Nakambala

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Nakambala

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Nakambala

4 Name results for Nakambala

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.

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

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'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.