaka where he frequently helped in the church and served as librarian at the Jesuit Theological Library in Chelston. In 1996 when his health began to deteriorate, he returned to his native country where he continued his reading and writing until his death.
His nephew, Dr. John Sheehan, who worked for sometime in Monze Hospital, was with him when he was dying. Dr. Sheehan saw his breathing was very bad and asked him if he could give him something for the pain. Bishop Corboy, in his typical way, held out his hand and shook hands with his nephew, saying, “No, thanks very much, I'm all right...and then continued, “Good-by now, God bless you”. Then he died. "Good-by. God bless you”-his final words to his nephew-but also to the people of the Diocese of Monze whom he loved so much and served so well.

Tom McGivern wrote in ZAM Province News, Dec. 2004:

The diocese of Monze was set up on 10" March 1962, an offshoot of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. Fr. James Corboy, S.J., at that time a professor of theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, was appointed to be the first bishop of the new diocese. This new diocese was three-quarters the size of the whole country of Ireland from which the new bishop came. It has a population of a million people, 16% of whom were Catholic. At that time there were 8 mission stations in the whole area centred at Chikuni. A daunting task ahead for the new bishop!

At the age of 43 he found himself appointed to be the bishop of the newly established diocese of Monze where the Jesuits had been working since 1905. On the 24h of June 1962 he was ordained bishop in Monze.

For 30 years he was the bishop. The daunting task before him was fourfold as he saw it: development, pastoral work, health care, and education. He invited a number of congregations to help him in this task. The Sisters of Charity and the Handmaid Sisters were already in the diocese. The Holy Rosary Sisters, Presentation Sisters, Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the Sisters of Charity of Milan and others entered into pastoral work, health care and education. Spiritans, Christian Brothers and John of God Brothers were some of the men religious groups who came to help in various fields.

As early as four years after becoming bishop, he put into effect a project after his own heart-vocations from the local people themselves. In 1966 he built Mukasa minor seminary in Choma “to foster and encourage young boys who show interest in the priesthood”. Boys came from the dioceses of Monze, Livingstone, Lusaka and Solwezi. At present there are about 50 of these boys who have been ordained priests and there are numbers in the major seminaries.

Another project very close to his heart was the establishment of a local congregation of sisters, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. In 1971 the congregation began and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary helped out in this venture. As the bishop wished, the sisters are now involved in teaching, nursing, pastoral and formation work among the people of the Monze Diocese. The last eight years of his life Bishop James spent in Ireland on the advice of doctors. Whenever anyone visited him from Zambia, the first question invariably was, “How are the Holy Spirit Sisters?”

As bishop, he regularised the 8 mission stations as parishes and set up 13 more. He also set up a development office in Monze, headed for many years by the late Fred Moriarity, S.J. Because of it, Monze became one of the leading dioceses in development in the country.

In Matthew's gospel when Christ sent out the Twelve, he advised them to be as clever as snakes and as simple as doves. Bishop James was extremely clever and yet very simple. To set up hospitals, schools, parishes, churches et al., money and personnel had to be found mostly from overseas. A frequent question on his lips to his secretary, the late Joe Conway, S.J. was, :Joe, has that cheque come through yet?”

When the war in Zimbabwe was raging, the Zambezi Valley was strewn with land mines, yet Bishop James drove down alone to Chirundu to make sure the people there were safe and to encourage them. After the war some government official wanted to close down the hospital there, but unsuccessfully, as he had to deal with Bishop James.

The bishop was a good theologian, and, for any important conference he had to give, he would retire to Chikuni to pray, read and prepare. Once sisters involved in health care had a day's seminar on the Theology of Healing. His phrase, "Healing begins at the door of the hospital” lasted with them for a long time.

People found him approachable, kind, caring and simple. Simple? He spoke simply (deceptively so, some said). He could explain himself in quite simple language, understood by all. He had to learn ciTonga in which he had a passable skill and even that was spoken simply but correctly. And he was unassuming. Often in a crowd, one would ask, “Which is the bishop?”

From Colm Brophy's homily at a Memorial Mass in Monze:

His nephew, Dr. John Sheehan—who worked here in Monze hospital—was with him when he was dying. John saw his breathing was very bad and asked him if he was in pain and could he give him something for the pain. Bishop James, in his typical way, said: “No, thanks very much, I'm all right”. - and then held out his hand and shook hands with his nephew John and said: “Good-by now, God bless you”. And then he died, That handshake, that “Good-by now, God bless you” was his “Good-by, God bless you” for all of us.

Counihan, John, 1916-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/650
  • Person
  • 29 December 1916-07 March 2001

Born: 29 December 1916, Ennis, County Clare
Entered: 09 February 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1951, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1959, Charles Lwanga College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died; 07 March 2001, John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03/12/1969

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

1st Zambia Province (ZAM) Vice-Provincial: 03 December 1969
Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969-1976

by 1957 at Chivuna, N Rhodesia - Regency

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr John was a man for whom decisions came before sentiment and who rarely changed his mind once he had made it up. This was the basis of the affectionately critical nickname given to him by some scholastics and others, namely "Dr No" because of his "no" to many requests. After finishing as provincial, he returned to Charles Lwanga TTC to lecture in education. One evening at table, a member of the community said to him, "John, you are right. You seem to know everything”. John replied, 'They do not call me" "Dr. Know" for nothing'!

He was born in Ennis, in Co Clare, Ireland, into a large family. He went to Clongowes Wood College for his secondary education and left laden with academic prizes. He attended University College in Dublin to study classics and after an M.A. won a traveling scholarship in ancient classics which brought him to Leipzig University in Germany. His academic habits served him well in studying the scriptures which would be his favourite spare time occupation for the rest of his life. Later a Greek New Testament and a Tonga dictionary helped him prepare Sunday homilies.

At the age of 26, he entered the Society at Emo in 1942. After the customary study of philosophy and theology, he was ordained priest in Milltown Park in 1951. He went to teach Latin and Greek at Belvedere College in 1953 but three years later found him in Zambia. He learnt ciTonga after arrival and then moved to Canisius Secondary School until the newly built Teacher Training College across the river was opened. Then he went there to be its first principal, 1959 to 1964.

He then went to Monze as education secretary for the diocese and Bishop's secretary. However the unification of the two Missions of Chikuni and Lusaka brought about the creation of the vice-province of Zambia with John as first provincial from 1969 to 1976. This was no easy task, to get the different nationalities of Jesuits to think of themselves as one province. He organised an international novitiate for Eastern Africa, built Luwisha House near the university for future scholastic undergraduates and encouraged the recruitment of young Zambians into the Society. Such recruitment had been inhibited for a long time by the necessary policy of building up the local clergy. In 1975, the province began working in the Copperbelt. He was duly gratified at the end of his term of office when Fr Mertens, the Assistant for Africa said to him, “You have done a good job, you have set up a Jesuit province”.

After being provincial, he returned south again to the Monze diocese to the staff of Charles Lwanga TTC from 1978 to 1984, and then to Kizito Pastoral Centre, 1985 to 1998, to help in the formation of local religious.

A colleague paid the following tribute to him: "I recall some of John's characteristics. Such an intelligent man can hardly have been blind to the difficult spots in the characters of some of his confrères. Yet, I never heard him speak negatively of another. His tendency was to idealise them. Even if he was firm to the point of inflexibility in his decisions, he was unfailingly courteous, considerate and kind to others. You could always count on him being in a good humour. He did not wear his prayer life on his sleeve, yet he was everything that is implied in the term, ‘a good religious’. Without being overly pious he clearly gave priority to his spiritual life, took an Ignatian view of life's details and sought God in everything".

In 1999, John retired to Chula House in Lusaka, the infirmary for Jesuits, where he died peacefully on 7th March 2001.

Note from Jean Indeku Entry
He was pulled back to Charles Lwanga TTC as minister and bursar where he looked after the brethren well. Later the first provincial, Fr John Counihan used to tell the story of how, as he was being transferred to Monze, went into to John and asked him where the week-end refreshments appeared in the books, which he had carefully scrutinised but failed to locate. Fr Indekeu replied laconically ‘Look under jam’.

Note from Philip O’Keeffe Entry
I was privileged to live, for Philip was born in Ennis, Co Clare on 12 June 1946. Two genuinely saintly men. The elder statesman, John Counihan, would stand up promptly at eight pm and announce ‘All right boys, I'll leave you to it. It's time for me to retire’. And he'd toddle off to his room to the Greek New Testament and Tonga New Testament laid out side by side on his desk – no English – and he'd prepare his homily for the following day

Coyne, John J, 1889-1978, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/42
  • Person
  • 28 April 1889-17 March 1978

Born: 28 April 1889, Dunmore, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1906, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926, Chies del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 17 March 1978, Milltown Park, Dublin - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

Unlce of Jimmy McPolin - RIP 2005

Early education at Christian Brothers College Cork and Clongowes Wood College SJ
Studied for an MA in Classics at UCD and awarded a Studentship in 1912-1913

by 1914 at Innsbruck Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1919 at Nowy Sącz Collège, Poland (GALI) studying
by 1925 at Baexem, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) making Tertianship
by 1927 at Rome Italy (ROM) Socius English Assistant (Substitute English Assistant)
by 1966 at Loyola Lusaka (POL Mi) Diocesan Archivist

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr John Coyne was born in Dromore, Co Galway, Ireland on 28th April 1889, where both his father and mother were teachers. Within a couple of years, his father became an inspector of schools and as a young inspector he was kept on the move: after a period in Dublin he was posted to Tralee, then to Cavan and then on to Cork in 1902. After three years with the Christian Brothers in Cork, John came to Clongowes in 1905.

He entered the Society in Tullabeg on the 7th September 1906. After vows, he attended the university taking a classics degree, also taking an M.A. in 1912. He won a traveling scholarship and was posted to Innsbruck in Austria. Later he moved to Vienna as the First World War had broken out. Then he went on to Poland for a year to Nowy Sacz to prepare for his final philosophical examination. Returning to Ireland, he completed his studies and was ordained priest on 15 August 1922.

Assigned to Rome after tertianship, he became substitute secretary to the English Assistant from 1925 to 1929. Fr Wladimir Ledochowski, the General of the Jesuits, told him that he had learned as much in the Curia as he was likely to learn and that he was sending him back to Ireland to become rector of Belvedere College in Dublin.

He was master of novices from 1931 to 1934. One of his novices said of him later, "I think it would not be unfair to describe Fr John as a Christian stoic rather than as a Christian humanist".

Then came a long period of 24 years (1935 to 1959) as socius to the provincial, not just to one Provincial but to four of them – Frs L Kieran, J R Mac Mahon, T Byrne and L O’Grady (who for reasons of health and temperament 'left Province decisions rest far too much on his socius, Fr John'). He worked for a few years in Gardiner Street Church after being socius.

In 1964 at the age of 75, he accepted an invitation of the Polish Archbishop Kozlowiecki of Lusaka to come and set the diocesan archives in order. Though his provincial suggested a stay of six months, Fr John spent about 8 years in Zambia.

Returning to Ireland, he spent a lot of time translating works of German into English. He was prevailed upon to write his memoirs. 'Memoirs of a Jesuit priest 1906 to 1977: Grafted on the Olive Tree’. He died a year after this on 17 March 1978 in Dublin.

Of Fr Coyne’s time in Zambia, Fr Max Prokoph writes:
‘In spite of his age, he tried to make himself useful in every way possible. For a man who had a finger in every pie in his home province for so many years, it was quite remarkable that he never tried to interfere in the province of his adoption, but spent his time in all sorts of projects for which a younger person would neither have the time nor the inclination. Having put the archives of the Lusaka Archdiocese in order and separated what belonged to the newly erected diocese of Monze (1962). He got down to gathering material for a history of the mission in the days of the Zambesi Mission. Since there was only one full-time priest available for the parish of St Ignatius (Fr Des 0’Loghlen) he gave a hand wherever he could, in the confessional, extra Masses, keeping the parish registers and not least by regular systematic parish visiting, house by house, as far as he could get on foot, perhaps the most systematic visiting the neighbourhood ever had. Quite a few were brought back to the church’.

Fr Michael Moloney writes:
‘Fr Coyne took a very keen interest in what Jesuits had done in Zambia since the coming of Frs Moreau and Torrend for whom he had a deep admiration. Admiration for people who did "great things for Christ" was a permanent attitude of his. His standard for a Jesuit was that he should be "a saint, a scholar and a gentleman" and he clearly tried to exemplify that in his own life. He was a kindly man yet at the same time a puzzle to many. Many wondered what "the real John Coyne was like" because externally he seemed to be set in a conventional spiritual mould and to be rather formal in much of his behaviour, so much so that one cannot escape the conclusion that he was a man with a conflict between his personality traits and what he considered Jesuit spirituality demanded of him. In Zambia he was faithful to his afternoon stroll during which he would meet people and through which he made some friends whose hospitality he was pleased to accept".

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 6th Year No 1 1931
Brussels Congress :
Fr. Rector (John Coyne) and Fr. J. O'Meara (Louvain) represented the College at the First International Gongress of Catholic Secondary Education, held at Brussels July 28 . August 2. Fr, O'Meara read a paper on State Aid in Irish Secondary Education. Our Irish Jesuit Colleges were well represented in the Exhibition organised by Fr. Corcoran S. J.

Irish Province News 34th Year No 4 1959

GENERAL
On 17th June Very Reverend Fr. General appointed Fr. Brendan Barry as Socius to Fr. Provincial in succession to Father John Coyne. Thus came to an end a term of office which had lasted for nearly a quarter of a century. This surely must be an easy record. Many members of the Province had known no other Socius and some of the younger generation might not have been able to name any of Fr. Coyne's predecessors. Provincials might come and go but Fr. Coyne remained, an abiding element in a changing world. In all, he worked under four Provincials; Fr. Kieran, during whose period of office he became Socius (22nd February, 1935), Fr. J. R. MacMahon, Fr. T. Byrne and Fr. M. O’Grady. On more than one occasion he deputised as Vice-Provincial. He had come to be regarded as an almost indispensable appendage of government, and then in June the appointment of a new Fr. Socius came as a reminder that even Socii are, after all, subject to the law of mutability.
At the celebration of his golden jubilee in 1956, Fr. Coyne said that his career in the Society had been a series of false starts and changes of direction. But these seemingly false starts, his interrupted classical studies, his years as Substitute to the English Assistant, as Rector of Belvedere and as Master of Novices were preparing him for what was to be the great work of his life. These experiences gave him an understanding of the day-to-day business of the government of the Society and of individual houses, and, of course, his impeccable Latin prose and mastery of curial style. At the same jubilee celebrations the Provincial for the time being and two former Provincials paid tribute to his skill in the dispatch of business, his loyalty, generosity and other personal qualities. To these the Province may add: his courtesy, tact, sympathy and good sense. The timid or diffident who considered a personal interview with Fr. Provincial too formidable found in Fr. Coyne the perfect intermediary. To all who had permissions to ask or MSS. for censorship or other small business to transact he was always approachable and gracious. The province takes this opportunity of thanking him and of expressing its admiration, Not to say amazement, at the cheerfulness with which year after year he went about the infinity of his important but monotonous tasks. It also extends a warm welcome to Fr. Barry in his new work.

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 3 1978

Obituary :

Fr John Coyne (1889-1978)

Father John Coyne was born in Dunmore, Co. Galway on 28 April 1889 where both his father and mother were teaching. Within a couple of years his father became an inspector of schools, and as a young inspector he was kept on the move: after a brief spell in Dublin he was posted to Tralee, then Cavan and then in 1902 to Cork. After three years with the Christian Brothers on Patrick’s Hill, John came to Clongowes in 1905. He used to say that he felt the first feeble stirrings of vocation while in St Patrick’s College, Cavan, but that the call was peremptory one night in his cubicle in Clongowes when he felt “visited” by an overpowering grace of God: “a wave of deep peace and brightest light flooded my soul to its deepest”.
Two aspects of his youth will surprise those of us who came to know him only after his curial training in Rome: his mother whose parents were English found her favourite reading in John Mitchell's “Jail Journal”; secondly one of the greatest disappointments of his youth was in losing the Junior Munster Final, in which he played as a forward, to Presentation College when at the last moment a sturdy Presentation full-back dropped a goal from half-way which soared between the posts. That he took exhibitions, medals and prizes in his stride is what one expects; his father used to con a chapter of St Luke’s Greek with him every Sunday.
Though only one year in Clongowes he was much in luck to find among his masters four scholastics: Tim Corcoran, Charlie Mulcahy, Patrick Connolly and William O’Keeffe. Among his classmates in that year’s Rhetoric were Paddy McGilligan, Tom Arkins, Tom O'Malley and J B O'Connell, later to become an authority on matters liturgical. Paddy McGilliagan beat him by 25 marks for a medal in Latin.
When he decided to offer himself to the Society the then Provincial, Father John S Conmee, began his chat in this way: “Well John, what makes you want to join the ‘crafties’: that is how Dublin priest speak of us?” Later Father Conmee visited I Rhetoric during Latin class, and John was asked to construe “O fons Bandusiae”.
In the following September eight novices turned up in Tullabeg: among them Hugh Kelly from Westport, John Deevy from Waterford, Henry Johnson from Belfast, Michael Meeney from Limerick, Denis Nerney and John from Cork. In Tullabeg for a year and a half Father James Murphy was his novice master: John liked to tell how Father Murphy, like an Old Testament Prophet, summoned all his novices round his bed, recalling for the last time the great principles of Ignatian spirituality by which his novices were to live. Father Murphy died on 28th March 1908, and his Socius, Fr Tighe took over until Father Michael Browne was appointed in August,
After his first vows on 8 September 1908, he and his fellows moved to another table and wore their birettas. For his first two years he was coached by Fr John Keane and Mr Dan Finn in Tullabeg, going to Dublin only to sit for the Royal University exams. In his third year 86 St Stephen's Green had become the Dublin College of the new National University, so the Juniors moved up to Milltown. His Greek Professor was Father Henry Browne and for Latin Paddy Semple.
He took his MA In 1912: his thesis dealt with Hellenism as a force in Eastern life and thought; he spent most of this year in Trinity Library as facilities in 86 were understandably limited. He spent the Christmas term teaching English and Latin in Belvedere, but early in the new year Father T V Nolan, recently appointed Provincial, sent him back to Milltown to prepare himself for the travelling studentship in Classics coming up in the following September.
John won the studentship and was posted to Innsbruck. By a stroke of luck he met on the Holyhead boat the extern examiner for his thesis and his oral, Professor J S Reid, a notable Ciceronian scholar; generously the Professor gave him a letter of introduction to Professor Rudolf von Scala in Innsbruck, chief expert on Polybius, the Greek historian of Rome. Scala gave him a warm welcome, the run of his library and welcome to his lectures. With disappointment on John’s part he suggested as the subject of his Bodenpreise (Ground Rents). As sources for his thesis in Innsbruck were thin, John moved to Munich after Christmas where there was a flourishing centre for the study of papyri under the direction of an Austrian named Wenger. Occasionally Wenger invited small groups to his home for a beer evening where his wife proved a charming hostess. Here he used to meet from time to time Hermann Grisar, then the authority on Luther, and Peter Lippart.
Summer vacation drew him back to Innsbruck; fortunately he had a fortnight's villa before the war broke out. The Jesuits undertook care of the wounded, beginning to trickle back from the Serbian front. With a crash course from a Viennese doctor, they took over a large building to serve as a hospital. In May 1915 British subjects had to get out of Innsbruck as Italy had entered the war and was planning to force the Brenner Pass. Three Irish Jesuits Fr Tim Halpin, recently ordained, John and Dan Finn made their way to Vienna.
John was drafted to Kalksburg, where he spent three years as a spare tyre: “parratus ad omnia” as he loved to quote to us, novices. One year on returning from Christmas holidays Prince Liechtenstein brought the mumps with him; spreading through the school rapidly some 150 boys were affected. As the Brothers had all been called to the colours, John spent from January to May as a nurse: more serious were one case of scarlatina, one of typhoid, and the most critically ill of all was the Archduke Godfrey of Salsburg down with serious pneumonia. Trying enough as the nursing with its broken nights was, John preferred it to being gallery prefect, sitting in a glass box, regulating traffic, ringing bells or covering a sick or weary prefect’s beat. Sanctions were difficult: no corporal punishment to deter slackers or offenders-only detention or, for the younger boys, putting them in the booby corner. One Pole, called the Black Prince because of his dark features, had been recalled from an English public school and found Kalksburg considerably more to his liking,
His next move was to Poland to finish his philosophy at Nowy Sacz (now Sardac), a town two hours journey south of Cracow. His main task was to prepare for his “de universa”, and in keeping with Jesuit custom, to learn the language of the house of studies in which he lived: this time a Slav language.
On returning from Poland he taught in Clongowes for the year 1919-20, and liked to tell that one of his boys later broke his gavel in a vain attempt to stem Kruschev’s eloquence at UNO in New York - and subsequently became the first Catholic Chancellor of Trinity.
In the Autumn of 1920 he went to Milltown for theology: by a war-time privilege he was ordained at the end of his second year on 15 August 1922. After two more years in theology he went to Exaten in eastern Holland to do his tertianship in a German community (1924-5).
On the status of 1925 he was assigned to study Scripture in Rome but at the last moment he was asked to fill a gap by becoming substitute secretary to the English Assistant, Fr Joseph Welsby, previously Tertian instructor in Tullabeg. For his first year and a half he lived in the German College while the new curia on the Borgo Santo Spirito was being built. He quickly learned the “stylus Curiae” and after three years Fr Wladimir Ledochowski, the General, told him that he had learned as much in the Curia as he was likely to learn and that he was sending him back to Ireland to become Rector of Belvedere.
Fr Martin Maher, a long-time novice master, was beginning to fail and John was appointed to replace him in the Spring of 1931. The present writer entered the novicehsip the following September; we were the only group to have him alone for our master. He was a dedicated Ledochowski man, as indeed was his then Provincial, Fr Larry Kieran, whose contact with Fr General was 99% epistolatry. Fr John had an outstanding devotion to Our Lord, at times over emotional in its expression; eager to tell us that we had not real Ignatian indifference unless we kept one foot in the air; insistent on the 'magis' of the Exercises which meant his novices must be grounded in “agere contra”, and, at least, have a desire to live in the third degree. I think it would not be unfair to describe him as a Christian stoic rather than as a Christian humanist. His war-time experiences had taken a great deal out of him and one sensed the strain. Many of us found it difficult to feel relaxed in our regular visits to him: we waited for an opening as he gazed out the window at Dairy hill and played rather nervously with a paper knife. He found “priming the pump” difficult.
Not that he was inhuman but he didn't believe in showing that side to his novices. He did to his Provincial when he wrote to say that, for days on end, apart form the Community, all he ever saw was the postman and, occasionally, a stray dog. A few months break from Emo towards the end of 1933 didn't help to reduce the tension under which he was living; he was simple and humble enough to ask his Provincial to accept his resignation.
If his first three appointments were each three years long, his next one was to last almost twenty-five years: February 1935 until mid June 1959. Over that span he served as Socius to four Provincials. I think he would like to be described as “idus Achates”; but a Socius in the Society is much more than a secretary; ex officio he is one of the four Province consultors. In Fr Kieran’s reign both he and his Socius were too like-minded. Though Fr Kieran met Fr Ledochowski only once in the General Congregation of 1938, from his appointment as Provincial in 1931 he was an all-out Ledochowski man: “actio in distans non repugnat”. His successor in the difficult war years, Fr John R MacMahon, knew his own mind as did his successor Fr Tommy Byrne who founded three houses and took on commitments in Northern Rhodesia - the Zambia of today. Father Louis O’Grady, for reasons of health and temperament, left Province decisions rest far too much on his Socius, Father John.
On retiring from his unselfish devotion to a typewriter for twenty five years, from letters and forms to Rome, from Collecting informations for fitness for Hong kong or Zambia, for suitability for ordinations, and for government, and, perhaps, most tedious of all, bringing out the annual “Catalogus”, he was posted to Gardiner Street as operarius. Even as Socius pastoral work appealed to him: for years he guided two praesidia of the Legion of Mary, his first experience of it being in Rome when an ecumenical praesidium was formed in the mid-twenties: it didn't last long as the non-Catholics couldn't stomach the rigidity of the Handbook. He struck up a real friendship with Paddy Reynolds, Lord Wicklow's astute partner in Clonmore and Reynolds. Though Paddy had a heart of gold, in language he’d outdo any trooper. As a result John translated a number of German books which, to his delight, Reynolds managed to sell- despite the fact that John had a taste fot the “turgid” German.
Five years later (1964) carrying out what he had taught us in Emo, the “magis” of the Exercises, he accepted the invitation of the Polish Archbishop of Lusaka to set the Mission Archives in order. Though his Provincial, Fr Charlie O'Connor, suggested a stay of six months, John, apart from one furlough, spent almost ten years in Zambia where he wished to leave his bones.
By 1966 a new presbytery had been built adjoining the modern Church of St Ignatius. With his work on the archives completed he joined the Irish parish community, taking on the duties of a curate at the age of 77: baptisms, marriages, pre-marriage courses, keeping the parish registers. As most of the community was working outside the house, he acted as porter, answered the phone, dealt with callers. One of the Community - no great admirer of John in his Socius days - prevailed on him to take a glass of grog every night, and so he learned to relax.
Returning to Zambia in 1969 after a break in Ireland, he was able to spend four days in Greece - from the human point of view the highlight of his life. Less than three years later he had to return to Ireland on stringent medical advice, but he refused to hang up his boots. Between bouts in hospital he continued translation work, was no “laudator temporis acti” but had a warm welcome, a keen interest in the theologians whose régime was so different to what he had experienced when Fr Peter Finlay and Matt Devitt were the stars in his student days (1920-1924).
May the Lord reward him for his enthusiasm and generosity; may he win for his two Jesuit nephews of whom he was so proud, for his three sisters and all the family, abundant grace.
RBS.
PS. For most of the facts in this notice I have drawn from a sixty-one page typescript which Father John was prevailed upon to write in his last year in Milltown (1977): It is, in the main, Province history with little personal comment and remarkably restrained in passing judgments “discreta caritas”. (RBS).

Cremins, Richard, 1922-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/751
  • Person
  • 24 August 1922-21 February 2012

Born: 24 August 1922, Dublin
Entered: 05 October 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961
Died: 21 February 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03/12/1969

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
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.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/203-missionary-experience-of-the-late-fr-richard-cremins

Missionary Experience of the late Fr. Richard Cremins
Father Richard Cremins, SJ died on 21st February 2012 in Cherryfield Nursing Home in Milltown Park after a long illness. The funeral mass took place on Friday 24th February in Milltown Park Chapel, after which Fr. Cremins was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Fr. Cremins spent over 50 years working as a missionary in Zambia until a stroke brought him back to Ireland in 2006 where he remained until his recent death.
Fr. Richard Cremins was born in 1922 and attended Blackrock College in Dublin. He went on to study at university for 3 years before making the decision to become a Jesuit priest after being impressed by the spirit among the students of Milltown Park. Fr. Cremins taught in Belvedere College for 2 years before he was ordained in 1955. In 1957 Fr. Cremins was sent out to Zambia, then Northern Rhodesia, to work in the Chikuni Mission. He spent several months learning the local language, Tonga and was mainly involved with the primary schools in the area. He spent a year travelling around the country finding schools a job which required him to learn a second language, Bemba. In 1964, Fr. Cremins was sent to Monze to step in as principal of the secondary school for 6 months. He remained in the post for four and a half years until the appointment of Michael Kelly as principal. Fr. Cremins spoke fondly of his time as parish priest in Monze. “They were lovely people. Very nice” he said. He felt it was important to value the customs and traditions of the people in the area. He recounted an early experience he had of a woman who was having trouble with her husband and he had been asked to step in. He sat with them in their family home but realized that his presence there was enough. “They had their own way of settling these things. So I never tried to interfere and just let things take their course”. Fr. Cremins kept this stance throughout his time in Zambia. He did a lot of work in development in the area which included the setting up of Church councils in each area and also the translation of the Bible into Tonga. This occurred in 1970 after the events of Vatican II.
Fr. Cremins was most noted for his work in AIDS prevention and development in Zambia. He went to Lusaka, the capital, in 1970 and spent 12 years there working on development with particular attention given to the introduction of natural family planning. This followed the work of Doctor Sister Miriam Duggan who wanted to introduce the idea to the area. After the implementation of a programme in Lusaka, Fr. Cremins then moved to Malwai in 1990 where he spent 12 years working on a similar project resulting in the establishment of FAMLI. In 2004, he helped to set up an AIDS programme called Youth Alive which aimed at educating young people in Malawi about the risks of AIDS.
Fr. Richard Cremins enjoyed his work as a missionary and spoke positively of his experiences abroad. “I always had a principle that if you have to do something you might as well enjoy it and I always enjoyed my work whatever it was".

https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/225-fr-richard-cremins-sj-1922-2012

Fr. Richard Cremins, SJ 1922-2012
Dick was raised in Dublin during the post independence and post civil war years. He attended the Holy Ghost Fathers' Blackrock College and then proceeded to do undergraduate studies at University College Dublin (UCD). Afterwards he began legal studies spending one year at King's Inn, passing his first bar exam with first class honours. He was a formidable debater and was elected president of the LH Society (Literary and Historical Society), well known for the who's who of Irish politicians and professionals who had been members in their younger days. Dick resigned as president of the Society and discontinued his legal studies to join the Society in 1943. He followed the usual course of studies in Ireland doing regency at Belvedere and Mungret Colleges. After theology at Milltown Park he was ordained a priest in 1955.
In response to a request from Father General, the Irish Province formally assumed responsibility in 1949/1950 for missionary work in much of the Southern Province of Northern Rhodesia (later to become the independent country of Zambia). This led to the establishment of the Chikuni Mission in the Southern Province with a procure in the capital, Lusaka. Building on the great accomplishments of the Zambezi Mission and of Jesuits from the Polish-Krakow Province who had laid the foundations of Church presence in this area, the new arrivals for the Chikuni Mission quickly found themselves engaged in the work of mission development. This they did through the establishment of parishes, the consolidation and expansion of secondary and teacher training institutions, the management and growth of an extensive network of primary schools, and the advancement of women and lay leadership in the Church.
Throughout the 35 years of his period in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia, where he arrived in September 1957, Dick Cremins found himself involved in each one of these works, apart from teacher training. On completion of a period learning chiTonga, the major local language used in the Chikuni Mission territory, his first assign- ment was as Manager of Schools, in charge of supervising, improving and expanding the large network of Catholic primary schools for which the Mission was responsible. In an era when Church presence in an area tended to be closely linked to educational presence through a Church-managed primary school, this involved much hard bargaining with similarly placed representatives from other Christian Churches and colonial officials. Though he threw himself into this work with enormous verve, this was something that did not fit well with Dick's broader ecumenical vision. Neither did it give much scope for his manifest abilities, including his sharp understanding of the needs of a colonial territory that sooner rather than later would become independent.
The situation changed for him in 1959 when he was appointed as Principal of Canisius College, a Jesuit boys' secondary school which had commenced in 1949, much to the displeasure of the colonial authorities who protested at the time that the territory already had a secondary school for boys and so did not need a second one. But by 1959 the winds of change were already blowing in Northern Rhodesia and Dick saw it as his duty, not to challenge the colonial authorities, but with their (sometimes grudging) financial support to develop a school that would respond to the territory's future needs for well qualified human resources. His task in doing so was facilitated by the transfer of the teacher training component from Canisius to the newly established Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College nearby, leaving Dick free to promote a programme of expanding boarding and teaching facilities (especially science laboratories and a library) at Canisius and to increase the number of staff.
A very significant development during the four-and-a-half years of Dick's tenure as Principal of Canisius was the commencement of 6th Form (A-level). Those who completed this programme would have spent almost fifteen years in school - this in a territory where by 1963 less than 1,000 (up to 200 of them from Canisius itself) had completed even twelve years in school. Equally significant, and an early sign of what would be a major con-cern throughout the rest of Dick's life, was his determination that girls should benefit from this development and be able to attain the highest possible level of education. This resulted in Canisius becoming the only school in Northern Rhodesia that offered 6 h Form education to both girls and boys - a noteworthy advance not only towards gender equity but also in Jesuit understanding of the need to ensure that the equality between women and men became a lived reality.
A further development was the active recruitment of a large number of lay teachers for the staffing of the expanding Canisius College. But more was at work in Dick's case, for here he found it possible to give expression to his pre-Vatican II vision of increasing the role of the laity in Church affairs. The strength of Dick's convictions in this area led to his appointment in 1964 as parish priest of the town of Monze and subsequently as chaplain to the Lay Apostolate Movement in the newly established Diocese of Monze. That same year, Northern Rhodesia's colonial status ended when it became the independent country of Zambia. Dick identified wholeheartedly with the new State and as soon as it was possible for him to do so adopted Zambian citizenship, even though this necessitated renouncing his status as a citizen of Ireland, the country of his birth. For the rest of his life, Dick remained a Zambian, a man committed to improving the status of women, and a man passionately concerned to give practical expression to Vatican II's vision of the importance of the laity and the involvement of the Church in the development of peoples.
Dick worked indefatigably for six years as parish priest of Monze town and for five years as promoter of the lay apostolate throughout the diocese. An outstanding legacy to his term as parish priest was the establishment by the Holy Rosary Sisters of Monze Mission Hospital. Dick always proved himself a staunch ally of these Sisters, some of them still fresh from the Biafran war in Nigeria. Always conscious of the dignity of women and the active role that lay and religious women could play in the Church, he supported the Sisters with deep practical love and respect (which they in turn generously reciprocated). Dick pursued these apostolic commitments in Monze Diocese at such expense to himself that he had to spend the greater part of 1976 rebuilding his health. When he was strong enough to return to Zambia late that year, his enduring commitment to the development of the laity resulted in his transfer to Lusaka and appointment, on behalf of the Catholic Hierarchy, as national chaplain for the lay apostolate and secretary for development. For the next seven years he spent the greater part of his time educating and training the laity, mobilising and energising lay groups, and advocating on their behalf. His constant concern was to ensure that Vatican II's vision of the role of the laity became a reality energetically adopted and practised, not only by the ordained ministry of the Church and by members of the Society, but also by lay-persons themselves. These years also saw his trail-blazing support for the National Council of Catholic Women in Zambia, with his unflagging insistence to the women who asked him to implement some of their ideas, "No; this is for you to do, yours are the voices that should be heard." His belief in the power of women was remarkably vindicated in 1982 when, because of the outspoken opposition of the Catholic Women's League to the Zambian Government's inclusion of communist ideology in the curriculum for schools at all levels, the Government capitulated and backed off from this development.
Dick's experience and reflections during this time brought into sharper focus for him the importance of the family. A prime concern here was to enable women to control the number of children they bore while observing the teaching of the encyclical Humanae Vitae about contraception. He was motivated here not just by loyalty to Church teaching, but also by his commitment to improving the lot of women and his anguish at the suffering women endured in bearing more children than their health, their means, the well-being of their already-born children or their prospects as persons who were fully equal to men, could sustain. He was further energised by his deep-seated conviction on the supremacy of human life and hence was driven by the imperative of preventing abortion and opposing its legalisation.
Both of these concerns led Dick to become a protagonist for natural family planning as a way that respected human dignity, while enabling women take more control of their lives and avoid abortions by not having unwanted pregnancies. He became skilled on the medical and social aspects of natural family planning and was soon recognised as a national and international authority in this area. His views did not always find acceptance with others, but this did not diminish their respect for his integrity, the consistency of his approach, and his manifest commitment to bettering the condition of women. His involvement in the area of natural family planning be- came more all-consuming when in 1983 he was appointed as Director of Zambia's Family Life Movement. He was to remain in this position until his appointment to Malawi, the second country that constitutes the Zambia- Malawi Province, ten years later. During this Lusaka period Dick also served for six years as Superior of the Jesuit community of St. Ignatius. Throughout the latter years of that time, St. Ignatius' was the base for the newly established Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, a faith and social justice think-tank which received wholehearted support from Dick's wisdom, experience, and vision.
In 1993 Dick was sent to Lilongwe in Malawi to set up a Jesuit residence there. Since a number of Jesuits were already working in the Malawian seminaries, Malawi was now recognised as part of the Zambian province, but there was no specifically Jesuit residence there. Dick first stayed with the Kiltegan Fathers for a few months as he surveyed the houses which came on the market in Lilongwe. He was responsible for the purchase and rehabilitation of the present residence of Our Lady of the Way, more usually known as 9/99, the official address. This house became the rallying point for a scattered Jesuit community whose members were working hundreds of kilometres away to the four points of the compass (Zomba, Kasungu, Kachebere and Mangochi).
However 9/99 was not merely a convenient staging point - one of the attractions was meeting Dick. At breakfast and especially after evening meal, one could be sure of a stimulating discussion arising on some point relevant to our mission that had been noticed by Dick and obviously pondered over by him. One might not always agree with Dick's point of view, but that made the discussions all the more stimulating. Dick continued the family apostolate he had animated so well in Lusaka and set up an official NGO called FAMLI, supported by overseas aid.
In Lilongwe in 2007, Dick experienced a massive stroke that ultimately led to his return to Ireland and admission to Cherryfield, the Irish Province's nursing home for infirm, disabled and recuperating Jesuits. Here Dick was to remain until his death in February 2012. But his approach to his transformed conditions was not one of self-pity. Instead, with characteristic determination and enormous courage, he succeeded in teaching himself to speak with some sort of clarity and in making himself mobile with the aid of a "walker" that had been designed according to his specifications for a person whose right hand was crippled. The strength of his resolve and his unfailing commitment to his priesthood were shown by the way he struggled every week to serve as principal celebrant at the community Mass. Despite his limited mobility, he succeeded in attending outside lectures and functions. He taught himself to use a laptop by tapping out messages with one finger of his left hand. And in an effort to build up a sense of camaraderie among his fellow-residents in Cherryfield and the wider community of Jesuits living in the Dublin area, he organised Scrabble and draughts competitions.
Dick put his hard-won computer skills to good use in these final years. From the darkness that must have enshrouded his own life, he regularly sent warm and supportive messages to colleagues who, like himself, were experiencing the cloud of unknowing. But even more, despite his limitations, he continued to press for the better- ment of women, loyal adherence to the teachings of Humanae Vitae, ever greater involvement in the official Church on the part of "outstanding lay Catholics who are to be found as leaders in every walk of life," and advocacy for a Church "where St. Peter might feel at home. "At a meeting just six weeks before his death, he expressed concern that Cherryfield might be obtaining its medical supplies from a pharmacy where the "morning-after" pill could also be purchased. His spirited contributions continued after his death - nine days after he died, The Furrow, the respected religious journal from Maynooth, published his article in support of the Irish government's decision to close its Embassy to the Vatican as he saw this as a step in the direction of making it possible for the Church to remain true to the simplicity of the Gospel.
Throughout his long and very full life, Dick Cremins emerged as a gentle person, kind and peaceful, who lived his life joyfully in the service of others and in pursuit of the highest ideals. At times, people could be upset by his sabre-sharp remarks or forthright statement of his views. But behind these there always lay his fearlessness in challenging accepted points of wisdom, his passion to see the Kingdom of God as envisaged by Jesus realised among us, his zeal for the genuine development of all peoples, his razor sharp mind and his powerful sense of humour with its love of irony, laughter and the joy of people.
Years ago, Dick was characterised as being shaped like a paschal candle - tall, thin and luminous. But his moral stature far surpassed his physical tallness. The Bible tells us that there were giants in the early days. But Dick Cremins shows us that giants are still to be found in modern days.

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012

Obituary

Fr Richard (Dick) Cremins (1922-2012) : Zambia Malawi Province

24 August 1922: Born in Dublin.
Early education: Blackrock College, UCD and 1 year at King's Inns (legal studies)
1943: Obtained a BA Degree in Legal and Political Science in 1943 from UCD
5 October 1943: Entered Emo
October 1945: First Vows: Emo
1946 - 1949: Tullabeg, studying Philosophy
1949 - 1951: Belvedere - Regency
1951 - 1952: Mungret College, Teaching, Prefecting
1952 - 1955: Milltown Park, studying Theology
28th July 1955: Ordained
1955 - 1956: Milltown Park, 4th Year Theology
1956 - 1957: Rathfarnham, Tertianship
1957 - 1958: Zambia, learning the language
1958: Chikuni, Manager of schools
1959 - 1963: Chikuni, Canisius College, Principal
2 February 1961: Final Vows at Chikuni
3 December 1969: Transcribed to Zambia Province
1964 - 1970: Monze, Parish Priest
1971 - 1975: Monze, Chaplain, lay apostolate
1976: Monze, Nairobi, Dublin, recovering health
1976 - 1983: Lusaka, Catholic Secretariat, Chaplain, Lay Apostolate, Secretary for Development
1983 - 1992; St. Ignatius, Director Family Life Movement St. Ignatius,
1983 - 1990: Superior
1990 - 1993: Luwisha House, Director Family Life Movement
1993 - 2007: Lilongwe (opened the house in 1993) FASU consultancy (later FAMLI)
1999 - 2004: Chaplain Lilongwe International Catholic community
2000 - 2001: Assistant Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator
2007 - 2012: Dublin, Cherryfield Lodge, recovering health. Praying for the Church and the Society
21 February 2012: Died Cherryfield

Obituary : Conall Ó Cuinn
Dick grew up in Dublin and was the last surviving sibling, having been predeceased by his brothers, Pat, Gary and Paul, and by his sister, Nora. Though his education at Blackrock College left a strong mark, unlike his brother he was clear that the Holy Ghost Fathers were not for him. General Richard Mulcahy, his mother's cousin, connected him with the turbulent socio-political situation of post-independence and post civil-war Ireland. So it was not surprising that he studied Law and Politics in UCD, including a year at King's Inns. He was a bright student, a formidable debater with a razor sharp sense of humour tinged with a certain killer instinct, not always appreciated by his adversaries, and which sometimes got him into trouble. Having graduated from UCD and passed his first Bar exam, both with 1st class honours, he joined the Society at the then late age of 21, a late vocation, a man of the world. And all of this during World War II.

Zambia--Monze (1957-1975)
Dick spent 50 years living and working in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia for his first 7 years there). He embraced the new State on independence and became a Zambian citizen, a symbolic statement representing a desire to insert himself into Zambian life and culture. This involved revoking his Irish citizenship so that he required a visa each time he needed to visit Ireland. He put down roots in the Chikuni Mission which was later to become Monze Diocese. He arrived there in 1957, just nine years after the first involvement of the Irish Jesuits. From there he later launched himself nationally, and even internationally.

Learning Tonga for a year was always the first task before being thrown into the apostolate. His first job was that of Manager of Schools at a time when the primary education project of the mission was in full swing. He then became Principal of Chikuni Secondary College in the lead up to Independence (1964). Effectively he was educating what would become the leaders of the new Zambian state. And clearly Dick was seen by his superiors as a man of ability and initiative.

In 1962, as the Second Vatican Council was getting underway, James Corboy, then Rector of Milltown Park and Theology Professor, was appointed Bishop of Monze. The Council changed James, as a person and an ecclesiastic. He embraced it as a process, and ever afterwards claimed that the Council was his introduction to theology, especially the seminars given on the fringe of the Council's formal sessions. On his appointment to Zambia he had a clear vision of the importance of the laity and the involvement of the Church in the development of peoples. With that vision he gathered people of the calibre of Dick Cremins around him to promote the project of Vatican II in the new Diocese of Monze. Dick would be a right-hand man when appointed Parish Priest of Monze in 1964 and also Chaplain to the Lay Apostolate movement.

At the same time and at the invitation of Bishop Corboy, the Holy Rosary Sisters were establishing their hospital next door. Dick became great friends with the sisters, a camaraderie and friendship similar to that of siblings in a family, brothers and sisters who supported each other in deep and practical love. This is an occasion to acknowledge and give public thanks for such support and love, and to thank God for it, not just to the Holy Rosary Şişters, but also to the Sisters of Charity, the RSHM sisters (Ferrybank), and the Holy Spirit Sisters (founded also by Bishop Corboy).

Amid the hardship, labour and struggle of those first years there was much fun and laughter. Dick's humour became legendary in the land. For example, rushing out the door at 9.50 a.m. one morning he declared: “I've got to rush. There is a meeting that was due to start at 8.00 am and I don't want to be late!”

And another, told by Sr. Theresa, a Holy Rosary sister. She arrives in the country, fresh with a sociology degree and some notion of community development. Her first task is to interview the PP to avail of his vast experience and local knowledge. Dick lets her ask her questions and avidly write her notes with that neophyte enthusiasm of the recently arrived. “Sister”, interrupts Dick as she begins to ask another question, “I'd like you to know that I've only arrived here myself 3 days ago. So I'm finding my feet too:. They became friends that moment, a friendship which included Theresa sitting by Dick's bed as he lay dying, 38 years later. Such was the quality of friendship on the Mission that we celebrate and acknowledge today.

Shortly after independence when three of the Sisters were PI'd (declared persona ingrata] by the new, youthful and over-confident government, for refusing the orders of local officials regarding medical matters, Dick went to bat for them with the government officials in Lusaka. The PI order was revoked after hours of palaver. Dick came within a hair's breadth of being PI'd himself, so that Zambia nearly lost this “troublesome priest”, a term used to describe him in a government memo on the events.

Zambia -- Lusaka (1976-1993):
Vatican II had taken place; the Decree on the Laity played a central role in Bishop Corboy's strategy. As a result a huge investment was made in the education and training of lay people. Dick, given his experience in Monze, moved to Lusaka in 1976 to take up an appointment at the Catholic Secretariat (set up by Fr. Colm O'Riordan SJ) as National Chaplain to the Lay Apostolate, and Secretary for Development

He was a trailblazing supporter of the National Council of Catholic Women of Zambia, at a time when women were invisible supernumeraries both in the church and in Zambian society. Dick encouraged them to take a lead and use their power. He campaigned hard for them to have an appropriate place both in the church and in African society, and he saw his job as an enabler, giving them the courage to make the moves themselves; so when they came up with an idea and asked him to act on it, he would say No, yours is the voice that should be heard.

Later in 1983, he became Director of the Family Life Movement which tried to implement the teachings of Vatican II on family life. Dick was very much taken with Humanae Vitae when it was published in 1968, and believed its practical teaching could be put into practice if the vision behind it were understood and assimilated. Of course, this was controversial, and in a sense grist to Dick's mill. With determination and humour he developed and led the organization, Famously, he introduced himself to a somewhat sceptical if not hostile international conference with a statement, that he had practiced natural family planning all his life!

So Dick had many friends, and some enemies. An example of such friendships is the message of Clare Mukolwe, now a graduate student at Fordham University in New York:
“A gentle spirit gone before us marked with a sign of faith. I was introduced to Fr Richard Cremins by my mother Grace Mukolwe. They worked together for the National Council of the Laity. Fr Cremins was also my mother's first spiritual director and he introduced Mum to the Ignatian Spirituality retreats. He gave me my first real job straight after high school. It was fun”.

Malawi --Lilongwe (1993-2007)
As a number of Malawian men had joined the Society, Malawi opened up as a mission possibility in the early 90's. Dick was sent to open a new house in Lilongwe and to develop his Family Life apostolate in that country. He worked there for 14 years, until his stroke in 2007. Like a tree being felled, he was suddenly reduced from full health to a state of great disability, both in his walking and in his speaking. He returned to Ireland via Zambia and moved into Cherryfield Lodge, his last home.

Ireland--Cherryfield (2007-2012)
Dick's approach was not one of self-pity. In his usual manner he confronted the problem head on. Getting himself as mobile as possible, and getting himself to speak with some sort of clarity was now his main goal. And with great determination, never accepting to lie down in the face of difficulty or refusal, he achieved much of what he set out to do. The sharp mind and quick wit never deserted him, even after the stroke in March 2007 which crippled and distressed him --- as with characteristic determination he set himself to recover clarity of speech.

An example of his logic and determination had to do with his wheeled walker: All wheeled walkers have two brakes, literally one on the left hand and one on the right hand. But what if your right hand doesn't work, as was the case for Dick and thousands of other stroke victims? Two-handed breaks do not work. They are positively dangerous. If you asked a car driver to break with two break pedals, he argued, there would be carnage on the roads. Why are stroke victims expected to do with two-handed breaks? Such a break doesn't exist, he was told. Should exist, he insisted, and if you won't locate one, I will do so myself. So using the Internet he located one in Sweden. Expensive, but existent. It was bought and functioned well. But he needed to redesign the right handle to suit his withered hand which design he then sent to Sweden where they made it for him and sent back to Ireland for fitting, Where Dick had a will, there was a way: Dick's way, “No” was not an option for Dick when he saw that something was possible.

And again the humour: Matron Rachel McNeil was the subject to which one of Dick's Ditties was addressed:

    Poem to Rachel
Dick has more problems with his vowels
than with his bowels
And therefore needs more alcohol
than Movicol®

Dick died six months short of his 90th birthday. Even to the end of his days in Cherryfield he was a formidable crusader for a number of causes, often a champion against the authorities, and always on the side of life – whether it was through natural family planning, or organising a draughts championship in Cherryfield for men who'd have thought their gaming days were over. He lived life to the full and to the last. In his last week in hospital he had an article accepted for publication in the Furrow, and one in the Irish Catholic. All he needed was a WiFi modem to send it to the editors. Both articles were controversial, questioning the standard version. Both rocked the boat.

Now the questioning and the rocking and the struggling are over. For those who did not know Dick, remember how a chieftain in Tanzania described him: :I know only one human being who is shaped like the paschal candle: Fr Dick Cremins, tall, thin and luminous”. His light faded for us on 21 February, but shines now in a broader heaven.

Delaney, Hubert, 1929-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/557
  • Person
  • 24 October 1929-01 April 2001

Born: 24 October 1929, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1966, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 01 April 2001, Mater Hospital, Dublin

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Hubert Delaney was born in Dublin on 24 October 1929. After secondary school at the Christian Brothers in Dublin, Hubert entered the Civil Service for 15 months. However a higher calling brought him to the novitiate at Emo Park in 1948. He did the normal course of studies, B.A., philosophy, regency and then theology at Milltown Park in Dublin and crowned them with his ordination to the priesthood on 1962.

After tertianship, his life was lived in educational work. Up to 1974, secondary education occupied him, first at Belvedere College as prefect of studies of the Junior School followed by a year at Clongowes Wood College as teacher and higher line prefect. This was again followed by a three year stint as Headmaster at Gonzaga College in Dublin.
He moved from this into tertiary education and it was philosophy which absorbed his interests for the rest of his life. He lectured at the Milltown Institute in philosophy for eight years up to 1982. He continued lecturing but also studied for his M.A. in philosophy at Trinity College Dublin. He later obtained a Doctorate at Cork University and then went on a sabbatical 1989/1990. He went back to the Milltown Institute as lecturer and was also Director of the Lonergan Centre. He took a year off lecturing and went to Leeson Street as writer and researcher. For two years, 1993 to 1995, he was a tutor in philosophy at the Milltown Institute.

A complete change of venue brought him to Zambia, Africa, to the University of Zambia in Lusaka, invited by Fr Dillon-Malone, head of philosophy there. He stayed for a year lecturing and returned to Ireland to write but he first moved to Korea to lecture for a semester at Sogang University in Seoul. He was back in Leeson Street in 1997 as writer and doing research work again.

His health had not been good. He developed a serious heart condition and other ailments which hospitalised him several times. A stroke in March 2001 sent him to the Mater Hospital. Cerebral apathy and liver disease were diagnosed. All these led to his death on 1 April 2001.

Spontaneous testimony came from two of his former students who later became members of the staff of the Milltown Institute. Both spoke of him as a wonderful teacher, interesting, stimulating, challenging, but, most significant of all, he invited one to enter into a personal engagement and psychological growth. In his teaching he was not only the educator but also the pastor and the priest.

Friendship and service were two of Hubert's qualities. There were many on-going friendships with his former pupils and their families, as well as in the Jesuit communities in which he lived and in the family of his brother Peter. The Morning Star Hostel for ‘down and outs’, the Patricians, the Cenacle Retreat House were some of the areas where Hubert was of service. He had a love of literature, of classical music and of football. He missed all these when he came to Zambia for a year. After all, he was 66 years of age when he came and it is so difficult to make new friends and to fit into a new culture at that age .However he was of service at UNZA when he did come. Hubert's life was one of developing the talents that God had given him, a life centred on his priesthood and on the Mass.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001

Obituary

Fr Hubert Delaney (1929-2001)

24th Oct. 1929: Born in Dublin
Early education in St.Patrick's, Drumcondra and CBS, Richmond Street, Dublin.
1947 - 1948: 15 Months in Civil Service
8th Sept 1948: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept 1950: First vows at Emo
1950 - 1953: Rathfarnham, studying Arts at UCD
1953 - 1956: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1956 - 1959: Belvedere - Teacher, H.Dip in Ed. at UCD
1959 - 1963: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31 July 1962: Ordained at Milltown Park
1964 - 1964: Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle
1964 - 1965: Crescent College, Limerick - Teacher
1965 -1970: Belvedere College: Prefect of Studies of Junior school
2nd Feb 1966: Final Vows
1970 - 1971: Clongowes: Higher Line Prefect and teacher
1971 - 1974: Gonzaga College: Headmaster
1974 - 1982: Milltown Park - Lecturer in Philosophy at Milltown Institute
1982 - 1985: Lecturing in Philosophy at Milltown Inst. studying for MA in Phil. Ed. at TCD
1985 - 1989: Doctorate studies in Philosophy at UCC
1989 - 1990: Sabbatical
1990 - 1992: Lecturer in Philosophy at Milltown Institute; Director, Lonergan Centre
1992 - 1993: Leeson St; Writer and Research
1993 - 1995: Tutor in Philosophy at Milltown Institute
1995 - 1996: Lecturer in Philosophy at UNZA, Lusaka Writer;
1996 - 1997: Lecturer in Philosophy at Sogang University, Seoul, Korea (Spring semester)
1997 - 2001: Leeson St; Writer & Research; Chair Virgin Mary School Board, Ballymun
1st April 2001: Died in the Mater Hospital, Dublin

In 1997 Hubert developed a serious heart condition, cardio myopathy, for which he was receiving regular medical treatment. Within the past three years he was hospitalised several times - to have an artificial knee joint fitted, a hip joint replaced and multiple skin grafts on his legs.

The state of his health had been declining noticeably since last September and even more so since February of this year. On March 21s he suffered a stroke and was admitted to the Mater Hospital, where cerebral apathy and liver disease were diagnosed. The combination of his many ailments led rapidly to renal failure, which was the immediate cause of his death.

Des. O Grady preached at Hubert's Funeral Mass...

Hubert has us all where he wants us now - gathered together with him as his sisters and brothers in our Father's house. We are brought together here by our love of Hubert and by the faith we share with him, our faith in the power and love of God who is the Father of us all: “the Father from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name”.

We are brought together today by our sorrow and our need, by our desire for the support we find in the company of one another and by our need to pray for Hubert, to give thanks for the gift he has been to us, and to surrender him back to the Father. In doing so we echo the faith of Job, which is also the faith of Hubert: “I know that my redeemer lives... These eyes of mine will gaze on him and find him not aloof”.

Jesus lives now for Hubert as the one who has gone before him to prepare a place for him. We pray that Hubert will now hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord”.

We need not be in any doubt about Hubert's being welcomed into our Father's house. If we who are so poor in love always had a welcome for Hubert in our homes, how much more will our heavenly Father welcome him into his true home now. Unprofitable servants we may be, but beloved children first and last.

Our confidence for Hubert today is our confidence in the Father's love for him. That love has showered gifts on Hubert in this life, gifts that Hubert has turned to good account for us as our presence here today testifies more eloquently than anything I can say

If one looks through the official record of Hubert's assignments as a Jesuit priest Hubert's commitment to education is what stands out most of all. Hubert has worked at all levels of education - primary, secondary and tertiary, as well as in adult education. He taught in Belvedere, Clongowes, the Crescent, and in Gonzaga. He served as prefect of studies in the junior school in Belvedere and as headmaster in the senior school in Gonzaga.

In 1974 Hubert came to Milltown and began his career in third level education and I had spontaneous testimony to the value of his work there from two of his former students who are now members of the staff of the Milltown Institute. Both spoke of him as a wonderful teacher: interesting, stimulating, challenging, but most significant of all, as inviting one to personal engagement and growth. In his teaching he was not only the educator, but the pastor and the priest.

Hubert was able to teach so well because he himself was a lifelong student. And if we look at the topics of his MA thesis, “Imagination in Aristotle”, and his Ph.D. dissertation, “The Self-correcting Process of Learning”, we will realize that Hubert's study, though enjoyed for itself, was always focussed on the service of others. Hubert, like his Lord and Master, was among us as one who serves, and we have all benefited from the graces that God has given to Hubert.

That, as I said, is the official record. But off the record there is a whole parallel world of friendship and service; the Teams of Our Lady, the Morning Star, the Patricians, the Cenacle Retreat House, to name but some of the ones I know of Added to that there is his on-going friendship with many of his former pupils and their families, and, last but not least, his presence in his Jesuit communities and in the family of his brother Peter.

As we pray for Hubert today we can draw confidence from our faith in God and from the evidence of God's love in the gifts and graces he has showered upon Hubert, gifts Hubert turned to good account in his priestly life. Hubert's priesthood was at the centre of his life. He shared the word of God with us all and he gave of himself unsparingly. And at the heart of his every day and every work was the Mass.

There is so much more that could be said - his love of nature, and the joy and inspiration he drew from it - his doctoral dissertation about human development was entitled “The Tree of Life”. Then there was his love of literature. During the last few months he was reading again the novels of Jane Austen. Then there was music - mainly classical, and, of course, football.

Right up to the end Hubert enjoyed all of these. The day before he went to hospital for the last time, just two weeks ago today, he was, much against my wishes, let it be said, in Ballymun to chair a Board meeting of the Virgin Mary School, and then after than he spent the evening with his friends, Michael and Aileen Hardigan. The following day Hubert was too weak to get himself out of bed in the morning, and had to be taken to the Mater Hospital where, in spite of the best efforts of the doctors and nurses he died on Sunday morning of renal failure.

He died, yet he lives. He lives on in our hearts and our thoughts but also, we confidently trust, in our Father's home where he continues to work for us and bless us.

Diffely, Edward, 1916-1993, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/501
  • Person
  • 10 April 1916-22 September 1993

Born: 10 April 1916, Cloonfad, Co Roscommon / Wood Quay, Galway
Entered: 07 September 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 22 September 1993, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Eddie was born in Cloonfad, Co Roscommon in 1916. His family moved to Galway where Eddie attended St Joseph's College and later Coláiste Iognáid. He entered the Jesuits in 1934 and was ordained priest at Milltown Park, Dublin, in 1947.

He spent almost fifty years in the active apostolate, first of all as a scholastic in Clongowes and as a priest in Coláiste Iognáid and Belvedere; secondly in giving retreats and missions throughout Ireland; and lastly in mission work in Zambia. To all of these, he brought unbounded drive and enthusiasm.

Eddie was a conscientious and successful teacher, mostly of Irish and Religion. He had a tremendous capacity for motivating young people and drawing the best out of them. They followed his lead with enthusiasm and zest. Many of them remember him years later with gratitude and affection.

It was probably outside the classroom that Eddie exercised his greatest talent. He was strong and athletic with considerable natural talent for a variety of games. In each of the colleges in which he taught, his love for the Irish language and Irish culture was carried over from the classroom into a wide range of extra-curricular activities: Irish dancing, debating, hurling and Gaelic football. His interest in these continued through life. His great interest, however, was in rowing. As a schoolboy, he with a few others organised the first rowing crew to appear on the river for many years. This was in the early thirties and ever since the college rowing club has played a large part in the history of Galway rowing. One of the highlights of his life was his selection as President of the Irish Rowing Union.

He had a natural gift for friendship. Wherever he went, he made friends. A casual meeting would lead to further contacts, growing eventually into a close friendship which often lasted for life. His warmth and humanity and genuine interest in people broke through all barriers of nationality, colour, religious belief or social caste.

He loved company and social occasions and he enlivened every one of these. But it was not all fun. Many a time at one of these functions he would be called out by someone who had been away from the Church for many a year.

He was very faithful to the way of life he had undertaken. Number one in Eddie Diffely's book was his priesthood and Jesuit vocation. No one was ever under any illusion about his commitment to these. His faithfulness to the Mass and the breviary was absolute. He never omitted these no matter how crowded his day was.

What were his failings? It can be said that he had quite a few, most of them springing from a generous nature that was quick to react to any form of injustice. Cheek from a pupil in class or a motorist parking and blocking an entrance could produce a fit of rage and he would tear strips of the offender with typical Diffely eloquence.

His short two years in Zambia brought the same characteristics of this generous man with his gift for friendship and conviviality. He was a teacher in Mukasa, minister in St Ignatius and he gave retreats. Generosity and a desire to help deserving causes were always part of Eddie's apostolate. He took an active part in fund-raising to found a Cheshire Home for disabled people in Galway as well as other charities which benefited from his efforts – Simon, Samaritans and St Vincent de Paul Society.

He had a long spell of illness at the end of 1992 which left him weak and apparently beyond recovery. But he rallied and regained some strength. He was due to leave for England to visit relations in September and was looking forward to the holiday. But the Lord had different plans for him and took him to Himself the evening before he left. Thus he was active and generous to the end. The news of his sudden death came as a great shock to his family and to many people in Galway. Yet all were agreed that this is how he himself would have chosen to pass away among his own while still active and in touch with many people, with a minimum of fuss.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 82 : September 1995

Obituary

Fr Eddie Diffley (1916-1993)

10th April 1916: Born, Cloonfad, Roscommon
7th Sept. 1934: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1936: First Vows at Emo
1936 - 1939: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1939 - 1942: Philosophy at Tullabeg, Offaly
1942 - 1944: Clongowes - Regency, Teacher, H.Dip in Ed
1944 - 1948: Milltown Park, Theology
30th July 1947: Ordained by Archbishop J.C. McQuaid at Milltown Park
1948 - 1949; Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1949 - 1954; St. Ignatius, Galway - Teacher
1954 - 1962: Belvedere College - Teacher
1962 - 1964: Tullabeg - Retreats
1964 - 1966: Milltown Park/Rathfarnham - Retreats
1966 - 1968; Zambia - Retreats, Teacher, Minister
1968 - 1971: Manresa - Retreats
1971 - 1993: St. Ignatius, Galway - Minister, Teacher, Rowing Coach
22nd Sept. 1993: Died at St. Ignatius, Galway

In the evening of 22nd of September, 1993, Fr, Eddie Diffely was taken ill suddenly at St. Ignatius, Galway and within a few short minutes, he died in the presence of three or four of his friends in the community. Although Eddie had not been well for some while past, the news of his sudden death came as a great shock to his family and to many people in Galway.

Yet all were agreed that this is how he himself would have chosen to pass away: among his own, while still active and in touch with many people, with a minimum of fuss.

Eddie Diffely was born in Cloonfad, Co. Roscommon in 1916. Shortly afterwards, the family moved to Wood Quay, Galway. He was educated in St. Joseph's College, run by the Patrician Brothers, for whom he had a lifelong regard, and later in Coláiste Iognáid. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Emo in 1934 and was ordained at Milltown Park in 1947.

He spent almost fifty years in the active apostolate, first of all as a scholastic in Clongowes and as a priest in Coláiste Tognáid and Belvedere; secondly, in giving retreats and missions throughout Ireland, and lastly, in mission work in Zambia. To all of these, he brought unbounded drive and enthusiasm.

Eddie was a conscientious and successful teacher, mostly of Irish and Religion. He had a tremendous capacity for motivating young people and drawing the best out of them. They followed his lead with enthusiasm and zest. Many of them remember him years later with gratitude and affection.

It was probably outside the classroom that Eddie exercised his greatest influence. He was strong and athletic with a considerable natural talent for a variety of games. In each of the colleges in which he taught, his love for the Irish language and Irish culture was carried over from the classroom into a wide range of extra-curricular activities: Irish dancing, debating, hurling and Gaelic football. His interest in these continued through life. In Galway, he was a co founder of St. Kieran's Gaelic Football club, which flourished for a considerable number of years. His interest in Irish politics continued through life.

His great interest, however, was in rowing. As a schoolboy, he and a few contemporaries organised the first rowing crew to appear on the river for many years, this was in the early thirties and the college rowing club has played a large part in the history of Galway rowing ever since.

Rowing appealed to Eddie for many reasons, its competitiveness, its striving for excellence through regular training, the travel involved to various regattas, its whole social dimension. His immense enthusiasm conveyed itself to the boys and to the many coaches who helped him in the training. Rowing, more than any other activity, widened his range of friends, not only in Ireland - North and South - but in Britain and further afield. One of the highlights of his life was his selection as President of the Irish Rowing Union.

He had a natural gift for friendship. Wherever he went, he made friends. A casual meeting would lead to further contact growing into a close friendship which often lasted for life. His warmth and humanity and genuine interest in people broke through all barriers of nationality, colour, religious belief, social caste. He had an extraordinary ability for recognising people even after a lapse of many years and recalling not only their names but also many aspects of their lives - their families and relations, especially any who were ill or incapacitated, their careers and way of life. Despite the huge range of his friends, people somehow felt that Eddie had a special regard for them and treasured their friendship.

He loved company and social occasions. He enlivened every one of these, baptisms and weddings, anniversaries and club socials, even funerals, with his sense of fun, his swapping of yarns, his singing - both solo and as part of the general chorus. Consequently he was greatly in demand for all such festivities.

It was not all just fun. There was an aspect of Eddie's friendships known mainly by his closer friends. Many of these can recall times when in the midst of all the conviviality, someone would tap him on the shoulder and Eddie would be asked to see a person - man or woman - who wished to have a word with him. Right away, he would join whoever it was, go off to another room or into a hidden corner and would be away for quite a while. God alone knows the number of people - mostly men - some of whom had not darkened the door of a church for many years, who were brought back to friendship with God and to the practice of their religion through a chance meeting with him at a wedding or regatta. Others undoubtedly unloaded their problems or were consoled in times of bereavement or trial.

The impression might be given from all this activity that this was a disorganised life, each day a round of hectic engagements, carried out in haphazard fashion. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. Eddie was meticulous in fulfilling his engagements and went to great lengths to keep appointments. A close friend who travelled to Belfast with him on the Saturday before he died said that his main concern on the way home was to be in time for the Mass which he had arranged to say for the students in the school on the Sunday.

He was very faithful to the way of life he had undertaken. Number one in Eddie Diffely's book were his priesthood and Jesuit vocation. No one was ever under any illusion about his commitment to these. Where others of the clergy might appear on social occasions in casual dress, he invariably wore the clerical garb. One of his closest friends remembers his first appearance as President of the Irish Rowing Union at a function of the Ulster Branch in Belfast. Rowing in the North is largely the preserve of the various Protestant denominations and it was an unusual experience for them to be addressed by a Jesuit priest in full clericals. They were soon won over by Eddie's friendliness and laid-back manner and many of them became good friends of his over the years.

Another aspect of Eddie's priesthood was his faithfulness to the Mass and the breviary. These were never omitted no matter what other activities were crowded into his day. His Masses were offered sometimes in unusual surroundings - in factories, canteens, club houses and in the open air at regattas. One man I spoke to recalled a Mass offered at Fermoy regatta with the bonnet of a car as the altar near the finish-point of the races. During the Mass, a great cheer went up urging the Jes crew on to greater efforts. “Hold it, hold it for two minutes”, came from Eddie, and the crowd at the finish witnessed the scene of Eddie clad in vestments urging the lads on for a win. For him, Mass was part of daily life. Those who attended those Masses vouch for the fact that quite a number from other clubs joined in the prayers and celebration.

What were his failings? It can be said that he had quite a few, most of them springing from a generous nature that was quick to react to any form of injustice. Cheek from a pupil in class or a motorist parking and blocking an entrance could produce a fit of rage and he would tear strips off the offender with typical Diffely eloquence. Nor did it always end with mere words.

I remember, soon after I took over from Eddie as games-master in Coláiste lognáid in 1954, we were present at a match in Carraroe, featuring St. Kieran's and the local club. It was a crucial game and the excitement was intense. We were standing near a group of Carraroe supporters including a local business-man named O'Shea and the verbal battle between Eddie and himself got more and more heated. Finally O'Shea roared “If it weren't for the collar, I'd show you....” with various expletives. Eddie tore off his collar, followed by his jacket: they squared up to each other and if the crowd had not intervened, there would have been real damage done.

Such episodes only emphasised the general goodness of his life. Generosity and a desire to help deserving causes were always part of Eddie's apostolate. We were always aware of this but it was only after his death that the extent of his commitment became apparent. He was particularly interested in the Cheshire Homes for disabled people and took an active part in their fund-raising efforts to found a house in Galway. Apart from actual fund-raising, he was always available for Masses and functions of all kinds. After his death, a considerable sum of money was found among his effects and a long list of charities which benefited from his efforts - the Cheshire Homes, Simon, the Samaritans and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The last few years of Eddie's life saw a serious deterioration in his health, with was a continual source of concern for all his friends. The years of intense activity began to take their toll. Severe arthritis in different parts of his body, but especially in his legs, caused considerable pain which could only be relieved by regular injections, He had a long spell of illness at the end of 1992 which left him weak and apparently beyond recovery. But he rallied and regained some strength. He was due to leave for England to visit his relations in September and was looking forward to the holiday. But the Lord had different plans for him and took him to Himself the evening before.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Bob Mc Goran

Doyle, Peter, 1932-2017, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/829
  • Person
  • 06 September 1932-21 February 2017

Born: 06 September 1932, Fairview, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 July 1954, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Professed: 15 August 1964, Mungret College Sj, Limerick
Died; 21 February 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early Education at St Joseph’s, Marino

1956-1957 Tullabeg - Cook; Refectorian
1957-1960 Milltown Park - In charge of Staff; Refectorian
1960-1963 CIR - Ministers in Community
1963-1974 Mungret - Ministers in Community; Tertianship in Tullabeg (1963)
1974-1981 Coláiste Iognáid, Galway - Maintenance; Carpentry
1981-1982 Chelston, Lusaka, Zambia - Maintenance at Jesuit Education Centre, Xavier House
1982-1983 Chisekesi, Zambia - Maintenance at Canisius College
1983-1985 Manresa House, Dublin - Maintenance; Painter; Ministering in Community
1985-1992 Chisekesi, Zambia - Maintenance at Jesuit Residence, Canisius College
1992-2002 Mazabuka, Zambia - Maintenance and General Services at Nakambala Catholic Church
2002-2017 Manresa House, Dublin - Cares for the fabric of the House and Grounds

Feeney, George, 1933-1989, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/657
  • Person
  • 12 July 1933-09 February 1989

Born: 12 July 1933, Dublin
Entered: 16 March 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1966, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 09 February 1989, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambiae Province

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Br George Feeney was born in Dublin, Ireland, on the 12 July 1933. He attended school in that same city at St Canice's and O'Connells Secondary School, and also attended Bolton Street Technical School.

At the age of 22, he entered the novitiate at Emo Park in March of 1955. A couple of years after taking vows, he was sent to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This was in June 1960 and his first posting was at Charles Lwanga TTC where he stayed for two years looking after the water supply and things mechanical. In 1962 he was transferred to Chikuni across the river where he lived the rest of his life except for the year's tertianship at Tullabeg (Ireland) where he took his final vows in August 1966. Later he lived for a short spell at Kasisi, outside Lusaka.

George was very versatile and he turned his hand to many different types of work, from gardening to farming when the need arose, from mechanics to being minister in the house, while continuing with the very essential job of keeping the mission supplied with water. When someone went on leave, George was there to fill the gap until the return. He was a Jesuit for 34 years, 29 of which were spent in Africa, in Chikuni.

This very factual account of his life as given above does not do justice to the man George. Apart from the various jobs he did so ably, an outstanding quality which he had was his ability to make friends. To the many schoolboys who passed through Canisius, George was a good friend. It was not just the work that kept him going but just strolling down through the school in the evening for a bit of a chat. A not uncommon picture was to see him sitting on the low wall outside the house chatting with schoolboys while at the same time he pulled no punches and was very straight in his speaking with them.

He was very generous with his time and talents when people came to him for help or advice or both. The number of people who turned up for his funeral is clear evidence of the esteem in which he was held. He was a sharp card player as his friends knew well and sometimes his solution to a problem could be quite radical when with a characteristic shrug of the shoulders, he would say, "scrap the whole thing, matey, and put up a new one".

He came to Luwisha House a week before he was due to go on leave and receive medical treatment. He was quite sick really and was eating nothing and developed what seemed to be a high fever on Monday, the 6th February. He was taken to UTH to be put on a drip for the night. Next day it was suspected that he had blackwater fever and anaemia. But on Wednesday it was clear that it was more serious than that. The final diagnosis was leukaemia at an advanced stage. He must have had it for some time and yet continued with his work. He received blood transfusions from his fellow Jesuits. On Thursday he was in a comatose state not recognising anyone. That evening there were five Jesuits and a number of Sisters who knew him well, praying at his bedside. At 2100 hours he was moved to the Intensive Care Unit and died fifty-five minutes later. It was a shock to all, the speed with which the leukaemia acted. The funeral was held in Chikuni. The evening before many people both religious and villagers assembled in the church for the vigil. On the 13th February George was buried. The Bishop of Monze was the main celebrant at the funeral Mass, aided by the Archbishop of Lusaka and many Jesuit and other priests.

His life was one of faith, a constant presence in Chikuni. He, as a Jesuit, was "prepared and very much ready for whatever is enjoined upon us in the Lord and at whatsoever time without asking for or expecting any reward in this present and transitory life, but hoping for that life which, in its entirety, is eternal through God's supreme mercy".

Gaffney, David, 1941-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/864
  • Person
  • 23 April 1941-06 May 2020

Born: 23 April 1941, Thomastown, County Kilkenny
Entered: 06 September 1958, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 20 June 1971, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1977, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 06 May 2020, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1963 at Pullach, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1974 at Guelph ONT, Canada (CAN S) making tertianship
by 1975 at Lusaka, Zambia (ZAM) working
by 1978 at Pleasanton, CA USA (CAL) studying
by 1981 at Chicago IL, USA (CHG) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/david-gaffney-sj-a-gentle-and-dedicated-jesuit/

David Ga(ney SJ: a gentle and dedicated Jesuit
Irish Jesuit David Gaffney, a native of Thomastown, Kilkenny, passed away in St Vincent’s Hospital on 6 May. He was 79. Due to current government guidelines regarding public gatherings, the funeral is private. A memorial Mass to celebrate David’s life will take place at a later date.

The condolences posted on the RIP.ie website display the high regard and warm affection which people had for him wherever he lived and worked. The same adjectives are used repeatedly: kind, wise, gentle, pleasant, peaceful, caring.

“We joined the Jesuits on the same day, September 6, 1958,” writes Barney McGuckian SJ; “He always edified me with his gentleness but also his tenacity in following the highest ideals of a Jesuit vocation. Gifted intellectually, he placed his God-given talents at the service of ordinary people, both as a writer and as a “hands-on” visitor to their homes.”

In the decades after he joined the Jesuits, David gained a great deal of intellectual and pastoral experience in many parts of the world. After an Arts degree in UCD, he went to Germany to study philosophy, returned to Ireland to study theology, then did further Jesuit formation in Canada before working for three years in a parish in Lusaka, Zambia.

He then worked in the United States in marriage counselling for four years before his definitive return to Ireland in 1982.

In the years since then he worked in marriage and family apostolates and as an editor of various publications. He was a regular columnist at the Kilkenny People and later with The Avondhu for a number of years, writing reflective opinion pieces regularly.

Regarding this work, Conall O’Cuinn, former Jesuit and Rector of Milltown Park, notes that in his articles David wanted to promote truly human values and “worked ceaselessly to ‘vamp up’ in his own mind his writing so that it would be more eye-catching, even if that aspiration was contrary to his retiring personality...”

In all of David’s activities he worked with great grace and devotion.

Read below the appreciation by Conall. He had not known of David’s illness and so says, ” I write this piece as my way of mourning David’s passing, for a passing it is, into the permanent presence of Jesus who leads him into the Joy of the Father.” :

A Gentle Giant
I ‘met’ David first in 1989 when I sent him a letter from Zambia on hearing he had taken over the editorship of Interfuse, an internal Irish Jesuit Province magazine. I had had an article rejected by a previous editor, and, once David took over, I immediately resubmitted it for consideration. By return post, he accepted the article. Since then on he has remained in my good books!

David took his editing and writing seriously, and later, during the years I lived with him in Milltown Park, I witnessed him faithfully send out his articles to provincial newspapers which were still accepting spiritual reflections. He worked ceaselessly to ‘vamp up’ in his own mind his writing so that it would be more eye- catching, even if that aspiration was contrary to his retiring personality, full of a depth that promoted true human values.

His other ‘apostolate’ at that time was Parish Visitation. Day after day he left the comfort of Milltown Park in his legendary anorak, in good, bad, or indifferent weather – “you’d never know, it might rain, or turn cold “- to travel by car across to Cherry Orchard Parish to visit the parishioners in their homes. He went with such dedication that I am sure he had many fans over there who appreciated his sincerity and his unassuming and unimposing manner.

David did not like fuss. He came quietly into a room and left quietly. Ideal for him would be a chat with one or two people in a quiet corner, where his sense of comedy and humour would show. A gathering was enhanced and deepened by his presence, even if he never took centre stage.

Many will remember that driving was not his forte. Smooth transitions from gear to gear eluded him, and he kept the local garage busy in clutch replacement. Eventually, we got an automatic in the community, and he liked that.

David was a member of the Milltown Park Consult. I valued his quite, gently proffered, wisdom. He always looked for the kind step to take, never encouraging harshness, always advising to proceed with gentleness and prudence.

I will always remember him as a gentle giant. He was personable and encouraging, always able to meet you in a way you knew afterwards you had been seen, had been regarded, esteemed, and valued. You felt bigger, never smaller. He did not crush the bruised reed, not extinguish the flickering flame. May he rest gently in the bosom of his Lord.

Conall O’Cuinn 12 May 2020

Early Education at Thomastown NS, Kilkenny; Mungret College SJ

1960-1963 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1963-1966 Pullach, Isartel, Germany - Studying Philosophy at Berchmanskolleg
1966-1968 Belvedere College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD
1968-1972 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1972-1973 Manresa House - Socius to Novice Master; Directs Spiritual Exercises
1973-1975 Belvedere College SJ - Teacher
1974 Guelph, ON, Canada - Tertianship at Ignatius Jesuit Centre
1975-1978 Lusaka, Zambia - Assists in Matero Parish
1978-1980 Pleasanton, CA, USA - MA in Counselling at Santa Clara University & Parish work at St Augustine’s Church
1980-1982 Chicago, IL, USA - Marriage Counselling at Our Lady Mount Carmel Church
1982-1987 John Austin House - Marriage & Family Apostolate; Community Co-ordinator; Minister; Bursar
1987-2020 Milltown Park - Parish Assistant, Most Holy Sacrament, Cherry Orchard; Marriage & Family Apostolate
1989 Editor “Interfuse”
1992 Parish Assistant, St Vincent de Paul Parish, Marino
1994 Assistant Editor of “Messenger Booklets”; Family Apostolate
1998 Assistant Editor “Pioneer”
1999 Family Apostolate; Working in “Studies”; Writer
2017 Family Apostolate, Writer

Geoghegan, Anthony J, 1931-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/840
  • Person
  • 31 October 1931-15 November 2015

Born: 31 October 1931, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1949, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 15 November 2015, John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM HIB to ZAM

by 1958 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 162 : Winter 2015

Obituary

Fr Anthony (Tony) Geoghegan (1931-2015)

Fr. Anthony (Tony) Geoghegan was born and raised in Dublin. There he was educated by the Christian Brothers. In 1949 he entered the Jesuits at Emo Park. He followed the usual course of studies: a degree at UCD (in Irish and English), philosophy in Tullabeg and later theology at Milltown Park. He was ordained in Dublin on 31 July 1963.

Tony spent all his apostolic life in Zambia and Malawi. Coming originally as a scholastic for regency in 1957, he spent time learning Chitonga and then teaching at Canisius Secondary School. When he returned as a priest in 1966, he began a ministry in the classroom that lasted twenty years. He was a teacher and chaplain in a secondary school, a headmaster at a minor seminary, a lecturer in education in a primary teachers' college and later a secondary teachers' college.

In 1987 the bishop in charge of seminarian formation asked that he be appointed spiritual director of the major seminary in Lusaka. While teaching spirituality at the same time, he served in that position for the next five years. In 1992 he went to Malawi to serve the philosophy section of the major seminary in the same position. Tony spent the next 13 years as spiritual director and lecturer in the seminary.

In 2005, his movement began to deteriorate because of osteoporosis. Over the next six years he did pastoral work as well as he could in a number of parishes in Malawi and Zambia. Finally in 2011 the Provincial asked him to move to the Province Infirmary where he began a ministry of prayer.

Apart from his dedicated apostolic work, Tony was a pleasant companion in community. He was a great story teller with an abundance of tales to tell. A welcoming presence, with a warm smile, visitors always felt at home with him. He also could be a support especially to young Jesuits in times of difficulty.

After a few weeks in the hospital, he died on 15 November 2015 following complications from a surgery. May God welcome his faithful servant and missionary into the fullness of life and joy.

Jim McGloin

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

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

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

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The sad and peaceful death of Fr Joe Gill, SJ, took place in the afternoon of 22 June, 2006, in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield, Dublin. His passing marked the end of an era, for he served 72 years in the Society of Jesus. May his noble soul be at the right hand of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007

Obituary

Fr Joesph (Joe) Gill (1915-2006)

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

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

At the age of 19 years, Joe entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Emo Park (near Portarlington) in 1934, and took his first vows as a Jesuit in 1936. During the following ten years (1936-1946) he completed his third-level studies in Arts (at UCD, 1936-1939), in Philosophy (at Tullabeg, County Offaly 1939-1942) and in Theology (at Milltown Park, Dublin 1942-1946). He was ordained a priest at Milltown Park on July 31, 1945. Following a third spiritual year (Tertianship, 1946-1947), he taught for a year in the Crescent Secondary School for boys in Limerick. Fr Joe took his final vows as a Jesuit on February 2, 1948.

In 1948, Fr Gill was chosen to become one of the founding fathers' of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia in Africa (then known as Northern Rhodesia). During his eight years he worked tirelessly as pastor, builder, teacher and administrator in St Ignatius Church, Lusaka, in St Peter Canisius College, Chikuni, and in mission outstations in Kasiya, Civuna and Fumbo.

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

It was in 1958, however, that Father Gill was given his major appointment for the pastoral, spiritual and administrative care of souls in St Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. This was to be his spiritual vineyard for the next 48 years. For the first-44 years of his time in Gardiner Street, Father Joe achieved an extraordinary grace as pastor and spiritual counselor. He spent hours upon hours hearing confessions and trying to bring peace of mind to a wider range of penitents - from the ranks of clergy, religious and laity.

He was always available as long as his health enabled him. In addition to the onerous tasks of the confessional and the parlour, Father Joe encouraged an extraordinary collectivity of devout souls in the Sodality of Our Lady and Saint Patrick and the Association of Perpetual Adoration. He became spiritual director of both groups in 1989. Every year his dedicated friends would make a wonderfully colourful variety of vestments for Churches in Ireland and in the Mission fields. Father Joe was extremely proud of the creative work of his team.

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

Fr Joe will be sadly missed by his Jesuit brothers and members of his family. Although living and working away from Westport, Father Joe Gill kept constant contact with the parish of his birth and early rearing. He is survived by his sister, Moya Gill, Westport; his nieces Marlene Lavelle (Achill), Brenda Furnace (Dublin), Janice Gill (England) and by his nephews, Joe, James, Peter and Vincent McGovern (Newport, Westport, Galway and Naas), John and Paul Gill (Dublin), Anthony, James, John and Joseph Gill (England).

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

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

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

Indekeu, Jean B, 1905-1984, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/733
  • Person
  • 21 March 1905-21 December 1984

Born: 21 March 1905, Neeroeteren, Limburg, Belgium
Entered: 23 September 1923, St Francis Xavier, Arlon, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 21 November 1936, Kurseong, Darjeeling, India
Final Vows: 02 February 1941
Died: 21 December 1984, Pastorij Dormall, Halle-Booienhoven, Belgium - Flanders Province (BEL S)

by 1956 came to Chikuni N Rhodesia (HIB) working 1956-1970

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Jean (or John as we called him) Indekeu was born in the northern part of Belgium on 21 March 1905 of Jacques and Francine (nee Janssen). He went to the Jesuit College in Turnhout and, at the age of 18, he entered the Society in the novitiate at Arlon for the North Belgian Province. His first year of juniorate was at Drongen (1925/26) and the second year was his military service (1926/27). Early on his was destined for the missions and so at 23 years of age he began his philosophy in the south of India (1928-30) at Shembaganur (Madurai).

Afterwards he did his regency in Ranchi (1931-33) and his theology at Kurseong in Darjeeling Province (1934-38) where he was ordained in 1936. His tertianship was in Ranchi (1938). He taught for a while in the college there. After a number of years in ministry it seems that he clashed with the authorities in some development work he was involved in and was obliged to leave the country. Although an extrovert and an affable person, his natural reserve did not lead him to talk about it.

In 1955 he came to Northern Rhodesia with Fr. Tom O’Brien and scholastics Michael Kelly and Michael Tyrrell. They were among the first batch of missionaries to come by air and the journey from London took almost five days via Marseilles – Malta – Wadi Halfa (now under the Aswan Dam) – Mersa Matruh (north Egypt) – Nairobi – Ndola – and finally to Lusaka.

John went immediately with the others to learn Tonga under Fr Paddy Cummins in Chivuna. Although he found the language difficult, he used to take great care with his homilies and often sought local assistance. After a brief stay in Chikuni he headed to Kasiya where he opened up new Mass centres almost as far away as Namwala. He also made welcome additions to the facilities of the house. In 1958 he was sent to Choma where initially he used a camp bed in the sacristy until he got the house up. He furnished the Church and also went to build the neat little Church in Kalomo. He always excelled at putting up well designed Churches and took care with the décor and vestments which you could see even in his own personal appearance with his well trimmed beard and immaculate but not expensive clothes.

He was pulled back to Charles Lwanga TTC as minister and bursar where he looked after the brethren well. Later the first provincial, Fr John Counihan used to tell the story of how, as he was being transferred to Monze, went into to John and asked him where the week-end refreshments appeared in the books, which he had carefully scrutinized but failed to locate. Fr Indekeu replied laconically ‘Look under jam’. He took good care of the community and was an amiable support to some of the younger men who found the missionary life difficult at times. During this time his real solace, as he says himself, was the weekend supplies in Mazabuka where he was duly missioned together with Frs Tom O’Meara and Vinnie Murphy. He was largely responsible for the well designed town Church, as well as for the Churches at Nega Nega and Magoye. He was involved also in helping in the construction of the community houses of both the Sisters’ and Brothers’ schools.

While next on leave he became anxious about his aging mother who was then 97 years old. On his return he lived in St Ignatius in Lusaka and worked in the small township that sprang up with the building of the Kafue Gorge Dam. He was able to get suitable plots for Church and parish house as a result of his good relations with the international construction team, especially with the French engineers. He also worked with Fr Prokoph on the Luwisha House project and when he returned back to Belgium in 1972, at 67 years of age, he sourced substantial funds to cover the cost of its chapel.

He was in pastoral ministry for a number of years in Dormaal but he never forgot his time in Zambia. A couple of years before his death on 21 December 1984 a donation of a thousand pounds came for the Province library.

Keaney, Joseph, 1948-2021, Jesuit priest

  • Person
  • 22 December 1948-20 July 2021

Born: 22 December 1948, Galway City
Entered: 07 September, 1966, St Mary’s Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 23 June 1978, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows: 22 August 1988, Kitwe, Zambia
Died: 20 July 2021, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia - Southern Africa Province (SAP)

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 22 August 1988

1966-1968 St Mary’s, Emo
1968-1971 Rathfarnham Castle - studying
1971-1973 Milltown Park - studying Philosophy
1973-1975 Canisius College, Chikuni, Zabia - Regency, studying language
1975-1977 Milltown Park - studying Theology
1977-1978 Tabor House - studying Theology at Milltown
1978-1979 Missionary Institute, The Ridgeway, London, England - studying Theology
1979-1980 St Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze, Zambia
1980-1982 Catholic Church, Namwala, Zambia - Parish Priest
1982-1983 Galway - Chaplain at Coláiste Iognáid
1983-198 Jesuit Residence, Kitwe, Zambia - teaching
1986-1987 Joint HIB/BRI Tertianship - Tullabeg and St Beuno’s
1987-1993 Jesuit Residence, Kitwe, Zambia - teaching
1993-199 St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia

https://jesuitssouthern.africa/2021/07/20/fr-joseph-keaney-sj-rip/
RIP
Fr Joseph Keaney SJ
22 December 1948 – 20 July 2021

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) mourns the loss of Fr Joseph Keaney SJ.

After a long battle with serious illness he passed away peacefully this afternoon, Tuesday 20 July 2021, at St Ignatius Jesuit Community in Lusaka. Fr Keaney will be remembered for his pastoral care and missionary zeal. He was a friend to many and will be fondly remembered.

We commend Fr Keaney to the Lord, knowing that he is now at peace and has no more pain.

Keenan, Francis, 1929-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/863
  • Person
  • 04 October 1929-22 April 2020

Born: 04 October 1929, Portrush, County Antrim/ Glenavy, County Antrim / Belfast County Antrim
Entered: 24 March 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1966, Collège Saint-Michel, Etterbeek, Belgium
Died: 22 April 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB 1999

by 1952 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1957 at Monze, Zambia - Regency, teaching
by 1966 at Mukasa, Choma, Zambia - teaching
by 1967 at Kizito, Zambia - Director of Training Centre
by 1971 at St Louis MO, USA (MIS) studying
by 1993 at Upper Gardiner Street (HIB) Mission Office
by 1996 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) working
by 2007 at Upper Gardiner Street (HIB) - working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-frank-keenan-sj-a-faithful-servant/

Fr Frank Keenan SJ – ‘a faithful servant’
Fr Francis (Frank) Keenan SJ died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin, on 22 April, 2020. He was an Irish Jesuit missionary who spent 30 years in Zambia. Due to government guidelines regarding public gatherings, a private funeral took place at Gardiner Street Church, Dublin, on 25 April followed by burial at the Jesuit grave in Glasnevin Cemetery. The main celebrant at the funeral Mass was the Gardiner Street Superior, Fr Richard O’Dwyer SJ, while Irish Provincial Fr Leonard Moloney SJ and Parish Priest Fr Gerry Clarke SJ concelebrated. His death is deeply regretted by his loving sister Bernadette, by his nephew John and his wife, Sally, and family, and by his Jesuit confreres and friends in Ireland and Zambia.
Francis was born on 4 October, 1929, in Portrush, County Antrim. He was raised in Belfast and in the village of Glenavy and attended St Mary’s CBS before entering the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois, in 1950. After taking his first vows, he studied in Laval, France, for two years followed by philosophy studies in Tullabeg and regency as a teacher in Monze, Zambia. Upon further Jesuit formation in Ireland, he studied Catechetics in Brussels, Belgium, and then returned to Zambia where he was a teacher of the local language at Mukasa Secondary School.
From 1967 to 1979, he worked in a variety of roles in Monze including Director of Catechetics, Parish Priest, Retreat Director and as Vicar General for Religious in the Archdiocese of Lusaka. He also studied Pastoral Theology at St Louis University, Missouri, USA. Later, he directed the Spiritual Exercises at the Jesuit Education Centre in Lusaka and worked in the Kizito Pastoral Centre in Monze before returning to Ireland in 1993.
Fr Francis was Director of the Jesuit Mission Office, Spiritual Director and Parish Assistant while living in Gardiner Street Jesuit community in Dublin. He was also a community member of St Bueno’s retreat centre in Wales for 11 years and directed the Spiritual Exercises there. From 2007 to 2017, he continued active ministry in Gardiner Street as Spiritual Director, Parish Assistant, Chaplain, Assistant Treasurer and Pastoral Worker. He prayed for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge nursing home right up until his death.
Fr Richard O’Dwyer SJ, who gave the homily at the funeral Mass, noted that Francis grew up in difficult circumstances. He experienced the death of his father when very young and witnessed bombing in Belfast during the Second World War. His family supported each other and moved to Glenavy village about 15 miles outside of Belfast. He came to appreciate the gift of life and told his sister Bernadette in later years, “I have loved every day of my life”.
Fr O’Dwyer said that Fr Francis became very proficient in the Zambian language of Tonga and taught it for a number of years and wrote a book on grammar. He said, “Francis was very humorous and a very kind, considerate man.”
Fr O’Dwyer noted that when Fr Francis came home to Ireland after 30 years in Zambia he was a very committed presence among his community and very much appreciated. He said, “He was always very willing to offer Mass, hear confessions, and he had a very good reputation as a very compassionate and“He was also a very sympathetic preacher and explained the Good News in a very compassionate and understanding way”. Fr O’Dwyer referred to his chaplaincy work at St Monica’s Nursing Home in Dublin City, saying he was “utterly reliable and very faithful in his ministry with the elderly”.
Fr O’Dwyer said, “He was a very faithful servant. Any work he undertook he did so with a great spirit of service and dedication. I’m sure now the Lord will welcome him with these words: ‘Well done my good and faithful servant, come and enter your master’s happiness.'”
Mr Colm Brophy, art psychotherapist and former Jesuit missionary in Zambia, paid tribute to his late friend.
“Frank, as we called him in Zambia always wanted to be known as Francis. This I only discovered in Cherryfield. He was renowned for his sharp, even acerbic, wit coupled with kindness, hospitality and generosity. He did not suffer fools gladly and hated hypocrisy as the gospel hates it.
And so he could bring a person down to earth with a brilliant, yet highly humorous thrust of the verbal dagger. He was kindly towards wisdom and kept another person’s honesty close to his heart. I always enjoyed joining him for a meal over his years in Kizito.
He had four roles in Kizito’s. First, Kizito’s was built as a compound of family cottages where Monze diocese catechists and their families lived while following a two-year program. Then it became a diocesan pastoral training and retreat centre for a wide variety of groups. Francis was the director. One of the groups was the ciTonga language school. He wrote a grammar of, and taught, the local language for a period.
He also wrote a book for those directing the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius for retreats in daily life. He was also a great confident of Bishop James Corboy and a member of the diocesan consult. He dealt with a great number of different people coming through the centre and had a gracious ability to adapt.
His other time in Zambia was a number of years he spent in Lusaka archdiocese in the role of Vicar General for religious. It meant having the listening skills to sort out two sides of an argument where strong personalities were involved.
I miss meeting Francis in Cherryfield. May he rest in peace.”
A recording of the funeral Mass is temporarily available on the Gardiner Street website. Under recordings,
see the funeral Mass for 25 April. Click here for the link ».
Fr Frank spoke about his missionary work in Zambia with Irish Jesuit Missions in 2010. Click here to watch
the video ».
A Memorial Mass will be held at a future date. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.

Full text of the homily at the funeral Mass
Francis Keenan was born in Portrush, Co Antrim, and grew up in north Belfast, the second youngest in a happy, close-knit and united family of 5 children with his parents John and Mary Agnes.
When Frank was only 7 years old, his Dad, John died suddenly at the age of 39. Just 2 years later, World War 2 began. As you know Belfast was heavily bombed especially in 1940 and the area where Francis and his family lived at the intersection of the bottom of the Cliftonville/Duncairn Gardens had a number of houses destroyed and badly damaged. I remember Francis mentioning to me once that sadly the local school survived unscathed and I said to Frank that his story reminded me of John Boorman’s film Hope and Glory set in London during World War 2. John’s school was destroyed in the London blitz and when he sees the bombed-out school, he murmurs “thank you Adolf”. Francis said to me I would have liked to have uttered the same words about my school!
Francis’ sister Bernadette said that because of the danger of bombing, she and Frank were evacuated from Belfast out into the country to the village of Glenavy about 15 miles west of Belfast very close to Lough Neagh. Bernadette was 5 and Frank was 10. They grew very close to each other and forged a deep bond between them. It would have been easy for Francis to opt to play with boys his own age but after the death of his father, under the care of his mother, the family grew very close and supported each other in their loss and grief. They had to pull together to survive. Out in the country, Francis grew to love nature and the countryside, something which never left him.
I can only imagine how the death of his father and his experiences of the mortal danger and evacuation had a profound effect on the young Francis and I believe it gave him a profound appreciation of how precious the gift of life is and that that gift is there to be fully appreciated and lived to the full. Frank much later in life told his sister Bernadette, “I have loved every day of my life”. At his birthday last year when he turned 90, Francis told his nephew, “Life is a gift from God, enjoy every moment”.
At age of 20 in March 1950, Francis entered the Society of Jesus, at Emo, County Laois. Bernadette told me that she and his family missed Francis during those 2 years. Francis spent 2 years in France, followed by 3 years philosophy in Tullabeg and then he went to Zambia, or as it was then Northern Rhodesia in 1957 where he spent 3 years. That was the beginning of 30 years spent as a missionary in Zambia, as a teacher as director of training of catechists, working closely with Bishop James Corboy in Monze. Francis became very proficient in the Tonga language and taught it for a number of years and wrote a grammar book of Citing.
I just want to turn to our gospel reading for today. “That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food and the body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” I wonder when Francis walked on the shores of Lough Neagh or on the savannah of Zambia, did he ponder and treasure those words of Jesus, knowing that with the love and support of family, of his fellow missionaries and lay catechists that one can keep going, and continue with our life’s journey and mission, despite the loss of a beloved father, despite have one’s home badly damaged by Nazi bombing. Those words of Jesus, “Will not my heavenly Father not much more look after you?” I believe that no missionary, Jesuit or lay could never undertake work anywhere in the world, without a sense of being called and accompanied by God and the prayers of family, fellow Jesuits and friends.
When Francis came home on leave from Zambia to his beloved family in Belfast, to visit the wee Ma and his sisters and his brother in England he regaled them with wonderful stories of the people he worked for in Zambia, whom he greatly loved. Francis was a very considerate and kind man. He referred to their houseman in Zambia as his gentleman’s gentleman!
After his 30 years of service in Zambia, he returned go Ireland. He continued his mission as director of the Jesuit Mission Office, working in spirituality and as a retreat director on the staff of St Beuno’s in north Wales for 11 years. He then came back to Gardiner Street and Francis was a committed presence and church priest. Always obliging for Mass and confessions, and a reputation as a preacher with a good message, and a compassionate confessor both in the confessional and for people who called to the parlour for confession. I am deeply grateful for his ministry when I was parish priest. Latterly, he was chaplain in St Monica’s Nursing Home around the corner from us in Belvedere Place and again he was utterly reliable and very faithful in his ministry to the elderly.
Almost up to the end of his life, Francis continued to visit his family in Belfast, and in particular, his sister Bernadette. He always travelled on the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise train and he was on first name terms with the train staff and was usually given an upgrade to the First Class carriage. This had many advantages, and one time he met the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins. Bernadette as she awaited Francis’ arrival was amazed to see him coming down the platform accompanied by the Irish President!
Frank lived a long life, he saw the darker side of life in the premature death of his beloved father and he learned to appreciate, rejoice and be glad. He was grateful for the most important aspects of life and loved both his natural and Jesuit families. He was a faithful servant who loved those who were entrusted to him. He trusted in God and in God’s providence.
I’m sure now the Lord will welcome him with these words, “Well done good and faithful servant, come and enter your master’s happiness”.
Fr Richard O’Dwyer SJ

Early Education at Star of the Sea, Belfast; St Mary’s CBS, Barrack Street, Belfast

1952-1954 Laval, France - Studying
1954-1957 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1957-1960 Monze, Zambia - Regency : Teacher at Chivuna Station
1960-1964 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1964-1965 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1965-1966 Brussels, Belgium - Catechetics Studies at Lumen Vitae
1966-1967 Choma, Zambia - Teacher of local language at Mukasa Secondary School
1967-1979 Monze, ZA - Director Kizito Catechist Training Centre
1968 Parish Priest St Mary’s Parish; Chair of Diocesan Catechetical Commission; Member of Diocesan Consult
1969 Transcribed to Zambian Province [ZAM] (03/12/1969)
1971 St Louis, MO; USA - Studying Pastoral Theology, at St Louis University
1975 Retreats; Workshops / Seminars; at Kizito Pastoral Centre; CiTonga Language Course
1976 Vicar General for Religious, Archdiocese of Lusaka; Member of Archdiocesan Consul
1979-1984 Chelston, Lusaka, Zambia - Directs Spiritual Exercises at Jesuit Education Centre, Xavier House
1984-1993 Monze, Zambia - Kizito Pastoral Centre
1987 Superior
1993-1996 Gardiner St - Director of Mission Office, Dublin; Spiritual Exercises; Assists in Gardiner St Church
1996-2007 St Bueno’s, St Asaph, Wales, UK - Directs Spiritual Exercises
1999 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (05/01/1999)
2007-2020 Gardiner St - Directs Spiritual Exercises; Assists in Church
2010 Chaplain in St Monica’s Home, Dublin
2012 Assistant Treasurer
2014 Pastoral Work
2017 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Kelly, Michael J, 1929-2021, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/191
  • Person
  • 19 May 1929-15 January 2021

Born: 19 May 1929, Tullamore, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1961, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1964, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 15 January 2021, Coptic Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambiae-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

Son of Michael Joseph Kelly and Agnes Sheehy. Studied at UCD.

Middle Brother of Bob Kelly (ZAM) - RIP 2005 and Joseph A Kelly - RIP 2008

Ordained at Milltown Park

1946-1948 St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
1948-1952 Rathfarnham Castle - Studying
1952-1955 St Stanislaus College Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1955-1958 Chikuni, Zambia - Regency, studying language then teaching at Canisius College
1958-1962 Milltown Park - studying Theology
1962-1963 Rathfarnham Castle - Tertianship
1963-1971 Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia - teaching; (1964-1970) Proncipal (1966-1969) Rector
1971-1973 Birmingham, England, - studying Child Psychology
1973-1974 Ireland
1974-1975 Jesuit House, Handsworth Park, Lusaka, Zambia -
1975-1976 Moreau House, Mazabuka, Zambia
1976-1978 UNZA Hostel, Lusaka, Zambia - Professor of Education at UNZA; Education Consultant;
1978-1986 Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia - Professor of Education at UNZA; Education Consultant; Writer re HIV AIDS; (1975-1979) Dean, School of Education; (1979-1983) Deputy Vice Chancellor
1986-1987 Rue de Grenelle, Paris, France - International Institute of Education, planning visitng fellow
1987-2011 Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia - Education Consultant; Writer re HIV AIDS;
2011-2012 Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - recovering health
2012-2020 Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia - Professor of Education at UNZA; Education Consultant; Writer re HIV AIDS
2020-2021 St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions
Fr. Michael Kelly Honorary Degree Conferring
Honorary Degree Conferring, RCSI, 6th June 2012
In accepting the honorary doctorate that RCSI has just now conferred on me I feel greatly honoured, greatly humbled and greatly privileged: honoured that RCSI should recognise in this way the limited contributions I have been able to make in advocating for more and better education for girls, a better deal for orphaned children and a more coherent response to HIV and AIDS; humbled that I should have been singled out from the great number of people world-wide who are dedicating themselves so wholeheartedly to efforts to stem the AIDS epidemic and who see girls’ education as central to this; and privileged that I can represent in some way so many thousands of wonderful people across the world whose lives have been darkened by the shadows of HIV or AIDS but who never lost heart.
Ladies and Gentlemen, forty-nine years ago the great Martin Luther King shared with the world his dream that, among other things, one day his four children would live in a nation where they would be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
Dr. King’s dream speech inspired his people and transformed the face of the United States to such an extent that less than four years ago the country elected its first ever black President, who could affirm: “Where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people, Yes We Can!”
Ladies and Gentlemen, Graduating Students, our vision for global health is also a dream, a dream which strongly reaffirms that the enjoyment of good health is a fundamental human right and that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment the actualisation of this right remains a possibility. In the words of Barack Obama, we here at this RCSI conferring ceremony can affirm with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of this great institution - yes, we can.
Yes, we can eliminate infant and child mortality, and ensure universal vaccination coverage against measles, polio and other diseases.
Yes, we can roll back the malaria which affects over 200 million people each year.
Yes, we can reduce and eventually eliminate the almost nine million new cases of tuberculosis that occur each year.
Yes, we can reach the global targets of zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS deaths and zero HIV-related discrimination.
Yes, we can even address the enormous challenges of neglected tropical diseases which currently affect more than 1,000 million people and thrive in the poorest, most marginalised communities.
Yes, we can ensure the access of all peoples - here and in all other parts of the world - to a level of health care that will help them lead a satisfying, full and productive human life.
Yes, we can do it and we are doing it.
Let me speak for a few moments about my own country, Zambia, where just three months ago a team of nine doctors successfully removed a fourteen-and-a-half kilo tumour from the back of a young man. Of course, the tumour should never have been allowed to grow to such size, but that it could be successfully removed speaks well for the medical services that a developing country can provide .
In recent years, Zambia has also seen considerable improvements in many of the markers for health care:
A significant reduction in child mortality;
• HIV infection rates falling steadily and substantially among young women and young men;
• About 90% of adults who are in need of anti-retroviral therapy receiving it, the result being fewer AIDS-related deaths;
• Among infants a dramatic reduction in deaths arising from the transmission of HIV from parent to child;
• More widespread use of anti-malarial drugs, an increase in the numbers sleeping under anti-mosquito impregnated bed-nets, and more widespread spraying of mosquitos.
Yes, we can do it and we are doing it. But we need to do it more quickly. We need to do it more
quickly for the sake of the millions whose lives are being blighted by preventable ill-health. We need to do it more quickly for the sake of our own human integrity since we have made promises that too often we honour more in the breach than in the fulfilment.
And for this we need more financial and material resources. We need more civic and political commitment. We need more human resources.
Believing, as RCSI does, that the person is at the centre of everything we do, we need a more enlightened priority system that ranks health, education, social services and job creation higher than bailing out questionable financial institutions, and certainly higher than squandering public resources on doomed investments and extravagant and even corrupt undertakings.
And that requires that every one of us here today pulls together to make this a better and more decent world. It requires that we become radically committed to eliminating scandalous inequalities in the access of people to health care. It means that we firmly believe that each one of us can make a difference for the better.
George Bernard Shaw once said: “Some look at things that are, and ask, why? I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?”
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Graduating Students, let this conferring day be memorable for the way it motivates each one of us to dream of something that never was - a peaceful, healthy and more just world - and ask “why not? Why can’t I do something to make it so? What am I doing to make this a better world? What more can I do to ensure peace and health and basic justice for all people?”
I thank you.
Michael J. Kelly, S.J. Lusaka, Zambia

24 October 2012
Irish Jesuit, Fr Michael Kelly SJ, was conferred with The Order of Distinguished Service by Zambian President Edgar Lungu, in State House, Lusaka on 24th October.

The honour was given to Fr Kelly in acknowledgment for his tireless commitment to ending HIV and AIDS in Zambia. He has worked for decades to educate people about the virus and to promote safe behaviour among youth and those most at risk in Zambia, sub-Saharan Africa, and abroad. He has been active in developing strategies for HIV prevention, and human rights, and has been a consultant to international organisations including UNESCO, UNICEF, the FAO, UNAIDS, Oxfam and Irish Aid.

Fr Kelly went to Zambia as a Jesuit missionary in 1955 and spent most of his working life there in education, as a teacher and administrator at secondary and university level. He felt from the outset that it was home and that he was welcomed there. He became a Zambian citizen in the 1960s, a decision he says he never regretted. In later years, he was deeply saddened by the numbers of people who were dying because of the country’s AIDS epidemic and vowed to address the problem, through the schools.

This is not the first honour that Fr Kelly has received due to his outstanding work. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by University College Dublin in 2006, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in 2012. Since 2006, Irish Aid has honoured Father Michael’s achievements through the Annual Father Michael Kelly HIV/AIDS Event, timed to coincide with World AIDS Day (1st December)

A JESUIT’S WORK WITH HIV AND AIDS
Michael J. Kelly, S.J., was one of the first ten recipients of the new Presidential Distinguished Service Awards at Áras an Uachtaráin on 15th November 2012.
President Michael D. Higgins said the new Award allowed the State to formally honour exceptional individuals and to recognise the “sacrifice, support and commitment to Ireland of the wider Irish diaspora in all its diversity”.

Fr Michael J. Kelly writes below about his campaigning struggle against the global epidemic of HIV/Aids :
When AIDS exploded on the world in the 1980s, I was lecturing in education at the University of Zambia. It soon became obvious to me that I would have to take account of this new disease in my teaching, research and priestly work.
Deaths and funerals were becoming the order of the day. Across the country people were dying in large numbers, most of them parents with young families, leaving behind them children to be reared and educated by communities which were being overwhelmed by the great number of orphans. Teachers and education administrators were also falling sick and dying in large numbers.
I quickly saw that the courses I was teaching had to say something about this totally new situation. They had to speak about adjusting to the potential loss of teachers, about the great numbers of orphans that would be coming into the schools, about teaching children traumatised by the loss to a dehumanising sickness of greatly loved family members, about communities shattered and bewildered and impoverished by the sickness and deaths of their most productive members.
But the courses also had to suggest how the very process of education could help check the disease and what could be done to protect the education system itself against the disease’s destructive impacts. From then on, my work was guided by what I termed education’s “minimax” response to the pandemic: minimise the potential of HIV and AIDS to harm the education sector, maximise the potential of the education sector to control the disease and reduce its harmful effects.
This was a new approach at the time, so new that the University of Zambia has the distinction of being one of the first universities in the world to take account of HIV and AIDS in its teaching programmes. Increasingly, I began to study, write and give presentations about AIDS and education. It was not long until we began to speak about the potential of education to provide a “social vaccine” against the disease, an approach that UNAIDS, the highest world authority on the disease, still strongly advocates.
Gradually I found myself being drawn more and more into national and international discussions on the two-way interaction between AIDS and education, into advocacy and awareness-raising in regard to orphans, and eventually into a wide spectrum of AIDS-related areas, almost all of them with strong social justice implications – stigma, poverty, the subordinate status of women, human rights, the marginalisation of whole categories of people, unfair north-south trade and other practices, food security, environmental protection, global failure to deal honestly with several AIDS-related issues.
The outcome was a greatly extended engagement on my part with the pandemic and extensive commitments to activities across the world on its educational and other implications. As the demands became greater, it eventually became necessary for me to retire from the University of Zambia so that I could dedicate myself more wholeheartedly to the work of confronting HIV and AIDS nationally and globally. And it is to this work that I remain committed. AIDS is not yet over. People are still dying. AIDS continues to consume them. It also consumes me, not in body but in spirit, and challenges me with the great Jesuit questions: “What have I done for Christ who is suffering with HIV and AIDS? What more should I be doing so that there is less AIDS and more chance that people can live with greater human dignity in a world that comes closer to being the happy world God had planned it to be?”
In many ways the answers are simple. There is need for more honesty in dealing with central AIDS issues. There is need to avoid complacency and recognise how far the world is from seeing an end to the pandemic. There is need for an uncompromising stand on making social justice a reality for every child, woman and man. There is need for more resources for those affected by the pandemic and for research that will lead to its control.
To the extent that I can respond to any of these needs I must do so. The miracle of those living with HIV or AIDS demands this of me. For as long as one person remains with HIV or the disease deprives one child of a parent, I cannot stop. Until God calls me, or AIDS ends, I simply must keep going.

22 August 2015
August 22nd will be the 60th anniversary of my first arrival in Zambia in 1955. I was young and inexperienced then, but greatly excited at the prospect of sharing with others my life and whatever expertise I had and thereby communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ.
A spirit of céad míle fáilte
I am now old and somewhat decrepit, but blissfully happy that I can still share myself and the word of God with my Zambian sisters and brothers. I am deeply indebted to them for the sincerity with which they welcomed me into their lives and society. The spirit was always that of céad míle fáilte. I felt this right from the outset, though the feeling was deepened when I became a Zambian citizen in the mid- 1960s, a step that I never for a second regretted, though I recall the tears it caused to my mother!
I spent most of my working life in Zambia in education — teaching and administering — at secondary school and university levels. It is a great pleasure today to meet so many who had been “through my hands” at school or university and to see them successful in life, most of them happily married and parents of lovely families, some of them grandparents, and some of them priests or religious.
But there is also the sadness of knowing that many have died, especially that many died from AIDS. Very soon after the world became aware of this terrible scourge, I saw that it was a challenge that we would have to do something about through our schools, not only in Zambia but all over the world. This realisation drew me into thinking, teaching, writing and speaking about the give-and-take between AIDS and education, into speaking out on behalf of orphans, and eventually into a wide range of AIDS-related areas.
In my AIDS work I have met and been influenced by many remarkable people infected with the disease. I don’t think I could have continued were it not for them, above all the women and the children. I felt driven by their suffering and the way it had undercut their very humanity. But equally I felt driven by their resilience, their spirit, their determination, their courage, and their cheerfulness.
Brigitte Syamalevwe: fearless and powerful
Most uplifting of all was Brigitte Syamalevwe, a highly educated Zambian woman who was diagnosed with HIV in 1992. Instead of staying at home feeling sorry for herself, Brigitte travelled around, speaking fearlessly, feelingly, and powerfully about the epidemic and her situation. She refused to take life-saving anti-retroviral drugs when these were offered to her, saying she would do so only when the poor of Zambia, and particularly the women, could also have access to such treatment. Even at the very end, when I had paid for the drugs that could save her, she told her family not to collect them but to leave her in God’s hands. And so, overwhelmed by grief, weariness and illness, she died quietly and peacefully, letting her great spirit soar to the God whom she had loved and served so well.
Brigitte was an Easter witness in the darkness of HIV and AIDS. You just had to be inspired by her. She and people like her show the strength of the human spirit and give real promise that we can make this a better world.
Sixty glorious, happy, fulfilling, satisfying years
Coming back to myself and thinking about my 60 years in Zambia, I wouldn’t ask for a minute of them to have been any different for me. They have been 60 glorious, happy, fulfilling, satisfying years and I thank God for every second of them. Of course there were setbacks and difficulties, very especially the grief and anguish of seeing the way AIDS was ravaging the people. But the overwhelming picture is one of joy and gladness and an awareness that God is working all things together for good.
I ask you to join with me in praising and thanking God that it has been so.

June 2016
A MUSEUM PIECE OR A HERO?
Early in May a new state-of-the-art interactive-type museum, EPIC Ireland, was opened in the vaults of the docklands CHQ building in Dublin. The new museum focuses on the Irish abroad and the Irish diaspora, what they have done and what they are doing in various parts of the world.
The Museum Director has informed me, as a matter of courtesy, that they are featuring my story in the visitor experience and will continue to do so for the coming ten years. I have no idea what aspects of my ‘story’ are touched on, but it is reassuring to know that at last I have found my proper niche - as a museum piece!
Distinguished Visitor visits ‘her hero’
On May 25th, which was Africa Freedom Day, I was greatly honoured when the former Irish President Mary Robinson, called at Luwisha House to see me. She was in Lusaka for a few days to speak to a top- level meeting of the African Development Bank on ecological, clean power and climate-change issues. Noting that I was not present when she met some members of the Irish community shortly after her arrival in Lusaka, Mrs. Robinson asked the Irish Ambassador if she could come to see me as I was ‘her hero’ (https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/410-irish-men-behind-the-missions-fr-michael-j-kelly-sj). God save the mark!
To talk of many things
During her stay of about an hour she and I talked about many things – progress against HIV and AIDS, the empowerment of women, the problems faced by children, clean energy and solar power, population growth, and even family.
Unfortunately I had to acknowledge that so far we here at Luwisha House had done nothing about installing a solar power system, even though we are very suitably placed to do so, with the sun beaming down on us all day almost every day of the year.
But I was able to redress the balance a little by drawing attention to the work being done by the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development in Malawi (http://jcedmw.org/jced-as-a-new-project-of-the-jesuit- fathers/) and the development there of a cooking stove that is very economical in its use of charcoal, something that Mrs. Robinson said she had heard about.
It was indeed a great honour to receive this surprise visit from such an eminent and busy person. I greatly appreciated it.
Michael J. Kelly SJ, Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia. June 2016

20 July 2020
MICHAEL J. KELLY FEATURED ON STAMP
The pioneering work of Irish Jesuit, Michael J. Kelly SJ, as an educator and a campaigner for HIV/AIDS in his adopted home of Zambia, has been honoured on a postage stamp from An Post (https://www.anpost.com/AnPost/media/PDFs/The-Collecto_1st-Ed_2020_AW_FOR-WEB.pdf) which is part of a set to mark St. Patrick's Day.
The Irish Abroad series of five stamps, marks the contribution that emigrants from Ireland made to their respective communities overseas. Fr Kelly (1929-), who was born in Tullamore, shares the stamp with award-winning author Edna O’Brien (1930-) from Co. Clare, and also with Cork-born humanitarian worker Mary Elmes (1908-2002) who saved the lives of 200 Jewish children in France during the Holocaust.
In 1955 Fr Kelly left Ireland for Northern Rhodesia, which would become the Republic of Zambia in 1964. Over the next 60 years, he held a series of appointments across the country, which resulted in his nomination as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zambia in 1980 and a promotion to Professor of Education in 1989.
He worked tirelessly to get rid of the stigma of HIV/AIDS through education and advocacy work across Zambia and further afield.
Very soon after the world became aware of this terrible scourge [HIV/AIDS], I saw that it was a challenge that we would have to do something about through our schools, not only in Zambia but all over the world. This realisation drew me into thinking, teaching, writing and speaking about the give-and-take between AIDS and education, into speaking out on behalf of orphans, and eventually into a wide range of AIDS-related areas.
In my AIDS work I have met and been influenced by many remarkable people infected with the disease. I don’t think I could have continued were it not for them, above all the women and the children. I felt driven by their suffering and the way it had undercut their very humanity. But equally I felt driven by their resilience, their spirit, their determination, their courage, and their cheerfulness.
In 2006, the Irish Government established the annual Father Michael Kelly Lecture on HIV and AIDS, which is now an annual event. In 2019 the theme was 'HIV & AIDS: Women, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights'. (https://globalhealth.ie/womens-sexual-and-reproductive-health- rights-leaving-no-one-behind/)Fr Kelly delivered a compelling video message to the audience about the need to educate women and girls in Zambia to protect themselves from HIV infection. (https://globalhealth.ie/womens-sexual-and-reproductive-health-rights-leaving-no-one-behind/)
Fr Kelly has been the recipient of many awards, in Ireland and abroad for his aid work. In recognition of his contribution to education in Zambia and worldwide HIV advocacy, the Association of Commonwealth Universities presented him with the Symons Award in September 2003. He has received several honorary degrees including Doctor of Science (2004), from the University of the West Indies, Doctor of Laws from NUI (2006) and an honorory doctorate from the Royal College of Surgeons (2012).
The Forum for Women Educationists in Africa (Zambia Chapter) awarded him the first ever Kabunda Kayongo Award for “immense contribution through research on girls’ education” (2006) and the First Lady of South Africa, Madame Thobeka Zuma, presented him with a Humanitarian Award for commitment to health and HIV and AIDS in the southern African region (2010).
He received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award from President Michael D. Higgins (https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/241-fr-michael-j-kelly-sj-receives-new-presidential-award) at Áras an Úachtaráin in November 2012, which honours the Irish diaspora in recognition of its sustained and distinguished service abroad. (https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/241-fr-michael-j-kelly-sj-receives-new-presidential-award)
Fr Kelly's is also one of over 320 emigrant stories that is featured at EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum (https://epicchq.com/)in the CHQ Building in Dublin.

Kelly, Robert J, 1924-2005, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/670
  • Person
  • 17 October 1924-08 March 2005

Born: 17 October 1924, Tullamore, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 08 March 2005, John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi province (ZAM)

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

Eldest Brother of Joseph A Kelly - RIP 2008 and Michael Kelly - RIP 2021

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Bob (as he was always called) Kelly was born in Tullamore in the midlands of Ireland on 13 July 1925. He attended the Christian Brothers’ school in Tullamore until he finished his secondary education. He then entered the Jesuits at Emo Park in 1943. He followed the normal course of studies in the Society but for regency he went to Northern Rhodesia in 1951 with Fr Joe Conway. They were the first of the Irish scholastics to go there. He began by learning ciTonga and then taught at Canisius Secondary School. Even then he seemed to have a flair for the language as he wrote a polycopied codex called ‘Tonga without Tears’, the first of a number of his publications.

Whatever Fr Bob did, he put his heart and soul into it. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1957 in Dublin, Ireland, and his tertianship, he returned to Northern Rhodesia in 1959 to Canisius Secondary School where he taught for ten years and was Spiritual Father to the boys as well. With his degree in English he was a very clear teacher. Apart from teaching, he developed the school canteen donning the cap of a busy shopkeeper, organized the films (cinema) for the boys, ordering them from Rhodesia and worrying if they were delayed in coming. In order to help the boys follow the films Fr Bob would write a long, detailed preview for them. When the school annuals began to appear, he would be prowling around with his camera! Whatever was going on in the school, Fr Bob would be there. He mixed well with the boys and had their confidence and trust.

He moved from Canisius to St Edmund's Secondary School in Mazabuka, again teaching and being Spiritual Father for nine years, bringing him up to 1978. As with Canisius he was so involved with the school that he even cheered for St Edmund's when they were playing football against Canisius!

The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA) is an association to help others by voluntarily giving up all alcoholic drink. Fr Bob himself became a full pioneer just before he entered the Society in 1943. As the Association had begun in the Southern Province and was beginning to spread, the Episcopal Conference appointed him as National Director, a post he held for over twenty years. So ended his formal teaching after twenty one years and he moved to Lusaka. Again his thoroughness brought him around the country promoting the Association, giving talks, retreats, organizing rallies. He had to contend at times with Pioneer centres trying to introduce new rules such as: ‘we want a uniform, we must wear the badge over the heart only, smokers cannot be pioneers’!

He became parish priest at St Ignatius Church in Lusaka for four years and then moved to Kitwe from 1989 to 1991. School retreats and retreats for religious were a big feature in his life. He was a very spiritual man, a man of prayer and a very good preacher. So many people have been helped by him as he was a man of compassion.

Normally one would not associate Fr Bob with singing but he produced a booklet of charismatic hymns, ‘Songs of Praise’ which went into five editions. As director of PTAA, he produced a Handbook for the Association which was also translated into ciNyanja as well as a popular booklet ‘A Christian solution to a national problem’(drink).

Apart from Pioneer material, Fr Bob wrote ten books over the years: Planted in Love; Calming the Storm; Stories New and Old; Hidden with Christ; With Unveiled Faces; A Joy so Glorious; Fan into Flame; Be Still and Know; In Love with God; HIV/AIDS a Response.

He moved from Kitwe to St Ignatius in Lusaka again in 1995 helping out in the parish with pastoral work. He had a good sense of humour, liked a good game of cards in his earlier days and was endowed with a practical, realistic outlook on life.

His health began to deteriorate in 2004 and he moved to Chula House, the Jesuit Nursing Home. He died peacefully at 06.55 on the morning of Tuesday 8 March 2005. As his body lay in the chapel at Chula House before he was taken to the Ambassador Funeral Home, a beautiful butterfly was seen hovering over Fr Bob's body.

Note from Bernard (Barney) Collins Entry
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.

Note from Joseph B (Joe) Conway) Entry
He arrived in Chikuni in August 1951 with Fr Robert Kelly, the first two Irish scholastics to be sent to the Zambian mission

Note from Bill Lane Entry
Not long before Fr Bill Lane died, he was chatting with Fr Bob Kelly at St lgnatius, Lusaka. A young lady whom they both knew had died in a very sudden manner at U.T.H. Fr Bill remarked, ‘You know, Bob, that's the way I'd like to go, quickly and without fuss’. And that is the way it happened.

Note from Ray Lawler Entry
Now at the age of sixty, Ray had a sabbatical in Toronto. Then came a big change in his life when he opted to come to Zambia, Africa where he spent two years teaching French and Scripture to the novices in Lusaka. Fr Bob Kelly went on sabbatical for a year and left his gleaming new car in charge of Ray whose talents did not extend to motor maintenance!

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news?start=225

IRISH MEN BEHIND THE MISSIONS: BOB KELLY SJ
Jesuit missionaries and volunteers were remembered at the annual Memorial Mass on 30th November at Milltown Institute.
One such Jesuit was Fr Bob Kelly SJ who died in 2005. We continue our series Irish Men behind the Missions with Bob’s inspiring story, written by his colleague Fr Charlie Searson SJ.

An unusual mission in Zambia
Fr Bob Kelly SJ was born in Tullamore, County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland on July 13th 1925. After attending the local Christian Brothers’ school he joined the Jesuit Novitiate in Emo in 1943 and in 1951 was missioned to Zambia, then known as Northern Rhodesia. He spent 54 years of his life there.
Bob prepared himself to announce the Gospel by immersing himself in the local culture and language. As a scholastic and later as a priest, he taught at Canisius Secondary School near Monze where he was the Spiritual Father. His pupils remember his “office” as a place where boys could drop in for a chat or to read.
Bob developed the school canteen as a social area and he made sure that a film was sent up each week from South Africa. He took photographs and wrote articles about school life for the school magazine. He was later sent to St Edmund’s, a Christian Brothers’ Secondary School in Mazabuka, where he spent nine years in similar work.
Up until now Bob had followed a missionary path that is familiar to many Irish missionaries announcing “the joy of the Gospel” through education and pastoral work.
However his missionary life was about to make a major turn.

The Pioneer work begins
Since his schooldays Bob had been a member of the Irish Pioneer Total Abstinence Association[1]. The Pioneer Association had been brought to Zambia in 1958 by Fr Barney Collins SJ and soon spread rapidly across the country.
Like Ireland, Zambia has an ambiguous relationship with alcohol. While some people drink very moderately there is a large group in both countries who drink far too much, causing grave harm to themselves and their families.
To address the problem of excessive drinking, the Bishops of Zambia set up a National Pioneer Office in 1978 and Fr Bob Kelly was appointed as the first National Director of the Pioneers in Zambia.
Bob gave up the security of his work in schools and parishes and took to the road. Zambia is a very large country, about 12 times the size of Ireland. Bob visited each diocese in the country several times over in the next 17 years.

Motivated by love and compassion
Bob was also involved in another aspect of missionary work which others often neglect. Before the era of computers, he spent long hours writing excellent manuals which put down in a clear, convincing style the purpose of the Pioneers. The title of one of his booklets sums up his dream: A Christian Solution to a National Problem. The Pioneers still depend on Bob’s books today. He was at pains to point out that the Pioneers are focused not on alcohol but on the love of God as revealed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pioneers are motivated by that love and by compassion for families torn apart by alcohol related harm.
The ability of the missionary to address a wide range of social issues — in addition to announcing the Gospel, celebrating the sacraments and calling people to a life of prayer — is a sign that the mission respects the culture while also evangelising it. Bob loved the local culture but was not afraid to challenge it. Drunkenness is never something to excuse or to joke about. For him, it was contrary to the Gospel.

Bringing fire on the earth
Bob was famous for his dynamic school retreats. His book of hymns Songs of Praise is still widely used today and has gone into its fifth edition. He wrote 10 very popular books on spirituality. Much of his excellent material is available on the web: http://bit.ly/rkellybooks (https://bit.ly/rkellybooks)
In 1995 he handed over the management of the Pioneers to Fr Paddy Joyce (from Galway, Ireland) but he remained active in parish work in Kitwe and Lusaka until his death in 2005 at the age of 80.
The life and work of Bob Kelly in Zambia over 54 years exemplifies in dramatic form the great missionary words of Jesus: “I have come to bring fire on the earth and how I wish it were blazing already!” (Luke 12:49). Through his teaching, retreats and parish work and his tireless dedication to the spiritual and organisational aspects of the Pioneers, Bob made a unique contribution to the integral evangelisation of Zambia.

Continuing Bob Kelly’s Pioneer work
After over 100 years of the Church’s presence in this part of Africa, most of the present missionaries are Zambian bishops, priests, religious and laity. They are the ones who are spearheading the missionary work.
In November 2013 the Ministry of Health in Zambia produced its first draft National Alcohol Policy. This policy has still not been approved by the Cabinet and implemented through the various line ministries. The work so well carried out by Fr Bob Kelly SJ still waits for missionaries to complete it.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006

Obituary

Robert (Bob) Kelly (1925-2005)

July 13th 1925: Born in Tullamore, Ireland
September 7th 1943: Entered in Emo Park
July 31st 1957: Ordained in Milltown Park, Dublin
February 2nd 1961: Final Vows in Chikuni
March 8th 2005: Died in Lusaka.

From Newsletter for Zambia-Malawi:
Robert “Bob” Kelly was born in the midlands in Ireland in 1925 into a very devout Catholic family. He had three brothers and three sisters. He attended the Christian Brothers School in Tullamore until he completed his secondary education. He then entered the Jesuits in 1943. Two of his brothers, Michael and Joseph, followed him into the Society.

In 1951, he came to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) for his regency, the first of the Irish scholastics to come here. He began learning ciTonga, for which he seemed to have a flair, later composing a polycopied codex of the language called, Tonga without Tears. After language studies, he taught at Canisius Secondary School.

In 1959, after theology, ordination and tertianship in Ireland, he returned to Chikuni. For the next ten years, he taught English at Canisius and was Spiritual Father to the boys. Apart from his very clear teaching, Bob developed the school canteen and organized the boys' cinema. When the school began producing annuals, he would be seen prowling around with his camera catching on film the activities in the school. He mixed well with the boys and had their trust and confidence. In 1969 he inoved to the Christian Brothers' school, St. Edmund's, in Mazabuka, where he remained as teacher and spiritual guide until 1978. Here, too, he had a great influence on the students.

When still a young man, Bob joined the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, making a promise to God that he would never drink alcohol. This was a life long sacrifice based on devotion to the Sacred Heart, the symbol of the heart of the human Jesus burning with love for us all. In 1978 he was appointed by the Provincial and the Episcopal Conference as National Director of the Pioneers. He moved to Lusaka and with his usual thoroughness, travelled around the country promoting the Association through talks, retreats, and rallies. He carried on this work, with a few brief interruptions, until 1995.

One of these interruptions happened when he was appointed Parish Priest of St. Ignatius in 1985. This was a job that didn't suit Bob and nearly drove him to an early grave. After a little more than a year at the work, he had to return to Ireland to rest and recover. While in Ireland, he wrote the first of his ten popular spiritual books among which were Planted in Love, Calming the Storm and A Joy so Glorious.

In 1988 he returned to Zambia and was sent to join the Jesuit community in Kitwe. All through his years as Pioneer Director he had been developing a very effective apostolate giving retreats to Religious and secondary school children. From Kitwe he continued this work and helped greatly in the development of the new parish of Our Lady of Africa, in Riverside.

Bob returned to Lusaka as Assistant Parish Priest of St. Ignatius in 1995. Without the responsibility, and shielded from the conflicts of administration, he flourished as a powerful preacher of God's unconditional love, and as a confessor and spiritual companion for many many people.

Towards the end of 2004, because of seriously deteriorating health, he moved to the Jesuit Infirmary, John Chula House, and prayed for us all until his death on 8th March 2005.

From an account for Bob's Family, written by his brother, Michael
Bob experienced at least four strokes, in September 2002, March 2004 September 20th 2004, and on September 22nd/23rd 2004. Although he recovered reasonably well from the earlier episodes, he never really recovered from the second stroke he got in September 2004. With some help, he could still look after himself, but his movements became very limited and he lost much of his ability to carry on a conversation (though at times he could recognise and acknowledge individuals).

With the slow deterioration in his condition he began to develop some aggressiveness which had to be controlled by medication. Throughout January and February he continued to decline, eating less and, because he did not use his glasses, seeing little if anything. But he was not confined to bed and was up each day, sitting in a chair or going to the refectory for his meals. At first he could feed himself, but later he had to be fed with a spoon, although he could manage to drink by himself from a cup or glass. This remained his pattern until Saturday 5th March, So until that day he was mobile, even though he had to be helped to get around.

On Sunday 6th March his breathing became bad (gurgly) and difficult. Next day, the doctor diagnosed pneumonia and prescribed anti-biotics. He also arranged for him to get oxygen, was able to clear one lung of fluids, and used a suction device to clear the chest of whatever Bob was able to cough up. All of this gave him great relief. Those who were with him say that this was the only time that he experienced physical distress and this was for a very short time. Other than this he had no pain whatsoever.

The doctor who looked after Bob on that last day was Dr Francis Kaunda, a former pupil of Bob's and mine and son of former President Kaunda. His arrival at his bedside was providential. Dr Kaunda's car had broken down, so he came into the Jesuit house for the sick and elderly to look for help and while there to look in on Bob. That was around midday. I'm told that he stayed attending to Bob until about 9 o'clock that night. Father Joe Keaney arrived in the afternoon and found him still there, saying the Rosary while keeping an eye on Bob in the bed.

Father Klaus sat with Bob throughout Monday evening and all through Monday night/Tuesday inorning. Bob was quiet and peaceful during the night. About 6.00 a.m. Klaus noticed Bob stirring and asked him if he would like a drink—coffee, a cup of tea, a coke, a fanta? He says that Bob answered loud and clear: “A cup of tea would be nice”. They were his last words. He slipped back into a kind of slumber and went away peacefully and quietly half an hour later, at 6.55 in the morning, Zambian time (4.55 Irish time).

Sister Lucy O'Brien, the great Holy Rosary Sister, Surgeon and helper of people, was always a great friend of Bob's. When she could, she would visit him and last saw him in Chula House some time in February. Because of her own infirmities and advanced years she begins the day later than some others in Zambia. On the morning that Bob died she woke at about ten to seven and then suddenly experienced a joy so glorious that it could not be described. She felt surrounded by joy and happiness, bubbling over with joy and gladness, and everything around her spoke a message of joy and peace and happiness. A very short time later, one of the other Sisters came into her room to tell her that Bob had died - and as it turned out just at the time Lucy had such an experience of wonder and joy. She is convinced that it was Bob's way of telling her that he had gone to heaven.

During that last hour of Bob's life, Father Vincent Cichecki was saying Mass in the Oratory next door. Vincent is an elderly Polish priest, a survivor of Dachau, so very much a realist. He told me that after his Mass, when he came back into the Oratory for a few prayers, he saw something on the ground just in front of the tabernacle, kind of pulsating. When he went up to it, he found a large beautiful butterfly, stranded and flapping its wings on the ground. He said he immediately thought of Bob and the way he was breathing - and that was the very minute that Bob died. When his body was brought into the Oratory later in the day, before being brought to the funeral parlour, the butterfly was still there, but now up in the air and flitting around all the time. But when the body was removed to the funeral parlour, they found the butterfly dead in the oratory and they are drying it out for me as a keepsake). When I heard all that, I thought of Mary and the white butterflies for her Dad. When I told Father Vincent about this, his eyes filled with tears and he told me that in Poland the butterfly is the sign of the resurrection.

After lying for some hours in the Oratory at Chula House, where he died, Bob's body was brought to St. Anne's funeral parlour for embalming and preparation for the funeral. That was on Tuesday evening. It remained in the funeral parlour until Thursday afternoon, by which time I had arrived back in Zambia. A number of us gathered there at about 3.30 and then at 4 o'clock left for St. Ignatius' Church. Quite a large crowd had gathered at St. Ignatius, a couple of hundred, very many of them young people.

Fathers Joe Keaney, John Mwelwa, Charles Chilinda, Clive Dillon-Malone and Jack Doyle were all there in vestments to receive the body. One of the prayers brought out that Bob had been a minister of God's word, and so a large Bible was placed on the coffin. A second prayer spoke of him as a minister of Christ's cross and mission and this was symbolised by placing a large Crucifix. Both Bible and Crucifix remained on the coffin throughout the funeral Mass next day, until it was taken for burial. Following the prayers the coffin was brought to the altar. Instead of being placed length-wise in the church, it was placed on a smaller bier right in front of and parallel to the altar, almost like a small altar lower than the main one. This was because the Novena of Grace was on and they did not want to take up space from the people who would be attending. But it was a lovely homely way to have the coffin.

From 4.30 to 5.30 those who had come for the removal of the remains took part in prayers and hymns. Great singing and many prayers! Then they had to give way to the Novena of Grace, which lasted until about 7.45. From then until close to 10 o'clock there was a vigil and wake for Bob. Coffins here are made in such a way that there is a panel over the head and chest and this can be taken off so that mourners can view the body. So that panel was removed and those who wished could go up and kneel beside him, looking at him and, most of them, talking to him. He looked very peaceful. Mouth firmly closed. No sign of strain or trouble on his face. Eyebrows bushy, but not too much so! Looked very like Paddy and the Sheehys.

The vigil/wake was not tightly organised. There were hymns, some short prayers, and periodically somebody would go to the lectern and share some memories about Bob. I told them of his difficulty in deciding what he wanted to do and then his decision to join the Jesuits, Mammy's great fear that he would not manage the food, but his determination once he had “decided to follow Jesus that there would be no turning back”. I also spoke of how hard it was on him when Mammy died just before he got home for leave in 1972 and the way he cried the time of her burial in Durrow. Finally, I thanked the people on behalf of us all for taking him to their hearts and for being so kind and good and loving to him all through the years, and I mentioned how it was the wish of every one of us that he should remain in Zambia and be with his people until the end.

Among the others who spoke were the two recently ordained Zambian Jesuits who were with him at St. Ignatius'. Finding it very hard to keep the tears back, Father John Mwelwa (gentle John) spoke of the huge influence Bob had on him and prayed that he and all the young Jesuits in Zambia might inherit some share of his spirit. The other, Father Charles Chilinda (cheeky Charles!), who is Minister in the house and in charge of the daily running, spoke of Bob's beautiful obedience - he might refuse to eat if others asked him, but Charles had only to say the word and he would take his food.

One of the lay people who spoke recalled how Bob liad comforted his family when his wife died ten years ago. And he could give every word of what Bob said to them then. Otliers spoke of what his books meant to them and how they knew they would always hear his voice when they turned to their pages. Once again, it was remarkable how many young people there were who wanted to give testimony to their love for him and share their appreciation of his life.

In closing the vigil, Father Clive Dillon-Malone reminded people that Bob's favourite scriptural passage was the parable of the Prodigal Son and invited us all to keep always before our minds the image Bob loved so much, the Father with open arms welcoming his son, just as now he was welcoming Bob.

The funeral Mass was celebrated in St. Ignatius' Church on Friday 11th March. It began at 9 o'clock and ended at 11.15. After that, in keeping with Zambian customs, the coffin was wheeled to the door of the Church, and the panel over the head was opened, to allow for body-viewing. This lasted for about three-quarters of an hour, and then there was the funeral itself to the cemetery, about 12 miles away,

The church was chock full for the Mass. It's hard to know how many priests concelebrated, but there must have been something between 60 and 70. Many were Jesuits, but they came also from the archdiocese of Lusaka, from other dioceses, and from religious congregations across the country. There was a huge number of religious sisters and male religious, crowds of women of all ages, and many past pupils from Chikuni and Mazabuka. The retired Archbishop of Lusaka was present (the current AB had to attend the beginning of a Catholic University, but he spent an hour with the Provincial offering condolences and has asked if he can have a special Mass for Bob when he is free some day soon).

I said the Mass, and Father Joe Keaney gave the homily, an excerpt of which is given below. I will say nothing else about it here except that it was powerful and gripped the attention and approval of people the whole way through. I began by saying that it was hard that this was the third of us who had died in a matter of eight months and that I was the only one of Bob's family who could be here at this time. I explained that much as they would have wanted it, age and poor health made it impossible for Maureen, Oonagh or Joe to be with us, and that they were feeling this very hard but were making the full gift of Bob to his people in Zambia, just as they had always done. I recalled how Mammy used to say that even though she loved having us around, she was happy that we lived far from each other because that way we would always remain close friends. This got a good laugh, but it also gave me a chance to stress how close-knit we are as a family and how that was one of the values that inspired Bob in his work, even though this meant being away so much from those he loved. Then I thanked the people again for taking him to themselves and for allowing him to minister among them, and I expressed the thanks of all the family to the people of the parish, and to those who had helped Bob in his recent years.

Then I went on with the Mass. Not knowing that it was going to be sung, I asked everybody to stand up for the Gloria and to shout it out with arms held aloft, as Bob used do. This went all right, but then a few minutes later the choir started the singing of it and of course the whole church joined in very wholeheartedly, It nearly lifted the roof off!

The first reading was taken by Winnie Nkata, one of the parish office workers and one of Bob's staunchest supporters. It was she who typed up all the material for his last book (and possibly even earlier ones). The second reading was taken by a Jesuit novice who has just returned from speech therapy-prior to this he could not put two words together, so bad was his stammer. But not a sign of it on this occasion! Bob's friend, John Mwelwa (gentle John), read the Gospel. After the homily there were about eight Prayers of the Faithful, but I'm afraid that my memory of them is fuzzy, so I have to leave them there.

Before the Offertory prayers and hymn, I said a few words and explained what I was doing. I said I wanted to put into the coffin a few mementoes of things that were important to Bob in his life, and I said a few words about each of these. First there was a small stand that used be on the altar to the Sacred Heart in Mammy and Daddy's bedroom in Tullamore: it had three small brass images on it, the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, and St. Joseph. I said that Bob, like the rest of us, prayed before these as a child while at the same time he developed a strong faith from his great Catholic parents, and how it was his wish that Zambian parents would do as much for their children. Then I showed an old rosary beads of Bob's, well used and with some of the beads missing, a sign that he had used it a lot and of his love for the Mother of God. Next came a Pioneer Pin. Bob became a Pioneer in Tullamore long before he entered the Jesuits and was National Director of the Pioneers here for twenty years, so this was an important symbol of his life. Then I had a crucifix. Each Jesuit receives a crucifix when he takes his first vows. I said I couldn't find Bob's vow crucifix, he had so little left belonging to him that he had probably given it away. But I had my own and I said I was putting it in the coffin as a symbol of Bob's devotion to the Lord and of his commitment to the Jesuits. I also had a prayer leaflet that Joe got printed in 1963 when he was ordained, showing the names of Bob, Joe and myself, each of us ordained on 31st July, but in different years. I said this would be a nice reminder that his two Jesuit brothers were there with Bob all the way in solidarity and love. Next I had some of Bob's books. The first religious book he published was a hymn book, popularly known here as the Red Book; the last was Stories Old and New which was published in March last year. I read his prayer at the end of the Preface to this book: “I pray that this short book may encourage hope, faith and love in your hearts”, and invited the people to let his words become a reality in their lives. Finally I produced a rose. It was fairly bedraggled, but I explained that I had cut it in Luwisha House earlier that morning. But it was not an ordinary rose. Instead it was one that I grew on from a cutting that came from a beautiful yellow rose that is still growing in Maureen's garden. I told the people that Bob would say that if God can make a rose so wonderful, can we have any conception of what he must be like, and I also said that this rose was a symbol of the love of his sisters, what he meant to them, how much they loved him and how greatly they wished they could have been here today.

That probably took more time to read than it did when it took place on the altar! After that the Mass went ahead as usual. I think there were six of us giving out Communion for about a quarter of an hour, so that gives you some idea of the numbers who were there. Incidentally these included Pat Curran, the Irish Ambassador to Zambia, who stayed right to the very end, a great and generous tribute.

At the end of the Mass, the Provincial (Father Colm Brophy) thanked all those who were present and all the people associated with Bob throughout his life, but especially in the years since his health began to decline. The final prayers in the church (the Commendation) were led by Father Tom McGivern, a great old friend of Bob's. When these were concluded, the casket was wheeled to the door of the church for the body viewing. This ended at about midday or shortly afterwards (the service had begun at 9 o'clock). Because there were so many cars, the police had been asked to help direct the traffic and allow the funeral procession get under way. The burial took place in Kasisi, a Jesuit mission about 12 miles outside Lusaka (and this year celebrating its 100 years). All Jesuits who die in or near Lusaka are buried there, while those who die in the south of the country are buried in our cemetery in Chikuni. By the time the majority of the people arrived and the graveside service could get started it was nearly a quarter to one.

The prayers at the graveside were led by the Provincial, Colm Brophy, and he and I together blessed the grave. It was a massive one, about eight feet deep and ten feet long. Room for more than one there! After the prayers, the coffin was lowered slowly into the ground, while everybody kept silence. I was a bit surprised that the beautiful wreath of yellow and white roses and lilies that had been on the coffin since first I saw it on Thursday was left in place and buried. I wondered what would be left to place on the grave when it had been filled in, but I did not know then what was to follow. So the filling in of the grave then began. While the whole ceremony is very decorous and orderly, there is often some laughing and jesting at this part, with people telling the men to show their strength and not to be taking just the soft soil, and not to be putting it all into one place. Several times, new batches of men would take over the shovels, so that everyone could play a part. I took a shovel for a few minutes. I heard somebody behind me expressing misgivings, but then I heard one of the young Zambian Jesuits say "it's all right, he's a gardener!" It was indeed lovely to see these young priests themselves take the shovels, disregarding their shoes and clothes, and piling the earth in.

When the grave was nearly full, the women began singing quietly, and then when it was full and the mound built up to the men's satisfaction, the men drew back and gave way to the women. The women stood three deep all round and as they sang fell to their knees, patting the soil with their hands to flatten and smoothen it, all the time in rhythm with their singing. It was really a very moving to experience all this.

When the women had finished smoothing the soil, the Master of Ceremonies called for the laying of wreaths. The first was from the Jesuit Provincial, the second from myself. These were both huge wreaths, two interwoven large circles of cypress, with magnificent tropical flowers woven in and out. I am not sure, but they may both have been in the form of the letters B O B. Between them they covered the full length of the grave. Then followed wreaths from a number of others. After each one placed the wreath, they were given all the time they wanted for a quiet prayer. There were several hundred red and yellow roses, so after the few formal wreaths, all Jesuits were called. Each was given two or three roses (myself included) and we all stood around the grave, then all together stuck the roses in the soil or the wreaths, and then we stood up and sang in great voice the hymn of Saint Ignatius that Jesuits sing at the time of vows, Take Lord and Receive. This was very moving. After that it was the same with the staff from the Archbishop's office, religious sisters, religious men, the parish council from St. Ignatius', the Catholic Women's Leaguer, the Pioneers, the nurses and others who had helped Bob at Chula House and Saint Ignatius'. After they had placed their flowers or wreaths, each group would say its own prayers or sing its own hymn. Then lastly came myself, this time to place yellow roses on behalf of Maureen, more yellow roses on behalf of Oonagh, and red roses on behalf of Joe. We were all very much together at that lovely moment and all our Zambian friends appreciated it greatly.

People have told me that they never before participated in such a beautiful funeral. Fully Christian and truly Zambian. Fuil of sorrow at the going away of one loved and respected so much, but full of joy at the great accomplishment of a wonderful life and selfless service. And the bottom line of it all: God is love, so let God be God in your life, let love have its way with you always.

From the homily of Joe Keaney:
Most of you gathered here this morning knew Fr Robert Kelly personally. Many of you would say, “I knew him well”. I'm sure it comes as a big surprise when I tell you Bob suffered frequently from depression. I've often heard people say, “But priests shouldn't get depressed”. That's like saying a doctor shouldn't get cancer. Let me assure you some of them do, and share the same problems, diseases and darknesses as anyone else. It is important I tell a little about Bob's darkness if you are to understand the greatness of the man. The Jesuits who lived with him already know this very well.

I came to Zambia in 1973. Bob had been here 22 years by that time. In my early years here I didn't really know him but obviously was very aware of his reputation as an excellent teacher and influential Spiritual Father to successive generations of Zambian boys and girls in the 50's and '60's in Canisius, and with the Christian Brothers in St. Edmunds for most of the '70's.

Towards the end of 1988, when living in the small Jesuit community in Kitwe, we got the word that Bob was being sent to us. He was to help out in the various works of the house and continue his work as National Director of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. Being a great friend of Mr Mosi and Johnny Walker myself in those days I wasn't overjoyed at the prospect of such a renowned teetotaller in the community.

Very very soon after his arrival, maybe even that same day, Bob and myself had a long chat, for well over an hour, standing outside in the cool of the evening. A couple of years before, he had served briefly as Parish Priest of St Ignatius in Lusaka. It was an assignment that clearly didn't suit Bob - all the problems that go with adıninistration and having to mediate in the strains and tensions of parish life. Bob suffered quite a severe breakdown as a result and spent some time recovering from depression in Ireland. It was during that period of darkness that his first book was born.

He told me about his darkness that first evening in Kitwe. I had left Namwala in 1981. After some surgery I was physically well, but suffered chronic depression for about 18 months afterwards. I knew straight away the darkness Bob was describing. That common experience was the bond, the glue, the Tuff Stuff that formed the strong friendship between the two of us. Many observers would later look on ours as a father/son relationship but that wasn't really true. In Ireland there is a term for a relationship called Anam Cara, - soul friend. That more accurately describes what we meant to each other.

That same evening Bob told me something very profound about my recurring times of darkness. It's too long ago now to remember the exact words but it was something like this. Don't be afraid of the darkness. Resist it, yes, and fight it in so far as you can. But don't run too fast or too hard from it at any cost. Many Jesuits, he told me, live in a kind of natural light. They are very disciplined and ordered in their lives. They say their prayers, do their work and enjoy their leisure. They are healthy, well integrated men. Some of us, though, have to struggle in darkness. But it is the darkness itself that becomes the door for the power of the light and love of God to enter. It was many years later before I began to understand what he was talking about.

Soon though, I began to see Bob's greatness. He had no tolerance whatsoever for legalism, for pettiness, for narrow-minded people. On returning from his trips promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Pioneers, he would often speak with real pain for, maybe, Mrs Mulenga in Mansa, a lifelong pioneer whose marriage failed, who remarried outside the Church, and the subsequent call from some fellow pioneers that she be stripped of her badge and expelled from the Association. Or maybe Mr Phiri in Lusaka being barred from holding high office at national level in the Association, because he worked as an accountant in National Breweries.

Very quickly the doorbell in Jesuit House began to ring. I had a room with a view upstairs and could see the visitors approach. All sorts of people, many from the old days in Canisius or St. Edmunds - like the grey Alex Chiteba or the balding Mark Chona down there on the left. It was so clear, just by observing, that they really loved him. There were also many young ladies. Beautiful young ladies, I might add. I'd rush down to greet these lovely flowers of God's creation only to climb straight back up again. It's for you Bob, again. These were girls from Roma, Chivuna, Fatima, Ndola, Ibenga,... from girls schools all over where Bob had such a powerful ministry giving retreats. I swear they were all in love with him. I used to scratch my head and wonder what all these people saw in this aging specimen of a man. His hair is falling out and he has these coke bottle spectacles. What has he got that I don't. I was even jealous. Not really, but you know what I mean.

The thing is, I'd rarely heard Bob preach. In Kitwe we all went different places for Mass, and I was rarely at a Mass that Bob was saying. Ten years ago, not too long after I'd been transferred to Lusaka, we invited Bob as director of the Novena of Grace, which is going on as we gather today. It was during that Novena of 1995 that my eyes were opened and I began to fully appreciate his greatness. For me, and I say this with great conviction, he was the most inspiring preacher I ever listened to. Soon afterwards he joined us here at St. Ignatius and I heard him very often. My room is just outside the side door there and I could hear his fine eloquent flow without even getting off the bed.

We chose the Story of the Prodigal Son as the gospel for this Mass because it was, without doubt, Bob's all time favourite. One of the first times I heard him preach on the parable he asked the question, “What comes right after the part where the Father sees the boy while he was still a long way off?” Hands went up and the popular answer was, “He ran to meet the boy”. Bob pointed out five important words in between: “He was moved with pity”. He was moved with pity. Moved with compassion. The heart of God the Father himself breaking at the sorry state of his poor ruined son.

If asked to put in a nutshell Bob's spirituality, I'd say it was contained in those five words: "He was moved with pity." Fr. Kelly experienced the gentleness of this compassion over and over again in his own darkness. The heart of tenderness dispelling the gloom in his own soul. The image of God's heart moved with pity for all His poor sons and daughters crippled by guilt, weighed down by troubles, stricken with depression, trapped and burdened by obsession and sin. You know what it feels like when you are deeply touched by the sadness in someone's life, when you really feel pity. It's like your heart is squeezed. Bob's God was a God of the heart not the head, a God whose heart is constantly squeezed as he looks down at us.

This was Bob's message, always variations on the same theme. The Father who created us to be joyful and happy is broken hearted at the sight of so many of his little children living in misery and darkness. It was the constancy and conviction of this recurring message that brought so much light and hope to us, his listeners. The God of the head is entirely different. Any suggestion that the Creator was aloof, a tough judge, a harsh punisher like with AIDS or the tsunami was blasphemy to his ears. He saw people preaching such a God as guilty of worshipping false images, guilty of idolatry....

I want to tell you about an elderly lady called Sarah in England who read one of his books several years ago. She loved it, got in touch with Bob and asked for more and more to distribute amongst her friends.... Since his recent strokes and diminished health, I've been keeping Sara informed. She is quite a lady. She raves about Bob's books and about the huge influence they are having in the ever widening circle she is giving them to. She told me that her project for Lent was to type out Be Still and know and put it on the Internet. She has already another of his books completed and up there.

..... The last attack about 6 months ago left Bob totally helpless and with hardly any awareness or capacity for friendship. At the time of that stroke John Chula house, the retirement home, was under reconstruction. The good Fr. Klaus was away and we had to mind Bob right here. People often said to me, “You are so good and kind to Bob”. I didn't feel that way. Some days I found it very hard just to sit with him. I simply hated seeing him in that dehumanised state and some days wanted to slap his face, shake him and say, “Come on Bob. Fight this, Come back to us”. I'm the youngest of the Irish Jesuits left in Zambia and in my days of darkness I sometimes wonder if I will be able to stay, grow old and die here. Will there be anyone left to love me or care? That was another of the great signs. I witnessed such kindness for Bob given by Fr. Mwelwa and Fr. Chilinda. They sat with him for hours, holding his hand, feeding him, cleaning up after him. All this from two men who never really knew him in his prime. When I think of such love from the young generation of Jesuits now taking over from the old I am consoled. I know now that if I have the companionship of Jesuit brothers like Gentle John and Cheeky Chilinda in my old age I will be truly blessed. I know that the Jesuit Province of Zambia/Malawi will be ok.

I was brought up thinking that holiness was to do with the number of hours one spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament, or how hard ones knees got from praying. Now I think it is much more to do with compassion. Having sympathy and empathy. Feeling for and feeling with. Be holy, as your Father is holy. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Bob was that kind of holy man. All the destruction of the past year has been made new. He is enjoying the embrace of His loving Father whose heart has been moved with pity for Bob's plight all this time.

Kilbride, Edward, 1912-1998, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/605
  • Person
  • 03 June 1912-13 April 1998

Born: 03 June 1912, Galway City
Entered: 31 October 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1946, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 13 April 1998, St. John's Hospital, New Road, Limerick

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1971 at Lusaka, Zambia (ZAM) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Edward (Ted), though born in Galway on 3 June 1912, came from a family whose origins were on the Laois-Kildare borderlands near Athy. In the post-famine days, they had suffered eviction from a very good property and the fact that his father had been a pupil of the famous Tullabeg school showed that they were part of the post-emancipation Catholic middle classes.

Ted went to school with the Christian Brothers in Cork and then on to Clongowes Wood College. After philosophy, he went to his old school as teacher and Lower Line and 3rd Line prefect, work which he liked and he would have loved to remain in education for life. That was not to be. His care for others, his ability to organise and his welcoming approach as guest master made him almost tailor-made for the job of minister. He was minister for almost 30 years in five of the Jesuit houses, not just in Ireland but also in Zambia where he worked for nine years as Minister in St lgnatius, Lusaka. Retreat work was another aspect of his ability, at Manresa and Rathfarnham Retreat Houses and at Tullabeg. A part of this so varied and versatile life was his work on the mission staff when he preached all over Ireland and England and was most helpful to Irish emigrants. His unfailing humanity to pupils and people in trouble was a part of his large, strong personality.
Ted was given to duty and generous work in the church and in the house where he lived. His affable and interesting presence made people feel welcome and at home.

He was a great man to converse on all subjects of the day and of the past, for he had a ready and cultured mind. This was enriched by the variety of his interests. He was a member of the Bird Watchers Society, collected stamps very successfully and had a keen interest in rugby and hurling. All things artistic – poetry, painting and music –were important in his life. The staff working in the houses loved and respected him as a true Christian gentleman. He had a noblesse of great natural and spiritual conviction – never one to be a time server. Loyalty, almost to a fault, was most marked in him. In his later years he showed an openness to new, valid developments which was quite remarkable.

People always felt comfortable in his presence and he was always ready to serve. He died in St. John's Hospital, Limerick on 13 April 1998 at the age of 86.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 97 : Special Edition Summer 1998

Obituary

Fr Edward (Ted) KilBride (1912-1998)

3rd June 1912: Born in Galway
Early education: Christian Brothers, Cork, and Clongowes Wood College
31st Oct. 1929: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
1st Nov. 1931: First Vows at Emo
1931 - 1934: Rathfarnham, Arts at University College Dublin
1934 - 1937: Tullabeg: Philosophy
1937 - 1940: Clongowes: Lower line and 3rd line Prefect/Teacher
1940 - 1944: Milltown Park: Theology
29th July 1943: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1944 - 1945: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1945 - 1951: Mungret College, Prefect and Teacher
1951 - 1953: Manresa, Minister, Asstd. Director Retreat House
1953 - 1956: Rathfarnham, Director Retreat House
1956 - 1958: Emo, Mission Staff, Retreats
1958 - 1959: Galway, Minister, Church work
1959 - 1965: Clongowes, Minister, Prefect, Spiritual Director
1965 - 1966 Manresa, Retreat work
1966 - 1969: Tullabeg, Minister, Retreat work
1969 - 1978: Zambia, Minister, St. Ignatius, Lusaka
1978 - 1987: Galway, Minister
1987 - 1998: Crescent Church, Limerick, Church work
13th Apr. 1998: Died at Limerick aged 86.

On 10th March Ted returned to his Community after some weeks in Cherryfield with pneumonia. He took ill suddenly in early April and was admitted to St. John's Hospital, Limerick, where he died a few days later on 13th April 1998. May he rest in the Peace of Christ!

Ted KilBride, though bom in Galway, came from a family whose origins were in the Laois-Kildare borderlands near Athy. In the post famine days they had suffered eviction from very good property, and the fact that his father had been a pupil of the famous Tullabeg school showed they were part of the post emancipation Catholic middle classes. His father was to be judge in the then regime, while an uncle became a very well established doctor in Athy.

When Ted entered the society in 1929, the new state was well under-way. After the usual training he was ordained priest in 1943. Though he had an early desire to be engaged in education for life, he in fact worked in a variety of works and places. He worked in Mungret and Clongowes, in the retreat houses in Rathfarnham and Tullabeg and Manresa, in our churches in Galway and the Crescent. As well as being pastorally engaged, he was a minister in several places, an outstanding prefect of students in Clongowes and Mungret, and eventually bursar in the Crescent. Nine years of his life (1969-78) were spent as minister and pastor in St. Ignatius, Lusaka. A part of this so varied and versatile life was his work on the mission staff, when he preached all over Ireland and England and was most helpful to our emigrants. His unfailing humanity to pupils and people in trouble was a part of his large, strong personality.

When Ted died a great gap was left in the Crescent, not only because of the loss of his ever dutiful and generous work in the church and house, but because of the loss of his affable and interesting presence. A great man to converse on all subjects of the day and of the past, he had a ready and cultured mind. This was enriched by the variety of his interests. He was a
amber of the Bird Watchers Society, collected stamps very successfully and had a keen interest in rugby and hurling. All things artistic, poetry, painting and music were important in his life. As guest master in Galway und Lusaka, the staff who took care of him there loved and respected him as a true Christian gentleman. He had a noblesse of great natural and spiritual conviction - never one to be a time server. Loyalty, almost to a fault was was most marked in him. In his later years he showed an openness to new valid developments which was quite memorable. His presence is greatly missed in the Crescent community. His shrewd humor and oracious maturity remains a very happy memory with us. The sense that he went straight into the presence of his Maker was unique and inescapable. He will nobly and surely look after us from this position of advantage. The spirit of this great hearted man lives on faithfully; his love is eternal for his friends, the young and old he helped, for his family and the Society, and for all who were dear to him.

Dermot Cassidy, SJ

Lane, William, 1931-1998, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/671
  • Person
  • 29 July 1931-09 January 1998

Born: 29 July 1931, Tullamore, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1967, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died 09 January 1998, Chikuni, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 02 February 1967

by 1959 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Not long before Fr Bill Lane died, he was chatting with Fr Bob Kelly at St lgnatius, Lusaka. A young lady whom they both knew had died in a very sudden manner at U.T.H. Fr Bill remarked, ‘You know, Bob, that's the way I'd like to go, quickly and without fuss’. And that is the way it happened. On Friday, 9 January 1998, Bill was on his way to Chilalantambo with Fr Jim Carroll to give some Scripture talks to the parishioners. As they drove on that bumpy road, Bill suddenly stopped talking. Fr Jim was shocked to find that Bill was dead beside him. There seems to have been no intervening period of sickness or pain. His departure was, as he had wished, ‘quickly and without fuss’.

Bill was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland in 1931. After school with the Christian Brothers, he went to Dublin University to study engineering for a year. At the end of that year he joined the Society in 1950. For his regency he was sent to Zambia and taught at Canisius for a year as well as learning ciTonga. After the usual course of studies, he was ordained priest in 1964 at Milltown Park, Dublin.

Returning to Zambia he worked in the Kasiya parish, then Mukasa Minor Seminary at Choma. From 1969 to 1973, he was education secretary in the diocese of Monze, responsible for a network of 80 primary schools. His organizing and administrative talents were recognized at this time. He was the last expatriate Education Secretary in the Monze diocese as the primary schools were handed back to Government.

Bill was moved to the Archdiocese of Lusaka. The late Fr Dominic Nchete asked, ‘Why are they moving our best men away from the diocese? Fr Lane knows how to work with our people’. He was asked to become secretary for communications (1978-85). He combined the job with the office of province bursar (1982-88). From 1990 until his untimely death, Bill worked for the Zambia Episcopal Conference first as secretary for catechetics and then as coordinator of the Bible apostolate.

Publishing was big in his life during all these years, to help people come to grips with Sacred Scripture, with methods of prayer and with the history of the Church in Zambia. His writing was clear and concise and very practical in the many booklets he produced. All Bill's activities were carried out with wit and good humour which made him a popular member of any group he was in. He could also be a devastating critic when aroused by what he considered hypocrisy. Bill considered himself to be politically incorrect in that he expressed his views honestly, rather than resort to making the right noises in the right places and he was aware that this did not enhance his chances for advancement through the hierarchy of the Society. In fact he never was a superior.

The number of people whose lives he touched was great indeed. He had a rare gift for reaching out to those whom others might have considered black sheep. His sensitivity to those who were ill at one time or another was another remarkable facet of his life. Bill was a gifted person who gave generously of his time and talents to the Church and people of Zambia for the forty years he worked in the country.

Throughout his years in Zambia, he preached and directed numerous retreats as well as helping at Kalundu Study Centre and in the Major Seminary. In his busy career he was always willing to help out in the parish, supplying Masses and other church services when needed. He was a good confessor and a no nonsense preacher.

Note from Fred Moriarty Entry
Fr Fred was a radio program coordinator. He recorded many programs in ciTonga and English for ZNBC. He coordinated with Fr Bill Lane and Fr Max Prokoph in this area.

Lawler, Raymond,1921-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/627
  • Person
  • 28 May 1921-14 April 2001

Born: 28 May 1921, Bunclody, County Wexford
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1956, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 14 April 2001, Clongowes Wood College, Naas, Co Kildare

Youngest Brother of Brendan - RIP 1993 and Donald - RIP 1984

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1982 at Regis Toronto, Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Raymond Lawler was born in Co. Wexford, Ireland on 28 May 1921. Fr Raymond (Ray) came to Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school, as a small boy of eleven years. Little did he realise that he would spend almost half of his life there as teacher, prefect of studies, higher line prefect, and finally as third line Spiritual Father which he was when he died at the age of 80. Clongowes (CWC) was the love of his life (apart from golf) and it was a mutual relationship between him and the successive generations of boys – always a difficult and critical body, who held him in high esteem. After the funeral Mass, members of his family and students of the school carried his coffin along the Third Line gallery where he had passed so often in the final six years of his ministry. A guard of honour was formed by present and past pupils in a moving tribute to someone who had come to mean so much to so many young people over so many years.

Ray followed the normal formation of the Society: humanities (BA honours in Latin and French), philosophy, regency in Crescent, Limerick and CWC, and theology in Milltown Park where he was ordained on the feast of St Ignatius in 1952. After tertianship, he was posted to CWC as teacher and then prefect of studies for eight years. An official visitor from Rome to the Province did some shuffling of personnel and Ray found himself changed to Belvedere College for two years. He returned quietly to CWC in 1964 again as higher line prefect (1964 - 68) and teacher from 1968 to 1981.

Now at the age of sixty, Ray had a sabbatical in Toronto. Then came a big change in his life when he opted to come to Zambia, Africa where he spent two years teaching French and Scripture to the novices in Lusaka. Fr Bob Kelly went on sabbatical for a year and left his gleaming new car in charge of Ray whose talents did not extend to motor maintenance! But this was ideal for Ray to ferry himself and his clubs to the nearby golf course. He had a passion for birds and was appreciative of anyone who helped him add to his beautiful collection of Zambian bird stamps.

When he returned to Ireland he worked in Tullabeg as Director of the Spiritual Exercises for a year followed by ten years at Gardiner Street Church as parish chaplain. Like a captain viewing the horizon from the bridge of his ship, Ray looked south to his beloved CWC and at the age 74 moved there to be third line spiritual Father.

He enjoyed good health to the end. He preached on Holy Thursday to the past pupils who were on retreat in CWC and played golf all Good Friday afternoon. He died in his room on Holy Saturday following a massive heart attack, on the 14 April 2001 at the age of 80.

Ray was a man who found God in all things whether playing cards, scrabble, chess, whether on the golf course, whether teaching, whatever he was doing he was never far from God. Before he left for Zambia, the school made him a presentation of a set of golf clubs. The school secretary said in his speech, ‘If there were a university degree for gentleness, I think that Father Lawler would have a PhD’. His character was summed up in the phrase “a lovable and loving person”.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001

Obituary

Fr Raymond (Ray) Lawler (1921-2001)

28th May 1921: Born in Bunclody
Early education at Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept 1938: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept 1940: First Vows at Emo
1940 - 1943: Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1946 - 1948: Crescent College - Regency
1948 - 1949: Clongowes Wood College - Regency
1949 - 1953: Milltown - Studying Theology
31 July 1952: Ordained at Milltown
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1962: Clongowes Wood College - Teacher
2nd Feb 1956: Final Vows
1956 - 1962: Clongowes - Prefect of Studies
1962 - 1964: Belvedere - Teacher
1964 - 1968: Clongowes - Higher Line Prefect
1968 - 1981: Clongowes - Teacher
1981 - 1982: Sabbatical Year
1982 - 1984: Zambia
1984 - 1985: Tullabeg - Director of Spiritual Exercises
1985 - 1995: Gardiner Street - Parish Chaplain
1995 - 2001: Clongowes - Third Line Spiritual Father; Assisted in Cherryfield
14th April 2001: Died Clongowes Wood College

Ray enjoyed good health to the end. He preached on Holy Thursday to the Past Pupils, who were on Retreat in Clongowes, and played golf on Good Friday afternoon. He died in his room on Holy Saturday following a massive heart attack. He will be greatly missed by all, but particularly by his beloved Third Liners.

Michael Sheil writes

When Ray Lawler came to Clongowes as a young boy of 11 in 1932, he had already spent 7 years in boarding school. At the tender age of 4 he had started his academic career in Dominican Convent, Wicklow. When he died suddenly in Clongowes at Easter, he had experienced over three-quarters of a century of institutional living.

He once described his birthplace, Bunclody, as the back of beyond (he was preaching at the funeral Mass of his neighbour and friend Dr Tom Murphy, former President of UCD, who lived “a bit beyond that”!) But he was always loyal to Wexford and rejoiced when good fortune came the way of their teams,

After leaving Clongowes, where he figured prominently at cricket and rugby, Ray followed the usual pattern of Jesuit formation in the 40s and 50s, studying Arts at UCD, philosophy in Tullabeg. He did his regency in Crescent College and Clongowes and was ordained on 31 July 1952. Afterwards Tertianship in Rathfarnham followed and then began his long association with his beloved Clongowes.

He filled a number of posts there, beginning as a Teacher for 5 years and then as Prefect of Studies for a further 3, until in the general mass migrations which signalled Fr Visitor's (McMahon) passage through the Province in 1962, Ray moved to Belvedere,

My own memories of him go way back to 1949 when, in my first year in the Third Line in Clongowes, we used to hear everyone talking about the marvellous Mr Lawler, who had left the year before. For he had just finished his regency there. In my last two years, I had him for Latin and French and Religion - and was able to realize for myself just why he had been held in such high esteem by that most discerning - if not downright difficult, critical body - the students themselves!

After two short years in Belvedere, Ray returned for what was to be his longest stint in Clongowes - 17 years, until 1981. He began as Higher Line Prefect ( 4 years) and rejoined the teaching staff for the remainder of that time. He was an excellent teacher of French and duly coached rugby and cricket (he played cricket regularly for the local club, North Kildare.) But it was during this time that he fell in love...he discovered the joys of golf! He became a regular sight on the College's golf course and competed frequently in competitions in Naas Golf Club. One year he came home with no less than 5 turkeys won there. And the school's S.R.P.A. (The Society for the Relief of the Poor and Aged - founded by Fr Brian Cullen) was the happy beneficiary.

He was still here when I returned as Higher Line Prefect in 1975 and was a marvellous companion in Community .... and I don't ever remember getting the better of him in a game of golf! Before the golf course was as good as it is today, he used to practise hitting golf bails from the Third Line rugby pitches on to the cricket oval - in all kinds of weather. I remember one day taking a Senior Rugby Practice in miserable, coid, sleety weather. After a while the Captain dared to suggest that we were only wasting our time, for it was too cold to do anything really useful. But I insisted that we might have to play a Cup match in such conditions (as indeed turned out to be the case - it even snowed!). So we battled on. However, after a while, the Captain approached me again and said, “Look, Fr Lawler has gone in!” “All right”, I said, “if it's too cold for Fr Lawler, then it's too cold for us!” And so in we went!

Six years ago we both returned together for what was to be such a wonderful Indian summer of his life. The story is told of how a fellow-Jesuit, on meeting Ray shortly after that change to CWC was announced, said that he had heard that it had taken him only 5 minutes to accept to come back here as Spiritual Father to the Third Line. The story goes that Ray got quite angry at the suggestion and protested that that was an awful thing to say about him. His companion - unused to see the usually placid Ray showing anger - back-pedalled a bit and said that it was only what he had heard from someone else. But Ray was only having him on - and to put him out his agony explained that 5 minutes was a gross exaggeration - it had taken him only 5 seconds! Just after he died, someone said: Surely he is in beaven - to which the reply came back: Sure he arrived in heaven when he came back to Clongowes! That speaks wonders for the spirit which he helped to encourage. It also means that the boys themselves had a part to play in making him so happy - in making him what he was - a lovable and loving person.

When he left CWC in 1981 to go to Zambia - the school made Fr Lawler a presentation of - surprise, surprise! - a set of clubs ... for that, even then, was his great pastime love. In his speech in the Concourse, the School Secretary said something which I never forgot - and which summed Ray up to perfection. “If there were a University degree for gentleness - I think that Fr Lawler would have a PhD.!” For that was indeed one of his great qualities.

On his return to Clongowes in 1995 he became Spiritual Father (or, as some used to say, Spiritual Grandfather!) and he became a central figure in the lives of very many young boys - some of them desperately homesick - and of their parents. The testimony of the great number of letters of sympathy written to the Community bears witness to this. His night prayer with Third Line was spiritual and deeply thought out - informal and always interesting - relevant and touching the lives of Third Liners where they were. How appropriate was it - however much it brought a lump to the throat - to see him on the recent RTE programme, leading this year's Opening Assembly last September, for what was to be the last time - reminding the assembled school of the importance of what really brought the school community together - when they gather to give thanks and glory to God.

St Ignatius of Loyola wanted his companions to be able to find God in all things. And, surely, didn't Ray do just that?! Whether playing cards - scrabble - chess - whether on the golf-course (as he was on the very day before he died) - whether teaching the yoyo (the very first online purchase made by CWC on the internet was yoyo string!) whatever Ray was doing - wherever he was - he was never far from God. For God was never far from him. Psalm 138 (139) was his favourite and he often quoted the lines: “It was you who created my being... ...I thank you for the wonder of my being, for the wonders of all your creation”. The Psalm ends with the words: “See that I follow not the wrong path and lead me in the path of life eternal”.

And so God did come to lead Ray home - as quietly as he had lived - in the silence of a Holy Saturday morning. As the Church waited to celebrate again the great Feast of Christ's Resurrection Ray left for a better place. Although his funeral took place during the school holidays at Easter, the College Chapel was full for Mass. Afterwards, members of his family and students of the school carried his coffin along the Third Line gallery (where he had passed so often in the final six years of his ministry.) A guard of honour was formed by present and past pupils in a moving tribute to someone who had come to mean so much to so many young people over so many years. In Clongowes Ray continues to be an inspiration to his Brethren who remember with gratitude and affection his pleasant companionship. And his memory will long be held in reverence in the school where he spent nearly half of his long and full life.

Leahy, Maurice A, 1920-2004, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/732
  • Person
  • 22 July 1920-26 October 2004

Born: 22 July 1920, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1978, Mazabuka, Seminary, Choma, Zambia
Died: 26 October 2004, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin Dublin - Zambia-Malawi province (ZAM)

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

Brother of Henry (Harry) Leahy - LEFT 10 January 1944 for medical reasons

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 01 December 1977

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Brother of Henry (Harry) Leahy - LEFT 10 January 1944 for medical reasons

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
To look at Fr Maurice, a rather frail figure, one would not imagine that he was a fine rugby player on the school team during his schooldays at the Crescent College, Limerick. In a way, Maurice was a Limerick man through and through. He was born there on 22 July 1920, grew up there and went to school there. He was a bright student coming top of his class year by year and winning many prizes. He was a good sportsman and athlete, playing on the school junior and senior rugby teams. With those long thin legs of his he was, not surprisingly, the Boys’ High Jump Champion of Limerick.

He joined the Society in 1937 at Emo Park, took Latin and History at University, studied philosophy at Tullabeg and went back to Limerick for regency to his old school. After ordination at Milltown Park, Dublin, in 1952, he spent six years at Gonzaga College in Dublin teaching and holding the job of minister. From 1960 to 1972 he was back in Limerick, first in Crescent College teaching and then for five years at Mungret College, again teaching and vice-superior at the Apostolic School. His qualities of simplicity and outstanding patience and kindness must have made teaching rather a trial.

1966 seems to have been a turning point in his life as regards work. He moved to the Sacred Heart Church in Limerick as a pastoral worker for six years, functioning quietly and successfully. In 1972 another big change took place in his life, this time he was missioned to Zambia at the age of 52 where he spent the rest of his life at pastoral work. After his ordination he had asked to be sent to the missions (Hong Kong) and twenty years later his wish was answered (Zambia).

To begin with, he studied ciTonga at Chikuni and then moved to Namwala (1973) as parish priest and superior there. Here he had plenty of practice at the language as he worked in the parish with all that that entailed. After nine years there he was transferred to Assumption Parish in Mazabuka for a year before moving to the Sugar Estate at Nakambala, where he worked for eleven years in the parish, ten years of these as superior and eight years as parish priest.

His younger brother Harry singles out his gentleness and simplicity. He was always kindly and thoughtful, never bad-tempered or argumentative. He really was ‘the good peaceable man’ of Thomas a Kempis. Everyone was good in Maurice’s eyes. His brother tells of his happiness during these years in Zambia. He was at home among the villagers in Namwala, the urban dwellers in Mazabuka and Nakambala, as well as the sick and feeble in Chikuni hospital. As one person put it: ‘A man of simple and quaint goodness, who had his heart in the right place’.

In 1994, Maurice now 74, moved to Chikuni again as pastoral worker. He was a very dedicated priest, a man of God and deeply spiritual. This the people recognized in their own perceptive way. He was an easy person to live with as he was so undemanding even as a superior. He became a charismatic, again in his own quiet way and became a much-sought-after giver of directed retreats.

He developed a peculiar up-down characteristic in his speech, one minute bass and the next falsetto. This affected his preaching in public but it did not interfere with his retreat giving. He was a very methodical man. The data on the outstations where he supplied were kept up to-date so that the priest who took over the outstations, when Maurice was transferred to Chikuni, had a clear picture of each of these outstations and of the people there, who were being prepared for baptism, for marriage and so on.

At the end of 2003, he was operated on in Lusaka for a colostomy and moved to John Chula House. While there the doctor remarked that Maurice had the recuperative powers of a man of 25! – Maurice was 83 years of age at the time. The doctor suggested that he return to Ireland for the next operation for a number of reasons. This Maurice did on 14 February 2004. The operation was a success. Later, while at Cherryfield Lodge, he suffered a stroke, unrelated to the operation and he died on 26 October 2004 in Dublin but he was buried in his own beloved Limerick.

MacDonald, A Norman, 1926-2005, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/681
  • Person
  • 26 April 1926-04 May 2005

Born: 26 April 1926, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 04 May 2005, Victoria Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the Nakambala Church, Mazabuka, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1953 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency - fifth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1967 at SFX University Antigonish Canada (CAN S) studying

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Norman MacDonald was born in Dublin on 26 April 1926. His mother died while he was still a child. However he had stepbrothers, three of whom came to see him while he was in Zambia.

He went to Clongowes Wood College as a young boy and had the nickname of 'Curley Wee', not after the cartoon character but because of his short curly hair at that time. After secondary school, he entered the Jesuits at Emo Park in 1944 and pursued the normal study course of arts, philosophy and theology. He went to the then Northern Rhodesia in 1951 as a scholastic, learned ciTonga and taught for two years in Canisius Secondary School, as well as being involved in brick making.

Returning to Ireland for theology, he was ordained priest at Milltown Park Dublin on 31 July 1958. After tertianship, he returned to Northern Rhodesia and was minister at Chikuni for a year.

Looking at his curriculum, Fr Norman was parish priest or assistant parish priest for over forty years. This was work he was good at and did well. He first went to Kasiya Parish (1961-1970), then to Mazabuka to Assumption Parish (1970-1976). His longest continuous stint was at Chilalatambo as parish priest from 1976 to 1993 – 17 years. He built a number of small churches at the outstations where he went to say Mass and over a number of years he was part of a team involved in translating the Bible into ciTonga.

He lived on his own over these years and established a daily routine for himself, everything in its place, an unchanging routine meticulously laid out. He was attached to Mukasa Community in Choma 60 miles away and would come in once a week to load up with supplies, arriving at a set time and departing next morning. Before he stopped smoking, it was a lesson in itself to see him prepare and light his pipe in the evening. Everything he did was carefully jotted down, things done, things to be done, in his round copperplate almost childlike handwriting.

He loved the game of rugby, for he was on the school rugby team as a boy, a solid fullback. In fact when he went on leave he opted for the winter months so that he could attend the rugby matches in Ireland.

A year spent in Chikuni parish brought him again to Mazabuka, this time to Nakambala parish in 1994. As he worked there, a day came which was to change his life. In early July he got a stroke, just as he parked his vanette and was getting out of it. He was incapacitated and was brought to John Chula House in Lusaka. His mind and speech were clear. Slowly he began to mend; he got to the stage that with a walker he could make his way to the dining room for morning tea. He was brought to Victoria hospital for treatment and there he fell out of bed and broke his shoulder. This really set him back and he seemed worse than when he came in at first. However he began again with physiotherapy and slowly, oh so slowly, he tried to get onto his feet again but with little improvement. He was aided to get in and out of bed and at night a minder was there, William by name. He complained of stomach trouble, an ulcer he called it and would take antacid tablets before bed. As the stomach pain got worse he was taken to Victoria hospital with his minder William. Stomach cancer was diagnosed. On the morning he was to be operated on, he asked William to hold his hand, and thus he died on 4 May 2005 at 05.10, a complete surprise!

His brother Paddy came from Australia for the funeral with Mass at Nakambala and afterwards Norman was buried at Chikuni. Fr O'Keeffe gave the homily in ciTonga and Fr Walsh in English.

During his period at John Chula house, from the time he came until he died, Fr Norman showed extraordinary courage. His sense of humour, his day-to-day acceptance of his condition and his lack of self-pity were the fruit of his inner life. A fellow Jesuit described Fr Norman as 'a nice person' in the sense that he had a pleasant disposition and was very pleasant to visit – and that does sum him up.

Note from Philip O’Keeffe Entry
And now the darkness of the open door into some small African house is reflected on the blue water across the river where he has now gone. Maureen and Bill, his parents are there to meet him. Rufina Mwiinga and Jennifer Ndima and Norman MacDonald and many many others are there too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 35th Year No 4 1960

Obituary :

Fr Brian MacMahon (1907-1960)

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 124 : Summer 2005

MISSIONED TO ZAMBIA

Brian MacMahon

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

At an early stage of his life in the Society, someone had the courage to tell Brian that he was speaking and acting like a bishop. General agreement consecrated him with the nickname of “Bishop Mac Mahon”, almost immediately reduced to its homely form of "The Bish". Brian was born in London, England, in 1907, and educated at Clongowes Wood College. After vows, he studied for his B.Sc. and then his M.Sc, at UCD, also obtaining a Travelling Scholarship. He went to Valkenburg, Holland, for philosophy. This was followed by a further three years of Biology, one of them at Munich, Germany, and the other two at Louvain (changing from German to French!), where he obtained a Doctorate in Science with First Class Honours, or summa cum laude. He taught for a year at his Alma Mater and then went to Milltown Park for theology and ordination to the priesthood in 1940.

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

What of the man himself? He was a big man. Fr. Dominic Nchete preached at the Funeral Mass for Brian at St. Ignatius Church, saying, “Fr. MacMahon was a big man. He had a big body, a big heart, big brains. He thought big. He spoke big. He acted big amid his many and varied occupations. He remained calm, kind, charitable, considerate and, above all, extremely patient. He was kind to all whether they were white or black”. “Dominant in height”, one wrote about him, “but not domineering in manner, he could achieve a certain loftiness of style that well matched his bulk; but his dignity had a fatherly flavour about it; his natural superiority was almost lost in that kindly, friendly, good humoured way he had”. He loved to keep up with world news, and his brother had sent him a subscription to the airmail edition of the Times, which Brian loved to read, sitting in his office. As one scholastic once remarked, “The Bish's biography should be entitled 20 years behind the Times!”

As schoolboy, as novice and as man, he was always ready to put work before play. His normal life was a steady application to duty, whether it appealed to his taste or not. He would like to have studied Maths and Political Economy (under Fr. Tom Finlay) but obedience took him down a different path of studies. Under his direction, Canisius Secondary School was improved and enlarged. He was Headmaster (then called Principal) from 1951 to 1959. Senior courses leading up to the School Certificate were introduced by him. Among the large number of African schoolboys who passed through his hands, he enjoyed a unanimous reputation for patience and kindness combined with an unwavering sense of justice To his fellow Jesuits, devotion to his work and to the interest of the school was well known. Government officials whom he dealt with held him in the highest esteem. He did not easily resign himself to the close of his life. He fought the blood poisoning and cancerous growth to the end. He remained buoyant and optimistic as long as there was any shred of hope of recovery. And in simple faith and acceptance, he answered the call to eternity.

Maguire, John, 1933-2020, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/862
  • Person
  • 15 June 1933-16 April 2020

Born: 15 June 1933, Glenfarne, County Leitrim
Entered: 01 July 1968, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Professed: 02 February 1981, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 16 April 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1980 at Lusaka Zambia (ZAM) working

Early Education as Grocer in Ireland and England; Rathmines Tech, Dublin; Catholic Workers College, Dublin

1970-1974 Milltown Park - Secretary to Provincial; Studying
1974-1975 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Studying Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare
1975-1980 Milltown Park - Secretary to Provincial
1977 Studying Theology at Milltown Institute; Assistant Secretary to Provincial
1978 Tertianship in Tullabeg
1979 Member of Special Secretariat
1980-1984 Lusaka, Zambia - Secretary to Rector of St Dominic’s Major Seminary
1984-1987 Loyola House - Minister; Province Secretary
1985 Editor of Province Newsletter
1987-2020 Milltown Park - Province Secretary
1993 Canterbury, Kent, UK - Sabbatical at Franciscan Study Centre
1994 Administration in Provincial’s Office
2017 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/br-john-maguire-sj-one-of-leitrims-treasures/

Br John Maguire SJ – ‘One of Leitrim’s treasures’
Brother John Maguire SJ died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Ranelagh, Dublin, on 16 April 2020. Due to government guidelines regarding public gatherings, a private funeral took place on 18 April, followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. A small number of relatives attended. Fr Bill Callanan SJ and Fr John K Guiney SJ represented the Jesuits. Around 100 messages were left on the online Condolences Book (RIP.ie), such was Brother John’s influence on the lives of lay people and religious over many decades. Many remember him for his quiet reassuring presence and for his wise judgement and administrative skills while working for the Irish Jesuit Province.
Brother John was born in Glenfarne, County Leitrim, in 1933. Before entering the Jesuits at 35 years old, he worked as a grocer in Ireland and England and attended Rathmines Tech and Catholic Workers College in Dublin. After his novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois, he worked as secretary to the Provincial and studied at Milltown Park, Dublin, followed by theology studies at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He continued his studies and administrative work in Milltown Park and did his tertianship in Tullabeg, County Offaly.
From 1980 to 1984, Brother John was a missionary in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was secretary to the rector of St Dominic’s Major Seminary. He also took his final vows there.
Upon his return to Ireland, he worked as minister for the Loyola House community in Dublin, acted as Province secretary and editor of the Province newsletter. He continued his work as Province secretary, took a sabbatical at the Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury, England, in 1993, and was involved with administration in the Provincial’s office right up until 2017. In recent years, he lived in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, where he prayed for the Church and the Society of Jesus.
The private funeral which took place on 18 April was officiated by Fr Bill Callanan SJ and assisted by Fr John K Guiney SJ. Fr Guiney, director of Irish Jesuit Missions, thanked the four members of Brother John’s family who travelled from Leitrim on the morning of the funeral. He was grateful for their presence in the difficult circumstances where it was not possible to do a normal Jesuit funeral and to fully celebrate Brother John’s wonderful life as a Jesuit companion.
Fr Guiney thanked the Maguire family for giving Brother John to the Society and for his service of so many in Zambia and Ireland. He said that his gracious, gentle, dedicated and humble service touched the lives of so many down through the years. His sister Peggy was unable to attend because of government constraints, but she was well represented by her family. Brother John occupies the last place available in the old graveyard at Glasnevin Cemetery and the next Jesuit burial will take place in the new one.
A number of other Jesuits have expressed their condolences for the loss of their dear brother in the Lord. Tom Layden SJ, former Irish Provincial, commented:
“May John rest in the peace of the Risen Lord and may the hope of the resurrection bring comfort to his family and friends. I thank the Lord for John and his gifts of kindness, quiet competence and friendliness.”
Kevin O’Higgins SJ, Director of Jesuit University Support and Training (JUST) in Ballymun, said:
“It is lovely to see so many tributes to John. Like St Peter Faber, one of the first Jesuits, John was a ‘quiet companion’, always courteous, anxious to help, unfailingly kind and generous. After a lifetime of dedicated service, may he now rest peacefully in God’s love.”
Paddy Carberry SJ, former novice director and editor of Messenger magazine, commented:
“I have known John for many years, and worked closely with him at one time. He was always kind, obliging, gentle and good-humoured. I will miss him. I have offered Mass for him. My condolences to his family and to all who miss him.”
The Provincialate staff in Milltown Park remember him as a great colleague. They said:
“Brother John helped new staff settle into their jobs in so many little ways and was welcoming and good humoured to all who came into the office.
“We have memories of him loving the fun at coffee breaks, for his gifts of homemade biscuits and for his tin whistle playing.
“He was a gentleman in every sense with a lovely simplicity, albeit with a touch of delicious roguery! He was one of Leitrim’s treasures. May he rest in endless peace.”
Paddy Moloney, who used to visit Brother John in Cherryfield Lodge, also paid tribute to him.
“John was gentle, and was particular about any job he did. He liked the garden, flowers, was a player of the tin whistle and played in bands in his hometown. He was in a small 3 piece Irish music group in Dublin.
The other two remained his friends for life. My wife Aline worked as a receptionist in the Curia and knew him when he was well and said he was interested in people and she always found him helpful.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Mangan, Denis, 1927-1988, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1670
  • Person
  • 12 March 1927-08 August 1988

Born: 12 March 1927, Enfield, London, England
Entered: 07 September 1943, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 31 July 1957
Final vows: 02 February 1960
Died: 08 August 1988, Chinhoyi (Sinoia), Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe Province (ZIM)

by 1964 came to St Ignatius Lusaka N Rhodesia (HIB) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Denis Mangan was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England 12 March 1927. He was educated at St. Ignatius College, Stamford Hill and St. Peter’s, Southbourne. He entered the novitiate at St. Beuno’s in 1943 but his course was interrupted due to military service and so he took his first vows only in October 1948 at Roehampton. He had a year’s teaching at St. John, Beaumont and then he went for philosophy to Heythrop from 1950-53. He taught at Stonyhurst for a year before going on to theology in Heythrop again in 1954. He was ordained in 1957. He did his tertianship at Gandia from 1958 to 1959.

His first assignment was to work for the Apostleship of Prayer in the central curia in Rome from 1963-64. He was responsible for the AoP for English speaking Africa. When he arrived in Rhodesia in 1965 he was in charge of the AoP as well as the Sodality of our Blessed Lady. He did a short spell in Zambia doing this work in 1963-64. He operated from Prestage House from 1965-68 and from Campion House from 1968-69.

He then moved into vocation promotion (1969-84) and was responsible for the pre-novitiate. He was parish priest at Umvuk. He was in the Cathedral parish at Campion House and was superior and parish priest from 1977-84. He always kept his attention on the needs of the youth. He was available for the Study Group at St. Peter’s, Mbare and in his time at Chinhoyi started up a study group there. He was the prime mover of “Ministers Fraternal”. Originally this was to have been a group of Catholics who were senior people in Government and in business, to discuss subjects concerning the ministers present, including the then Prime Minister, Cde Mugabe and later Dr Bernard Chidzero, the Minister of Finance.

He worked with Fr Paul Crane, S.J. at Claver House in London for a short while from 1984-85. When he came back to Zimbabwe he was parish priest at Corpus Christi, Chinhoyi and local superior. He died from a weak heart at the relatively early age of 61 in 1988.

The funeral Mass was in the Cathedral which was packed by a congregation that was made up of a good cross-section of the Catholic community: clergy, brothers, sisters, lay people of all ways of life, very many chita women, a busload of parishioners from Chinhoyi, with 75 priests concelebrating (Jesuit, Franciscan, Carmelite and diocesan). The cathedral rarely sees a funeral Mass like this. The way people made the effort to be present was a great tribute to Fr Mangan’s touch with people.

McCarthy, Joseph, 1912-1986, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/277
  • Person
  • 17 April 1912-05 January 1986

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

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

Early education at O’Connell’s School Dublin

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 realised 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.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 61st Year No 2 1986

Obituary

Fr Joseph McCarthy (1912-1930-1986) (Zambia)

17th April 1912: born. 3rd September 1930: entered SJ. 1930-32 Emo, noviciate. 1932-35 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1935-38 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1938-39 Clongowes, regency, 1939-40 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1940-44 Milltown, theology. 1944-45 Rathfarnham, tertianship.
1945-50 Clongowes, teaching. 1950-86 Zambia.
1950-51 Chikuni, learning language. 1951-57 Chivuna, administering trade school (1954-57 Vice-superior). 1957-58 Chikuni, assistant administrator of schools. 1958-59 Kasiya. 1959-62 Namwala. 1962-66 Kasiya, acting vicar general of Monze diocese. 1966-68 Monze, building Chirundu. 1968-75 Lusaka, St Ignatius, administering Chirundu. 1975-77 Chikuni, teaching. 1977-86 Kasisi: 1977-82 Superior, 1982-86 administering Kasisi farm. 5th January 1986: died.

The following obituary notice is taken from pp. 6-9 of the Zambian Province news-letter, February 1986.

As we stood mournfully round Fr Joe McCarthy's grave at Kasisi Fr Felix Kalebwe asked the Jesuit novices to kneel round the grave and realise that they were blessed to have been able to participate in the burial of a great Jesuit; and they were invited to remember this event for the rest of their lives, and to try to emulate Fr McCarthy in his zeal and dedication.
Later, as we came away from the burial-ground, avoiding the large pools of rain-water, one of the loveliest things of my life happened: many people, Jesuits and non-Jesuits, expressed their sympathy for me personally, in words like, “You will miss him greatly; you were such great friends”.
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 “I say, old chap”, “Nonsense”, “My community”, 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. Yes, his achievements as a missionary are part of history, can easily be narrated for the edification of others or the annals of our history. But lest his shyness with so many, and his inclination to resort to eccentric behaviour would hide the warm and gentle character of Joe, I would like to try to describe Joe the man who was a dedicated Jesuit and a very warm friend to a few of us.
Born on 17th 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 died when Joe was very young. After secondary school with the Irish Christian Brothers Joe entered the Jesuit noviciate at Emo on 3rd September, 1930. University studies followed at University College, Dublin, and despite being incapacitated by tuberculosis he finished with a good BSc Mathematics. On to Tullabeg for philosophy, where his keen intellect continued to reveal itself. Regency at Clongowes, followed by theological studies at Milltown Park; he always claimed in later life, in his characteristically boastful way, that he was an outstanding moral theologian of that era! What is clear from his studies throughout his Jesuit formation is that Joe could easily have gone on to lecture in any of the three fields of mathematics, philosophy or theology - and would have made his mark in whichever he chose.
Instead, after ordination on 29th July, 1943, fourth year of theology and tertianship, Joe went to teach at Clongowes Wood College. He was looked up to as a very competent teacher while at Clongowes. And from his oft repeated anecdotes of life in Clongowes at that time it is very clear that Joe enjoyed himself immensely while there, and later treasured fond memories of characters like The Prince McGlade and Patch Byrne. A life of satisfying teaching, accompanied by the gracious- ness of castle life lay before him; an inviting prospect for a humanly intellectual person like Joe.
But the Irish Provincial of the time, Fr Thomas Byrne, called for volunteers to meet the need of the Jesuit mission in the then N. Rhodesia. Joe packed his bag and said goodbye to the status and comradeship of Clongowes. In no way did he gladly turn his back on Ireland, the land and people that he loved so much, whose history and literature were so much part of him. That innate asceticism in him, the willingness to leave what he treasured so dearly and with which he was so personally involved, led him to offer himself for the challenging work of a new mission. This ability to discard the (justifiable) comforts of life would be a feature of Joe's life till his dying moments, despite the fragility of his body and the poor state of his general health.
The long boat and train journey to Chisekesi, language study at Chikuni, and then assignment to Kasiya Mission, where he quickly proved his qualities as a missionary. In the late '50s Joe pioneered Chivuna Mission, where he built the house, church and Trade School with the able cooperation of Br Jim Dunne, and won the esteem and affection of the people in the locality, who fondly spoke of him as “Macacki”.
At this stage of his life Joe had entered into the zenith of his apostolic life. Besides being a pioneering missionary and full-time parish priest, he was soon to be an invaluable consultor of the regional Jesuit superior of the Chikuni Mission. His clear-mindedness, coupled with an imaginative zeal and appreciation of the people's needs made Joe a very valuable consultor. Besides providing the superior with the benefits of his knowledge, Joe was energetically pursuing his own expansion of the church. Teachers, headmen and chiefs appreciated his efforts to extend education in their regions. His working relations with all of them were always amicable, and highly appreciated - often still recalled with great admiration and affection even thirty years afterwards. Numerous primary schools in the southern province of Zambia are monuments to Joe's zeal and competence.
Whether as planner, builder, adminisrator, pastoral worker, negotiator, adviser, fruit farmer, cattle farmer or whatever, Joe could not only turn his hand to it, but excel in it. And could (and would!) talk per longum et latum on any of these achievements; as indeed he could talk on any other subject on this earth. He needed to talk about what occupied his time and energy, to think aloud and sound out his grasp of the subject, rather than to learn from another. He was very much a self-made man, believing that with intellect nearly everything could be mastered practically by personal trial and error). Of course he found it next to impossible to admit to others that he ever made a mistake!
The new Bishop of Monze, James Corboy, 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-sightedness, wide experience in pioneering the church expansion, adroit in negotiation with local authorities, ability to collaborate with so varied a group of people, and an ability to make the most of limited funds. Joe contributed enormously to the expansion of the church in the Monze diocese area in those years. Up to last year Bishop James was still in the habit of calling on the services of Joe when negotiations had to be made with some government ministry. Joe always looked on such a task as a great honour to himself . . , “to help James”.
At the Bishop's request Joe was assigned to Chirundu, to launch the Zambezi Farm-Training Institute, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Milan. In those years (about ten) Joe became known in the vicinity, had cordial relations with all officials in the locality, and was highly appreciated by government officials, personnel of the Archdiocese of Milan, as well as by the trainees and their families who passed through the Institute. During those years, often living alone, Joe was able to give free rein to his personal eccentricities, that would make it difficult for him to re-enter into ordinary community life. To all practical purposes he was Chief of Chirundu, and would later recall the advantages of that way of life. Life at Chirundu also afforded Joe opportunity to find pleasure in the wonders of nature; his knowledge of fossils, birds and trees was very extensive indeed; and his enquiring mind found such delight in so many simple objects of nature.
It was characteristic of Joe, that wherever he lived and worked soon became “his”. He threw himself totally into whatever he was doing, mastering it and achieving his goals in it; never withholding himself from a place or a work. I guess this partly explains why he developed the habit of claiming districts, missions, churches, schools, roads, farms, communities, even cattle for his own: “my” mission, “my” community, ...
This praiseworthy characteristic, to make anything his own, might account for Joe's long-standing resistance to the formation of the Province of Zambia. It took him years to accept that such a change did not inevitably mean a neglect of the Chikuni area or of the diocese of Monze. Those areas, where for the best part of twenty years he had spent himself untiringly - often to the neglect of his health - were to remain, even to the end, of great concern for him.
As the strenuously active part of his life came to an end, other aspects of Joe's character began to manifest themselves more. He always held that he came from a long line of traditional Irish bards or poets, and was convinced that he had the gifts of oratory. He loved to reminisce about the good old times in his life, amusedly recalling the characters of those days, their witty sayings that indicated nimbleness of mind: the memorable incidents of life in Clongowes, the victories of McCarthy and O'Riordan in the early mission days, the achievements of Namwala and Chirundu, brought to life by accolades for the colourful characters of those of those days. Such memories provided Joe with entertainment. And the older he got the more he tended to repeat himself; he was aware, to a degree, that such constant re-living of the past could bore his listeners; but that did not deter him from an exercise that gave him such great delight!
The competitive element of Joe's character, which had helped make him such a zealous missionary in the 50s and 60s, remained with him in later life. How he yearned to preach the greatest sermon, even to the children of Kasisi primary schools, or to be the most heal-ing of confessors to the people of the parish! How he wanted to be the best cattle farmer, the best buyer of necessities for the community! How he was spurred on by a crossword puzzle, by a debate. Such competitiveness quite often could lead him into what seemed rudeness towards others, as he grabbed the limelight in company. Joe was never content to sit back and listen, allowing someone else to be the 'soul of the party'. He had to be the one who dazzled!
The Society he loved and felt part of was the Society of pre-Vatican II days, the Society in Ireland before the 60s; or he pioneering Society of the Chikuni Mission, characterised by the thrust and energy of the newly-arrived Irish Jesuits, enjoying a degree of autonomy and homogeneity; how often he would later those “great times”. The present day emphasis on community meetings, faith-sharing, more open dialogue between all members of the community continued to baffle and defeat him to the very end. Of course he was incapable of admitting to this bafflement, and so tended to dismiss it all as emotional immaturity, decrying the absence of the old solid virtues of self-reliance and selflessness.
How remarkable that Providence : should lead him, for the last eight years his life, to Kasisi, a non-Irish environment, As superior he was able to show his innate kindness to members of his community, to the Sisters in the nearby community and to guests who visited Kasisi to rest or make their annual retreat. All were the recipients of Joe's hospitality.
After surgery in early 1977 Joe realised the strong possibility of a recurrence of the cancer in him. But he would never discuss his anxiety with anyone else. He preferred to carry on as if
everything was okay, doing his duty; and whenever close friends tried to get him to share his anxieties with them, he would quickly switch the conversation into less personal channels. And few people were better than Joe at giving direction to a conversation, in fact at taking over the conversation completely and not giving the other conversant (!) a chance of changing it back on course!
The end came quickly: fighting for life in the intensive care unit at the University Training Hospital, imbalance of body fluids with intermittent hallucinations, infection of the surgery wound, removal to Chikuni and Monze hospitals, an apparent recovery, a lapse into pneumonia, accompanied with a great peace and acceptance of the inevitable. Jim Carroll, who was with Joe for his last four hours, describes his death as a most beautiful one, with Joe eagerly looking forward to seeing his mother and Jesus. When taking his leave of Jim, recall 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.
In recent annual retreats Joe had confided in me that he had been over- whelmed by God's love for him. I honestly think that he made great efforts in returning that love through his deeds; may he now rest in that same love.

McDonagh, Francis, 1915-1993, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/518
  • Person
  • 21 December 1915-25 February 1993

Born: 21 December 1915, Salford, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1951, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1954, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 25 February 1993, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

by 1971 at Charles Lwanga, Zambia (ZAM) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Frank was born in Manchester, England, on 21 December 1915. His family moved back to Ireland to live in Dublin. He was 23 years of age when he entered the Society at Emo Park. He went through the usual studies of the Society and was ordained priest at Milltown Park in July 1951.

After tertianship in 1953, he was posted to Belvedere College in Dublin as Assistant Prefect of Studies, going on to be minister for five years and then rector for another six. As it is normal for rectors to be moved at the end of their term, Fr Frank moved to Gardiner Street Church in 1966 to work in the church there, with all which that entailed.

A big change of scene took him to Zambia in 1969 to Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College for a few years where he taught, was spiritual Father to the students, minister and also bursar. St. Ignatius in Lusaka had him for a year, as had Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma. Back to Lusaka to Chelston parish where he did church work and was also on the Nunciature staff as the ‘local collaborator’, a term to which Fr Frank objected. He remarked to a colleague, ‘My Vatican masters were either oblivious or unbothered that the Nazis had made the term “collaborator” a very bad word’. In 1975 he was minister in Chikuni and returned to Ireland the following year.

He was posted to Gardiner Street where he had been in the sixties. He was bursar and church worker, posts which he held up to 1990 when he was transferred to Cherryfield, the Jesuit Nursing Home, again as bursar and censor of books. This was his last posting as he died there of a heart attack in February of 1993.

Fr Frank was a kind man, right from his novitiate days, ready to help his fellow Jesuits. When he was at Belvedere College, he was remembered as ‘a kind, thoughtful and humane rector’. A good community man, his kindness went with him to Zambia and it is that quality that he is remembered by.

One who wrote a short obituary of him ended it thus: ‘He was an urbane man with a sure sense of humor and the ability to tell a story. Not an ascetic in the physical sense, he liked his drink and smoke and music. But there was in him the essential askesis of devoted service and of deep sympathy and concern for people. It is good to know that he considered his time at Cherryfield the happiest time of his life’.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Civil Servant before entry

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 76 : Christmas 1993 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995

Obituary

Frank McDonagh (1915-1993)

My first memory of Frank McDonagh is from Tullabeg. I had been there just one year, straight from Emo, still a “post-novice” amidst scholastics, seasoned or even wounded by the Rathfarnham experience of those days, when he arrived; and he took me under his kindly wing to ease me into a life-style that he considered was more balanced and more in keeping with what Fr Neary would have called “the pooled wisdom of four centuries”. I doubt if I was a very docile pupil and at times he must have regarded me with mild exasperation; but his friendliness was indomitable.

I have always remembered his thanks at his first Mass reception to those who had prayed for him along the way: he had, he said, been often conscious of their help. Indeed for a man like him, older than his confreres and with wider secular experience, the scholastic years must have been quite difficult at times.

We met again in Zambia. For some time he was on the nunciature staff as “collaborator localis”. His Vatican masters, he remarked to me with some heat, were either oblivious or unboth ered that the Nazis had made "collaborator" a very bad word. He also served as Rector of Chikuni: I have a memory of him presiding with modest magnificence at an outdoor evening showing of O'Toole and Hepburn's Lion in Winter: honesta recreatio for tired missionaries.

He had already presided at Belvedere, A member of the com munity recalls him as a kind, thoughtful and humane Rector; that would surely be echoed by others who knew him then. I rather suspect that he privately enjoyed the fact that the rector of the great college was a “local” from around the corner in the less augustan Dorset Street.

He did two stints in Gardiner Street. He is remembered as an efficient and humane bursar, a good preacher with “good stuff”, a well-informed man you would listen to with respect.

He was an urbane man with a sure sense of humour and the ability to tell a story well. Not an ascetic in the physical sense: he liked his drink and smoke and music. But there was in him the essential ascesis of devoted service and of deep sympathy and concern for people. It is good to know that he considered his time in Cherryfield the happiest time of his life: felicitas in fine, pax in pascuo. Requiescat.

Stephen Redmond

McGivern, Thomas, 1927-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/832
  • Person
  • 24 December 1927-14 January 2017

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Raised in Newry, County Down and Galway.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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 specialised 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 moulding 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 specialised 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

McKenna, Donal, 1933-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/684
  • Person
  • 06 July 1933-24 May 2000

Born: 06 July 1933, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1966, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1973, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Died: 24 May 2000, Blantyre, Malawi - Zambia-Malawi province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 02 February 1973

by 1961 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
To walk into Fr Donal's room was like walking into a multi-purpose workshop. Apart from his bed and table and wash sink, there were pieces of machinery, electrical components, bottles of a variety of liquids, exercise books and other mysterious pieces of equipment. In a tribute to him it was said, ‘He was a good engineer, mechanic, electrician, scientist, teacher, agriculturalist, and above all a man of prayer’.

Donal was born in Dublin on 6 July 1933 into a family deeply connected with Irish history, for his father was Chief of Staff of the Irish Army for many years. He was educated by the Christian Brothers at O’Connell's School in Dublin, after which he went to University College, Dublin where he received a B.Eng. (Electrical). He worked as an engineer in Switzerland for a year. He then entered the Society in 1955. For regency he came to Zambia in 1960, learned ciTonga and then taught science at Canisius Secondary School.
Returning to Ireland to study theology, he was ordained priest in Milltown Park in 1966.

He returned to Zambia in 1968 and remained at Canisius Secondary School until 1982. During this period, apart from teaching and using his many talents in answer to the many requests made to him, he did the Post-Graduate Certificate of Education (PCE) at UNZA by correspondence. He was also Headmaster from 1974 to 1978. It was in 1978 that he handed over the post of headmaster to Mr Mooya Nyanga, the first non-Jesuit and Zambian headmaster. He then returned to being an ordinary teacher under the new head.

During this time too, he developed Chikuni Rural Industries (CRI) involving the manufacturing of soya bean inoculum, a bacteriological fertilizer. The extraction of oil from sun flower, the compounding of animal feed and an eight year crop rotation experiment, all came under the CRI. His ever-productive mind led him both to silk worm and mushroom cultivation. In recognition for his work at Canisius, Donal received the Order of Distinguished Service, First Division in the 1978 Freedom Day Awards from President Kenneth Kaunda.

He moved to Kasisi, just outside Lusaka (1982 -1990) as superior. He worked in the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre where he developed the pedal water pump and the ox-cart with rubber wheels and a timber axle.

Then a complete change of scene brought him to Harare in Zimbabwe for one year as spiritual father in the juniorate. Not such a change of work really, since Donal, in the midst of a hyper-busy life, kept studying theology and spirituality at a deeper level which he used in his own life and in retreat giving. Sunday was his day for theological studies. One of his brethren remarked “If you were looking for a novel in Donal's room you would in all probability find Schillebeeckx!”

He was recalled to Zambia and sent to Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma as headmaster and superior from 1991 to 1996, back to the classroom and the grind of trying to make ends meet in a boarding school. He then returned to Chikuni as farm manager. In May 2000, he had gone to Blantyre in Malawi to give a retreat to the Sisters of Divine Providence. On the 24th, he collapsed at table and died.

In that full life, Donal always had time for people, was always warm and welcoming in the house and took great care of all visitors. Whenever anyone wanted help, Donal would immediately drop everything and come to the rescue – e.g. ZESCO electrical failure, water pump stoppage, ‘dead’ engines brought back to life. The autoclave in Monze Mission Hospital was maintained by him and when he decided to learn the computer he became an expert, and his expertise was often called on! He was most sensitive to the needs of others in all fields, whether spiritual or practical.

Note from Fred Moriarty Entry
When the young Fred Moriarty arrived at the Jesuit Novitiate he was surprised to find a pupil from his own school with him. That companion was Fr Donal McKenna who was two years ahead of him at O’Connell's School, Dublin.

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

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

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

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

Older brother of Paddy - RIP 2005

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 55th Year No 3 1980

Obituary

Fr D Louis Meagher (1911-1931-1980)

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

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

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

Moloney, Michael, 1913-1984, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/252
  • Person
  • 25 March 1913-05 June 1984

Born: 25 March 1913, Abbeyfeale, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 05 June 1984, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1965 at Loyola Watsonia, Australia (ASL) working

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Michael Moloney on coming to Zambia wrote a short 250 word account of his life, at the end of which he put: “He arrived in Zambia in May 1967 and was attached to Mukasa Secondary School at Choma. He spent x years there. He died at xx in 19xx...May he rest in peace”. PLEASE PUBLISH NO MORE THAN IS IN THIS ACCOUNT Signed: Michael Moloney S.J. 14 April 1967.

He had had four heart attacks before this date and this might have prompted him to write his own obituary! So brief! So succinct! That was Michael! Yet he lived another seventeen years, in Zambia, fully occupied.

Michael was born on 25 March 1913 in Abbeyfeale on the border of Co. Limerick and Co Kerry. His secondary education was taken in St Michael's College, Listowel, and at the Jesuit College of Mungret. He entered the Society in Emo in 1931, pursued the normal Society studies with regency at Clongowes Wood College. He was ordained in July of 1945 at Milltown Park, Dublin and after tertianship went to Belvedere College to teach for four years. He moved to Leeson Street as minister and editor of the IRISH MONTHLY which ceased publication in 1953. From 1953 to 1959, he was attached to the College of Industrial Relations (CIR) as director of the Cana Conference which organised pre-marriage courses. These were a liberating experience for many couples whom were deeply in love and full of hope and good intentions. The spirit prevailing during courses were happy - even hilarious at times, deeply spiritual in the best sense, full of the wisest insights he could muster from wide reading and from his sympathetic and naturally optimistic temperament.

In 1959 he went to Loyola University, Chicago, USA, where he gained a degree in social and industrial relations and returned to CIR. He began to have heart attacks during these years (1961-64). For four years he went to Australia as a director of a retreat house near Melbourne.

He arrived in Zambia in 1967 to teach in Mukasa Minor Seminary for a year before being moved to St Ignatius in Lusaka. He became director in the Zambia Institute of Management and spent eleven years at Evelyn Hone College of Further Education, becoming Head of the Department of Business Studies. He retired in 1981. He was kept busy at St lgnatius helping with pastoral work, preaching, marriage counselling, writing leaflets and pamphlets on Christian values in the modern world. He was very conscientious in his work and totally dedicated to whatever work he was asked to do. He highly valued his religious life as a Jesuit and was very loyal to the Church. He loved a challenge and was always ready to take up his pen to defend the Church. He started the Kalemba Leaflets to bring out the deeper aspects of our common faith.

He was a good companion and, as well as enjoying his own talk, he could listen to others. He had certain conventions to which he held tenaciously, but he was not hidebound nor narrow. On the contrary, he loved freedom and the liberty to express every truth and facet of life as it was, or as he saw it. He was essentially logical and exact and could be impatient when undue consideration was being given to illogical and incalculable elements in human behaviour. He rejected all nonsense.

On and off during his seventeen years in Lusaka, some health symptoms occurred that slowed him up and endangered his life.

He returned to Ireland threatened with gangrene on the toe. The time he spent before and after the amputation was no more satisfactory than could be expected. There were times when he wanted to die. His lifelong sense of friendship with Christ seemed to become more vivid in that last year or so. He worked over many thoughts for the defense of the faith and these he hoped to continue publishing in Zambia in the Kalemba Leaflets. That was not to be. He was sensitively cared for in Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit Nursing Home in Dublin where, in the end, his death came unexpectedly on 5 June 1984.

Note from John Coyne Entry
Fr Michael Moloney writes:
‘Fr Coyne took a very keen interest in what Jesuits had done in Zambia since the coming of Frs Moreau and Torrend for whom he had a deep admiration. Admiration for people who did "great things for Christ" was a permanent attitude of his. His standard for a Jesuit was that he should be "a saint, a scholar and a gentleman" and he clearly tried to exemplify that in his own life. He was a kindly man yet at the same time a puzzle to many. Many wondered what "the real John Coyne was like" because externally he seemed to be set in a conventional spiritual mould and to be rather formal in much of his behaviour, so much so that one cannot escape the conclusion that he was a man with a conflict between his personality traits and what he considered Jesuit spirituality demanded of him. In Zambia he was faithful to his afternoon stroll during which he would meet people and through which he made some friends whose hospitality he was pleased to accept".

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Michael Moloney came to Australia as director of the retreat house at Loyola College, Watsonia, and worked with Conn Finn, 1964-66.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 59th Year No 4 1984

Obituary

Fr Michael Moloney (1913-1931-1984) (Zambia)

1931-33 Emo, noviciate. 1933-36 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1936-29. Tullabeg, philosophy. 1939-42 Clongowes, 1942-46 Milltown, theology. 1946-47 Rathfarnham, tertianship.
1947-51 Belvedere, teaching. 1951-55 Leeson St., Minister, Ed, Irish monthly. 1955-59 Catholic Workers College, dir. Cana Conference. 1959-60 Loyola University, Chicago, stud sociology and industrial relations. 1960-63 Catholic Workers' College, lect and psychology. 1963-67 Loyola College, Watsonia, Victoria, Australia, dir. retreat-house.
From 1967 on: in Zambia. 1968-83 St Ignatius Residence, Lusaka, Zambia, dir Zambia Institute of Management (till 1970. then:) lect. Evelyn Hone College of Further Education/Applied Arts and Commerce. 1984 convalescing in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin, after hospital treatment. Died there on 5th June 1984.

To write about someone I knew as well as Michael is surprisingly difficult, I have little interest in cataloguing the events of his life, and no inclination, or right, to reveal the inner person I came to know so well. What then can be said? As a young man in the Society (1931-47) he was very well liked; comfortable and relaxed in a rather tense era; lively and zestful for life; stalwart in his convictions and strong in their expression. He worked hard, and was always good at mastering a subject accurately and expressing it clearly.
After the years of 'formation we never lived in the same community again. Our relationship was full of absences, crowned by the final departure so well described by Jean Guitton: “From the angle of the living and of those who have not yet made the great journey, the absence of the dead is more than a sorrow. It is so incomprehensible, so ironical, to see them no more, not to be able to communicate with someone who was a substantial part of one's life, and who seems to have gone away one evening in a fit of madness leaving no address....
In the close community of the early years he would be remembered for his pleasant singing of ballads like “Ivan Skivinski Skivar” or “The garden where the praties grow” on days of celebration; and indeed how he would become voluble and expansive after one glass of the unnamed wine we used to get on rustication days! He was good company; and, as well as enjoying his own talk, he could listen. He had conventions which he held to tenaciously, but he was not hidebound or narrow: on the contrary he loved freedom and the liberty to express every truth and facet of life as it was, or as he saw it. His competence on formal occasions combined well with an unfettered and untrammelled spirit at other times.
He had an orderly mind, symbolised by his very clear and firm handwriting and the way he typed his letters, with seldom a misprint and never a faded or blurred ribbon. He was essentially logical and exact, and could be impatient of undue consideration being given to the illogical and incalculable elements in human behaviour. He threw out nonsense, We often disagreed as to what constituted nonsense.
Nevertheless, during one of the most fertile periods of his life he was dealing with what might be thought of as the most illogical and irrational area of human life - sexuality. Here his sound judgement rescued him from the then conventional attitude of clerics to marriage as essentially a legal contract with rights and duties. He knew instinctively that this was an inadequate and he could not accept the sexual apparatus as some kind of mechanical device, kept in a bedside locker, to be used or not according to a complicated set of philosophical and legalistic nostrums, devised largely by the inexperienced. Hence his pre-marriage courses in the CIR were a liberating experience for many pairs in love, and full of hope and good intentions. The courses, I understand, were happy, even hilarious at times; deeply spiritual in the best sense; full of the wisest insights he could muster from wide reading and from a sympathetic and naturally optimistic temperament.
I cannot speak with any assurance of the other long period he spent in adult education, in the Evelyn Hone Institute in Lusaka, He went through some difficult times with courage and faith, and kept working hard even when he felt some degree of disapproval and a sense of being undervalued. On the whole, though, my impression was that he got satisfaction from and gave satisfaction in his work there.
He did not take too kindly to the onset of old age or the intimations of mortality: he was in fact rather disbelieving of its drastic effects. Those who die young have this advantage over us, I now realise, that they come to fulfilment when still fastened to their “own best being and its loveliness of youth” (Hopkins: The golden echo), and do not have to reverse of anticlimax and slow decay to get there.
About twenty years before he died he had some trouble with heart and circulation. Then he went to Australia, where he was very active in retreat-giving, and made at least one rich and lasting friendship. Off and on during the sixteen years he spent in Zambia some symptoms occurred that slowed him up and endangered his life. When he came on holiday to Ireland he took things physical quietly, On villa in Achill he showed no tendency to climb the lovely mountains, but would kindly drive me to the foot and would stay below until I returned many hours later, on one occasion to find that he had had a very serious fall from the pier at Dugort. On the last villa we spent together at Banna Strand, Co Kerry, we took little exercise, he much less than I. He was contented to mooch about the dunes when it was fine, and look long meditatively over the Atlantic to the and setting sun.
When he came back some months ago threatened with gangrene in the toe, he was a very changed man. The time he spent before and after the amputation was no more satisfactory than could be expected. There were times when he wanted to die. His lifelong sense of friendship with Christ seemed to become very vivid in this last year or so. He worked over many thoughts for the defence of the faith: these he hoped to continue publishing in Zambia, as the Kalemba Leaflets. He was sensitively cared for in Cherryfield Lodge, where in the end his death came unexpectedly. I viewed his remains in Kirwan's funeral parlour. They did not look like remains, but like him: determined, and ready to spring into animated conversation at the right stimulus. I came by chance into possession of a record of Verdi's Requiem a few days after his burial, and will I hope always enjoy thoughts of him as I listen to its gentle and its thunderous passages. May he enjoy eternal life. the years
Michael J. Sweetman

Moore, John J, 1927-2018, Jesuit priest and botanist

  • IE IJA J/822
  • Person
  • 22 April 1927-20 September 2018

Born 22 April 1927, Ballyglass, Kilmovee, County Mayo
Entered 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1963, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died 20 September 2018, Coptic Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the Novitiate, Xavier House, Lusaka, Zambia at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 16 May 1990

by 1960 at Münster, Germany (GER I) making Tertianship
by 1985 at Lusaka, Zambia (ZAM) teaching

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-brownes-polymath-partner/

Fr Browne’s Polymath partner
While John Moore was home on leave from Zambia, he talked to Pat Coyle, Director of Communications, about his links with Fr Frank Browne, and about much else in his most unusual life. He was Professor of Botany in UCD during the 70’s. He also became a student and friend of the renowned Jesuit photographer, Fr Frank Browne. John took early retirement from his UCD chair, but the last thing he did was retire. Instead he became a Jesuit missionary and went to Africa, working in Zambia and Malawi. As in previous years, John returned to Ireland this summer to visit his family and Jesuit friends. Whilst here he watched the RTE TV documentary on Fr Browne (see story in this issue) and recalled his own special relationship with the Jesuit who was not only a famous photographer but also a heroic chaplain to Irish volunteers in World War I.
After the documentary was aired, John talked to Pat Coyle of Jesuit Communications about his life and his friendship with Fr Frank. You can listen here to the interview in which he recalls his days in UCD as Professor of Botany and shares with her a letter he’d just received from a student who’d discovered a yellow poppy on a beach in Mayo. The poppy was thought to have been lost to these shores, not having been seen for thirty years – but it’s back! He also speaks about the subsequent rewards and challenges of becoming a missionary in his late 50’s; as well as lecturing in various institutions, he mastered the complexities of the computer age and put those skills to good use. At 87 John is still full of vitality and as the IJN photo shows, he looks like a man in his sixties. There’s a reason for that too; he spoke about what keeps him young in body and soul. He returns to Africa in September, bitten by the missionary bug and refreshed by his holiday home, ready as ever to serve the Lord with a willing heart.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/death-of-a-botanist/

Death of a botanist
The funeral Mass of Fr John J. Moore SJ took place on Monday 24 September in Kasisi Parish, Lusaka. Fr Moore, who was 91 years old, died on 20 September. Charles Searson SJ was the principal celebrant and homilist at the vigil Mass. Speaking to a packed Church he recounted the key moments of his life and the remarkable contribution he made to the Jesuits and to wider society. (Read his homily notes here).
Fr John was a native of Mayo, born in Kilmovee on 22 April 1927, and his family moved to Dublin when he was ten. He was a student at Belvedere College SJ. He joined the Jesuits in 1945, was ordained a priest in 1958, and took his final vows in 1963.
For more than twenty years Fr John was Professor of Botany in UCD. He was an elected member of the Royal Irish Academy, and an Irish government appointee to the Wildlife Advisory Council. He was awarded the Europapreis für Landespflege prize in 1982 in recognition of his work on Irish vegetation and nature conservation. As Fr Charlie noted, “Right through his academic career in Dublin John showed himself to be an outstanding academic and professor.”
In the 70’s Fr John was rector of the Monkstown community in Dublin and in 1980 he was appointed superior of the Espinal community in Gardiner St, in inner city Dublin. He also was a member of the Teams of Our Lady, a Catholic organisation which supported couples in their married life.
In 1983 Fr John took the surprising step of early retirement in order to join the Jesuit mission in Zambia. Fr Charles also noted that when he first turned up for work in the University of Zambia he showed considerable patience as he had a lengthy wait for an official appointment. But he put his computer skills (honed in 1960’s Dublin) to good use. According to Fr Charles, “there was great demand for his assistance from Ph.D students at the university, who were trying to assemble the fruits of their research.”
Fr John settled well in Zambia but he did return to Ireland from time to time. During a visit in 2016 he gave a lengthy an insightful interview to the Irish Jesuit Mission office which you can read in full here.
He also spoke to Pat Coyle, Director of Irish Jesuit Communications in 2014. In the course of that interview (listen above), Fr John talked about his early Jesuit days as a student and friend of the renowned Jesuit photographer Fr Frank Browne SJ.
Recalling his days as Professor of Botany in University College Dublin he shared a letter he had just received that summer. It was from one of his former students and he had discovered a yellow poppy on a beach in Mayo. The yellow poppy was thought to have been lost to Irish shores, not having been seen for thirty years, but it was back.
Fr John also spoke about the rewards and challenges of becoming a missionary in his late 50’s, and his work as a lecturer in various institutions in Zambia, first teaching biology and later theology.
He was 87 at the time of the interview but was still full of vitality. As the IJN photo shows he looked like a man in his sixties and there was a reason for that which became clear when he talked about what kept him young in body and soul.
The interview took place in August and Fr John returned to Zambia in September bitten by the missionary bug, and refreshed by his holiday back home. He gave four more years of fruitful service before his peaceful death last Thursday. The readings at his vigil Mass, were from Isaiah 6;1-8 ‘Whom shall I send? Who shall be our messenger?’ And Matthew 6:25-33: ‘ Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them.’ They were a fitting tribute to his life of service to others, and care for the earth.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/211-john-moore-sj-mission-in-zambia

What does it mean for me to be a missionary in Zambia today?
John Moore, SJ
I came to Zambia as a missionary when I was 56, after a very fulfilling time working in the Botany Department at UCD. My “spare-time” activities during that time involved me with married couples, giving retreats and spiritual direction as well as helping in Parishes at the weekends.
When I left Ireland some of my colleagues at the University as well as the more senior students were very surprised at my decision to move to Zambia and some told me bluntly that it was a wrong decision. I was not convinced by their arguments. It seemed to me that I had done sufficient for Ireland during my 23 years at UCD. Besides, after I had spent a few days the previous year as external examiner at the Biology Dept. of the University of Zambia (UNZA), I became very aware of the needs of Zambia, especially in University education.
Since I am now 85 years old, I could hardly be called an active missionary, but I am still convinced that I am in the right place. During my 29 years “on the missions” I have seen a huge change in the Church and among the Jesuits in Zambia. When I came here all the active Jesuits were white – now almost all the Jesuits running the various Jesuit works are native Zambians or Malawians. This gives me enormous satisfaction. Is this not why we came out here? To help in the development of an indigenous church.
So, without falling into the temptation of sitting back in my old-man’s rocking chair in a self-satisfied way, I must admit that I do feel a sense of having cooperated with the Lord in doing my little bit to bring about this change.
2nd April 2012

https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/508-irish-men-behind-the-missions-fr-john-moore-sj

IRISH MEN BEHIND THE MISSIONS: FR JOHN MOORE SJ

The Irish Jesuit Missions continues its series of interviews with Fr John Moore SJ. From ecologist to theologian, Fr John Moore SJ takes us though his life’s story in Ireland and Zambia.
When John Moore entered the Society of Jesus’ noviciate straight from secondary school, it was customary at the time. Like the other young Jesuits who came straight from secondary school, he was assigned to study for a degree in UCD. He did first Arts but switched over to Science the following year. In his final year one of the research projects he undertook was a follow up survey of vegetation in the Dublin Mountains, which had been researched 50 years previously by the famous naturalist, Lloyd Praeger, the results being published in 1905. He was required to re-survey the parts closer to Dublin and write up the results.
After getting his B.Sc. degree he was sent to study philosophy in the Irish midlands. A few days before he left Dublin, the Fr. Provincial (who had been his Master of Novices and knew all about his scientific interests) suggested that he might look around and start work in an informal way on his Ph.D. during his spare time. He was fascinated by the vast areas of Bogland which stretched in all directions and discovered that a local bog had two very rare plants growing on it: one a rare rush never seen in Ireland before, the other one found in only one other place in Ireland. So he decided to work eventually on a Ph.D. thesis on the ‘Bogs of Ireland’.
During the holiday periods he decided to finish the re-survey of the mountain area south of Dublin, covering the whole area of Praeger’s original survey. He wrote up the results during his spare time while studying Theology at Milltown Park. He finished the job before leaving for ‘Tertianship’, the final year of Jesuit formation which focusses on deepening one’s spiritual life. He was sent to Germany for this stage of his formation, so he left the manuscript with the Professor of Botany to see it through the printing process.

Dublin Mountains’ conversations in Germany
While in Germany his paper on the “Resurvey of the Vegetation south of Dublin” appeared in print and his Professor in Dublin sent him a few reprints. These he distributed to some of the ecologists living on the European Mainland. To his surprise, a reply came back immediately from the famed German ecologist, Reinhold Tüxen. He, along with the famous French ecologist Braun-Blanquet, had been invited to Ireland after Europe began to recover from the effects of World War II. They published their results (in German) in 1952 and John had critiqued some of their work in his paper. Tüxen was extremely pleased. He wrote “Although we published our Irish material 10 years previously, nobody seems even to have read it, let alone critiqued it! “Can you visit me before you return?” Tüxen asked. And so began a long and valued relationship of scientific interests with Reinhold Tüxen.
Before John’s ordination, his Provincial casually mentioned to John that UCD (University College Dublin) had requested to have him on its staff after he had finished his Jesuit studies. “I said ‘Yes’ - is that OK for you John?” All he could say was “You are the boss! If you want me to take up the offer, that is OK by me.”
So John taught for 23 years at UCD, Botany Dept., being eventually appointed Professor and Head of Department.

In the 1970’s the Irish Government was sending quite a lot of official aid to Zambia University, financing lecturers from the Irish Universities to give courses at the University of Zambia. Fr Michael J. Kelly, SJ, a good friend of John since the novitiate, was at this time Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University in Lusaka and was much involved in arranging this government aid; he petitioned the Irish Government to finance John to come as External Examiner of the Biology Department. John accepted the offer and was very struck by the difficulties of running a third world University according to First World standards. When his work in the University was finished John stayed on for some time in order to visit the Irish Jesuit Missioners and help in their work.

A ‘road to Damascus’ moment
John returned to UCD in time to organise things for the new academic year. It was while making his annual retreat in the Jesuit retreat-house, Manresa in Dublin that it happened.
John had been 23 years in the Botany Department of UCD. He was unexpectedly overcome with a very strong feeling that he should relocate to Zambia! Having prayed over the matter, he sent a letter to the Provincial requesting to be sent to the Zambian mission. He was quite late going onto the missions at 56 years of age.
The answer he wanted arrived with one condition – that he remain working within third-level education. Fr Michael Kelly SJ (https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/494-a-museum-piece-or-a-hero) set about arranging a position for him at the University of Zambia and John prepared for this new phase in his life. Then with only two days to go before departure, a telegram arrived from Michael: “SOMETHING GONE WRONG WITH JOB. STOP. COME ANYWAY. STOP.”
“What should I do Fr Provincial?”. The Provincial’s consultants had all been very clear in their requirement that John remain at third level teaching. He consulted Bishop Corboy of Monze, Zambia, who was in Dublin at that time for medical treatment. “You can trust Michael Kelly’s good judgement” he advised. And, with that assurance, John set out for Zambia and a new chapter in the book of his life.

Once a professor, always a professor
The search was then on in earnest for a job in Lusaka, but it had to be in third level education. He found out that when he applied for an advertised position in Agricultural Ecology, he didn’t even get an acknowledgement of his applications. Undaunted, he took the bold step of offering himself and his expertise to the Biology Department in Lusaka University. Not as a professor, not as a salaried staff member—but just as a n ordinary demonstrator! During the following year, he was back in the lecture halls and laboratories, giving tutorials and running practical classes.
At that time, a new lecturer had been employed and she was assigned to run a rather difficult course on Ecology, Statistics and Evolution to the final year students. She became ill. So John and two others stepped up to the mark, put a course together and got the students through their exams.
His opportunistic efforts paid off and he was offered a three year professorship contract, ‘once a professor, always a professor’. The contract was duly renewed after three years.

Former biologist turned theologian
At this time, In Malawi, there were big problems at the Diocesan Major Seminary situated at Zomba in southern Malawi. A decision from Rome requested that three Jesuits be sent in from Zambia—a Rector, a spiritual father and a Dean of Studies.
The Provincial Fr Jim McGloin had two well prepared men for the first two jobs, but he had no one who would be able to take on the job of Dean of Studies. He wrote to the Provincials of all the Jesuit provinces who might have a suitable man qualified to teach theology in English, even for a year or two. At that time John was living with the Provincial and each day when John enquired of him how the search was progressing, the reply was negative. John understood the awkward position the Provincial was in, given that the request had come from Rome. But he had a solution.
His contract was up for renewal but a thought persisted. Should he retire from Biology and teach theology, work towards taking up the Dean of Studies position? He shared his thoughts: Jim was delighted! “Do you really mean that?”.“I do!” said John and so it was settled. The two others were already in Zomba and soon he was welcomed as the third man.
A few weeks remained before the next semester and John had to work very hard to prepare to teach Theology of the Sacraments to students. During the following years he also taught Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.
The Jesuit Provincial had signed two 5-year contracts with the Malawian Bishops but then the Jesuit teachers were gradually withdrawn. After two more years, John too was moved on, received by the international education authorities. Back at Ireland’s UCD, 70 was the limit for even the best preserved lecturer to function.

The influence of others
Fr Tommy Byrne SJ was his Master of Novices for two years and then was made Provincial during which time he always took an interest in John and the development of his scientific interests.
Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ and his account of the atom bomb blast at Hiroshima is the passage John likes to recommend to young men wanting to know about the Jesuits. Fr Arrupe had been a medical student before entering the Jesuits and was the master of novices in the novitiate situated on a hill outside Hiroshima far enough from the centre of the city to avoid any deaths from the blast. Since this was the first atomic blast to be exploded over a civilian target, the medical authorities had no idea of what the best treatment was for severe radiation burns. Fr Arrupe set up a clinic in the novitiate to treat the survivors suffering from severe radiation burns but he had no idea on how to treat them. He had just received a consignment of borax for his infirmary. He discovered that it was quite effective in alleviating the effects of bad radiation burns.
Man’s inhumanity to man framed Fr Arrupe’s whole character and was noted by all who met him. When, several years later, Fr Arrupe viewed the film “Hiroshima, mon amour” where the nuclear blast was replicated—a terrible flash, then awful destruction—the memory came back to haunt him and he resolved never to view it again.
The present pope is also a much admired figure. John was inspired when he read about the change that Pope Francis had experienced when he lived in very poor areas of Brazil. Upon his return he was made Bishop of Bueno Aires.

The day the unexpected occurred
Born in Kilmovee, County Mayo in Ireland, John is the eldest of two sons and two daughters. At 10 years of age the family moved to Dublin for his father’s work. He had been separated from them during his primary school years since his mother wasn’t very keen on the local school; so she had sent her son to be educated at the national school where her father was Principal. There the teaching standard was high and in fact, John Mc Grath, his grandfather, was the first Irish National School teacher to receive a University Degree from the Royal University in Dublin.
John’s secondary school years were spent vey happily at Belvedere College in Dublin and was his first encounter with the Jesuits, although John didn’t experience any inclination at the time towards becoming a member of the Society of Jesus. There was a connection in the wider family: Fr Jack Kelly SJ was a first cousin.
Then the unexpected occurred when, on John’s first enclosed retreat in 6th year, Fr Eugene Ward SJ gave the retreat to the young men during their last year of college. Fr Ward had returned from the Chinese missions to study theology and be ordained priest, but he had been blocked by World War II from returning as a young priest.
One evening during the retreat, he was reminiscing about his experiences in China and mentioned the enormous opportunities there since the Chinese people were very receptive to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Suddenly, like a flash, John was convinced that the Lord wanted him to be a Jesuit! Next day, determined to rid himself of what he felt to be a silly teenage crush on the Jesuits, he took a long walk in the rain – to no avail. He asked Fr. Ward, the retreat director, what he should do about it. “Ah interesting.” was the only reply he got, and that was all! But John could not shake the thought off. He decided to attended Mass every morning with the intention that the Lord would help him to shake off the idea. It did not work!
Next step was to run this persistent notion past the Prefect of Studies who advised John to speak with the Provincial about it. So far he had kept the idea to himself knowing that once it was shared, it would spread, which it did eventually. He confided his decision to his uncle, Fr Jack Kelly’s father, who scolded him for not informing his parents first. But John’s parents weren’t surprised at his decision to enter the Society of Jesus and were very supportive.

A lifetime’s decision finally made
It was decided—John went to Emo to begin his studies! And so the decision to become a Jesuit was partly influenced by Belvedere College, partly perhaps by his cousin Jack Kelly SJ and certainly by Fr Ward’s quiet evening musings over his experience as a missionary in China.
Ironically, at the beginning of John’s second year at Belvedere, the prefect of studies decided he should be a member of a small class studying classical Greek while the rest of the class were studying Science. His parents requested that he take Science, given his inclination towards the subject, but the Prefect was adamant. It was only a few months before the Leaving Cert Exam that the Prefect allowed him the option of writing the Science exam.; John decided to finish the Greek course. The result was that Science as a subject was not taken by him at secondary school and yet he ended up as a scientist plus theologian! The knowledge of classical Greek became very useful later on in study of Sacred Scripture—to this day, John always reads the New Testament in Greek.
Retirement in Zambia
John is now living a very busy retirement in Zambia in the novitiate for English-speaking young African men wishing to join the Jesuits. He teaches an introduction to the New Testament to novices—a challenge at times, as some hold fundamentalist ideas and expect every word in the New Testament to be ‘gospel truth’ even when taken outside of its context. John divides his time between community work, managing a large library and the Jesuit archives for Zambia.
The Irish Jesuit Missions is grateful to Fr Moore for the time and care given to his interview in July 2016 and for this ensuing article.
Author: Irish Jesuit Missions Communications, 24th November 2016

Moriarty, Frederick, 1934-1998, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/678
  • Person
  • 17 December 1934-24 July 1998

Born: 17 December 1934, Dublin
Entered: 24 September 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1967, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1973, Canisius College, Chi9kuni, Zambia
Died: 24 July 1998, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the Bishop’s House, Monze, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 15 August 1973

by 1962 at Chivuna Monze Nothern Rhosesia - Regency studying language
by 1970 at Swansea, Wales (ANG) studying

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
When the young Fred Moriarty arrived at the Jesuit Novitiate he was surprised to find a pupil from his own school with him. That companion was Fr Donal McKenna who was two years ahead of him at O’Connell's School, Dublin. They were to be working in Zambia for both their lifetimes. Fr Fred Moriarty's specialisation was development in Monze Diocese.

Fr Fred was born in Dublin 17 December 1934. He was a late vocation. He had done a full year of engineering and part time studies in accounts and commerce before joining the Jesuits. He played entertaining jazz on the piano and really enjoyed the New Year celebrations at Mazabuka annually. He studied philosophy at Tullabeg from 1958 to 1961. He arrived in Zambia on 15th August 1961. His ciTonga language study was from August 1961 for one full year. He spoke ciTonga fluently and in a businesslike manner. Then he taught in Canisius for two years. With Fr Shaun Curran, he leveled the second football field and prepared the running track. His theology was done at Milltown Park from I964-1968. Ordination was on 28 July, 1967. This was followed by tertianship in Rathfarnham in 1968-69. Fr. Fred did a post-graduate Diploma in Social Administration at the University of Wales, Swansea in 1969-1970.

From November 1970 to August 1971 he began his pastoral work at Kasiya Parish. He liked to move around on a Honda motorcycle. When he was changed to Chikuni the following year as Parish Priest, his mode of travel did not change.

Fairly quickly he had a tractor available for hire for the local farmers. Getting paid was a problem here but Fr. Fred's ciTonga was able to reach bargaining level before too long. He inherited the Credit Union from Fr Joe Conway and was able to live with all the hassle involved. Some thieving went on at the parish house on account of his having to go to Canisius College for supper. One day he came across someone wearing his shirt and had the courage to confront him. One rainy day on the way to Chipembele for Sunday Mass on the Honda he got drenched. During Mass his clothes were left hanging out to dry! He got a development team started in Chikuni. His last parish assignment was to St Mary's Parish in October 1975 until May 1978. St Mary's spreads north to Kazungula and beyond and Fred reached those places by Honda.

Bishop Lungu had responsibility for maize distribution during times of famine for the whole of Zambia. Fr Fred and himself were a wonderful team. Only God knows the good they achieved together in those desperate years. Around this time, Fr Fred went to India to have a look at the possibilities of silk worm culture in Zambia. He was also on the alert to learn from development in India. The Jesuits there have many different projects. He was always open to change and improvement. He could live with taking risks.

Fr Fred was a radio program coordinator. He recorded many programs in ciTonga and English for ZNBC. He coordinated with Fr Bill Lane and Fr Max Prokoph in this area. He had all the equipment with him and set himself up in Chikuni parish house or wherever he could get another program. He stuck to his task and only left when he had another program tucked under his sleeve. He did this as an extra for years.

On 25 April 1998, Fr Fred left Zambia. He was not in good health and was complaining of stomach pains. Bishop Paul Lungu left him to Lusaka but was killed in an accident himself a few days later. Fr Fred was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. He took his suffering like he had lived. He was interested in all the details regarding his illness. He was curious about what it would be like on the other side of life in this world. He had a lot of visitors when in hospital. The Mission Office and its supporting team were generous in their care. After visitors laid hands on him in prayer Fr Fred joined in with his own prayer for them. His family was present at that special time. He died peacefully on 24 July 1998. Fr Eddie Murphy did the homily at his funeral Mass in Dublin. His classmate, Fr Donal McKenna preached at Mass for him in Monze and finally Fr Colm Brophy spoke at his Mass at St. Ignatius in Lusaka.

His two ciTonga nicknames were Chimuka and Haamanjila. The first one was based on the fact that Fr Fred used never quite make it in time for meals. His work and the workers and the people being served took priority over food. His second name refers to his custom of checking out the food on the stove in Monze. He was always curious and wondered could more sugar be added to the jam as it boiled. Maybe he is still asking questions there where he is in his eternal well-earned reward.

Note from Bishop James (Jim) Corboy Entry
He regularised the eight mission stations as parishes and set up 13 more parishes. Development was another project close to his heart. With the help of Fr Fred Moriarty SJ Monze became the leading diocese in the country in promoting development

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 100 : Spring 1999

I MISS FRED (FRED MORIARTY)

Cletus Mwilla - Monze

I sit down to mourn Fr. Fred Moriarty. As many people have missed and miss Fred, I miss him for many reasons.

The memories of my childhood miss Fred as my Parish Priest in Chikuni. I miss a fast driver both on a Bike and in a Car. As children we fancied seeing Fred past our villages as Pastor. It was during his time in Chikuni that I received first Communion after he gave me Conditional Baptism. He led me to the Eucharistic Christ. I was his Altar Boy too.

I miss Fred as a family member. We lived together for almost five years in the community. I remember him as one who was humble enough to accept his Altar Boy as his Parish Priest. I miss Fred's generosity - always ready to assist. He went about the whole Parish celebrating Masses. Even when I left out his name for Sunday deliberately, so that he would get a rest, Fred knocked even almost at midnight to take his assignment.

I miss Fred's spiritual and chronicle generosity. I miss Fred's inclination to community life. Though late for meals, Fred always came to join. Hence his nickname: “The Late Fr. Moriarty”. He is indeed late now. “Pray for us, Fred”. I miss Fred and his love for eggs - another nickname in Tonga: “Njanda obile”. He always wanted two eggs.

I miss Fred for his commitment to duty, within and without time. A hot aftemoon. He has just arrived from an outstation, drenched in the sweat and he finds someone waiting for him. Fred does not rush to the table. He attends to the one waiting. I miss his generosity.

I miss Fred's continued desire to walk with the poor, the needy. “I was hungry, you fed me”. I miss his love for justice.

Fred loved his dance. I miss Fred's Irish dance.

The opening line in his book “The Road less traveled” Scott Peck says “Life is difficult”. That is how much I remember and miss Fred. “You have run the race Fred; you have finished. Remember us to Jesus. Remember the needs of the poor and do not forget Southern Province for rain”.

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

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Brother of John - RIP 1986

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 55th Year No 1 1980

Obituary :

Fr Dermot Murphy (1916-1935-1979)

Dermot Murphy and myself walked up the Emo steps for the first time on the 7th September 1935. In that year we were the only two candidates who had been at school in Belvedere. On that heart freezing day it was a help to see somebody one knew, and Dermot, as usual, was cheerful, which I was not.
Although we came across one another little enough in Belvedere, Dermot was always friendly and cheerful. He was - and remained so all his life - the kind of person one was glad to meet. We were always glad to have Dermot with us walking on the hills from Rathfarnham or in the boats from Tullabeg. There was something gentle and peaceful about him. He had a sense of humour and an original dry verbal wit. After one of his verbal shafts he would cackle happily. I think he was incapable of an uncharitable remark and he never showed disappointment or bitterness. He was a community man; a good guy.
In Clongowes, where we were scholastics together, the community used all be given a test for vulnerability to diphtheria. All were found to be immune. Dermot, however, went down shortly afterwards with a bad bout of diphtheria, and the test, as a result, was abandoned by the medical profession. Diphtheria can affect the heart, and it was his heart that went against Dermot in the last years.
I think I remember him on one of the younger teams in Belvedere but it was golf not rugby that was his game. We always said he was born on a golf course! Playing on the seaside course near his home from an early age, he became one of those players who are marvellously natural and easy.
One day, in half a gale and rain, we were playing Portmarnock, There is one hole in the second nine which used to be almost unplayable in bad weather. From a low tee you looked up at a high sandhill which blotted out the sky. Later they took away part of the sandhill because it was too difficult for the Canada Cup players. Dermot asked “What’s the line?” We pointed to the white stone which was hardly visible. “How far?” We told him. His drive went straight and effortlessly into the wind, rising over the stone, and we found the ball in the middle of the fairway.
That was like the man: in spite of difficulties, assured, straight, undeviating, reaching the desired place which could not even be seen. That is how he was with people. That, I believe, is how he went to God. May the Lord be exceptionally good to him.
J C Kelly SJ

Irish Province News 55th Year No 2 1980

Obituary

Fr Dermot Murphy († 8th December 1979)

A contribution from Zambia

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

Murphy, Martin, 1934-2015, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/843
  • Person
  • 07 August 1934-12 March 2015

Born: 07 August 1934, Ringsend, Dublin
Entered: 10 August 1966, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Professed: 15 August 1985, Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 12 March 2015, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1974 at Canisius Chikuni, Zambia (ZAM) working
by 1979 at Babati, Tanzania (AOR) working for “Concern”
by 1995 at JRS Malawi (MOZ) working

Early Education at National School; Ringsend Vocational School

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/br-martin-murphy-sj-may-he-rest-in-peace/

Br Martin Murphy SJ: may he rest in peace
Death has finally got the better of Martin Murphy, but after a mighty struggle. Born in Ringsend, he learned his building skills and qualifications (a Diploma from the Catholic Workers College) before he entered the Jesuits at the age of 32. Over the next 50-odd years he practised or taught motor mechanics, building maintenance, construction, irrigation and pastoral care of refugees. Nearly thirty of those years were given to Africa, especially Zambia and Malawi.

Martin was strong as an ox, but he suffered enough sicknesses to fill a text book. His multiple health problems, touching all his senses and most parts of his sturdy body, involved treatment in four hospitals. He made full use of medical help, and carried his oxygen supply with care as he walked the pavements round Gardiner Street. He would not let medical problems absorb his energy.
At the age of 73 he embarked on a 5-year course in theology with the Tallaght Dominicans. He worked his way right up to the last assignment, on “The Just Society”, at which he balked. Why? they asked. “Because I never lived in a just society, and do not know what it is like.” Dear Martin was a strong and distinctive presence in the Irish Jesuits, a model for anyone who with God’s help has to fight sickness. “Death, be not proud.”

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 160 : Summer 2015

Obituary

Br Martin Murphy (1934-2015)

7 August 1934: Born in Dublin.
Early Education at National School; Ringsend Vocational School
1961 - 1965: NCIR. Socio-Economics Study (Diploma)
10 August 1966: Entered Society at St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
15 August 1968: First Vows at St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
1968 - 1969: St Mary's, Emo - Mechanic; Maintenance
1969-1975: Chisekesi, Zambia - Construction; Irrigation; Teaching at Canisius College, Chikuni
1975 - 1978: Milltown Park - Maintenance
1978 - 1983: Tanzania, East Africa - Working for “Concern” at Babati, Tanzania
1983 - 1984: Tullabeg - Tertianship
1984 - 1986: Lusaka, Zambia - Minister at Luwisha House
15 August 1985: Final Vows at Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia
1986 - 1992: Mazabuka, Zambia - Concern Development Project
1987: Youth Development Project at St Paul's, Nakambala
1992 - 1993: Santry - Pastoral Care of Refugees
1993 - 1994: Limbe, Malawi - Working for JRS
1994 - 1995: Mozambique - Working for JRS
1995 - 1996: Clongowes - House and College Maintenance
1996 - 2015: Gardiner St - Assists Director of Arrupe Society
2009 - 2014: Hospital visitation; Studying at Priory Institute, Tallaght
2014 - 2015: Residing at Cherryfield Lodge

In October 2014, Martin was admitted to hospital after a fall. He had many health problems, which meant treatment in four hospitals. He moved to Cherryfield Lodge on 25th February 2015. He was happy to be in Cherryfield again, where he died peacefully on 12th March. May he rest in the peace of Christ.

After a mighty struggle, death finally got the better of Martin Murphy on March 12, 2015. His sisters had prayed to St Francis Xavier that the Lord would spare him further suffering, and in response he died on the final day of the Novena. His funeral was delayed because an autopsy was required, and so he was finally laid to rest on March 19, the Feast of St Joseph. Martin had had a strong devotion to Joseph the Worker, so things fitted in nicely at the end of his life.

Like Joseph, Martin was a great worker: before he joined the Jesuits, he worked for Cramptons, the builders. His grandfather had been in the same trade, and had helped to build the Titanic! This came to light only when Martin showed up in Youghal in 2012 for the launch of Eddie O'Donnell's book on Fr Browne and the Titanic! Sadly, Martin's building work, so helpful to many people, carried the seeds of his own death, because as we now know, he died of asbestos poisoning.

His early education was in the National and Vocational Schools in Ringsend, where he was born. He then began his building career, From 1961-65 he did a Diploma in Socio-Economics at the Jesuit-run NCIR. It appears that he was so impressed by the Jesuit teachers there that he decided to join them in 1966, at age 32. He waited till his mother died to do this, as he was one of her carers.

Martin was a perfectionist, took pride in his work, and always did a great job. He could turn his hand to anything, including leatherwork. He was also a great teacher of his crafts and skills. I had the good fortune to discover him early on, and we became lifelong friends, even if not without some awkward moments! In 1967 I wanted to build a back wall to the handball alley in Milltown and got his help, though he was a novice at the time. It was very definitely his wall, not mine, but he never emphasised the fact. We worked in the early mornings before my classes began, and he would then continue through the day, while I dug academic furrows. One dull morning Martin looked up with an innocent smile at the Milltown buildings and asked, 'Why is it that the scholastics mostly pray in the dark'? Later Martin built the bindery which still stands at the back of the Library. And when a Le Brocquy mosaic of the Madonna and Child came our way mysteriously in the late seventies, he put it up single handed, though it weighed three quarters of a ton. It is now in the Milltown Community foyer. He was, as one of the Brothers said admiringly, “a mighty man”.

He liked philosophy, and especially the ideas of Bernard Lonergan. He could get so animated about these that when driving in Zambia he would slow down to get his point across, which lengthened journeys considerably. At the age of 73 he embarked on a 5-year course in theology in the Priory Institute in Tallaght. He worked his way right up to the last assignment, on “The Just Society”, at which he balked. Why? they asked. “Because I never lived in a just society, and I don't know what it's like”. He enjoyed the phrase “the hermeneutic of suspicion” because it gave him the leeway he needed to be devastatingly honest.

Africa
He went to Zambia in 1969, and worked there and in Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique, with occasional breaks, for 25 years. He built churches and schools, dug wells and cultivated a huge garden. He practised or taught motor mechanics, building maintenance, construction, irrigation. He also engaged in pastoral care of refugees. He was well loved by those who worked with him. He delighted in planning and carrying projects through. He loved the moment when he could hand over a set of keys of a new building and say: 'The job is done’. But he had time for soccer also. I have it on reliable authority that when he was playing in Dublin for Transport FC, he was considered to be of international standard. And the Zambians used watch him admiringly: Kalango mulilo! they'd shout - “Look at his fire!”

The Acting Provincial of Zambia, Jim McGloin, said in his message of condolence: “The hidden nature of the work is often the case for the Jesuit Brother. Although Brother Martin did the actual building of the Church in Chikuni Mission in the 1970's, it was the parish priest who received the credit. The serving tables in Luwisha House are still used today, thirty years later, but no one remembers that it was Brother Martin who built them.... While the workmanship was appreciated, the worker often went unnoticed. Yet the professional workmanship of Br Martin itself stands as its own monument. And those who saw his effort and dedication were grateful.'

Martin had used his many talents 'to help others' in simple ways, as Ignatius would have wished. But by 1995, the outer job was done: he had to retire because for the remaining twenty years of his life, ill health dogged him -- glaucoma, diabetes, arthritis, lung problems. But even when exiled from Zambia he always kept in contact and retained a deep love for his 'first mission'.

The inner side
Martin had his own unique relationship with God - his secret scripture. He prayed. He loved his time in the Holy Land. He lived simply. But like the rest of us, he had his own fixed attitudes, his weaker points, his awkwardnesses. A mature man by the time he joined the Jesuits, he had, not surprisingly, something of a Trade Union perspective on things. This included a keen sense of what he perceived as injustice, foot dragging, and so on. The Jesuit way of proceeding, he felt, was not always the most efficient. With his critical mind, he found it hard to be asked to do things by people who, he felt, didn't know what they were talking about. He had little time for eloquence that was not matched by action. “They can talk the talk” he'd say “but can they walk the walk?”

Martin would tell it like he thought it was, and his craggy style disconcerted more than a few, and left people feeling uncomfortable. He was, one might say, of the warrior class. Critical of many in authority, at the same time he was a great defender of the small and the poor. He volunteered for Tanzania because it was one of the twenty poorest countries in the world. He was both admirer and critic of Julius Nyerere, founder of the state of Tanzania. But his mischievous humour carried him a long way. He would say outrageous things just to get a reaction: often he didn't want to be taken too seriously. And he could get caught out himself on occasion, as when he had an appointment with a consultant about his glaucoma: the great man was late and eventually came into the waiting room to apologise, only to find Martin reading the Irish Times. And he would smile and laugh at himself. A stern commentator on the foibles of humankind, he also had a great and welcoming smile.

Stay Clear! God at Work
God was steadily at work in him, as in us all. That work is to make us grow in love', to bring out the best in us. In the final phase of his life, a deep mellowing took place while he endured enormous discomfort, especially in his breathing. He carried his oxygen supply as he walked the pavements round Gardiner Street. He did not complain. His time and energy were taken up with coping with his own illnesses. He made the rounds of many hospitals and consultants, and his reports of medical encounters were never dull. To one man who wasn't measuring up, Martin said: “Take a good look at my face!” “Why?” said the consultant. “Because”, said Martin, “you won't see it again!” His humour never deserted him, and he would get great joy out of recounting such incidents. He told me how grateful he was to his family for all their care and love; and to the Cherryfield staff for looking after him so well. In turn, they enjoyed his company; he had a word - often funny - to say about everything. They loved him. And he became a grateful man.

So when the moment of death came, and Martin met the Lord face to face, the “inner job” was substantially done. Like Peter in the Gospel, he jumped out of the safety of his life's boat and struggled to the shore where Jesus was waiting, watching. Surely like Peter, Martin heard Jesus say, “Bring the fish you've caught, and come, let's have breakfast!”

Then, we may surmise, came the one-to-one chat with Jesus, who now could safely ask him: Martin, do you love me more than these others do? There would have been no digging-up of the failures of the past. No comparisons and contrasts with others. The present state of his heart was all that mattered. He would have answered like Peter: Lord, “You know everything, you know I love you”. That would be enough. Because in the evening of life we will be examined in love.

It so happened that when the news came to me that Martin had died, I was reading a book titled Love is Stronger than Death, by Cynthia Bourgeault. It tells of a Trappist monk in Colorado who had a turbulent personality and was awkward in his relationships. Community life fell short for him, and so he moved out and became a hermit. He wrestled much of his life with God and others. But at the end he became liberated and happy. I felt this man's life and Martin's had parallels! In our final conversation a week before he died, he had told me he had been struggling, not with the problem that others were not measuring up, but that he wasn't measuring up. He found it consoling to hear Pope Francis' remark from The Joy of the Gospel, “When everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved”. Perhaps, then, he felt, all would be well at the end, because God's love is stronger than our failings or our death.

And so, off he went, happily, into eternal glory. He is now fully alive, radiant with his best self, supporting us on our pilgrim way, looking forward to the great reunion when all will be made well.

Brian Grogan

Ó Riordan, Colm, 1919-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/534
  • Person
  • 31 May 1919-02 December 1992

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O'Brien, Desmond, 1936-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/685
  • Person
  • 22 September 1936-17 July 2007

Born: 22 September 1936, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1954, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 20 July 1968, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 17 July 2007, Mater Hospital, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 15 August 1973

by 1963 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency
by 1971 at Swansea, Wales (ANG) studying

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Des O’Brien was born on 22 September 1936 in Dublin. He did his early schooling with the Christian Brothers in Monkstown obtaining his leaving certificate in 1954. That same year, he began his life as a Jesuit in Emo Park. After his novitiate, he did his juniorate at Rathfarnham Castle, obtaining a BA degree in Arts from UCD Dublin in 1959. Philosophy studies followed at Milltown Park from which Des obtained a licentiate in 1962.

For his regency he was sent to the then Northern Rhodesia. He studied Chitonga for a year at Chikuni and other mission stations. In 1963 he taught at Canisius College and the following year at Munali Secondary School in Lusaka. Completing his regency, he returned to Milltown Park for theology studies and was ordained on 10 July 1968. Tertianship in Dublin followed and in 1970 he went to Swansea University in the UK and obtained a diploma in social policy and administration.

Returning to Zambia in 1971, Des was appointed parish priest in Monze where he served until 1975. Among his many pastoral activities he began a strong youth club called the Red Arrows which was well known for its football success. He was then appointed chaplain of the lay apostolate for the Monze Diocese, living in Kizito Pastoral Centre from 1976 to 1980 and then at Charles Lwanga Jesuit community from 1980-84. He initiated renewal programs for the laity and traveled throughout the diocese giving workshops. During this time he also became involved with the charismatic renewal and provided steady and balanced leadership.

Des had a sabbatical in the United States in 1981, working on spiritual direction. On his return he was appointed national chaplain of the YCS and took his national team around the country in a minibus offering workshops in all the dioceses. As rector of Xavier House, he was able to provide care for the older members of the community and offer support for the novice director without interfering in his work. The late Paul Lungu often commented on how much he depended on Des’ support in his work with the novices.

The Episcopal Conference asked him to be national secretary for the laity while the Provincial appointed him as delegate of formation. He moved to Matero for a year but then went to Luwisha House which was more central for his work. In 1998 he was made superior of Luwisha House. He was a great man in community with his ready wit and happy demeanour. He was an excellent mimic and often had his companions rolling around in laughter with a few well chosen words and a little gesture. Since his job as delegate and superior took up more and more of his time, he withdrew from his position with the laity. As a delegate for formation, the young men found in him a great listener. However he could be challenging, but he was always fair and supportive. During his years in Lusaka Des offered regular courses on prayer and spiritual direction to the novice groups at Kalemba Hall as well as to the sisters’ formation program at Kalundu Centre. He was a fine teacher, entertaining yet substantial in the material he offered. Many Church personnel came to him for counselling and direction.

In 2000 Des moved back to Monze and took over Kizito Pastoral Centre, offering retreats and seminars as well as renewing the physical structure of the plant. The Bishop asked him to take care of the young priests of the diocese with regular meetings and direction. He was the chairperson of the organising committees for the celebration of the Centenary of the Jesuit arrival in the Monze Diocese. He kept the different committees working together. However towards the time of the big celebration at Chikuni he was quite ill with constant bronchial problems. He did not want to take his home leave until after the big event. When he finally went home it was found that he had inoperable cancer in his left lung. He underwent chemo- and radio-therapy but he weakened with time and eventually lost his voice. He was accepting of his condition and at peace with it. In an email in May he wrote: ’The picture is not bright but, thank God, I am very deeply at peace (even joyful!) I have no doubt that this is all the fruit of the many prayers being offered for me. I am ready for anything and in the meantime enjoying all the leisure I have’.

He tells how a woman from the parish in St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St., came up to him after a Sunday Mass in which he concelebrated, grabbed his hand and said: ’Thanks, Father, for the words’. Des was surprised and said to her, ’but I didn’t say anything, my voice is too weak’. The lady whispered in response, ‘Being up there silent on the altar with us every day is a powerful homily’. He entered the fullness of life on 17 July 2007.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007

Obituary

Fr Desmond Francis (Des) O’Brien (1936-2007) : Zambia-Malawi Province

Jim McGloin writes:
Des O'Brien was born on 22 September 1936 in Dublin. He did his early schooling with the Christian Brothers in Monkstown obtaining his leaving certificate in 1954. That same year, he began his life as a Jesuit in Emo Park. After his novitiate, he did his juniorate at Rathfarnham castle, obtaining a BA degree in arts from University College Dublin in 1959. Philosophy studies followed at Tullabeg from which Des obtained a licentiate in 1962.

For his regency Des was sent to then Northern Rhodesia. He studied Chitonga for a year at Chikuni and other mission stations. In 1963 he taught at Canisius College and the following year at Munali Secondary School in Lusaka. Completing his regency, he returned to Milltown Park for theology studies and was ordained a priest on 10 July 1968. Tertianship in Dublin followed his fourth year of theology. In 1970 he went to Swansea in the UK and studied at the University College there obtaining a diploma in social policy and administration.

Returning to Zambia in 1971, Des was appointed parish priest in Monze where he served until 1975. Among his many pastoral activities at the parish, he began a strong youth club called the Red Arrows which was well known for its football success. After his fruitful time in the parish, Des was appointed the chaplain of the lay apostolate for the Diocese of Monze, living in Kizito Pastoral Centre from 1976 to 1980 and then at the Charles Lwanga Jesuit Community from 1980 to 1984. As chaplain, Des initiated many different formation and renewal programmes for the laity and traveled throughout the diocese giving workshops. During this time, he also became involved with the charismatic renewal and provided steady and balanced leadership in the renewal.

Des had a sabbatical in the United States in 1984, working in the area of spiritual direction. On his return to Zambia he was appointed national chaplain of the YCS, living at Luwisha House. In 1986 he was appointed rector of Xavier House while continuing his work with YCS. Des was a dynamic powerhouse in dealing with young people. He would take his YCS national team around the country in the minibus, offering workshops in all the dioceses of the country. As rector of Xavier House, he was able to provide care for the older members of the community and offer support to the novice director without interfering in his work. The late Paul Lungu often commented on how much he depended on Des's support in carrying out his work with the novices.

In 1992 Des completed his term as rector and started winding up as chaplain of YCS. The Episcopal Conference asked him to serve as national secretary for the laity and the Provincial had appointed him delegate of formation. He moved to Matero and lived there for a year, later moving to Luwisha House which was more central for his work. In 1998 he was appointed superior of Luwisha House. Always doing the work assigned to him diligently, Des threw himself into the work of the lay apostolate and the work of formation. However, he found that he could not do both adequately; he withdrew from the work with the laity to spend more time as delegate of formation.

From the men in formation who experienced Des as their delegate, you often hear that he was a great listener, that he could be tough and challenging, but that he was always fair and supportive. He managed to blend a concern for the well being of the individual and a concern for the well being of the Society, both of which were important for the delegate's job.

During his years in Lusaka, Des also offered regular courses, mostly on prayer and spiritual direction, to the novice groups at Kalemba Hall and to the sisters' formation programme at Kalundu Centre. He was a fine teacher, entertaining yet substantial in the material he offered. During those years many sisters, priests and lay people came to him for counseling and spiritual direction. His welcoming attitude and compassionate listening provided many with new strength and direction.

In 2000 Des moved back to the Diocese of Monze where he had begun his apostolic work and took over as director of Kizito Pastoral Centre. Once again he took on the work with great enthusiasm, offering retreats and seminars, renewing the physical structure and adding new facilities to the centre. The Bishop of Monze found in him a wise counselor and would often seek advice from him. The Bishop also asked him to take care of the young priests of the diocese (the under-fives), offering them spiritual direction, regular meetings as a group and other care. Des was also chairperson of the organizing committees for the celebration of the centenary of the Jesuit arrival in the Monze Diocese. In his usual well-organized and efficient manner, Des kept the different committees at their tasks and was able to organization a wonderful celebration of the centenary. Towards the time of the big celebration at Chikuni, however, Des was quite ill with constant bronchial problems. He did not want to move up his home leave until after the celebrations.

Although Des worked hard and was very efficient, he also gave time and enjoyed his community. He was welcoming and hospitable. He spent time with the members of the community at prayer, meals and recreation. He had a way of engaging and a sense of humour that were much appreciated. He also an ability to mimic others in their way of talking and acting that was never hurtful, but very true to life. Father General in a letter written to Des for his golden jubilee in 2004 said, “They (his fellow Jesuits) better than I can witness to the inner life that you nourished in prayer, for you could not have lived and served as you have done without a close relationship with Jesus”. Des did have a close relationship with Jesus, nourished by prayer and the Eucharist, a relationship he deeply desired and was willing to share with others.

When Des did finally go on his home leave in September 2005, it was discovered that his health problems stemmed not from bronchial infection but from an inoperable malignant growth in the upper part of his left lung. He underwent chemo and later radiotherapy to reduce the tumour. The treatment left him weakened and caused him to lose most of his vocal functions, but he was accepting of his condition and at peace with it.

In an e-mail in May, Des wrote: “The picture is not too bright but, thank God, I am very deeply at peace (even joyful!). I have no doubt that this is all the fruit of the many prayers being offered for me. I am ready for anything and in the meantime enjoying all the leisure I have”.

He also reflected on his life as a priest with limited ability to function as a priest in a recent issue of Interfuse (Summer 2007, No.132), in which he expressed the frustration he had in not being able to exercise his priesthood in the active way he had been used to. He relates this incident:

“One Sunday morning, having concelebrated a parish Mass, I walked down the aisle with my companion to the end of the Church to greet the congregation as is the custom. As we shook hands and greeted people, an elderly lady made a beeline for me and grabbing my hand, said, ‘Thanks, Father, for those words”. Surprised by this comment, I replied, ‘But I didn't say anything, my voice is too weak’. Learning over, she whispered in my ear, ‘Being up there silent on the altar with us every day is a powerful homily’.”

Des was very consoled by this. He had made a pilgrimage to Lourdes in September 2006 seeking healing but there was no physical change in his condition. However, he wrote: “I was much more at peace and much more accepting of what had happened to me. I am stiil substantially at peace as I pray daily, 'O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”.

Des then reflected in his article, “These few simple words connected me in an extraordinary way with the deeper mystery underlying my present circumstances which I had begun to sense but was resisting, how to be a priest without any normal or visible ministry”. That deeper Mystery guided Des throughout his life, in his active priestly ministry and finally in his silent priestly ministry. Des entered the fullness of that Mystery on 17 July 2007.

From a homily delivered by Clive Dillon-Malone on 25th July, 2007, at St. Ignatius Church, Lusaka:
There's a popular saying that "good goods appear in small packages". Well, this is certainly true of Fr. Des O'Brien, He was small in stature but, like our founder, St. Ignatius, or St. Paul - who were also short in stature - Des was tall in spiritual riches.

Des was always conscious of his height. He once told me how embarrassed he was in having to go into the children's section of shoe shops as the shoes in the adult's section were all too large for him! The late Fr. Bill Lane was a very good friend of Des and they used to joke one another about their height as Bill was also quite short. There was an occasion when, on his 50+ birthday, Des approached Bill in a jovial mood and said proudly, “I'm 50 today”. Bill replied: “Is that in centimetres or in inches?” On another occasion for a concelebrated Mass, Bill took an impish delight in handing Des an alb which was about six feet long! However, Des learned to joke about his height and he was quite capable to giving back as much as he got in good humour. He always had a great sense of humour and a gift for turning the simplest of happenings into amusing incidents. His ability to mimic others contributed to this and he was always good fun in a group.

Des was born in 1936 and he entered the Jesuits in 1954 at the age of 18. After two years of novitiate at Emo in Portarlington, he went to University College Dublin where he spent three years doing a pass B.A. degree from 1956-1959. I mention "pass degree" because, although Des was always a very hard worker, he was not intellectually gifted in the way that so many of his fellow Jesuits in his year were, who were taking honours degrees. Although he never showed any sign of resenting others, his lack of high-powered academic potential accompanied by his small stature left him with an inferiority complex against which he struggled throughout his life. After his university degree, he spent three years in Tullabeg in Ireland from 1959-1962 studying philosophy which he also found difficult. But it was when he came to Zambia in 1962 that his real talents began to emerge and, from then on, he continued to grow in self-confidence and in pastoral achievements.

Des had a great way of relating with children and he would laugh and joke with them at his ease. When he began learning ciTonga in Chivuna on his arrival in Zambia, he quickly became proficient at speaking the language on account of his relating with children. Although they would make fun of mistakes he would make, he learned from them and he could laugh at himself. During vacations, he would enjoy joining Fr. Joe McDonald down in the valley in Fumbo where he increased his ability to speak ciTonga.

In 1963, he moved into Canisius College where he taught for a year and where his ability to relate with young people shone, and where, he was in charge of the medical needs of the pupils. He told me once an amusing incident. When a transfusion group came to Canisius to collect blood, the boys were very scared of giving blood. In order to put them at ease, he told them to come and watch as he gave blood. There were all crowded around the window looking in, but just after giving blood, he fainted. The boys just ran!

In 1964, he moved to Lusaka where he taught for a year at Munali Secondary School before returning to Ireland where he studied theology for four years from 1965-1969 at Milltown Park. He was ordained a priest in 1968. After finishing theology, he went to the University of Swansea in Wales where he obtained a diploma in social policy and administration. The topic of his dissertation was, “The Primary School Leaver Crisis in Zambia”.

On returning to Zambia in 1971, he was appointed as parish priest in Monze, a ministry which he continued for five years, and during which his ability to converse fluently in ciTonga grew. Then from 1976 to 1980, while living at Kizito Pastoral Centre, he was appointed as Director of the Lay Apostolate in the diocese of Monze, and was also involved with the on-going formation of Zambian priests there. A further item that needs to be mentioned is that Des played an important role in the charismatic renewal in Zambia. He had set in motion the Charismatic Movement in the diocese of Monze, at Musaka Secondary School in Choma, and later in Lusaka.

From Kizito, he moved to Charles Lwanga Teacher Trainer College, where he remained for four years from 1980 to 1984. He had already become diocesan lay apostolate chaplain in 1976 and he continued with this work while at Charles Lwanga. He then went on sabbatical for a year in 1984 to Berkeley in California and, on his return, he resided at Luwisha House for a year during which time he was appointed as National Chaplain to Zambian Young Christian Students (ZYCS), a position he held from 1985 to 1993.

After his sabbatical, Des told me of a rather frustrating experience he had. Before going on sabbatical, he had burnt all of his retreat notes so that he might have a clean start with new material when he returned. Just after returning, however, he was asked to give a retreat which he accepted - but then, he suddenly remembered that he had destroyed all his notes and hadn't yet produced new ones! Needless to say, he regretted his earlier action.

By this time, Des' many talents relating to pastoral concerns, spirituality, managerial skills, and ability to assume authoritative positions were noted. In 1986, he was appointed Rector of our Novitiate, a position he held until 1992, and which he fulfilled with great success. He then moved to Matero for a year where he acted as Secretary for the Laity Section of the Zambian Episcopal Conference (ZEC). He held this position for three years until 1995.

In 1993, he moved from Matero to Luwisha House where he remained for seven years during which time he was also appointed Delegate for Formation of Jesuit scholastics. This is not only a very important position to have but a very difficult one as well - as the current Delegate for Formation, Fr. Charles Chilinda, will tell you. Des came to this position at a time when much suspicion and distrust had developed among young scholastics from a previous era, and it took a lot of skill and prudence to do away with built up resentment and bitterness, and restore a feeling of trust and confidence. He managed to do this very successfully. Indeed, it was noted that departures from the Society diminished during this period. He also did a lot to open up more flexible opportunities for different kinds of studies which was much appreciated.

Des was appointed as Superior of the Luwisha House community from 1998 to 2000. After that, he was appointed as Director and Superior of Kizito Pastoral Centre outside Monze where he remained until 2005. While there, he was not only totally dedicated to the development of spirituality programmes but he did immense work in planning and overseeing renovation and building extensions. In this respect, he was very talented in getting funding for different projects. He was also noted for his care and concern for his workers, and more particularly for those affected by HIV and AIDS for whom he obtained ARVs. During this time, Bishop Patriarca gave him the task of visiting his priests throughout the year which he did willingly, although he found it quite burdensome.

Des had become well known as a capable spiritual director and retreat giver over the years and he gave spirituality courses each year for many years at Kalundu Study Centre in Lusaka. The material of these courses was later published in book form under the title, “Lord, Teach us to Pray”. He gave courses in spirituality for many years in Kalemba Hall to religious in formation.

Des had always made himself available when asked to do anything. He found it very difficult to say 'no' to any request. However, he later admitted that he had to learn to say 'no' at times, as he was burning himself out. He was very conscientious and he put great preparation into anything he was asked to do. The negative outcome of this was that he ended up becoming so tense at times that he became sick just before an event.

Des had smoked a lot during his early years and he was aware of lung problems which he had developed. However, although he knew that he should have paid more attention to seeking medical diagnosis and treatment earlier, he left it too late. In September 2005, he went into hospital in Ireland where his condition was diagnosed as “malignant growth in the upper part of the left lung” and “inoperable cancer” for which chemo and radiation treatment were administered. For almost two years, Des underwent this treatment which was very painful and weakening. His response to his suffering was acknowledged by all in Ireland as truly admirable. He never lost his sense of humour and expressed his readiness to die once it became clear that this was inevitable within a relatively short period of time. I had visited him on a number of occasions while in Ireland in 2005 and, like so many others, I was truly edified by his positive resignation to the possibility of an early death. He soon lost his hair and wore a head cap for heat. He also became quite bloated as a result of medication. Up the end, he was determined to keep as active as possible but his energy was becoming less and less, and his ability to speak was seriously affected.

He was finally moved into the Mater Hospital for more on-the spot observation with the intention of moving him to a hospice for the terminally ill. He died more quickly than expected on the 17th July, 2007.

I've been told that Des loved looking after pigeons or doves when he was a young boy. Is it too fanciful to suggest that the Holy Spirit might have been among them in choosing Des even at this early stage for the Lord's work! May the Lord now welcome him home and reward him for his priestly ministry, and for the manner in which he has touched so many lives with his love and service. Amen.

Interfuse No 134 : Christmas 2007

IN MEMORY OF FR DESMOND O’BRIEN

An obituary from Zambia was published in Interfuse, September 2007

As an exact contemporary of Des O'Brien, standing humbly and powerlessly at the door of Gardiner St church, as his coffin was being carried out, it seemed to me that an era had passed away. It was a very different situation from that when first we met in 1954. I have vivid memories of him, while we handed in our belongings to the Socius, smiling greatly as a half-smoked cigarette was being abandoned. From then on he was part of our lives, and was diligent and cheerful, in a period that Fr Bill Johnston describes as “remote, strict, austere”. I would add the word “demanding”. Some time in his 2nd year, Donal O'Sullivan told him that he would give him vows and this assured him.

Later, he proved bright enough, but without a strong line of interest or the personal freedom to be an academic. He liked the study of history, and in class he and Paul Cullen became very friendly with a then corpulent young lady, later to acquire fame, Maeve Binchy. I wonder has she forgotten them! He liked greatly being “bird man”, and learned much about these creatures.

I don't think philosophy was his line of country. He looked after the altar boys and was very kind to them. Amidst a busy life, he may have remembered these now and again, especially the young Cantwell who died. He liked working with young people and the marginalized. (His achievements in Africa have been noted elsewhere).

His humour and liveliness were always in our background - which was something we took for granted. He enlivened many a scene for us. He was witty, a great mimic at least of certain people, and had wonderful acting ability. But he was also very shrewd and sharp. I recall several observations he made to me about myself, and they were correct. Similar remarks made to at least one other caused me some strain, though they were beneficial to the other. His judgement was good, and he had a sharp eye for traits in others that I never averted to.

He was always very true to himself. He could readily banter and give as good as he got. Sometimes some minor plans of his did not work out, but he could laugh at his misfortune. He could be serious and demanding with others, and behind the scenes smile at it all.

He developed an open, liberal train of thought, and some years ago swept me off my feet with his progressive thinking. How deep this was I don't know - it wasn't tested in any discussion. But then, people's attitudes come very much from their reading - from the people they rely on -, from their background and inclinations.

Some years ago, I said to him, “You never come to see us”, and he answered, “You never invited me”. Perhaps we are not as welcoming, as we should! We may feel too much that people like to be left alone.

I don't know what personal difficulties he had to cope with, as he tried to discover his deepest self. However there was a firm, unwavering core to his priestly commitment. His life could simply and profoundly be summed up by saying, “He served the Lord”. He was committed to Jesus, which was very evident in his final illness.

Since his return sick to Ireland, I met him fairly frequently. He was very friendly and we were at great ease - with a mutual looking up to each other. I admired his missionary experience and his ability to give. Whenever I said - many times - to him, “You've a severe blow to face up to”, he agreed, and added that he was ready for all. He added: “I never complained, and I'm not going to do so now”. Physically he resisted his cancer as long as he could, but eventually had to yield and nobly went away.

It is good for the rest of us that he has departed - to hopefully help prepare a place for us. It will be hard to find his leithéid arís.

James Kelly

O'Brien, Patrick JT, 1910-1991, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/686
  • Person
  • 26 December 1910-21 March 1991

Born: 26 December 1910, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 14 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died 21 March 1991, Our Lady’s Hospice, Dublin - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Part of the Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin community at the time of death

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

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

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

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

Fr. P.J. T. O'Brien, Johannesburg, Africa, 10-2-46 :
“We docked in Durban on February 6th. The Oblate Fathers, who had come to the boat to meet ten Christian Brothers from Dublin, very kindly took us in, The trains were crowded with holiday-makers and demobilised soldiers. We reached Johannesburg on the 9th, and the Oblates again invited us to stay with them. We hope to catch the train for Livingstone to-morrow night. The voyage was quite pleasant, though things were a bit congested on board, as the ship was carrying a lot of troops : 2,000 Basutos and 800 coloured Cape soldiers got on at Suez.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

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

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948
Fr. P.J. O'Brien writes from Lusaka (N. Rhodesia), 16th September :
“Fr. Dowling's cable arrived a few days ago bringing the welcome news that he and Fr. Gill expect to sail for Cape Town on 12th October. May I again say how very grateful we all are for sending the two Fathers. They will be a great acquisition here, especially to the Secondary School. African Secondary Education is non-existent in this country, except for one Government school (and another for teachers). Hence the Department of African Education hopes for a lot from the new Catholic Secondary School. In fact it expects that the Jesuits will show what can and should be done in this line, and that we will give a lead to the whole country and to itself. It is very important, of course, that we should do so, and play a big part in Secondary Education, for it is the Africans who have received this who will form public opinion amongst their fellows and form it for or against the Church..
I had a three week's rest in Livingstone recently with the Irish Capuchins, who treated me with the greatest kindness and hospitality. I was very glad to meet their Provincial, Fr. James, who was out on visitation. Their Mission is to the south and west of us ; the Italian Franciscans are to the north, and the White fathers are in all parts to the east.”

O'Brien, Thomas, 1932-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/687
  • Person
  • 16 June 1932-06 August 1992

Born: 16 June 1932, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1967, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 06 August 1992, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969

by 1959 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Tom's death was very sudden. He was acting Mission Procurator in Dublin and had just picked up his sister from the airport. He drove back to the Mission Office. While speaking to her there, he just fell from his chair, with a massive heart attack, and so he died. That was on 6 August 1992.

Tom was born in Limerick in 1932, attended the Jesuit school of the Crescent and then entered the Society in 1950 in Emo. He pursued the normal course of studies of the Society and came out to Zambia for his regency where he taught, prefected and was games master at Canisius Secondary School and Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College.

He was ordained priest at Milltown Park, Dublin on 31st July 1964 and returned to Zambia after his tertianship. He was in the Southern Province from 1966 to 1970 as minister and bursar at Chikuni, minister and assistant Parish Priest in Monze and minister/teacher at Charles Lwanga TTC. The rest of his life in Zambia was spent in Lusaka. Chaplaincy and teaching occupied his time and he also helped in the parish at St Ignatius. He taught at Munali Secondary and Chongwe Secondary. For the Advanced Primary Course at Chalimbana, he taught Religious Education as well as being involved in student counselling. Students at Evelyn Hone College also saw him for spiritual direction. Counselling was what he wished to do with third level students and so he studied at Loyola University in Chicago, USA, for his Masters in Education.

From 1978 to 1983 he became socius/secretary to the provincial, a job which took him to all the Jesuit houses. He became rector of Luwisha House in 1983 and worked as chaplain at the Christian Centre at UNZA. While there, he had a serious heart attack and left for Ireland when he was well enough to travel. It was while he was acting mission procurator, that he had the massive heart attack. As he wished, he was active to the end.

There was a history of heart sickness in the family. Tom himself had minor strokes as well as a by-pass. He was well aware that he would probably die from a heart attack but forged ahead with his life even with this in mind. He was so busy in Dublin – meetings of the Irish Missionary Union, interviewing possible volunteer teachers, traveling for Missionary Exhibitions, fund raising, bringing missionary awareness to the pupils of the Jesuit schools in Ireland – these all kept him on the go. Added to these were family functions such as weddings, baptisms and funerals.

His great talent was his ability to relate to other people, to share friendship with them. He had his own close circle of friends in the Society, yet this never interfered with his sharing his friendship with others. He was approachable and warm-hearted, person-centered. Being with others meant more to Tom than efficiency in planning and execution. On one occasion, he had three appointments in different places at the same time! He looked for the best side of others, accepting them as they were. In his own communities he would give himself as freely and as warmly to the shy and withdrawn as to the stronger members.

A 20-year friend of Tom wrote about him after his death: “He loved life; he loved people. And he did so from a base that was hidden and silent because he dreaded that anyone would think him ‘pious’. But over the years, I became more and more aware of that hidden rock in Tom – his love of Christ. It came through in his homilies to the students and his love of the Jesuits. I think he was at his most fulfilled and contented as a Jesuit during his years at Luwisha. He loved his brothers. I find myself also thinking of the contradictions in him. He was confident and proud; but he was also humble. He was contented, so contented – but he was questioning, sometimes startlingly so. He was above all compassionate but his compassion didn't let you off the hook”.

Note from Jean Indeku Entry
In 1955 he came to Northern Rhodesia with Fr. Tom O’Brien and scholastics Michael Kelly and Michael Tyrrell. They were among the first batch of missionaries to come by air and the journey from London took almost five days via Marseilles – Malta – Wadi Halfa (now under the Aswan Dam) – Mersa Matruh (north Egypt) – Nairobi – Ndola – and finally to Lusaka.

O'Connell, Denis, 1923-2004, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/688
  • Person
  • 19 February 1923-18 October 2004

Born: 19 February 1923, Westport, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 18 October 2004, Crossna, County Roscommon - Nazareth House, Sligo - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the Coláiste Iognáid Galway community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Denis O'Connell (known to all as 'Dinny') was born in Westport, Co Mayo. After primary school, he went to Clongowes Wood College, run by the Jesuits, until he finished his secondary education. The attraction to religious life was already there for he went to the Cistercians for a short time but turned back to the Jesuits he knew from school, and entered the novitiate at Emo Park in 1942. He followed the normal course of studies of university, philosophy, regency at Belvedere and on to theology at Milltown Park Dublin, where he was ordained priest on 31st July 1956.

He came out to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in 1958 and went to Chikuni to learn CiTonga, the language of the people. After a year at Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College he came to Monze (1962/63) where he worked in the parish. Pastoral work was to be his vocation for the rest of his life. A big step from here took him to the large urban parish of St Ignatius in Lusaka where he worked for six years (1964–1970). Nakambala on the Sugar Estate in Mazabuka held Dinny for eight years, again working with the people.

During that time he oversaw the building of Christ the King church, the second church on the estate along with St Paul's.
After thirty years of fruitful, patient work in Zambia, he returned to Ireland to continue his pastoral work, first in the archdiocese of Dublin for three years and then in the west at Clarinbridge and Lisdoonvarna in the diocese of Galway where he did pastoral work and chaplaincy. After nine years at this he went north to Sligo to Nazareth House as assistant hospital chaplain. He returned to Galway from Sligo on the 18 October 2004, staying with a priest friend at Crossna, Co Roscommon on the way, but died peacefully in his sleep while staying there.

These are the facts of Dinny's life, a pastoral priest at all times. What of the man himself? Outwardly he was a very laid-back person, easy going in the sense that very little disturbed him much. Always associated with him was his pipe and his hand basket in which he carried the essentials for his pastoral work as he moved around. The pipe brings to mind a story about him while he was on a sabbatical in the United States. A quiet evening smoke in the room where he was a guest activated the sprinklers in the ceiling and drenched the room.

As a pastoral worker and chaplain, he was most faithful to the work at hand, proceeding quietly and with no fuss, almost unnoticed. He had an easy way of talking to the elders, putting them at their ease, whether visiting their homes or attending at their bedside in hospital. He loved to walk on his own by the sea if it was nearby or along a river bank and for him this was also a time of prayer. He loved a good chat with friends once he had the pipe lit and glowing.

He was not adverse to recounting stories or events about himself. One that springs to mind is the time when he was traveling to Lusaka with a Jesuit colleague, a colleague who would quickly speak of spiritual matters. ‘Dinny’, the colleague said, ‘I admire you’. ‘Huh! why's that?’ said Dinny. ‘Well’ was the reply ‘you are a man of few talents but you use them to the best of your ability’. Dinny's talent was the quiet, unobtrusive ability to get his pastoral or chaplaincy work done and his easy manner with people.

Before he died, Dinny donated his body to the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway for medical research. After the evening service in St Ignatius Church, the body was taken away so that at the Mass for Dinny on the following morning in Dublin, his body was not present.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005

Obituary

Fr Denis (Dinny) O’Connell (1923-2004) : Zambia Malawi Province

Feb. 19th 1923: Born in Westport, Co. Mayo
Early education at CBS, Westport, and Clongowes Wood College
Sept. 7th 1942: Entered the Society at Emo Park
Sept. 8th 1944: First Vows
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1953: Belvedere College - Teacher
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
July 31st 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1958 - 1959: Chikuni - Studying local language; Spiritual Director
Feb. 2nd 1959: Final Vows at Chikuni Mission
1959 - 1960: Teacher Training College Chisekesi – Teacher; Spiritual Director
1960 - 1963: Sacred Heart, Monze - Prefect of Church
1963 - 1964: Sacred Heart, Monze - Mission Bursar; Prefect of Church
1964 - 1970: St. Ignatius Church Lusaka, - parish priest
Dec. 31st 1969: Transcribed to Zambia / Malawi Province
1970 - 1971: Chikuni, Canisius community - studying Chitonga
1971 - 1973: St. Mary's, Monze, - parish priest, minister
1973 - 1974: Chikuni, Canisius community - PP Fumbo
1974 - 1975: Ireland
1975 - 1980: Mazabuka, Nakambala- assistant PP
1980 - 1983: Mazabuka, Nakambala- superior, PP
1983 - 1984: Toronto-sabbatical
1984 - 1987: Kalomo - PP
1987 - 1988: Loyola House, Dublin - pastoral work
1988 - 1990: Arklow, Co Wicklow - pastoral work
1990 - 1991: Galway - pastoral work in Galway Archd.
1991 - 1993: Lisdoonvarna, Stella Maris Convent chaplain
1993 - 1999: Galway - assistant director of Mission Office.
1999 - 2003: Sligo, Nazareth House -asst. hosp. chaplain
2003 - 2004: Galway - Assist in church
Oct. 18th 2004: Died in Co. Roscommon

On October 9th Denis left Galway to visit friends in Sligo. He planned to be away for about a week. On Monday 18th he left a message for John O'Keeffe to say that he was with friends near Lough Key and that he planned to return to Galway on Wednesday 20th. On the evening of the 18th a message was received in Galway from the PP of Crossna, Co. Roscommon, to say that Denis did not come to tea as expected and that on going to his room he found him dead. He had gone to take a siesta.

Tom McGivern writes in the ZAM Province News Oct. 2004:

Dennis O'Connell (known to all as “Dinny”) was born in the west of Ireland, in Westport, County Mayo, on 19 February 1923. After primary school, he went to Clongowes Wood College run by the Jesuits, until he finished his secondary education. After school he tried a vocation with the Cistercians for a short time but turned back to the Jesuits whom he knew from school....He came out to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in 1958 to Chikuni where he studied Chitonga. After a year at Charles Lwanga Teachers' Training College, he went to Monze (1962-63) where he worked in the parish. Pastoral work was to be his vocation for the rest of his life. From Monze he took a big step to the large urban parish of St. Ignatius in Lusaka where he was parish priest for six years (1964-1970).

After Lusaka he moved again to the South where he worked for a while out of Chikuni and later in Monze. Then, for eight years (1975-1983) he worked at Nakambala in Mazabuka. During that time he oversaw the building of Christ the King church, the second church on the Sugar Estate after St. Paul's. His final years in Zambia were spent as parish priest in Kalomo (1984-1987). After thirty years of fruitful, patient work in Zambia, he returned to Ireland to continue his pastoral work. First he worked in the Archdiocese of Dublin for three years and then went to the West to the Diocese of Galway. There he did pastoral work and chaplaincy in Clarinbridge and Lisdoonvarna. After nine years at this he moved north to Sligo to Nazareth House as assistant hospital chaplain. In the latter part of last year he moved back to the Jesuit community in Galway where he was assisting in the church. Returning to Galway from a visit to Sligo on 18 October, he stayed with a priest friend at Crossna, County Roscommon. He died peacefully in his sleep while staying there.

These are the facts of Dinny's life. What of the man himself? Outwardly, he was a very laid-back person, easy going in the sense that very little disturbed him much. Always associated with him was his pipe and his hand basket in which he carried the essentials for his pastoral work as he moved around. The pipe brings to mind a story about him while he was on his sabbatical in the States. A quiet evening smoke in his room above the Downtown Chapel in Portland, Oregon, where he was a guest, activated the smoke detector in the ceiling and set off the sprinkler system, drenching the room.
As a pastoral worker and chaplain, he was most faithful to the work at hand, quietly, no fuss, almost unnoticed. He had an easy way of talking with elders, putting them at their ease, whether visiting their homes or attending their bedside in hospital. He loved to walk on his own by the sea or along a river bank. For him it was a time of prayer. He loved a good chat with friends once he had the pipe lit and glowing.

He was not adverse to recounting stories about himself. One that springs to mind was a time when he was traveling to Lusaka with a Jesuit companion, a companion who would quickly speak of spiritual matters. “Dinny”, the Jesuit said, “I admire you”. “Huh! Why's that?” asked Dinny. “Well”, was the reply. “You are a man of few talents, but you use them to the best of your ability!”
Dinny's talent was his easy, welcoming manner with people and his quiet, unobtrusive pastoral ability.

O'Connell, Jeremiah, 1937-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/450
  • Person
  • 02 July 1937- 17 November 2020

Born: 02 July 1937, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1955, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 10 July 1969, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 17 September 1975, Mukasa, Choma, Zambia
Died : 17 November 2020, John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambiae-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM, 17 September 1975

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

1955-1957 St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
1957-1960 Rathfarnham Castle - Studying
1960-1962 St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1962-1963 Loyola, Spain - studying Philosophy
1963-1965 Chivuna, Monze, Zambia - Regency, studying language, then teaching at Canisius College, Chikuni
1965-1966 Belvedere - Regency, teaching
1966-1970 Milltown Park - studying Theology
1970-1974 Canisius College, Chikuni - teaching
1974-1975 Mpima Seminary, Kabwe, Zambia - teaching
1975-1989 Mukasa Secondary School, Choma, Zambia
1989-1992 Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia - Maintenance
1992-2004 St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia
2004-2005 Jesuit Community, Claver House, LeConte, Berkeley CA, USA - sabbatical
2005-2018 Mukasa Jesuit Community, Choma, Zambia
2018-2019 Lusaka House, Lusaka, Zambia
2019-2020 Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia - John Chula House

O'Connor, Edward, 1905-1993, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/689
  • Person
  • 07 December 1905-08 September 1993

Born: 07 December 1905, County Waterford
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 08 September 1993, John Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Brother of Walter O'Connor - RIP 1967 (their father Peter had been an Olympic triple jump champion)

by 1937 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1939 at Rome, Italy (ROM) Assistant to President of Secretariat Marian Congregation

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Ernest Mackey S.J. was a well known school retreat giver. The vocations of Fr Eddie O'Connor and a few years later of Walter, his brother, were influenced by him. The father of the two brothers was Peter O'Connor a local lawyer and former Olympic champion. The story has it that Peter, encountering Fr Mackey after Fr. Eddie had entered the Society, said
‘That man has taken one of my sons’. Fr Mackey's undaunted reply was, ‘And now, he is coming to take another (Walter)’.

Fr Eddie was born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1905. After secondary school, he entered the Society in Tullabeg in 1923. The normal course of studies brought him to ordination at Milltown Park in 1935. He taught for a year in Mungret College and then moved out to Rome to work in Vatican Radio from 1938 to 1946, remaining there during World War 2.
He returned to Ireland and was on the retreat staff up to 1960.

He volunteered to come to Zambia and came in June of 1960, immediately setting about learning ciTonga. He worked mainly in the Southern Province where his brother Walter was. His work was pastoral, preaching, retreat work and parish work. However, he is very much associated with Namwala where he resided and administered for 17 years, 1963 to 1980.

His driving ability was not good, mainly because of failing eyesight. It is told that once when driving with his brother Walter, Walter suddenly shouted, ‘Look out for that cow’! ‘What cow’? says Fr Eddie. After that it was decided that he stop driving. How now to get around his far-flung parish? Easy. He got a horse and this worked extremely well. He became a familiar sight trotting near and far, in fact one of the local farmers used to refer to him as 'Galloping Jesus'.

Fr Eddie was deeply devoted as a pastoral priest ready to give time and attention to his people, the result being that his work was fruitful. After his stay in Namwala, he was chaplain to St Joseph's Secondary School in Chivuna as well as carrying on his pastoral work. In 1989 he moved to Monze where he did dedicated work as chaplain in the hospital there. He was dependable and always available when needed. He was a man of regular habits in his prayer life and daily routine.

In the middle of 1992, Fr Eddie weakened considerably and moved to John Chula House, the Jesuit infirmary in Lusaka. In September of the following year he suffered severe back burns while taking a bath that was too hot and was confined to bed. September 8 was a big day for four Jesuits whose Jubilee was being celebrated and Fr Eddie was one of these, celebrating his 70th year in the Society. Just as Mass was beginning in the novitiate chapel news came across from Chula House that Fr Eddie had passed away quietly. The eighty or so Jesuits, priests, brothers, scholastics and novices who had gathered for the Jubilee, moved over to the chapel of Chula where Fr Eddie had already been laid out in his priestly vestments.

For several, years Fr Eddie wrote the Monze Diocesan Newsletter. Over the years he produced articles for magazines on devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Pioneers. He wrote a pamphlet called ‘Spotlight on Matt Talbot’ which went into a number of printings.

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.

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

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - St John’s College (Seminary), Cnoc Eoin, Waterford before entry

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

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

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

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 43rd Year No 1 1968

Obituary :

Fr Walter O’Connor SJ (1910-1967)

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 125 : Autumn 2005

MISSIONED TO ZAMBIA : WALTER M O’CONNOR

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

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

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

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

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

O'Holohan, John, 1923-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/824
  • Person
  • 31 March 1923-19 April 2018

Born: 31 March 1923, Drumcondra, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1941, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park , Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 19 April 2018, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Brother of Colm O’Holohan - RIP 1998

by 1958 at Gandia, Valencia, Spain (TARR) making Tertianship
by 1994 at Orlando FL, USA (NOR) working
by 2001 at Simpsonville SC, USA (NOR) working
by 2004 at Lancaster SC, USA (NOR) working

Early education at Loreto Convent Bray, CBS St. Canice's NCR; Belvedere College SJ

1943-1946 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1946-1949 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1949-1952 Belvedere College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD (49-50)
1952-1956 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1956-1957 St Mary’s, Emo - Assistant Socius; Bursar; Teacher; Confessor;
1957-1958 Gandia, Valencia, Spain - Tertianship in Palacio del Santo Duque
1958-1960 Mungret College SJ - Teacher
1960-1965 Belvedere College SJ - Teacher; Directs Conf VdP; Editor of “Belvederian”
1965-1966 Chivuna Mission, Zambia - Studying CiTonga
1966-1978 Chisekesi, Zambia - Teacher ; Spiritual Father; St John Berchmans Sodality; Editor “Canisian” at Canisius College, Chikuni
1969 Transcribed to Zambia Province [ZAM] (03/12/1969)
1978-1981 Mazabuka, Zambia - Teacher and Spiritual Father at St Edmund’s Secondary School
1981-1982 Sabbatical
1982-1986 Zomba, Malawi - Acting Rector; Professor of Moral Theology; Directs Pastoral Ministry at St Peter’s Major Seminary
1986-1987 Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia - Teacher at Juniorate; Writer, Director National Apostleship of Prayer, Edits Newsletter
1987-1988 Spokane, WA, USA - Pastor at The Ministry Institute
1988-1992 DeLand, FL, USA - Assistant Pastor at St Peter's Catholic Church
1992-2000 Orlando, FL, USA - Assistant Pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church
1992 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (24/11/1992)
2000-2003 Simpsonville, SC, USA - Associate Pastor at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church
2003-2009 Lancaster, SC, USA - Pastor at St Catherine Catholic Church
2007 Pastor at St Joseph Parish, Chester, SC; Pastor at St Michael’s, Great Falls, SC
2009-2018 Gardiner St - Writer; Chaplain St Monica’s; Locum in Mater Hospital; People’s Church in Clongowes
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/remembering-john-oholohan-sj/

Remembering John O’Holohan SJ
Fr John O’Holohan SJ died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin on 19 April 2018 aged 95 years. Prayers were said at Cherryfield Lodge on 22 April, and his funeral Mass took place at Milltown Park Chapel on 23 April, followed by burial at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
Born in 1923, John grew up in Drumcondra, Dublin and was educated at Belvedere College SJ in Dublin City. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois in 1941. He studied arts at UCD and philosophy at Tullabeg, County Offaly. He did his regency as a teacher in Belvedere while also studying for the Higher Diploma in Education at UCD. He was ordained in 1955 after further studies in theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. John continued to teach in Jesuit schools in Ireland and did his tertianship in Spain.
In 1965, John went to the missions in Zambia. There, he learned the Chitonga language, taught in schools, and ministered as Spiritual Father among other roles. He was transcribed to the Zambia Province in 1969. He continued to mission in Zambia except for a period as a key formator in St Peter’s Major Seminary in Malawi from 1982-1986. He was the national director of the Apostleship of Prayer in Zambia from 1986- 1987.
In his later years, John worked in pastoral ministry in the United States from 1987-2009. First in Washington state as pastor, then in Florida as assistant pastor, and later as associate pastor and pastor in South Carolina. In the meantime, he was transcribed to the Irish Province again. He returned to Ireland as a member of the Gardiner Street Community in Dublin where he was a writer among other positions. Notably, John celebrated his 90th birthday in 2013, and he finished the day by watching reports of the election of Pope Francis.
He moved to Cherryfield Lodge nursing home in 2014 where his family visited him very often, and he was most appreciative of the care he received there. John died peacefully on the evening of 19 April in the loving care of the staff at Cherryfield. He is deeply regretted by his sisters Dympna Cunningham and Nesta Tuomey, his brother-in-law Larry, his nephews, nieces and extended family, his Jesuit Community and by many friends in the United States.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

The Early Years – in appreciation of my brother John Terry O’Holohan SJ by Nesta Tuomey
As I often told you your influence on me when I was growing up gave me my strong faith in Jesus Christ and your loving chats about God and the saints so interesting and inspiring, they led me to know and want to love Him from an early age. When you took my sister and myself on walks in the Botanic Garden I particularly remember your stories about Wopsy, the little angel, who was always getting into trouble but when he saw the error of his ways he was penitent and tried to do better. He was the role model for me when I was as young as five or six and I loved hearing about him and all the adventures he had. When you were appointed to Belvedere College you would often bring the boys’ essays home with you and allow us to read them, even, at times, to allot marks in order of excellence. All very exciting and heady stuff for ones as young as we were then. Of course, you would put your own marks on the actual copies but it taught us literary appreciation and perception. I remember being intrigued by the letters A.M.D.G. written at the top of each copybook page. When I asked, you explained what the letters stood for – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam which was the Latin motto for the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola and meant ‘To the greater glory of God’. We enthusiastically imitated the Belvedere boys and put A.M.D.G. at the top of our exercise copies until the Sacred Heart nuns at our school in Leeson Street gently bid us to desist.
Undoubtedly, you passed on to us your own fervour and love of St. Ignatius and when you were ordained you chose to spend your Tertianship at Valencia in Spain, despite the rigorous regime this would entail. When you returned to Ireland after a year away, you could speak Spanish and loved to tell us of St. Ignatius and how he came from a very wealthy family and what a proud aristocratic man he was. How when his leg was severely injured by a cannon ball at the Battle of Pamplona he courageously endured the agony of having it broken again and set without benefit of anaesthetic, rather than endure the mortification of walking for the rest of his life with a limp. During his long convalescence, as his leg slowly healed, he underwent a religious conversion. The only books available to him were the lives of the saints but, before long, he found them very much to his taste, and was inspired by the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who showed their burning love in their unconditional service of God. Giving up his great wealth, he resolved to live a life of poverty and sacrifice, doing everything to the greater glory of God, later founding the Society of Jesus. I read the books you gave me including the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and learned discernment and how to make the right decisions but that was not until I had reached a more mature age.
Back in my childhood I very much liked hearing of St. Ignatius’s life and generosity and how when St. Francis Xavier was very strict on new novices and inclined to send them away from the seminary St. Ignatius always gave them a second chance and took them in again by the back door. That was the saint for me, I decided, he was just like Jesus Christ compassionate and ready to forgive and I found myself very much drawn to the order you had chosen to join. From what you told me I was aware that at the age of seven you knew that you wanted to become a priest and it was through your influence on your pupils at Belvedere that a great many joined the Jesuits and were ordained priests. I was no saint myself and in those early years when I used to complain about having to set the Sunday lunch table while my older sister sat listening to you, you told us the story of Mary and Martha, pointing out that in listening to Jesus and letting her sister cook and set tables ‘Mary had chosen the better part’, as indeed she had. But I could never really like Mary or Martha and would have much preferred to be sitting comfortably listening to your stories myself, particularly, when you had such a wonderful way of engaging our interest. You often told us the Bible was the most exciting book ever written, certainly it was the most blood thirsty too. The stories of David and Jonathan’s great friendship and Saul’s jealousy came alive when you told them, making me long to read them for myself.
You were always very generous with your time and I particularly loved the way you would keep front seats for us at the Belvedere College operas. How we loved Gilbert and Sullivan and came to know all the songs. I can still see you young and vigorous, your soutane flying out behind you, as you came smiling towards us. There were our ‘Lemmo’ parties when you financed a bottle of fizzy lemonade and the luxury of Mikado biscuits with jam and marshmallow topping. You would play cards with us, simple games of ‘Snap’ or ‘Beggar My Neighbour’ and there would be a sweet as the winner’s prize. My mother used to laugh and say you could see no wrong in us, I suspect she would have liked us to be more like model children but was forced to put up with the reality.
On looking back, it was on our walks as children and later when you came to spend your leave from Africa with myself, my husband and children, becoming their friend as you had become mine, that our friendship blossomed and grew. I am so thankful you entered into our lives from the beginning enriching them by your affectionate presence, always stirring us gently to an awareness of Jesus and telling us how important it was to put him first in our lives. Somehow you always saw the best in us no matter what and by your unstinting friendship and wise counselling helped us to become more worthy, less selfish, less self- orientated. Undoubtedly, you helped and guided so many others while abroad on the missions in Africa and during your time spent in America as a Jesuit priest. By your ministry you have touched so many lives. At 86 you returned home to Ireland, having been pastor to three parishes in South Carolina, where you had a driver who brought you to the distant towns to say the weekend masses. You took on so much having always expressed the desire to ‘work while there was work to be done’, always of the mind that you would go anywhere a priest was needed; in your eighties even offering your services on an American troop ship. When the officer with a smile in his voice asked, ‘Do you mind my asking, Father, how old you are?’ you told him your age, adding ‘Well, even if I can’t go on board I can set up a confessional on the dock,’ adding the sobering observation, ‘Many of those young soldiers will never come back from Afghanistan and it may be the only time they will have an opportunity to confess before death.’
With your passing, I feel as though I have lost my best friend but believe and take consolation from the fact you have gone to a better place and you are now with Jesus whom you served so faithfully and for so long. With all my love and thanks until we meet again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005

Obituary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prokoph, Maximilian A, 1910-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2350
  • Person
  • 28 March 1910-28 May 1990

Born: 28 March 1910, Dobřenice, Czechoslovakia
Entered: 07 September 1928, Mittelsteine, Grafschaft, Germany now, Ścinawka Średnia, Poland (GER I for Čechoslovacae Province - CESC)
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Munich, Germany
Final vows: 02 February 1948
Died: 28 May 1990, Nazareth House, Johannesburg, South Africa - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed BOH (Lusaka) to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1947 came to Rathfarnham (HIB) making Tertianship
by 1967 came to St Ignatius Lusaka (HIB) working 1966-1970

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Max was born in Hanersdorf in Bohemia on 28 March 1910. He entered the Jesuits in 1928. After philosophy and a two year stint as a teacher and prefect of discipline in the Jesuit College at Duppau, he went to England, to Heythrop College for theology but returned to Germany for ordination as a priest in Munich in 1937. He returned to England to do a post-graduate certificate in education at London University.

He came to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1940 and spent ten years in pastoral work as well as being in charge of teacher training at Chikuni from 1940 to 1950. During this time he fought for the establishment of Canisius Secondary School and eventually opened it in 1949.

He then moved north to Broken Hill (Kabwe) to the Sacred Heart Church where he worked for 15 years (1950 to 1965) as manager of schools, education secretary and parish priest. For his work he was awarded an M.B.E. from Governor Hone in 1964.

In 1966 he came to Lusaka to St Ignatius Church and was the first chaplain at the newly opened university (UNZA) from 1966 to 1979. During these thirteen years, he was pastorally active in preaching, giving marriage preparatory sessions and counseling. He also found time to visit, help and encourage detainees and prisoners. Then there were his radio programs. Through "Thought for the Day" and other programs, he reached an ever wider public, presenting clear, well-thought-out views on current questions and life in general.
On 24 October 1985, he received the Order of Distinguished Service (1st Division), from President Kaunda for tirelessly 'working for the development of this country for the past 40 years’.

Fr Max was devoted to serving others. School boys, school girls, teachers and managers of schools – all were helped in one way or another. He even organised a bursary fund for students who needed help.

He had the vision forty years ago to see the potential for development and education among the women of the country. Quite early on, he persuaded a group of girls, with permission from their parents, to enrol for teacher training. He transported them from Chikuni to Chilubula Training College. They changed their minds when they got there and wanted to return. But their tears were to no avail. Later, of course, they thanked Fr Max for launching them on a worthwhile career which gave an example to the many young women who followed them.

He did much to encourage, support and motivate the first Zambian priests, men like the late Elias Mutale, the late Dominic Nchete (the first Tonga priest) and Archbishop Adrian Mungandu who acknowledged his influence on them. He also introduced the Handmaid Sisters of the BVM into Zambia. Married couples, both before and after marriage, were a concern of his; he always encouraged and supported them.

Did he consider his life and work worthwhile? His answer was, ‘What could be more worthwhile than working for Christ. If it was given to me to choose again where to live and work for these 50 years, I would choose no other country, no other people’.

He was 'a man for others', driven by the love of Christ. At times he may have been impatient and he could say the most devastating things, but the people forgave him because they knew his heart was in the right place.

In the last few years, his health began to fail. The Nazareth Sisters accepted him in their hospital in Johannesburg where he died on 28 May 1990, aged over 80, fifty of those years were lived in Africa.

Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
When Fr Max Prokoph began to fail, Arthur was as assiduous as ever in helping him.

Note from John Coyne Entry
Of Fr Coyne’s time in Zambia, Fr Max Prokoph writes:
‘In spite of his age, he tried to make himself useful in every way possible. For a man who had a finger in every pie in his home province for so many years, it was quite remarkable that he never tried to interfere in the province of his adoption, but spent his time in all sorts of projects for which a younger person would neither have the time nor the inclination. Having put the archives of the Lusaka Archdiocese in order and separated what belonged to the newly erected diocese of Monze (1962). He got down to gathering material for a history of the mission in the days of the Zambesi Mission. Since there was only one full-time priest available for the parish of St Ignatius (Fr Des O’Loghlen) he gave a hand wherever he could, in the confessional, extra Masses, keeping the parish registers and not least by regular systematic parish visiting, house by house, as far as he could get on foot, perhaps the most systematic visiting the neighbourhood ever had. Quite a few were brought back to the church’.

Note from Maurice Dowling Entry
Fr Max Prokoph who had been instrumental in getting Fr Dowling for the mission and who had been his principal, said of him, "I have never met a more loyal man". Fr Prokoph described how in the initial difficult days, Maurice had stood by him on every occasion, always ready to help, never questioning a decision, absolutely loyal.

Note from Jean Indeku Entry
He also worked with Fr Prokoph on the Luwisha House project and when he returned back to Belgium in 1972, at 67 years of age, he sourced substantial funds to cover the cost of its chapel.

Note from Fred Moriarty Entry
Fr Fred was a radio program coordinator. He recorded many programs in ciTonga and English for ZNBC. He coordinated with Fr Bill Lane and Fr Max Prokoph in this area.

Quinn, Kevin, 1916-1994, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/549
  • Person
  • 21 March 1916-09 December 1994

Born: 21 March 1916, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 09 December 1994, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the John Austin, NCR, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1956 at Gregorian, Rome Italy (ROM) teaching

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The word 'incisive' means 'sharp, clear and effective' and this word apples to Fr. Quinn who was a brilliant student, a clear, talented teacher, had 'justice for all' as a driving force in his life and apostolate. He did not hesitate to stand up to authority in civil, ecclesiastical, religious, trade union and employer circles when he felt justice was at stake – ‘even reducing the Rector of the Gregorian to tears over the way lay employees of that prestigious institution were treated.’

Fr Kevin was born in Limerick, Ireland, on 21 March 1917. He attended the Jesuit school, Crescent College and immediately afterwards entered the Society at Emo Park in 1933. The formation years of study matured him intellectually – university studies, philosophy, theology. He was ordained priest in Milltown Park, Dublin in 1947.

Before the end of 1949, he was called to prepare himself to be co-founder and lecturer in the recently begun Catholic Workers' College. He studied again at U.C.D. where he obtained a Master's degree with first class honours in Economic Science and National Economics in 1951. With this under his belt, he was posted to Rome to the Gregorian University to lecture in Economics for twelve years. He hated Rome and held that his posting was a mistake as the letter summoning him to Rome was address to Pater Quint!

From 1963 to 1969 he lived in Zambia, in Lusaka where he joined the Oppenheimer College (1963-1965) lecturing in Economics and became Vice Principal. Later when the Oppenheimer became the University of Lusaka, he moved there lecturing in Economics. In 1966 he was a member of The Commission of Enquiry into the Mining Industry 1966, Zambia's most important document yet on industry. He was considered to be ‘one of Zambia's most respected and experienced arbitrators in labour affairs’. For his work he was awarded ‘Officer of the Order of Distinguished Service’ by the President in 1966.

He returned to Ireland to the College of Industrial Relations (the former Catholic Workers' College) as director of studies and lecturer where he remained for twenty years.

He lived his life in a spirit of submission to the will of God as he understood it through the wishes of his superiors and ordinary day-to-day events. He was a genuinely humble man with a spirit of detachment and availability. He shared his knowledge with the learned and the unlearned. ‘Kevin possessed many social virtues which endeared him to those about him, especially his colleagues in a common enterprise. His loyal co-operation was very notable, likewise his' almost perpetual good humor and his ability to see both sides of a dispute and provide at times a Solomonesque solution which found acceptance’.

From 1986 to 1994 he was minister in our houses. His health began to fail and he died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge on December 9 1994, aged 78 years.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996

Obituary

Fr Kevin Quinn (1916-1994)

21st March 1916: Born in Limerick.
Secondary studies: Crescent College, Limerick
7th Sept. 1933: Entered Society at St. Mary's, Emo
1935 - 1938: Juniorate at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
1938 - 1941: Studied Philosophy at Tullabeg
1941 - 1944: Regency at Clongowes Wood College
1944 - 1948: Studied Theology at Milltown Institute
30th July 1947: Ordained a Priest
1948 - 1949; Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle
1949 - 1950: Clongowes Wood College - Master
1950 - 1951: Leeson Street - Studied MA at UCD.
1951 - 1963: Gregorian, Rome - Lecturer in Economics
1963 - 1969: Zambia - Lecturer & Vice-Principal at College of Social Science.
1969 - 1973: College of Industrial Relations - Director of Studies & Lecturer in Social Science.
1973 - 1986: Lecturer in Economics
1986: Minister
1989 - 1994: John Austin House - Minister
9th Dec. 1994: Fr. Quinn had been in failing health since last August. He was brought to Cherryfield Lodge while awaiting a bed in the Bon Secours. After a stay at the Bon Secours, he was back in Cherryfield Lodge since the end of November and died there, peacefully, on Friday December 9th, 1994, aged 78

        Caoimhín, I know not how to sing
your gifts of mind and heart and everything
that Love Incarnate fashions for a man
pledged not to me an 'also ran
Your sterling worth was measured true
by all who lived and toiled with you

So wrote a contemporary of Kevin's in a poem celebrating the diamond jubilee of eleven priests who had entered the novitiate at Emo in the autumn of 1933. The author confesses his inability to reveal in the allocated six lines the hiddden treasure of goodness which he and his companions discovered in Kevin during their sixty years in the Society of Jesus.

It was common knowledge even from his noviceship days that he was endowed with a variety of intellectual, social and practical gifts, apart from those supernatural gifts by which Incarnate Love was drawing him to Himself for his own purposes. Yet throughout his long life much remained hiden or at best the subject of surmise while others blossomed with the passing years.

His intellectual gifts matured during his time at UCD and their growth accelerated in philosophy in Tullabeg 1938-41. He spent his next three years teaching in Clongowes, sharing his ideas and ideals with outstanding success. His talent for teaching and opening up young minds became apparent. This was for him a happy and rewarding time. But it was in Milltown Park that his intellectual power became apparent to his professors and fellow-students alike. He was equally at home in dogma and moral. He had little difficulty in passing his Ad Grad in June 1948 before going on to tertianship in Rathfarnham in the September of that year.

After tertianship, to the surprise of many, he was re-appointed to teaching in Clongowes. But before the end of 1949 the call came to prepare himself to be a co-founder and lecturer in the still inchoate Catholic Workers' College. This new appointment entailed two more years of study in Economic Science and National Economics at UCD, where he obtained a Master's degree with first class honours.

One might be excused for thinking that Kevin had reached the end of the beginning of his life-apostolate when he started to lecture to working-men in February 1952. But not long after he was called to take up a permanent post in a newly-founded Institute of Social and Economic Studies attached to the Gregorian University in Rome. He spent the next eleven years lecturing and counselling and in building up a library for the Institute. Then he was seconded to the Oppenheimer Institute in Lusaka, the nucleus of the University of Zambia. He returned to Ireland in 1969 to become Director of the College of Industrial Relations and he remained there for twenty years lecturing in Statistics and contributing greatly to the work of the College.

From this summary of his varied work and apostolate it is clear that at no point did he choose his assignment over the forty-four years of his active ministry. This speaks eloquently of his spirit of detachment and his availability, though it tells us little of what all this cost him personally. It does reveal that there was not a shred of careerism in his make-up neither as to the choice of work nor as to its location or other circumstances.

There are still other aspects of Kevin's authentic Ignatian spirit. Like most of us he had his likes and dislikes as regards his associates or those for whom he worked; but I never knew him to allow personal preferences to intrude on his apostolate. He was on friendly and cooperative terms with his colleagues and he shared his knowledge with the learned and unlearned with equal enthusiasm. He had no 'hang-ups' as between helping the poor rather than the rich, the cleric rather than the lay-person. All who came to his lecture-room or office received the best service he could give. He was a man for all the Lord sent to him: a man without a trace of intellectual snobbery.

Kevin was a very private person and did not speak easily of interior things or tell of all God had done for him. But we know from the Lord that a tree can be known by its fruit; so it was patent to those who lived with him over the years that he was a genuinely humble man. He certainly lived his life, especially after his ordination and tertianship, in a spirit of submission to the will of God as he understood it through the wishes of superiors and day-to-day events.

To persevere in religious life is not always easy nor was it easy in Kevin's case at all times. The following prayer that he once recommended for times of “desolation: may reflect a personal experience of his own:

        Lord, drag me
if I will not walk
and when my wavering
footsteps go astray
or wander on their own
perversive way
when they refuse your will
the whole day long
and clamour to be still
when stubborn knees
are loath to pray
the body sulks
the minds turn gray
path leads uphill
then waste no pains
on me
nor coax me
nor to guide, essay
dear Lord
but drag me
if I will not walk

Kevin possessed many social virtues which endered him to those about him, especially his colleagues in a common enterprise. His loyal co-operation was very notable, likewise his almost perpetual good humour and his ability to see both sides of a dispute and provide at times a Solomonesque solution which found acceptance. He combined patience in listening, openness to new ideas and new ways, courtesy in all his dealings, and obvious sincerity with a personal playfulness and a profound love of justice in argument. All went to make him a unique reconciler in the field of industrial relations and a welcome member of any Jesuit community.

When death was near he was well prepared for it. Shortly before he died he asked Brother Joe Cleary to shave off his beard, saying with a smile: 'You can keep it as a relic!'

May his generous soul rest in peace.

Eddie Kent SJ

-oOo-

Kevin returned to the College of Industrial Relations in 1969, succeeding Fr. Edmond Kent as Director. He guided the College through a transitional period after the close of Fr. Kent's directorship in which it had been successfully established and developed. In 1972 he returned to lecturing in Economics and Statistics in which he excelled and remained in this role until his retirement. He was very generous in giving additional personal tuition to students who were experiencing difficulties and many students got through their exams as a result of his help and went on to successful careers in Accountancy, Personnel Management and Trade Unions.

He was well liked by both staff members and students and his advice was frequently sought. It was typical of him that when he felt the time had come to retire he quietly slipped away with a minimum of fuss. Happily, Fr. Tod Morrissey persuaded him to have his portrait painted at this time and it hangs in the College as a reminder of his great contribution over so many years.

John Brady SJ

-oOo-

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice”. This was my text and theme for my homily at Kevin's funeral Mass. And justice for all was, I thought and think, a driving force in his life and apostolate. He did not hesitate to stand up to Authority in civil, ecclesiastical, religious, trade union and employer circles when he felt that justice was at stake - even to reducing the Rector of the Gregorian to tears over the way lay employees of that prestigious institution were treated.

He hated Rome, whither he averred he had been sent by mistake. The message received in Germany summoning him to the Gregorian was addressed to a Pater Quint. He alleged that, apart from the Greg, the only places he knew in Rome were the Termini (the central rail station) and the airport; but he could have added Babington's Tea rooms at the Spanish Steps whither he and Miss Stafford, an old firend from the International Labour Office in Geneva, resorted on Sundays. It is doubtful if he ever visited St. Peter's.

Release from Rome came with his assignment to the Oppenheimer Institute (the nucleus of the University of Zambia) in Lusaka in the then Northern Rhodesia. At the conclusion of his six years there he was decorated by President Kaunda of the newly-formed Zambia, fought off a move to re-assign him to Rome and returned to Ireland.

Kevin was a solid and shrewd counsellor, a very dedicated minister in John Austin and a good friend. I can say no more.

Seán Hughes SJ

-oOo-

It was only when he joined the John Austin Community in 1989 that I really got to know Kevin Quinn. He was a very edifying companion. To see this professsor emeritus of the College of Industrial Relations, the Gregorian and the Oppenheimer commuting between the house and the supermarket and attending to the minutiae of community maintenance was a lesson in diaconia straight from the Acts of the Apostles. More than once I found him a good listener, ready to give time and advice on a problem. He was a very honest person this was evident at community meetings. He was forthright in opinion, impatient of humbug and ready to shed enlightenment on many topics. He was sensitive to the needs of others. I experienced much kindness from him.

He was richly and (forgiveably) repetitiously reminiscent about his time in Rome (which he detested apart from his Sunday excursions - cf. Seán Hughes' piece) and in Zambia where President Kaunda decorated him as an Officer of the Order of Distinguished Service for his work in industrial relations.

As Seán Hughes emphasises, he had a strong sense of justice. With this went a rapport with 'ordinary people: I think a favourite experience of his while in John Austin was the long conversations over coffee and cigarettes with the lady who came to clean and tidy the house. She really mourned him when he left us.

It was a grace to know him in community. Requiescat.

Stephen Redmond SJ

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka

  • Corporate body
  • 1927-

Established in 1927, as Apostolic Prefecture of Broken Hill (from Apostolic Prefecture of Zambese). Lost territories in 1936 to establish Apostolic Prefecture of Victoria Falls (now its suffragan diocese Livingstone) and in 1938 to establish Apostolic Prefecture of Ndola (now its suffragan diocese). Renamed in 1946 after its see as Apostolic Prefecture of Lusaka. Promoted in 1950 Apostolic Vicariate of Lusaka. Promoted in 1959 as Metropolitan Archdiocese of Lusaka. Lost territories in 1962 to establish Diocese of Monze and in 2011 to establish Diocese of Kabwe, both as its suffragans.

Sharkey, Brian, 1917-1980, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/399
  • Person
  • 22 January 1917-28 October 1980

Born: 22 January 1917, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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 baptised 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 humour which led him to savour 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.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 56th Year No 1 1981

Obituary

Fr Brian Sharkey (1917-1935-1980)

I saw hardly anything of Brian Sharkey for the last thirty years or so while he was in Zambia. Although we spent all our scholasticate together, detailed memories of those fifteen years cannot be recalled easily at this distance. Many things have happened since 1950 and much has changed; including ourselves. However, some impressions of Brian are crystal clear to me and of importance. I may have forgotten the details but I remember the meaning. His life and attitudes revealed certain things to me so that I remember Brian with gratitude and pleasure. My memories, like the man, are of one piece. He appeared to me, remarkably, as a man of integrity and wholeness.
We met first in the Higher Line pavilion at Clongowes. The day was sunny and warm. Both of us - in the slightly dishonourable role of “twelfth man” in the senior cricket teams were “scorers” in the annual match between Clongowes and Belvedere. Brian, I remember, was very pleasant, welcoming and civilised; something I appreciated even then. I suppose there was a maturity about him which impressed even the very callow youth I then was. As I came to know him better I never had any occasion to alter that judgment.
We met again, to our mutual surprise at the portals of Emo. Although objects and events in that undoubtedly grace filled but quite fantastic noviceship are blurred in the memory (fish-bath, blue gravel, ice-pits, ambulacrum) I remember Brian, who was physically strong, as a great man with a mattock on sycamore roots and as a terrifying inside forward.
Much more importantly, I remember his as someone utterly reliable and stable at all times. Brian gave the impression from the beginning that he knew exactly why he was in Emo and had no doubts about it. Of course, everyone must have some doubts and I am sure Brian was no exception. He seemed however to be able to master the 'blues' better than the rest of us. Even then, I think the reason must have been apparent: he prayed much, perhaps constantly, with deep concentration. Prayer was an occupation at which he was at home.
The years of studies must have been difficult for Brian. He was an intelligent man, sensitive in judgment particularly where people were concerned, but he never made any claims to being academic. During the dark years of 1937 to 1940 when we were juniors in Rathfarnham, Brian bore himself cheerfully and honourably and encouraged others. He was present, at the little cove near Skerries, when Peter Cush was drowned. Brian was a strong swimmer and, if he had not been there, others perhaps would also have been lost.
I found it disturbing to discover - many years later, when it was too late to do anything - that Brian, during his philosophy in Tullabeg and his theology in Milltown, had to translate painfully the Latin textbooks into English before he could start work. He had particular difficulty with Génicot's moral theology: where, of course, he was concerned to be accurate. Then he had to sit out the lectures which, for the most part, were in uncompromising Latin, My heart bleeds for him and for the others who also suffered.
Yet Brian never complained or lost his air of stability and peace. His cheerfulness and sense of humour was constant and never seemed to wear thin, At the time, for everybody, obstacles in studies were many and by no means easy to overcome; for him they must have been enormous. He overcame them all.
Once again, the explanation must lie in his prayer; the quality of which one could guess at from his stillness and obvious concentration. His constant joy, cheerfulness and kindness too must have been the fruit of his inner union with the Lord. From his first day in Emo on, as I have said, Brian seemed to be quite sure why he was in the Society; to serve the Lord in His people. He went to Zambia in the calm certainty that he was called and sent by the Lord. The world was a better place for his being in it. May he rest now in peace!
J C Kelly

Fr Brian entered the noviceship, Emo, on 7th September 1935 and went through the usual Jesuit formation. The war determined that the scholastics of those days would receive their academical and spiritual training, sound though perhaps unimaginative, within the shores of holy Ireland, uncontaminated by the new 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 – one 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 a row down the canal and the Brosna to Shannon Harbour - the congenial Brian would never let you down.
When Frs Paddy Walsh and Paddy O'Brien volunteered for the Polish Mission in Zambia, back in 1946, not one of us young Jesuits dreamed that their action would affect us. We were Mission-minded, but Hong Kong was Our Mission. In 1950, however, the Irish Province committed itself to aid the inadequately manned Polish Mission, and at the completion of his tertianship Brian was assigned to Zambia.
Most of the early Irish activity was centred on an area stretching from the Kafue river towards Livingstone, 200 miles to the south, and from Namwala on the Zambesi to 150 miles east. The district had but one Mission station, Chikuni, an important centre then but rather small in the light of later developments. The Christians then numbered a few hundreds; now they are numbered in thousands. The build-up was not easy, Cycling out on roads that were dusty in the dry season, clinging mud in the rains, to see to the burning of bricks for new schools, encouraging the teachers, organising the catechumenates, then back to Chikuni with its pit-latrine and solitary tin-bath, a struggling paraffin fridge and the tilley lamp, Brian and his associates of those early days faced, literally, the weariness, the fever and the fret, but through their tireless perseverance, in thirty years the Church has been transformed. As one not directly involved in the ceaseless activity but more or less sitting on the sideline, I feel free to express my deep admiration for their devotion.
Remarkable projects and impressive buildings now mark the diocese - churches, halls, schools of varying levels of education, hospitals and clinics - but not one of these is the work of Fr Brian. Has he then left no lasting monument? He certainly has. I do not think that anyone would quarrel with the assertion that none of us touched the hearts of the people as Fr Brian did. Years after he left Kasiya Mission, his successors would be reminded that “Fahta Shaakee baptised me ... Fahta Shaakee married me ...” This was the more remarkable as Brian did not acquire a fluency in their language. The depth of and the reason for their response may be gathered from a Form I boy's letter of sympathy (he had met Brian on retreat once). He wrote and I leave his words untouched), “It’s very sad that such a man should pass away. He was so kind and peace loving man. He was always so eager to help the students ... Even though we never lived together my life has been changed”.
In the expansion, manpower was often stretched thin and harassed Superiors often had to fill a gap at a moment's notice: but Brian was there. He was switched from Chikuni to Kasiya, back to Chikuni, to Fumbo, to Namwala, to Civuna, back to Namwala, etc. Yet he was no automaton: he felt it. After one sudden transfer he said to me, “You know, there can be the last straw”, and on another occasion, “I find this assignment very hard”. 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
When I was a first-year Junior, I remember a senior Junior (I) whose words of wisdom we held in reverence (and still do) saying, “Gosh, I'm convinced that the strength of the Society lies in the ordinary Jesuit”. The life of Fr Brian Sharkey would be a forceful argument in favour of that proposition.
He was always contented, and particularly so during his last years in Mukasa. It was a time of shortages but Brian was largely responsible for ensuring that things ran smoothly; and they did. When the end suddenly came, he worried that he was letting Jerry O’Connell and the boys down just before their exams. Long before the words became a catch-phrase, Fr Brian Sharkey was a living example of “living for others”.
D C

Thompson, Robert, 1918-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/545
  • Person
  • 25 April 1918-09 September 1995

Born: 25 April 1918, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1952, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 09 September 1995, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘He was single-minded and tireless’.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996

Obituary

Fr Robert (Bob) Thompson (1918-1995)

25th April 1918: Born at Mallow, Co. Cork
Education; Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1936: Entered Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1938: First Vows at Emo
1938 - 1941: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1941 - 1944: Tullabeg, Philosophy
1944 - 1946: Clongowes Wood College, Regency
1946 - 1950; Milltown Park, Theology
31st July 1949; Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1950 - 1951: Tertianship, Rathfarnham
1951 - 1963: Zambia: Learning the language, Teaching in Chikuni Boarding School, Secretary to Bishops Conference, Teacher of Religion, Scouts Trainer, Minor Seminary teacher, Editor, “The Leader” magazine
2nd Feb. 1952: Final Vows, Chikuni College
1964 - 1969: Crescent College, Limerick, Teacher
1969 - 1970; Tullabeg - Missioner Rathfarnham - Assistant Director, Retreat House
1970 - 1976: Tullabeg - Director of Retreat House
1976 - 1977; Tullabeg - Superior
1977 - 1987: Clongowes - Assistant Curate, Clane Parish
1987 - 1991: Galway - Assistant Curate, Moycullen
1991 - 1995: Clongowes - Coordinator EC Leader Programme, Clane Community Council
9th Sept. 1995: Died unexpectedly at St. Vincent's Private Nursing Home

When leaving Clongowes in his last year Bob Thompson proved himself a very good all rounder, academically as well. Seldom if ever did he praise himself, for example, as a member of the Irish Mission staff doing the length and breadth of Ireland. He was never heard to criticise others on a mission or quietly hint that he was really the number one on the team.

In many ways he was lucky in having Fr. Donal O'Sullivan as Rector of Scholastics in Tullabeg. Bob had little time for piffling matters and could take a hard knock when it was just and due. As a Junior at UCD and Philosopher he had a good sense of humour and greatly benefited from a full house of scholastics. Having six men about the home in Mallow had its own advantage in growth points which no doubt was a definite help in his life.

His years as a young priest in Africa gave him a good deal of experience which he used with amazing courage and which sometimes might have benefited with just that touch of a little prudence and patience. He was always proud of Kenneth Kaunda, especially when Zambia came of age. On the occasion when the country was officially opened, Bob received an invitation here in Ireland to the real opening ceremony out in Zambia, so many miles away. It showed an appreciation and gratitude on the part of the New President of the time when Kaunda, his wife and eight children needed and received practical assistance while he waited in the wings in gaol for many a long day.

When Bob was sent to Tullabeg for a few years, he proved to be a man with big ideas, when finances were a serious matter for the running of retreats. He initiated an annual "Field Day" for Co. Offaly on such a gigantic scale, one wonders now at those vast undertakings. He had a huge army of backers, reminding us of things to come in Clane that was beyond ordinary Jesuit reckoning.

The ten years when Bob acted as assistant curate in Clane parish were blessed for him by having local priests who encouraged him and gave him his head. The seeds that started to grow in Africa now came into fruition due to his intellectual capacity. The next three qualities he had, are seldom seen in the one person, he was radical, he had vision and he made things happen. Not everyone grasped the deep compassion in his make up for those in trouble. They certainly saw how he motivated those around him and especially young people. We were all made aware at some stage that nobody got preferential treatment, least of all those who believed they deserved it! He was single-minded and tireless.

Today we see for ourselves the results of his achievements: the modern primary schools with their lovely run in to the village; the restored Abbey; a work of genuine artistic beauty obviously influenced by expert professional advice; the renovation of Mainham Cemetery, the various tidy town and amenity projects, the memorial to Fr. John Sullivan and finally the site for the new Enterprise Centre.

His health deteriorated for a year or so, prior to his sudden death. This was shown in his step slowing down and the energy slackening. He himself very wisely prepared to hand over to others what needed to be continued and often completed. This is a sign of a real leader who can pass on jobs to others that he would normally do himself. We Jesuits who lived with him admired the way the Lord blessed him with a magnificent base speaking voice, clear diction, so natural in delivery. He was a devoted confessor, nothing artificial in his dealings with parishioners and so sympathetic to those going through hard times. He had a big heart.

His sudden death came as a shock to his family, the Jesuits in Clongowes and to the people of Clane and neighbourhood. Seldom have we seen such a fitting farewell to any Jesuit. The last line was said at his graveside by Mr PJ Kirby in a truly wonderful oration. “The best tribute we can pay Fr. Bob is to try to emulate his example and continue the strong tradition of community and voluntary work. I know the people of Clane will not disappoint him!”

Kieran Hanley SJ

Oration at the graveside of Fr. Bob Thompson S.J. Delivered by Mr. P.J. Kirby, Chairman of Clane Community Council 12th September 1995.

Friends and neighbours,

May I thank Fr. Bob's family and the Jesuit community for providing this opportunity to the people of Clane to honour someone we loved.

I know that some of Fr. Bob's friends from Moycullen are also here today and I hope that what we want to say also reflects how the people of Galway felt about Fr Bob.

Today we are celebrating the life of someone who made an immense contribution to Clane as a priest and a community worker. This happened because Fr. Bob had a number of outstanding personal qualities:

  • He had an intellectual capacity second to none
  • He was radical
  • He had vision
  • He made things happen
  • He was compassionate
  • He motivated those around him
  • He was even-handed; nobody got preferential treatment least of all those who believed they deserved it
  • He was single-minded and tireless and, not least,
  • He was stubborn as a donkey!

These qualities enabled Fr. Bob to achieve things that we can see with our own eyes in Clane today:

  • The modern primary schools
  • The restored Abbey
  • The renovation of Mainham Cemetery
  • Various tidy town and amenity projects
  • The memorial to Fr. John Sullivan; (I will refer again to this later)
  • The site for the new Enterprise Centre

These are all tangible examples of the practical contribution Fr. Bob made to Clane. However, he also made other contributions that were less obvious but are probably of more value than we realise:

  1. He looked after poor people (this was done in a sensitive, low-key way that protected the dignity of the people concerned)

  2. He had an abiding interest in encouraging young people to use their talents and he had total confidence in their ability to improve on what the last generation had done.

  3. He left a legacy of committed community workers to carry on the work; the anticipation of his own departure is always the mark of a great leader.

Each of us will have our own special memories of Fr. Bob. On a personal note, he had a profound influence on my continuing adult education - you could not get this type of learning at any school or university. Some of the community projects I mentioned earlier were concocted late at night in Fr. Bob's house here in Clongowes, very often with spiritual help of the liquid kind.

He had particular insights into the creative and positive use of alcohol. For example, he did not agree with people giving up drink for Lent. I discovered this to my cost one day years ago when he took an abrupt turn in his Fiesta into Manzor's pub car park. The fact that I also came from the Blackwater valley in North Cork did not spare me from a stern lecture on the opportunity for doing good through buying a drink for a friend, a neighbour or a stranger.

I mentioned the memorial to Fr. John Sullivan earlier. Many people in Clane genuinely believe that history has repeated itself. It is remarkable, in the space of two generations, two people of the calibre of Fr. John Sullivan and Fr. Bob Thompson should emerge from the Jesuit order and contribute so much to the welfare of the people of Clane and the surrounding districts. It is a class double act that will be very hard to follow.

Now it's time to say farewell. Someone remarked at the week-end that the last time the people of Clane bid farewell to Fr, Bob he came back! Nothing should be ruled out and I'm sure that he is not gone far away.

The best tribute we can pay Fr. Bob is to try to emulate his example and continue the strong tradition of community and voluntary work. I know the people of Clane will not disappoint him.

University of Zambia

  • Corporate body
  • 1965-

The University of Zambia (UNZA) was established by Act of Parliament No. 66 of 1965. The first intake of students took place on 17th March 1966.

Wafer, Frank,1934-2021, Jesuit priest

  • Person
  • 09 April 1934-17 September 2021

Born: 09 April 1934, Dalkey, County Dublin
Entered: 14 September 1951, St Mary’s Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1965, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, St Ignatius, Stamford Hill, London, England
Died: 17 September 2021, Coptic Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia - Southern Africa Province (SAP)

Part of the Chula House, Lusaka community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM, 03 December 1969

1951-1953 St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
1953-195 Rathfarnham Castle - Studying
1956-1959 St Stanislaus College Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1959-1962 Chivuna, Moinze - Regency studying language, then teaching at Canisius College, Chikuni
1962-1963 Innsbruck, Austria - studying Theology
1963-1966 Milltown Park - studying Theology
1966-1967 Rathfarnham Castle - Tertianship
1967-1971 St Ignatius College London - studying Education, then studying Music
1971-1980 Charles Lwanga, Monze, Zambia - teaching Music
1980-1991 Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze, Zambia
1991-2017 Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
2017-201 Chula House, Lusaka, Zambia

https://www.iji.ie/2021/08/24/maembo-the-one-who-sings/

Padraig Swan, Director of Faith and Service Programmes in Belvedere College, reflects on the life of Frank Wafer SJ, who worked with the Tonga people in Zambia to preserve their language and music.

This year, Frank Wafer SJ marks his 70th anniversary in the Society of Jesus, an incredible achievement and celebration of a lifelong vocation.

Frank was born in 1934 in Dublin and attended Christian Brothers’ schools in Dun Laoghaire and Monkstown. He joined the Jesuits in 1951 when he was just 17. He completed his Bachelors’ Degree in UCD before going to Tullybeg for Philosophy. He first went to Zambia in 1959 for his Regency, and spent the next two years in Chivuna and Chikuni. In 1961 he went to study theology in Innsbruck, Austria and he completed this part of his Jesuit education in Milltown, Dublin, where he was ordained in 1965.

He completed his Tertianship in 1966, obtaining an MA from the London University School of Oriental and African Studies. That year he also went back to Zambia as a missionary, following in the footsteps of many Irish Jesuits. It was the beginning of many years living and working in rural Chikuni in the diocese of Monze in Southern Zambia.

Preservation of Tonga Culture

Andrew Lesniara SJ, who worked with him in Chikuni spoke of his love of music and of the Tonga culture and described his work to preserve the heritage of the people who lived there.

“At the very beginning of his work in Zambia Fr Frank Wafer recognised the importance of music and dance in the life of the Tonga people. He was one of the first missionaries of inculturation that was not being talked about or addressed. He drove on his motorbike and recorded traditional music. Based on these tunes, he worked with a team of people who composed Catholic hymns in native Tonga for use at Mass and other occasions.

These became very popular and from them sprang activities of local composers who were given the green light to break tradition of singing Latin hymns and translating lyrics into Tonga. The music was recorded on reel-to-reel tape recorders and these recordings were used to teach hymns and songs to others in their native language. The collection is currently being digitised to preserve them, otherwise the unique and large collection will be lost. These audio archives will eventually be available online for researchers and cultural enthusiasts.”

In addition to writing and recording liturgical music – which is still in use today – Frank spent much of his priestly life writing dictionaries. He created the only Tonga-English dictionary available in the world. He also established the Mukanzubo Institute and Museum in Chikuni for the promotion of Tonga culture, music and dance for the next generation.

The One Who Sings

Frank is known as maembo in the Tonga language, meaning ‘the one who sings’. He recognised the importance of holding on to the traditions for the younger generations, and in particular the music. In June 2019, I travelled with a radio producer and professional photographer to Chikuni to start the work of preserving the many recordings made by Frank. In all there are 343 ‘reel to reel’ tapes and 201 cassette tapes of recordings. I had been visiting Chikuni and Mukanzubo for many years and responded to an ongoing request to help preserve the recordings that were stored in a metal filing cabinet and in danger of deteriorating giving a sense of urgency to the project.

The process of preserving the recordings was to first create a catalogue of what recordings were there and to index them with details such as numbering each tape, describing the box, writing a note of the description on the box, the condition of the tape, the size etc. Each tape and associated notes were also photographed. This process took several days and was facilitated by Yvonne Ndala and Mabel Chombe from the Mukanzubo Institute. The final result is most likely the only comprehensive record of all the recordings made by Frank.

Retirement in Lusaka

Since his retirement from Mukanzubo and Chikuni Frank has spent his time in John Chula House in Lusaka where he is cared for by the Jesuits and a medical team. We were delighted to see him look so well and to be able to share with him the news that work had begun on preserving the large archives of recordings he made, when we visited him in 2019. The news that his recordings would be kept for posterity brought him great joy.
As he marks his 70th anniversary in the Jesuits it is without doubt that he has already left a great legacy – to the Zambia Jesuit Province, to his own personal vocation as a missionary, and to the Tonga people. He has indeed served his mission for the Greater Glory of God. AMDG.

https://jesuitssouthern.africa/2021/09/17/fr-francis-wafer-sj-rip/
The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) mourns the loss of Fr Francis Wafer SJ.

After several years of declining health he passed away peacefully this afternoon, Friday 17 September 2021, the Feast of St Robert Bellarmine, at the Coptic Hospital in Lusaka. Fr Wafer will be remembered for his deep care for the Tonga people in Chikuni Mission, where he founded and directed the Mukanzubo Kalinda Institute.

We commend Fr Wafer to the Lord, knowing that he is now at peace.

https://www.mukanzubo.org

Fr Francis Wafer was born on 9 April 1934 in Dalkey, Ireland to William and Kathleen Wafer. After completing his schooling with the Christian Brothers in Monkstown, he entered the Novitiate of the Society on 14 September 1951 in Emo Park. He completed his Juniorate at Rathfarnham from 1953-1956 and then went on to do his Philosophy studies at Tullabeg (1956-1959). In 1960-1961 he was missioned to complete his Regency at Canisius Secondary School in Chikuni, Zambia. He did his Theology at Innsbruck and Milltown between 1962-1966, and was ordained 29 July 1965 in Dublin. He was soon sent on Tertianship at Rathfarnham between 1966-1967 and took Final Vows on 2 February 1968. He read for an MA at the University of London' School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), graduating in 1969, before moving to Zambia where he became a Lecturer at St Charles Lwanga College in Chikuni from 1970-1978. Some stints of pastoral work followed, in Kasiya in 1979, and Nakambala in 1980. He then returned to Chikuni and was Parish Priest at St Mary’s, Monze from 1981-1989 but fell ill. Between 1989-1990 he returned to Dublin to recover. He then returned to Chiknui and started the Mukanzubo Kalinda Institute from 1990-2007 where he worked as Director. He stepped down as Director but remained working there from 2007-2014, and from 2014-2015, with his failing health, he took a step back, only assisting when he could, but finally retired to Chula House in Lusaka in 2015 where he stayed until his death on the Feast of St Robert Bellarmine, 17 September 2021. He will be remembered for his formidable contributions in learning and conserving Tonga Culture and for his deep respect for and love of the local people.

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

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Early education at Mungret College SJ; Tertianship at Rathfarnham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

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

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

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

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

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

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

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

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

Irish Province News 50th Year No 2 1975

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Walsh (1911-1975)

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

Irish Province News 51st Year No 3 1976

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Walsh (1928-1975)

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

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

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