Charles Lwanga College

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21 Name results for Charles Lwanga College

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Benson, Patrick J, 1923-1970, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/735
  • Person
  • 19 December 1923-15 May 1970

Born: 19 December 1923, Kilkishen, County Clare
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: 15 May 1970, Fordham University, The Bronx, New York, USA - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The suddenness of Fr Paddy's death came as a great shock. He had left Chikuni for a well deserved leave in January 1970 and during the course of that leave went to the USA to do some career guidance. He had been doing this at Canisius Secondary School with great success and went overseas to acquire the latest techniques. He was staying at Fordham University when he died, and an extract from a letter from the Rector there, Fr James Hennessey S. J., gave the details of Fr Paddy's death:

"He had been here a month and we were delighted to have him. Rarely has anyone fitted into the community so well. He was always pleasant and his humour was delightful, he went about his business seriously and impressed all who came into contact with him. He was cheerful to the last; several who were with him at dinner last evening remembered that he had been in fine fettle. He must have retired early. This morning a relative, Br Bernard F.M.S., came to call for him. They had planned to spend the day together. It was about 10 a.m. and when Paddy did not answer, he went to his room and found him dead. It looked to me as if he had tried to get up, then had fallen back and died quickly and peacefully. There was no evidence of struggle or pain. Fr Minister anointed him and our house doctor pronounced him dead of a coronary".

Paddy was born in Co. Clare, Ireland, on 19th December 1923, an only child. He went to St Flannan's College in Co. Clare and after his final year in school, entered the Society on 7 September 1942 much to the regret of the diocesan clergy who would have liked him for the diocese. He went through the usual training in the Society doing his regency at Belvedere and Mungret. While at these places he was known for his selflessness and the memory everyone had of Fr. Paddy was of his willingness to help others in any way he could. He was ordained at Milltown Park on the 31st July 1956, a happy event which was tempered by the fact that neither of his parents lived to see him ordained. After his tertianship he came to Zambia.

After spending some time learning the language, he became Manager of Schools for a year, then did two years at Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College and finally came to Canisius in 1962, as Senior Prefect, a position he held until 1969 when he was acting principal for almost a year.

If one were to pick out two virtues in Fr Paddy, all would agree that his ever-cheerfulness and readiness to help others are the two outstanding ones. He was a man who rarely thought of himself or his own comfort and this combined with a simplicity of soul, endeared him to all who had dealings with him. In all the houses in which he had been, he left his mark, for he was gifted with his hands and electricity had always been his chief hobby. In Milltown Park, Dublin he did the wiring for the telephone system while he was studying there. In many houses in Zambia, both in the Society and elsewhere, there are "many things electrical" which are working due to Fr Paddy's dexterity.

He was never too busy to help others and was ready to drop everything in order to be of assistance to the many who called on him to do "little jobs", to fill in for a supply if someone was sick or unavailable, or just to be cheerful in conversation. This willingness to help others and his fondness for the steering wheel, gave him a certain mobility and it was not uncommon to see him disappearing in clouds of dust down the avenue.

He led a tiring life but even so, at the end of a hard week put in at the school work, he would go off on Mass supply to preach and baptise or help in the parish at Chikuni. To one who lived and worked with Fr Paddy for many years, the oft quoted Latin tag "consummatus in brevi, expleveit tempora multa" (he accomplished much in a short time) takes on a new meaning.

Though he died in New York his body was returned to Ireland to be buried at Mungret where he had taught and which was not too far from his old home.
Many letters of sympathy came to Fr O’Riordan, Education Secretary General, not least from the Minister of Education and his Permanent Secretary. Here are some extracts: "Fr Benson will always be remembered for his warm humanity, keen sense of humour and willingness to assist others." (Minister of Education); "Fr Benson's calm and reasoned approach to education problems, his sense of humour and the cooperative and helpful spirit with which he went about his affairs, remain in the memory." (Permanent Secretary, Min. Ed.).

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 45th Year No 3 1970

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Benson SJ (1923-1970)

The news of Fr. Benson's death in New York on May 15th had a stunning effect on those, and they were many, who but a short time previously had welcomed him back for the holiday break from Zambia; he had spent some intervals in his native Clare and had visited a number of friends in the various houses and professed himself sufficiently fit to do an educational course at Fordham before returning to the missions proper.
After the first announcement of his death Fr. James Hennessy, Rector of Fordham, set himself immediately to give a more detailed account : “Several of those who were at dinner with him last evening remarked that he had been in fine fettle. He must have retired early. This morning a relative, Br. Bernard, F.H.S., came to call for him. They had planned a day together. It was about 10 am, and when Paddy did not answer Br. Bernard went to his room and found him dead. It looked to me as if he had tried to get up, then had fallen back and died quickly and peacefully. There was no evidence of struggle or pain. Fr. Minister anointed him and our house doctor pronounced him dead of a coronary”.
Fr. Provincial here was contacted and it was decided to have the burial at Mungret sixteen miles from Fr. Paddy's native place Kilkishen, across the Shannon.
In Fordham the obsequies were not neglected; over twenty Jesuits were present at the exequial Mass on May 18th; the lessons were read by Frs. Joseph Kelly, Brian Grogan and Hugh Duffy. Fr. Paddy Heelan gave an appreciation of his contemporary and friend at an evening Mass previously and Fr. George Driscoll, Superior of the Gonzaga Retreat House for boys, with whom Fr. Benson had already formed a firm friendship, gave the homily or funeral oration. The suffrages on Fr. Benson's behalf from the Fordham community amount to 150 Masses.
Fr. Paddy was a student at St. Flannan's College, Ennis, and had come to our novitiate in 1942 in company with his fellow collegian Michael O'Kelly whose lamentable early death occurred when later they were theologians together in Milltown. Paddy followed the conventional courses - juniorate and degrees from UCD at Rathfarnham; colleges at Belvedere and Mungret, and theology at Milltown, priesthood 1946.
He went to Zambia (North Rhodesia then) in 1948. An energetic teacher and missionary with considerable versatility and skill in practical matters - his flair with electric fittings saved the mission considerable incidental expenses, obliging and resultantly much in demand. He possessed a pleasant sober manner, not dominating but willing to take his share quietly in the conversation, a sense of humour and a droll remark where apposite. About five years since he was home for the normal break and on this present occasion no one from his appearance would have surmised that the end was approaching; since his death we have been informed that in Africa, he had recently experienced a bout of languor which made it advisable that he take a change which he did in Southern Rhodesia and he appeared to have been re-established on his return to Ireland; the sad and unexpected event of May 15th proved other wise. May he rest in peace.

Fr. C. O'Riordan has forwarded the following letters of sympathy from the Minister of Education and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education in Lusaka :

Dear Fr. O'Riordan,
I have learned, with a deep sense of shock, of the untimely death of Fr. Benson whilst in New York. To those of us who were privileged to have known and worked with Fr, Benson, this comes with a heartfelt sense of regret.
Fr. Benson, apart from his long and dedicated service both at Charles Lwanga Training College and Canisius Secondary School at which, towards the end of last year, he acted as principal, will always be remembered for his warm humanity, keen sense of humour and willingness to assist others.
I am writing to you because of Fr. Benson's involvement in education, but would be most grateful if you could convey my sincere condolences, coupled with those of the Minister of State, to Fr. Counihan and to His Lordship, Bishop Corboy, to each of whom Fr. Benson's death must be a grievous loss.
Yours sincerely,
W. P NYIRENDA (Minister of Education).

Dear Fr. O'Riordan,
I was deeply shocked to hear, from our telephone conversation this morning, of Fr. Benson's death.
One is conscious of the significant contribution he made, both at Canisius Secondary School and Charles Lwanga during the years he served in Zambia. His calm and reasoned approach to education problems, his sense of humour and the co-operative and helpful spirit with which he went about his affairs, remain in the memory.
Please accept not only my own heartfelt condolences, but those on behalf of all my officers within the Ministry, who I know will feel Fr. Benson's death keenly.
Yours sincerely,
D. BOWA (Permanent Secretary).

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1970

Obituary

Father Patrick Benson SJ

Fr Benson taught in Belvedere as a scholastic during the years 1951 to 1953. He went to Zambia in 1959 and was engaged in teaching. This spring, he passed through Dublin on his way to the States for further study and paid two visits to Belvedere of which he cherished such happy memories. It was a great shock to all when he died suddenly in Fordham University early in May.

Browne, Liam, 1929-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/825
  • Person
  • 18 August 1929-26 October 2017

Born: 18 August 1929, Kilmainham, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1964, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died 26 October 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

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

by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1963 at Campion Hall, Oxford (ANG) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/liam-browne-sj-much-loved-missionary/

Liam Browne SJ – a dedicated missionary
Irish Jesuit Fr Liam Browne SJ died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin on 26 October 2017 aged 88 years. His funeral took place on 31 October at Milltown Park, Ranelagh followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. The Dubliner spent much of his early priestly life on various missions in Zambia, before returning home to work at various places in Ireland in 1974. Below find the homily at his funeral mass given by Fr John K. Guiney SJ.
A dedicated missionary
We remember and celebrate a long and eventful life of Liam Browne.
He was born in the Rotunda on 18th August 1929 and brought up in Kilmainham Dublin, went to CBS James’s St... and entered the Jesuits at Emo Park on 7th September 1946, was ordained in Milltown Park on 28th July 1960, and took his final vows at Chikuni in Zambia on 2nd February 1964.
Four of the 12 companions who took first vows with him in Emo are with us still: John Guiney, John Dooley, and Jim Smyth... MJ Kelly who is living in Lusaka, Zambia.
To say Liam had a rich,varied and eventful life is an understatement. He worked in Zambia, Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard, was Chaplain in St Vincent’s Hospital and Marlay Nursing Home and all through was constant in his research on the Chitonga language and culture. He went to God peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge last Thursday at 4pm.
A common theme of Liam’s life was his desire and wish to be close to ordinary people and to understand their cultures and ways of life. In an interview with the Irish Jesuit Mission Office he expressed his desire to become a Jesuit and priest in this way: “to help people and to enable them to experience Christ’s forgiveness and he noted the great influence on his vocation of his grandmother Susan Waldron.
When Liam arrived in Zambia in 1954 he plunged himself into learning the local language Chitonga in the diocese of Monze. He was not only interested in learning a language but set about researching the culture of the people, looking at what makes them tick – trying to understand seeing how culture/religion/faith are interrelated.
His work in the study and preservation of Tonga culture was similar to the work of another renowned student of Tonga culture – Frank Wafer who founded the Mukanzubo Kalinda Cultural Centre in Chikuni. They did so much to record, store and document traditional proverbs, dance, songs, customs and rites of the community. Liam did what every effective missionary does; he fell in love with the people he was called to serve – the Tonga people and culture.
Liam was the go to person for scholastics/young volunteers, learning the language and entering a new culture. He was the person to induct them into Tongaland. Colm Brophy as a scholastic in Zambia in 1969 recounts: “I was anxious to acquire a knowledge of Chitonga. So I asked the Provincial, John Counihan, to send me to a place and to a person who could help me do that.
“In 1969 I was posted to Chilala-Ntaambo (‘the sleeping place of the lion’), a metropolis of remoteness... because I knew it was remote and that I would be living with a man who was very fluent in the language – Liam Browne.”
Liam, he remembers, would spend a lot of his time researching the Chitonga language and culture. He would go around various villages with his tape-recorder interviewing mainly elderly people.
Chilala-Ntaambo was frontier missionary land in the 1960s.
It wasn’t an easy life for Liam there as parish priest. There was no solid Catholic community. The place was new. For Sunday Mass only eight or ten people would turn up mainly from two families. He was ploughing a lone furrow.
Liam continued to work in missionary frontiers in the Fumbo and Chivuna parishes and in 1973 took a break to study cultural anthropology in Campion Hall, Oxford under the guidance of the renowned Professor Evans Pritchard.
Liam then published some of his research on the initiation rites of the Tonga people but fell foul of at least one influential Tonga political leader who felt that secrets of their culture was not for public reading. He was not allowed to renter the country.
Two years ago while visiting Monze I met his mentor and friend in Zambia – the great cultural anthropologist of the Tonga people Barbara Colson who worked with Liam.
She was full of admiration for the work and research of Liam and admitted that Liam’s kind of research is now prescribed reading for students of the Tonga culture in every African library. A real joy for Liam in latter years was The Tonga-English Dictionary that Liam had started in the 60s and was finally completed and published by Frank Wafer just 3 years ago.
Liam returned to Ireland in 1974 and from then to 1989 he went to work in Ballyfermot and began to build firstly a temporary and then a permanent Church with the people and with the able assistance of the Daughters of Charity and especially Sr Cabrini.
His friends in Cherry Orchard still remember him as a man of great kindness and compassion. They remember his outreach to the most needy, his wisdom in counselling people and also his ability to plan, budget and look ahead even when the share budget of the diocese was small. Amongst Liam’s talents was wood work and he loved making things; much of the design and wooden fixtures and paintings were done by Liam in the Churches he built.
Those who knew Liam in Zambia and Ireland remember him as good-humoured, generous and who loved music especially jazz.
His friends also remember Liam as a man who shot from the hip, spoke his mind with a bluntness that could put people off. He had a certain distrust of superiors and people in authority, sometimes with well founded reasons. However, once he had got it out of his system, he got on with things and remained on good terms with all whom he encountered.
Perhaps the phrase ‘he got on with things’ sums up the greatest characteristic of Liam’s life. Liam was a man always available for mission and when the mission he really loved, Zambia was suddenly interrupted – it must have been a heartbreak for him, but he moved on without complaining to the new missions on the home front.
At the end of his life Liam shared with his friends. I am glad I did what I did when I could. He had few regrets. Once he decided that Cherryfield Lodge nursing home was the best, he moved and had the highest regard to all who cared for him there.
He was indeed always ready for a change and recognised in the wisdom of the ancestors that there is a time and a season for all things under the sun. On Thursday last a final time had come; he surrendered in peace to his maker in the presence of his sister Monica.
Finally, a word of thanks to two great missionary families: the Browne’s and the Cassidy’s. Liam’s niece Susan shared with me that as a child she saved up her pocket money for the missions. Monica helped out Tommy Martin for years with cake sales and raffles for the missions and coincidentally two weeks ago we got a letter from a Zambian PP, from that very parish that Liam founded 50 years ago with the help of his family and friends saying hello to Liam.
It reads:
My name is Fr. Kenan Chibawe, parish priest of St. Francis Xavier parish in Chilalantambo, Monze in Zambia. Our parish was officially opened in 1967 by Fr Liam Browne. This year on 28th October, we are celebrating 50 years or Golden Jubilee of the growth of the Catholic faith that was planted by the Jesuit missionaries in particular Fr Brown and the Late Fr Norman McDonald SJ. We would have loved to see Liam here but maybe his age may not allow him to travel. People still remember these priests in our parish.
We too remember and celebrate Liam’s life with the people of Zambia, Cherry Orchard, his former colleagues alive and dead in the Vincent’s and Marlay chaplaincies. We pray for and with Liam in his adopted language Chitonga:
Mwami leza kotambula muzimo wakwe kubuzumi butamani, which means in our own language, Ar dheis dei go raibh an anam dilis.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :
As in “Jesuits in Ireland” : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/571-liam-browne-sj-a-dedicated-missionary and https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/238-interview-with-fr-liam-browne

Fr. Liam Browne, born in 1929 in Rotunda, Dublin, can easily sum up why he wanted to be a priest: ‘to help other people’, particularly by allowing them to ‘experience Christ’s forgiveness’. Fr Browne had been encouraged in his calling by his grandmother, Susan Waldron, who raised his brother, his sister, and himself after the death of his mother. He had first become interested in the Jesuits after attending a retreat with his school, James’ Street Christian Brothers, and was attracted to missionary work because of the possibilities it offered for helping others abroad.
Fr. Browne left Dublin as a young scholastic bound for Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) to work with the Tonga. Although direct flights now link London and Lusaka, in the 1950s it took three days to reach the Zambian capital by air. Despite the distance and the difficulty, Fr. Browne recalls his first year in Africa as the happiest of his life: ‘it was the happiest time because I was doing exactly what I wanted.’ He spent this first year acclimatising, learning the language, and immersing himself in Tongan culture. His greatest consolation, or most rewarding experience, was learning the language and speaking to the Tongan people about religion. He spent his time with the Tonga working in the mission station and at Canisius College, the Jesuit-run boys’ school, and served in Zambia for a total of thirteen years (three years as a student, and ten as an ordained priest). It is clear that Fr. Browne immensely enjoyed his time in Africa: his only desolation in mission was the frustration of waiting for the rains to come, with October standing out as ‘the most dreadful time of the year’!
Fr. Browne became fascinated with Tongan culture, and with the broader field of social anthropology. He had been able to study Zambezi culture thanks to work by Elizabeth Colson, an American anthropologist who had begun studying the Tonga through the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute. In between postings, he had the benefit of spending a year at Campion Hall, Oxford, studying under Professor Evans-Pritchard at the Institute of Social Anthropology. He states that this training was ‘invaluable’ to his work in Zambia, and recalls Evans-Pritchard (a legend in anthropological circles) as an ‘outstanding’ scholar. Fr. Browne went on to write a detailed study of the Tongan way of life; studies such as these were useful not only in providing a record of Tongan custom, but also for instructing new missionaries about their host culture.
Although life in Zambia was very different to life in Ireland, Fr. Browne never experienced a ‘culture shock’. His entire philosophy was based around being open and receptive to Tongan culture, and he didn’t ‘allow himself the luxury of being shocked’ by unfamiliar practices. ‘I felt you should be open. I was convinced you needed to know the people’s language and customs- if you didn’t know that then you were really clueless! The prevailing view was that you had everything to give and nothing to receive, but I didn’t believe a word of it.’ He argues that this openness is the secret to success in both missionary work and in anthropology: ‘there is a Jesuit saying that one must go in another’s door in order for that other to come out of your door...You need to be receptive.’
Because missionaries had been working in Zambia since 1896, the Tonga were not tabula rasa when it came to the Christian message. However, Christianity still needed to be culturally located: ‘What I believe is that you have to make an effort to understand the people; that will determine your approach to preaching Christianity. To preach in a way which people will understand, you must preach in terms with which they are familiar.’ When asked if African Christianity differs from European Christianity, Fr Browne replies that it does so ‘as much as Africa differs from Europe’. Some interpretations of Christianity were more Pentecostalist than Catholic, but the Tonga were generally a receptive people who took the Christian message to heart. Indeed, Fr. Browne argues that the Zambian mission housed some of the holiest people one could ever hope to meet. In his own words, it takes ‘a hell of a long time to build a Christian culture’: given this, the fact that Christianity has become rooted in African culture in only a few generations is astounding.
However, there were areas in which the acceptance of Catholic doctrine was somewhat superficial. Although the Irish tendency is to assume that we can separate the ‘religious’ from the social or the economic, life among the Tonga shows that this is not the case. For example, polygamy was common amongst Tongan men, even those who were Christian. Converts knew that this went against Biblical teachings on marriage, but because polygamy was seen as an economic rather than a moral practice, they did not view it in the same way that their Irish missionaries did. There were also some issues of cultural ‘translation’: because the Tonga are a matrilineal people, it was somewhat difficult to promote a patrilineal religion such as Christianity, with its emphasis on Father and Son. Fr. Browne argues that new converts always tried to live the Christian life; like all Catholics, however, this was a work in progress.
Political agendas have always been a part of the mission process, and this was equally true for Jesuit missionaries in Zambia. Although race relations in Zambia were significantly less strained than those in South Africa or Zimbabwe, there were still tensions between white and black populations. However, Fr. Browne believes that a distinction was made between white government officials and white missionaries. Missionaries, unlike government officials, made an effort to assimilate into the local culture: they had to, after all, if they were to have any success. Because they were not familiar with Zambezi culture, white government officials misunderstood local power relations. For example, they would treat one man as local headman despite the fact that he was not seen as such by his would-be subjects. This was a mistake which was avoided by missionaries, who had learnt (through living with them) that the Tonga valued democracy and the ability to compromise or broker peace far more than an abstract colonial understanding of power; as the Tongan saying goes, ‘anyone can call himself a chief, but it doesn’t mean we have to obey him’! Headmen tended to be European appointees. Further, Christian missionaries were respected because they had opened schools. Although the British government had claimed that education was important, they had only introduced primary schools, and it was left to religious organisations to open schools for secondary education.
The mission station also benefited the community by distributing basic medical supplies. The Sisters of Charity ran a small bush hospital, and the mission distributed pills, tonics, supplies for cuts, etc. With the nearest hospital 35 miles away, and high rates of infant mortality, this proved a very useful service. The parents of sick children would go to great lengths to prevent their premature deaths. Fr. Browne recalls a woman who decided to begin the 35 mile walk to the hospital in the middle of the night so that her sick baby could get access to medical treatment; although she was eventually persuaded to wait until morning, when she could be driven there, this incident demonstrates the very real danger of having a sick child in the bush.
The mission station is now run by local recruits rather than Europeans. Fr. Browne is ‘delighted’ to see local people running the mission, and has high hopes for Zambia’s future. He believes that the Catholic Church can act as a unifying force in Africa today, because this is the message of the liturgy. Although the mission station is now largely run by African priests and nuns, there is still a role for Irish Catholics to play. Fr. Browne speaks highly of volunteers who give up their time to work in Zambia. He gives a particularly glowing report of a couple from Derry, who taught at the Catholic girls’ school for six years. The children grew up with their parents’ students, and Fr. Browne laughs as he recalls their daughter being taught to dance by the African girls.
If there is an overarching theme around which to organise Fr. Browne’s narrative, then surely it is that of being open and receptive: ‘Be ready to learn. If you go in with a full head, thinking you know everything, you’ll learn nothing.’

1948-1951 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1951-1954 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1954-1957 Chikuni, Zambia - Regency at Canisius College, learning Chitonga
1957-1961 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1961-1962 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1962-1963 Oxford, UK - Diploma in Social Anthropology at Campion Hall
1963-1964 Monze, Zambia - Parish Priest at Sacred Heart
1964-1965 Chikuni, Zambia - Teacher at Canisius College
1965-1972 Chivuna, Zambia - Parish Work at Chivuna Mission
1968 Parish Priest at Chilala-Ntambo, Pemba
1969 Transcribed to Zambian Province [ZAM] (03/12/1969)
1971 Working in Parish at Fumbo
1972-1973 Chisekesi, Zambia - Studying Language and Social Anthropology at Charles Lwanga Teacher Training
1973 -1974 St Ignatius, London, UK - Studying Social Anthropology at London University
1974-1989 Gardiner St - Parish work in Dublin Diocese at Ballyfermot
1982 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (26/03/1982)
1986 Parish Ministry at Blessed Sacrament, Cherry Orchard, Dublin
1989-2017 Milltown Park - Historical Research and Writing
1993 Chaplain at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin
2000 Chaplain at Marlay Nursing Home, Rathfarnham, Dublin
2009 Research in African Studies
2014 Praying for the Church and Society at Cherryfield Lodge

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

◆ The Clongownian, 1995

Obituary

Father Arthur Clarke SJ

After leaving school in 1933, Arthur worked for about five years in an Irish bank. Later he enjoyed recalling his days as an oarsman in a crew of eight, racing on the River Liffey in Dublin.

After his noviceship at Emo Park, he spent four years at Rathfarnham Castle and took a degree in English and other languages. Arthur's model and ideal was his Master of Juniors, Fr Charles O'Conor Don, whose motto, “faithful always and everywhere”, Arthur took as his own.

He enjoyed three quiet years (1944-47) studying Philosophy at Tullabeg, in the heart of rural Ireland. His prowess as an oarsman made him in demand for working the heavy boats on the nearby canal, which was popular on the weekly villa day. His physical strength qualified him for rowing as far as Shannon harbour, 30 kilometres away and back, a feat reserved for the strong.

He was noticeable for his observance of rule, regularity at prayer, simple faith, thoroughness in his work - even in 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.

After a year's teaching as a regent at Crescent College, Limerick (1947-48), Arthur studied theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1951.

After Tertiariship at Rathfarnham Castle (1952-53), he became Socius to the Master of Novices, Fr Donal O'Sullivan, again at Emo Park. Fr O'Sullivan spoke most highly of his abilities. He then spent two years as Minister at Clongowes (1955-57), before coming to Zambia in 1957

Arthur lived for a year or more at Civuna where he studied Chitonga and worked as Minister. In 1959 he was transferred to Chikuni as Minister, where he soon felt the need to build up Canisius Secondary School, now that Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College had given an example of a higher standard of building. He was appointed Rector of Chikuni in July 1960. 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. 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 diniingroom and kitchen etc. Arthur was deeply involved too in the design of the College Chapel.

1967 saw him back in Civuna for a year or two, until he was appointed to teaching in the newly opened rapidly expanding Namwala Secondary School, where he lived in one of the staff houses. Arthur revelled in giving himself to the demands made on him - class teaching, conscientious correction of assignments, availability to students, coun sellor to his fellow teachers. When he was appointed Deputy Head of Namwala, he took on the extra load of maintaining discipline in this co-educational school and of set ting high standards of behaviour and work among the students. This involved working late into the night, so that frequently he was unable to get more than four or five hours sleep. It became too much for him, so that he became utterly worn out, and so was transferred to the smaller Mukasa in 1974.

The isolation of Namwala and his commitment to his work there largely protected Arthur from the aggiornamento of Vatican II which was then filtering into Zambia. However, in 1974, he went on long leave to Ireland where he was exposed to new styles of living religious life, and nuanced modifications of traditional ways of expressing Catholic doctrine. Arthur became confused and deeply upset, as his simple faith had ever 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.

On his return to Zambia, he spent about two years at Mukasa as Minister and teacher. He found the place too sinall for him, after the vastness of Namwala.

His eight years as lecturer (1976-84) at Charles Lwanga TTC 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 lectures were meticulously prepared and all assignments corrected. He was tireless in supervising teaching practice. He also worked hard to build up the morale of the small group of Catholic students at Rusangu Secondary School.

In the end, he again wore himself out, and so was transferred to St Ignatius as assistant in the parish (1984-90). 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. .

Though Arthur's body was strong and healthy, his mind began to fail. So in 1990, he was posted to Cherryfield Lodge in Dublin, where he could receive extensive health care. He was deeply unhappy there, and begged to be allowed to return to Zambia, nominally as guest master at Chikuni. Soon he found himself in the newly opened John Chula House. Even there he found scope for his charity in helping Eddy O'Connor.

Given his strong constitution, Arthur found his enforced inactivity hard. Early in 1995, his increasing physical pain, of which he never complained, led to the discovery of widespread cancer. The Lord was calling his faithful servant to himself, through a final sharing of His Cross and he died on 8 March 1995. May he rest in peace.

John Counihan SJ

Cooney, Thomas, 1896-1985, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/102
  • Person
  • 02 December 1896-17 July 1985

Born: 02 December 1896, Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary
Entered: 22 May 1920, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1928, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1937, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 17 July 1985, Chikuni College, Chisekesi, Zambia - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

Studied BSc Engineering at Royal College of Science, Merrion Square 1915-1919 before entry, and awarded a 3 year “Exhibition of 1856” thereafter which he did not complete.

Awarded a B.Sc. honoris causa by the N.U.I. in 1936.

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

by 1952 in Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 60th Year No 4 1985

Obituary

Fr Thomas Cooney (1896-1920-1985) (Zambia)

Born on 2nd December 1896. 22nd May 1920: entered SJ, 1920-22 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1922-25 Milltown, philosophy. 1925-29 Milltown, theology. 1934-35 St Beuno's, tertianship,
1929 to Hong Kong. 1930-32 Ricci Hall, minister and lecturer in university. 1932-34, 1935-37 Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, rector. 1935-41 Superior of the Mission. 1941-43 Wah Yan Hong Kong, teaching. 1943-45 Macau, Mission bursar, teaching.
1945-53 Australia, Sydney, Riverview, teaching.
1953-85 Zambia, Chikuni: teaching till c 1982; 1955-70 Mission bursar; confessor to community and local Sisters. Died on 17th July 1985 in Monze hospital.

In the last few years Fr Cooney's declining health gave plenty of scope to Ours at Chikuni to exercise true fraternal charity. In spite of a heavy workload they all rose to the challenge magnificently. One of those who knew him since 1953 writes:

On 17th July 1985 in his 89th year, Fr Tom Cooney went to his long-awaited reward. He was born on 2nd December 1896 in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, Ireland. He attended the Christian Brothers' school in Carrick-on-Suir and won a scholarship to the university in last year at school. He was a brilliant student and took his BSc (Engineering) from London and a BSc from Dublin, getting honours in the latter.
He first learned about the Jesuits from the Encyclopaedia Britannica which did not speak too highly of them in that particular edition, and Fr Tom decided to join them. While an engineering student in Dublin during the years 1915 to 1919, hę used a lot of his spare time experimenting with the making of bombs in the Dublin mountains.
In 1920 he joined the Society of Jesus and after philosophy and theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, he was ordained a priest on 31st July, 1928. He completed his Tertianship at St Beuno's in Wales during which year he was appointed Superior of the Mission in Hong Kong. From 1929 to 1946 he worked in Hong Kong, being among other things Rector of the Major Seminary. He lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and left for Macao for a short time before moving on to Australia as his health had broken down. Seven years he spent in Australia teaching at the Jesuit college at Riverview.
The Irish Jesuits had been asked to come to the then Northern Rhodesia to help their Polish fellow-Jesuits there. Fr Tom was asked to join them in 1953. From 1953 to his death, he lived at Chikuni both as teacher at Canisius Secondary School and procurator of the mission for many years. No big decision was taken on the mission without the advice and experience of Fr Cooney. When the Teacher Training College at Charles Lwanga was to be built in the late fifties, Fr Cooney was the one who looked after construction of the dam.
Before the spillway was ready, there was exceptionally heavy rainfall which caused the dam to fill rapidly so that there was danger of the dam wall being swept away by the pressure of water. Every morning in those critical days, an anxious Fr Cooney was down early to scrutinise the rising level of the water.
He had a fondness for animals, Though he rarely took a holiday, a visit to a game park was an occasion he would always rise to. I suppose the instant memory people have of Fr Tom is the sight of him walking in the evening with his dog. Among the many dogs that trailed at his heels over the years, his favourite one was a collie called Pinty.
Fr Cooney was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He had an extra ordinary gift of making people welcome to Chikuni, would carry the bags of visitors, making sure they were looked after, and would try to be present when visitors left to wish them a good journey.
He was also a very devoted and pains taking teacher at Canisius. The many pupils who have had him for maths and science appreciated this talent but at the same time realised that no nonsense was ever tolerated in his classroom. His dedication and 'being an elder' (he was fifty-seven when he first came to Chikuni) offset any discipline he would insist on. In the early years in Chikuni, when Grades 8 and 9 were “fails” in the Cambridge examination, he would tell his pupils: “Gentlemen, Grade 8 is a fail and Grade 9 is a first-class fail.”
Of his spiritual life one can say only what one saw. He was a good Jesuit and had a great devotion to the Mass and the Divine Office. His kindliness and welcoming trait reflected that inner appreciation of the person of Christ which flowed out in his attitude to people. He was ever willing to help others.
To end this brief appraisal: a rather strange thing happened on the very day Fr Tom was laid to rest in Chikuni cemetery - 'Patches', his last dog, died.
May Fr Tom's soul now rest in peace.

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

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.

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".

FitzGerald, John M, 1919-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/774
  • Person
  • 29 September 1919-13 January 2012

Born: 29 September 1919, Dublin / Kilkenny City
Entered: 07 September 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Southwell House, London, England
Died: 13 January 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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1953 at London (ANG) studying

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Patrick (Sher) Sherry Entry
“We imagine his going left many hearts empty and evoked memories of all kinds of services and kindnesses, not least his unfailing patience and cheerfulness”. With these words Fr John Fitzgerald, writing from the Seychelles, summed up well the immediate aftermath of Br Sherry's death on the night of Saturday 5 November 1983.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/60-years-after-the-milltown-fire/

60 years after the Milltown Fire
At 5.40 a.m. on Friday, 11 February, 1949, a fire was discovered in a pantry of the Milltown Park building where the community lived. The fire brigade was summoned, and shouts went up to arouse those sleeping nearby. The fire was of the “flash-over” type: propagated by the secret spread of smoulder inside floors, stairs, partitions and lofts until a critical temperature is reached and the smoulder bursts into flames simultaneously at different points. At ten to six, with a muffled explosion, a great wave of fire and smoke rose up to the roof and flowed into the corridors of the house. The roof was in flames, the lights went out and within minutes the whole place was engulfed in thick smoke and fumes. Within two hours Fr Jimmy Johnston was burned to death, Michael Reidy was injured, and the Milltown building was a ruin. Below, Fr John Fitzgerald recalls that winter morning :

I rose early and left my room with a jug to get hot water. There was some commotion below, with the sound of jugs filling. I cried: “I’ll go down to help” – but a shout came up: “Get out!” All I recall is hurrying back, putting on shoes and some clothes, and calling Des Coyle, my neighbour. “There seems to be a fire. We’re ordered to get out.”
By now there was some heat and smoke. I made for the fire escape across the corridor. An iron ladder was the lifeline for about 30 Jesuits on the two upper stories. Barring an emergency, none of us would have tackled that ladder, as it was narrow and vertical and passed some distance from the window sills. There was no hesitation then.
We gathered on the grass between the refectory and the library. Mick Reidy was on the projection of a bay window. We urged him to jump. Michael was no athlete. He dropped like a stone, fell on the grassy slope and back into the area, fracturing his spine. That was the only injury, but sadly there was a fatality. Jimmy Johnston had the last room on the top floor. He was to have said the late Mass at the convent, so while his neighbours hurried to safety Jimmy slept and the flames raced up. He left his room too late and was overpowered on the corridor.
All those on the first floor would have probably survived, provided they waited behind closed doors. Those on the top floor were surely saved by the fire escape. Fr Packy Gannon was at the end of the first floor and when he turned his doorknob his hand was burned. He was making his peace with God when the fireman came. Dick Brennan and Piaras O’Higgins were rescued from the roof of the roadside bay window. Piaras’ mother remarked: “Piaras would usually fall over a pin!”
We gathered near the Minister’s House (the reception area in today’s Milltown). It was an awesome sight to watch the fire fighters, and the fire engulfing the upper rooms, and showers of sparks scattering upwards as the roof fell in. We saw a fireman shepherding down Fr Edmund Power from the topmost room of the Minister’s House. Back inside Fr Tommy Byrne told us that Jimmy Johnston was missing. Soon after, a fireman brought down his body.
Some final reflections: Those on the top floor lost everything. Jim Corboy and my brother Eddy had a souvenirs the corpus of a vow crucifix half melted by the heat. If I had closed my door I would have lost nothing to fire. The smell was all pervading, and unlike anything experienced before or since.
A sad note to end. Jimmy Johnston was a kindly and thoughtful soul, scholarly and sensitive. In 1945 he handed over senior history classes to me in Clongowes. Caring and perceptive as ever, he tried to alert me to the pitfalls ahead, as he foresaw the fate of one ill-equipped to enliven later medieval European history. At Milltown we gardened together and shared an interest in nature.
Jimmy’s death came as an immense shock to his family. I don’t think his elderly mother could take in the tragedy. Perhaps the circumstances were kept from her. But Jimmy’s younger brother was deeply saddened, puzzled and disappointed. Why had Jimmy alone died? How was it no-one had thought of him? It was hard to reassure, and besides Fr Tyndall in his imperious manner waved Eddie and me away as we approached the family at the coffin. The whole episode of 11 February was mysterious and tragic, but also miraculous for most, and befitting the Lourdes feast.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-sullivan-the-last-witness/

Fr Sullivan: the last witness
Fr John Fitzgerald SJ, the last surviving Jesuit to have been taught in Clongowes by Fr John Sullivan, shared some precious memories at the commemorative Mass :

The bones of Fr John Sullivan are your precious possession. They draw his clients from near and far. If John is beatified, St Francis Xavier’s will be a place of pilgrimage like St Thomas a’Becket is at Canterbury, Blessed Pope John XXIII at St Peter’s, Bl. Mother Teresa at Calcutta, and as Cardinal Newman will be at the Oratory in Birmingham. The people in a quiet corner of County Kildare still keep such fond memories of John. They were greatly saddened when his bones were taken away from them for Gardiner Street in 1961. It is a sad separation they will always feel. In fact his grave has been visited ever since.
The relocation of Father’s bones is as good for his cause as it is for you who give them this new home. You have always by your devotion shown how grateful you are to have him. You bring him day by day the stories of your needs – they are always pressing and often sad. John listens – he was always a ready and eager listener to others’ worries.
Coming to St Francis Xavier’s was in a sense a homecoming. John had been baptised in Temple Street (St George’s), and Dublin was his home until he joined the Jesuits. During the years in Clongowes, the City’s hospitals, the Mater included, were within range of his trusty old bicycle.
Sometimes people have asked me what was he really like. Some have a nagging impression that he must have been an ascendancy type, as his father was a baronet and he had passed through Portora Royal School to Trinity College. My own memory of him – clear and vivid – is of a humble, entirely self-effacing person, riveted on the one thing necessary, the commandment of love. He was completely focussed on the needs of others, particularly of the poor and suffering. For him the face of the Lord was there. Gardiner Street would have been an ideal assignment with so much sickness, suffering and poverty all around in the hungry years between the wars.
Clongowes in its rural isolation does not seem an ideal place for one so drawn to the poor and suffering. I knew John in the last three years of his life – my memories are boy’s memories – a child’s impressions – but still so vivid. His appearance so well captured in Sean Keating’s drawing – the sunken cheeks, the fine crop of brown hair, the bowed head, the penetrating eyes – a true man of God. I remember his wrinkled leathery hands. Meeting you on a stone corridor on a bleak cold winter’s evening he would clap those hands and say “Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up”. He well knew the mood of small boys – short of funds, nursing chilblains and facing into two hours’ study. I have a memory of Johnny O shuffling quickly from the sacristy, head bowed, halting at the altar rails – a welcome interruption to the evening rosary. Always he would describe a visit he had made to some sick or dying person. He was no gifted story-teller, no gifted preacher. There were no embellishments; sincerity shone through, telling of his complete devotion to the sick and needy.
John was occupied with the People’s Church and the boys’ spiritual needs with very little teaching. He took the smallest ones for Religion classes. Often we delighted to annoy him by rowdiness and irreverence. This drew the condemnation we intended: “Audacious fellow – pugnacious fellow!” Deep down we revered him, but we played on him.
If some day you visit the Boys’ Chapel, you see at the back on your left Fr John’s Confessional. The “toughs” – the ones never selected as prefects and who won no prizes – were most often there. The smaller boys would crowd into his very bare room after supper. We would come away with rosaries and Agnus Deis which John got from convents he knew. The People’s Church is the easiest place for a visitor to find. There is where John spent long hours and helped so many in times of trial. There he prayed long after the boys were tucked in bed.
Father John was our Spiritual Father. His life and interests revolved round the boys’ spiritual needs. He took no part and had no interest in our games – never appeared at matches, debates, concerts or plays. Free time meant time for prayer or the sick. No use asking Johnny O to pray for victory at Croke Park today, but he will listen to your sorrows, he will pray for your sick and departed ones.
The day of Fr John’s funeral in 1933 comes back clearly. I was in the youngest group and so was up front in the Chapel, and near the coffin. I tried without success to cut off a splinter – as a keepsake, a relic. We had been privileged to know Fr John for three years. Not everyone is so blessed – perhaps only a few have been close to saintliness in one who so well mirrored the Lord Jesus, the Suffering Servant. It is a joy to be here in St Francis Xavier’s and to share your treasure – the Venerable John Sullivan.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/198-interview-with-late-fr-john-fitzgerald-sj

Interview with late Fr. John Fitzgerald SJ
Fr. John Fitzgerald, SJ died on 13th January 2012 in Cherryfield Nursing Home, Ranelagh after a long illness which he bore graciously to the end. He was buried in Glasnevin cemetery following the funeral mass in Milltown Park Chapel on Monday 16th January. Below is an interview with Fr. Fitzgerald before his death in which he recounts his experience of Zambia as a Jesuit Missionary.

‘Zambia was a completely new world,’ began Fr. John Fitzgerald, as he recalled his years spent in Africa. It is certainly easy to imagine that the Northern Rhodesian bush, as it then was, would have been a world away from Fr. Fitzgerald’s native Killiney!
Fr. Fitzgerald was born in 1919, and was educated at Clongowes Wood College before joining the Jesuits in 1937. He was ordained with his brother Teddy in 1950. He spent 48 years of his life abroad, living and working in Zambia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Seychelles, before returning to Ireland in 2001. Although it was only one of many posts, it was Africa on which his mind used to dwell.
Fr. Fitzgerald was sent to the Jesuit mission station in Chikuni, Zambia in 1953, where he worked at St. Canisius College, the Jesuit-run secondary school, and Charles Lwanga Teachers’ College, a centre for trainee teachers. Although he did not view himself as a natural teacher, witnessing the benefits of education proved to be his greatest consolation in mission. Seeing students on the path to better career prospects and a higher salary was gratifying because of the appreciation displayed by the students. In his own words, ‘you didn’t give them very much, but they’d gobble it up. They were good, eager students- even though I wasn’t a good teacher!’
Listening to Fr. Fitzgerald, one couldn’t help but conjure up exoticised images of a world completely foreign to our own. This was particularly true of his descriptions of the physical landscape, the seasons, and the flora and fauna. Life was governed by the changing seasons rather than the ticking clock, and everything depended on the coming of the rains. Although the landscape would remain dusty and barren during the dry season, ‘in the rainy season, everything changed. You quickly had a carpeting of all kinds of wild flowers, all totally different in appearance... I was teaching in a rural area, and so much depended on the rain.’ With the rain, however, came danger: thunderstorms were frequent, and injury by lightning was not unheard of. Other occupational hazards included venomous snakes and poisonous spiders, with the puff adder being the most dreaded. If one stood on a puff adder, it could be fatal: because of the distance to the hospital, it was difficult to receive the necessary antidote. For this reason, snakes were always quickly ‘dispatched’, regardless of their species! Climate and wildlife were not the only differences which Fr. Fitzgerald encountered. He soon came to realise that Zambian Catholicism was expressed in ways which would be unfamiliar to Irish Catholics.
‘They threw themselves into Christianity wholeheartedly. In comparison to what we are used to here, they are much more demonstrative in their piety: they sing, they dance, they participate. Kneeling in silence, as we do, might be completely foreign to Tongan Christians.’ New and innovative ways of expressing Christian worship were devised to accommodate Zambian culture. One such method involved using local hunting songs as templates from which to create Christian hymns: this allowed people to experience a message which was unfamiliar in a format which they recognised. These hymns are still sung in Zambia today.
Missionaries in Africa have always worked as agents of development, and Fr. Fitzgerald believed that development is a key part of the missionary project: ‘Christianity cannot make any headway unless people also develop economically. Without development, I don’t think Christianity could be easily accommodated.’ He stated that Dr. Corboy, who was appointed Bishop of Monze, Zambia, in 1962, was interested in developing Africa ‘along African lines’, so as to ‘promote the African.’ There was a great emphasis on promoting development in such a way that it fit with African culture.
However, some cultural practices were found to be difficult to integrate with Catholicism. Fr. Fitzgerald argued that the ‘superstitions’ of the Tonga had an occasional tendency to ‘spill over into Christian living’. This was particularly apparent with regards to local understandings of health and sickness. Because the Tonga believed that all misfortune could be attributed to evil spirits, there was a constant struggle over their reactions to hospitals and Western medicine. Certain practices which were antithetical to Christian living also proved difficult to stamp out. For example, some converts would revert to polygamy because it was seen as an economic practice which was necessary for subsistence farming.
As an Irishman, Fr. Fitzgerald admitted that he originally found the cultural divide between Killiney and Chikuni quite difficult to bridge. However, the influence and efforts of other Jesuits, some of whom produced cultural studies, English-Tongan dictionaries, and works of anthropology, made the transition more manageable for those who came later. ‘In our days it was a good deal different, but later works focused more on enculturation.’
Although the Chikuni mission is now run by Zambian locals, there is still a part for Irish Catholics to play in promoting the missionary spirit. Fr. Fitzgerald believed that volunteering is a great help: ‘the fact that people are willing to go out and work must make a big impression [on their hosts].’ Such work benefits not only the recipients, but also the volunteers, by ‘breaking down barriers’ and facilitating the opening of a ‘global conversation.’
Fr. Fitzgerald always remained optimistic about the future of the Jesuits in Africa. Vocations have been successfully promoted, and studies for the religious life, from first interest up to ordination, are completed in Africa. Returning missionaries are happy to pass the torch to their African brothers; this was, of course, always the end goal! ‘It’s a healthy looking, locally-grounded church. The Jesuits will continue to do excellent work there, just as they do here in Ireland and in our other foreign Provinces.
All indications are that it will become stronger.’

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012

Obituary

Fr John Michael Fitzgerald (1919-2012) : Zambia Malawi Province

29 September 1919: Born in Dublin.
Early education in St. Gerard's, Bray, Clongowes and Trinity College, Dublin
7 September 1937: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1939: First Vows at Emo
1939 - 1942: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1942 - 1945: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1945 - 1947: Clongowes - Teacher
1947 - 1951: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1950: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1951 - 1952: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1952 - 1953: London Institute of Education - Study
2 February 1953: Final Vows
1953 - 1959: Chikuni and Monze – Teacher
1959 - 1960: Charles Lwanga Training College - Teacher
1960 - 1961: SFX Gardiner Street - Church Work and help in Mission Office
1961 - 1970: Sacred Heart Church, Monze -
1962 - 1964: Secretary to Bishop
1964 - 1970: Vice-Superior; Treasurer; teaching in Monze Secondary
1970: Transcribed to Zambia
1972 - 1973: Charles Lwanga – Vice Superior and teaching
1973 - 1976: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles - Teaching and Pastoral work
1976 - 1978: Chikuni - Teaching
1978 - 1981: Seychelles - Pastoral work
1981 - 1982: Chivuna - Assistant Parish Priest
1982 - 1990: Seychelles – Parish Priest
1992 - 1993: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church, Promoter of Missions
1992 - 2001: Seychelles - Pastoral Work
2001 - 2002: Recovering health; Milltown Park - awaiting an assignment
2002 - 2006: Crescent Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church, Promoter of Missions
2006 - 2011; Leeson Street - Chaplain in Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital
2011: Resident in Cherryfield Lodge, praying for the Church and the Society
13th January 2012: Died at Cherryfield

Fr John FitzGerald was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 28th January 2011. He maintained his interest in books and continued to proof-read documents when possible. He was happy in Cherryfield as his condition slowly deteriorated during the year but he remained mentally alert. He died peacefully in the early morning of Friday 13th January 2012. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Obituary : Michael J Kelly
Father John Fitzgerald was born in September 1919, entered the Society in September 1937, was ordained in July 1950, took Final Vows in February 1953, and died in January 2012. On completion of his tertianship and further studies he spent fifty-eight years in active ministry before assuming the ministry of praying for the Church and the Society in Cherryfield Lodge in January 2011. He spent twenty four of these years as a teacher or trainer of teachers in Zambia and thirty-four as a parish priest, pastoral worker and hospital chaplain in the Seychelles, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Ireland.

John was a Jesuit through and through. As a schoolboy in Clongowes he was enormously influenced by the asceticism, Jesuit commitment and joyful holiness of the saintly Father John Sullivan and strove to guide his own life by similar ideals. Throughout his Jesuit training he absorbed the spirit of St. Ignatius to such an extent that he sought always to live according to two of Ignatius' guiding principles: “that in everything God might be glorified” and “go where you see a need”.

And so it was that John threw himself wholeheartedly into whatever teaching or pastoral assignment to which he was missioned, while at the same time showing an almost restless zeal to do more and to respond to the needs and challenges of those in other parts. Like his predecessor Francis Xavier, he lived, as one of his companions in later years put it, “with both feet in mid-air”, always available, always ready to undertake difficult enterprises courageously and cheerfully. In these and so many other ways he was the sort of Jesuit dear to the heart of St. Ignatius.

But Ignatius would not have been alone in this love. In all his diverse assignments John radiated love, gentleness, and kindness and brought out the same qualities in all those with whom he interacted. As the sanctity and mellowness of Father John Sullivan attracted him so strongly from the time of his boyhood, so his own holiness and graciousness attracted others, not just to himself but also to God. In the spirit of one of the hymns for the office of Readings, the Holy Spirit inflamed with love each of his senses so that other souls might kindle thence. For there can be no mistake about it: Father John Fitzgerald was a holy, saintly and very humble man, in the very best sense of each of these words. He sought at all times God's glory, not his own; the well-being and happiness of others in preference to his own. He always wanted that God and others should increase while he himself would decrease, but he strove that this should come about in a way that would give free rein to the Spirit in its work of transforming people.

Long before his death, people spoke of the way they were attracted to John. They spoke of the example of his life, of his generous service, of his uprightness and integrity, of his warm approving manner, of his words of encouragement and understanding, of his generous smiling openness, of his wisdom and gentle humour. It is clear that they found in John a man who in an unselfconscious way shared with all-comers the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, forbearance, gentleness, faith, courtesy, temperateness, purity”. This then was the man who spent twenty-four years as an apostolic worker in Zambia, twenty in the Seychelles, three in Australia and Papua New Guinea and eleven in Ireland, living and showing in his person the Good News of God's passionate love for every man, woman and child.

On completing his tertianship in 1952, John spent one year at the Institute of Education, University of London, preparing himself for what was to be his initial assignment as a teacher trainer in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia at the time). There he was the right-hand man of Father Bob Thompson (and later of Father John Counihan) in running the training programme, at first within the physical and organisational structures of Canisius College and subsequently at Charles Lwanga Teachers' College when the teacher training was hived off to independent status at this newly established college. During these early years he was closely associated in his work as a trainer of teachers with the “early feminist”, Sister Joseph Helen RSC, who though eleven years John's senior, predeceased him by just four days in her hundred and fourth year.

In one notable respect Charles Lwanga College conferred on John a kind of immortality (his own words), since it was he who advocated that it be called “Charles Lwanga” and not just “Lwanga”. But John's immortality was written more strongly in the many teachers he helped to train, men and women who learned from him not only how to be good teachers but also how to be good people.
The strength of John as a teacher trainer was brought out in a protest from the Zambia Ministry of Education UK-born and Oxford educated inspector for teacher training. When John was redeployed from Charles Lwanga to teach at the government secondary school in Monze, the inspector tartly observed: “You Jesuits are supposed to be great educators. But here you are, taking the best teacher trainer in all Zambia away from the work in which he excels and relegating him to teach in a secondary school”. Characteristically, John's response on being told of this was to deprecate himself and to allege that the inspector had a misguidedly high opinion of him.

John served with great distinction in Monze for several years, and subsequently for short spells in Australia and Papua New Guinea and back again in Zambia at Canisius College. These latter interludes heightened his desire to be engaged in more directly pastoral work, the realisation of which a remarkable intervention of the Spirit set dramatically in train. In 1978, he was requested to accompany an elderly and infirm Jesuit whose condition required that he return to Sri Lanka where he had previously worked. The travel entailed a stopover in the Seychelles where John and his companion were hosted by the local Bishop, the first Seychellois to be appointed to this office. During their brief stay the Bishop painted such a graphic picture of the pastoral needs of his people that on his return to Zambia John felt impelled to seek permission to exercise his apostolic ministry in the Seychelles. The permission was reluctantly given, though at first for only a few years. So began John's apostolic life in the Seychelles where, as the Bishop Emeritus of the islands stated at the time of John's death, “over many years he gave great pastoral and spiritual service to the people of the Seychelle Islands”. There were a few short returns to Zambia, and one on health grounds to Ireland, but for the next twenty-three years John's essential ministry was to the people of the Seychelles whom he heard calling out to him for the Mass, the Sacraments, the Word of God, the compassion of Christ and the presence of the Spirit. Following the footsteps of the Lord whom he loved so wholeheartedly, he saw the people of the Seychelles as sheep without a shepherd, he was filled with pity for them and set out to teach them at length. His ministry extended to every person within the large areas where he served - La Digue, Mont Fleuri (Bon Pasteur parish), Baie Ste Anne and Victoria (the capital city). During these years he also gave greatly appreciated service to the formation of seminarians and to the guidance of members of religious congregations. Well known for his availability and discretion he found himself as the confessor of choice of many religious, including Blessed Teresa of Calcutta at the time she was establishing her congregation in the Seychelles.

Throughout his life, John was an ascetic who lived as poorly as his situation would allow. He had a minimum of personal possessions and could easily pack his few belongings into a single case when moving from one place to another. Although he lived in the idyllic surroundings of the Seychelles, with its enticing sea and beaches, there was never any danger of his becoming a “beach potato”. Indeed, he was almost a decade in the Seychelles before he even walked a beach - and on that occasion he had to get the loan of swim wear before going into the sea.

But John's asceticism took its toll on his health. While in Zambia and Australia, community routines ensured that he was regularly presented with sustaining meals. But living by himself, as he did in the Seychelles, the needs of the poor and the upkeep of the church buildings were a greater priority for him than his body's need for adequate nutritious food. His poor diet gradually led to his becoming physically very run down, necessitating a visit on health grounds to Ireland and eventually to his final departure from the Seychelles and definitive return to Ireland in 2001.

John spent the last decade of his active apostolic life, first in the Crescent Sacred Heart Church in Limerick and, after this was closed, in Leeson Street, Dublin, from where he served as chaplain to the nearby Eye and Ear Hospital. During these years he bore a great deal of physical discomfort, but quietly and without fuss. He was low-key in his presence but always a most gracious helper to colleagues and host to visitors in the Limerick and Leeson Street communities, to those he served from the Sacred Heart Church, and to the patients and staff in the Eye and Ear Hospital. Indeed he was graciousness itself and was noted for his gentle good humour and great smile. These became increasingly more characteristic of him, even as advancing years took their toll. He had the rare gift of being able to listen to others and hear what they were really saying, without letting his own interests, declining health or physical discomfort come between them and him.

Early in 2011, his adverse health condition brought John to his final earthly home, Cherryfield Lodge. Here his gracious and uncomplaining manner, with his gentle and humble disposition, quickly endeared him to the other residents and staff and elicited from them extraordinary care and attention. There are many memories of John's patience and prayerfulness during his last months on earth - his dedication to the Rosary, his wise advice, his graciousness to the almost unending stream of visitors who called to see him, his delight when visited by his brother Julian and members of his family, his generous comments about others, his insightful but ever-gentle humour, his gratitude for any little thing done on his behalf, his reluctance to talk about the pains, bad nights and poor appetite of a man experiencing great physical discomfort, his ability to keep himself abreast of major sporting events, his almost childlike pleasure in the bright skies he could see outside and the flowers that were brought to him in his room.

One memory that endures is very simple. It is of John lifting his pain-filled body to reach towards a nearby vase of roses, allowing the roses to be brought before his face, and his great smile of satisfaction and happiness as he breathed their fragrance and sank back on to his pillow. You could almost hear him say with Simeon of old, “At last, all-powerful Master, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise”. Clearly, we had a saint among us and scarcely knew.

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.

Kelly, Patrick, 1920-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/779
  • Person
  • 21 February 1920-04 May 2012

Born: 21 February 1920, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 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 May 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1953 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fifth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1986 at Chicago (CHG) studying
by 1987 at Roosevelt NY, USA (NEB) working
by 1989 at Sunland-Tujunga CA, USA (CAL) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 148 : Summer 2012

Obituary

Fr Patrick (Paddy) Kelly (1920-2012)

21 February 1920: Born in Limerick
Early education at Salesian Convent and CBS, Limerick
7 September 1937: Entered Society at Emo
8 September 1939: First Vows at Emo
1939 - 1942: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1942 - 1945: Studied philosophy in Tullabeg
1945 - 1947: Belvedere College - Teacher
1947 - 1951: Studied theology in Milltown Park
31 July 1950: Ordained priest in Milltown Park
1951 - 1952: Tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle
1952 - 1953: Chikuni College, Zambia - Language school
2 February 1953: Final vows at Chikuni College
1953 - 1955: Kasiya Mission
1955 - 1959: Chikuni - Teacher in Secondary School and Teachers' Training College
1959 - 1960: Charles Lwanga - Teacher training
1960 - 1962: Chikuni - Manager of Schools
1962 - 1969: Mungret College - Teacher
1969 - 1985: Crescent College - Teacher
1985 - 1988: New York - Prison Chaplain
1988 - 1992: California - Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
1992 - 1994: SFX, Gardiner Street - Assisted in the Church
1994 - 2002: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick - Assisted in the Church, Librarian
2002 - 2012: Milltown Park - Assisted in the Community
4 May 2012: Died Cherryfield

Fr. Patrick Kelly was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 27th January 2012. He had got unsteady and it was feared he would have a fall. He settled in very well. It was only in the last few weeks that he looked gaunt and passed away quietly on 4 May 2012. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Obituary Liam O'Connell and Michael J. Kelly
Paddy Kelly was born in Limerick in 1920 where his family lived in Patrick Street. He remained steeped in the history and lore and the sporting traditions of his native city. His father manufactured boots and shoes, and also wooden clogs for the large numbers working in the bacon factories in the city, and when Limerick expertise was needed to set up bacon factories in Russia, he exported these clogs as far as Russia, Paddy lived during eventful times.

When he was very young, both the mayor of Limerick and the former mayor were murdered near Patrick Street by Black and Tans, and theIrish civil war deeply divided his native city.

Paddy had two brothers and three sisters, and every year they spent the summer months in a lodge in Kilkee. There is a photograph from one of these outings of Paddy as a four year old, complete with a large sand shovel, surrounded by his parents and family and ready to make his mark on the world. Throughout his life as a Jesuit Paddy returned to spend time at Kilkee with his mother, and his sisters and brothers, and they have happy memories of the life and fun he brought to these holidays.

In his final years in Sexton Street CBC in Limerick Paddy did a retreat with Fr. Mackey SJ, who was famous for encouraging Jesuit vocations. Afterwards they remained in correspondence and four days after the declaration of World War II, on 7th September 1939, Paddy left home at the age of 17 to go to the Novitiate at Emo. The 19 young novices who entered then were to live through a time of emergency and rationing that was to last for several years after the war ended. One of the other novices was Brendan Barry who had been educated with Paddy in Sexton Street CBC. The writer, Benedict Kiely, also belonged to their year, and he recorded his impressions of Emo in his novel There was an Ancient House.

After Emo, Paddy completed an Arts degree in UCD in 1942, and after Philosophy at Tullabeg, Tullamore, he spent two years in Belvedere as a teacher and sports coach and while there he obtained the Higher Diploma in Education. He was ordained in Milltown Park in 1950.

While in Tertianship in 1951-52, Paddy was assigned to the Chikuni Mission, the mission territory in present-day Zambia that Father General had committed to the Irish Province in 1949. When he arrived with others on 31st August 1952, Paddy was a member of the third large contingent from the Irish Province who took up work in the Chikuni Mission and among the first to travel there by air. At that time, the work of the Mission across an area about the size of Ireland was still in its infancy and faced the enormous challenge of a shortage of human resources, not just for strictly evangelical work, but for all those other aspects that constitute life in virtually virgin mission territory. It's no surprise, then, that the records show that on 6th August, less than a week after his arrival, Paddy spent the whole of his first Saturday in Africa loading a lorry with bundles of thatching grass, or that a few weeks later he and Norman MacDonald spent some days building a teacher's house in one of the out-stations. This kind of active involvement with what had to be done on the ground was characteristic of Paddy, who seemed happiest when doing things, developing things, getting his hands dirty, and talking all about it afterwards. Again and again, the records speak of things that Paddy did - shooting a hawk, getting a reluctant grinding mill to work again, celebrating the day of his final vows by being a member of the community football team that scored a 2-1 victory over the boys at Canisius College.

As with other newcomers, Paddy spent a large part of his first months learning the local language, ciTonga, under the able guidance of Bob Kelly. While necessary for all who were working at Chikuni Mission, this was especially important for Paddy who was appointed in August 1953 as Assistant Parish Priest at Kasiya, a mission sub station which had been established about two years earlier some 40 kilometres from the central Chikuni Mission. Here he was to work alongside Fr. Maurice Dowling, one of the earliest Irish Jesuits to go to the Chikuni Mission. The fact that Kasiya is now a well-established parish, with about 15,000 Catholics and ten outstations, is a tribute to .. what Paddy and his successors were able to accomplish there.

On completion of two years of fruitful parochial work, Paddy was transferred to the Mission's central education apostolate - Canisius College which at that time comprised both the full range of secondary schooling and a two-year teacher training programme. Paddy's work was principally in the latter, in the areas of religious education, English and mathematics. That he was moved in this way from a successful and - to him congenial – directly evangelical ministry to that of education bespeaks the tensions that existed in the Chikuni Mission (and indeed throughout the Society in its long history) between educational and other apostolates, with the human resource demands of school provision frequently taking precedence over what many perceived as the more Kingdom-oriented work of direct evangelisation and parochial ministry. But as a true and loyal Jesuit, Paddy threw himself into his new sphere of activities and was to remain in these for the following five years. Being a teacher educator, he was one of those who accompanied John Counihan, John Fitzgerald, Charlie O'Connor and others who moved from Canisius College to the newly established Charles Lwanga Teachers College in 1959.

But just a year later, apostolic needs and the shortage of personnel saw Paddy being moved to another responsibility, this time as Manager of Schools for all the Catholic primary schools that fell under Chikuni Mission. The maintenance and development of these schools, ensuring school supplies, the posting of teachers and their accommodation, and fostering the development of new schools all became part of Paddy's job. And given his nature it was a job in which he revelled. He showed a child-like delight in facing the challenges of long journeys over difficult terrain, of getting building and other supplies to locations where there were no roads or bridges, of being firm but courteous with local headmen about the importance of having their own school, of mobilising community support in making bricks, drawing sand, and maintaining buildings, and of making sure that the appointed teachers actually turned up for duty and did teach.

Throughout the decade in which he so generously served the people within the area of the Chikuni Mission, Paddy remained very true to himself – always good-humoured and good-natured, generous in responding to requests, forthright in manner, sometimes very blunt in approach and expression, and yet always very private about himself as a person and what motivated him. He is well remembered as a loyal and faithful Jesuit, a deeply spiritual man who downplayed what he felt might be extreme expressions of his spirituality, always anxious to do more (though seemingly never concerned about being more) and always a good companion. He served Zambia's people well and they were the losers when circumstances brought about his return to Ireland in 1962 and the commencement there of almost a quarter century of teaching ministry.

In 1962 Paddy returned to Ireland to minister in Mungret College, where he taught History and Geography and was in charge of the Study Hall. Paddy was by nature an optimist, and visiting parents who met Paddy regularly received glowing accounts of how their son was doing. Unfortunately these assessments often had to be revised downwards when the same parents met with other less optimistic teachers. Paddy's nick name in Mungret was Gazebo - a gazebo being an exotic outdoor garden house, a place for resting and shelter, and Paddy lived up to this description, as he was a breath of fresh air in the lives of many of the students.

In 1973 when the closure of Mungret College was announced, Paddy and other teachers from Mungret transferred to the new Jesuit Comprehensive School at Dooradoyle. To this day the Crescent students remember Paddy with a mixture of amazement and affection. In Crescent he was nicknamed 'Ned' after the Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, who did things his own way, and I think that this was a tribute to Paddy's originality and independence.

At Crescent Paddy became one of the founder members of the new Geography department. At this time when the syllabus was expanded to include more Geology and Human Geography, and Paddy's colleagues at Crescent never ceased to be amazed at the breadth and depth of his knowledge. He pioneered Geography Field

Trips and he became an expert on the Burren region in Co. Clare. He was also a great collector of valuable Geography books and of rocks, and he guarded them well. One day a group of teachers thought that they would build a Sun Dial, and began to wonder how. Paddy left the discussion briefly and returned with a book on 'How to make Sun Dials'. And his name - Paddy Kelly SJ – was written across the front of the book, in big black marker lettering, in case somebody dared not to return it to him.

Everybody he taught remembers Paddy's wonderful turn of phrase. Latecomers were warned not to 'shilly shally. In congested corridors between class periods, to the amusement of all, Paddy encouraged good order by booming out “file fast past fat fools”, or “hurry up you meandering tortoises”,

I have plenty of other pictures of Paddy: setting out on a Saturday morning from Dooradoyle on foot on a 20-mile-round walking trip to the Clare Hills; constructing unusual-looking but very comfortable garden seats; painting everything in sight; planting trees and daffodils, and cutting grass; fixing anything that was broken with carefully guarded tools; nodding during a conversation and saying "you're perfectly right and being positive and encouraging; sitting outside the back door in the evening, smoking his pipe, and looking the picture of contentment.

In 1985, at 65 years of age Paddy retired from teaching at Crescent, and left Limerick to work for a few years in the Prison Service in New York as a Chaplain, and then in a parish in Los Angeles, before returning to Gardiner Street and the Sacred Heart Church in Limerick, and finally to the Community in Milltown Park where he lived happily for ten years. In Gardiner Street some people did not care much for the added prayers and commentary he added to the liturgy, but many people loved the outgoing way in which he celebrated Mass. His Jesuit colleagues remember his optimism. There is a story that one morning in Gardiner Street, at breakfast Paddy was just too optimistic and charitable about everything, and an exasperated brother Jesuit remarked “Paddy you are so positive that you would speak well of the devil”, to which Paddy replied. “Indeed I would - he's a very hard worker”.

Paddy was often great fun, but he was serious too, and serious about things that he did not easily talk about, serious about his faith and his commitment to the Eucharist, nourishment from God for our journey, and especially as we prepare for the journey into the unknown. Two months before he died, Paddy moved to Cherryfield Lodge, and he knew that this part of his joumey was coming close. This was a time of special grace and acceptance for him. He was most thankful to the staff at Cherryfield, to the Rector and Milltown community, and to family and to old friends who stayed in touch. He died peacefully in Cherryfield on 4 May 2012.

McAuley, John, 1923-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/787
  • Person
  • 17 June 1923-02 January 2012

Born: 17 June 1923, Bargeddie, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 25 May 1986, Rome, Italy
Final Vows: 10 May 1995
Died: 02 January 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1952 at Rome Italy (ROM) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012

Obituary

Fr John McAuley (1923-2011) : Zambia Malawi Province

17 June 1923: Born in Glasgow, Scotland
7 September 1946: Entered Society in Emo Park, Ireland
25 May1986: Ordained in Rome by Pope John Paul II
2 February 1957: Final Vows at the Gesu, Rome
2 January 2012: Died in Dublin

Apostolic Life
1948 - 1951: Ireland. Rector's secretary
1951 - 1969: Rome, General Curia , receptionist
1969 - 1970: Chikuni. Learning Tonga
1972 - 1973: Chikuni, Canisius, teaching
1974 - 1981: Namwala, teaching at Namwala Sec. Sch
1981 - 2002: Kabwe, Bwacha
1981 - 1992: Lecturer, chaplain, Nkrumah Teacher Training College
1992 - 1996: Chaplain, Nkrumah, lecturing at Mpima Seminary
1985 - 1986: Rome, Bellarmino, Studies for priesthood
1996 - 2002: Chaplaincy work, formation of young Religious
2002 - 2004: Dublin, Milltown Park, recovering health
2004 - 2006: Kabwe, Bwacha, assisting in parish
2006 - 2007: Dublin, Milltown Park, recovering health Dublin,
2007 - 2011: Cherryfield Lodge, praying for Church and Society

Obituary : Michael J Kelly
John McAuley spent 66 of his 89 years in the Society: as a novice and brother from 1946 to 1986 and as a priest from 1986 to his death on 2nd January 2012. He was a true Jesuit in whom there was no guile. Integrity, determination to pursue a spiritual life as he understood it, and zeal for the apostolate characterized him all through life. No obstacle or difficulty could deter him from making these qualities manifest in his life. At times his strength of purpose seemed daunting, but to John this was his way of finding God and showing how much God loves us. A small incident in the novitiate brings this out. When standing for grace after dinner one day, John shook his leg as if something was itching him but continued with the grace. Afterwards he told his companions that when he was sitting at the table a mouse had run up the leg of his trousers, but he thought it was his duty as a novice not to make any fuss but to wait until he could dispose of his visitor in the least perceptible way. No one but John could have been so calm, collected and yet very funny about such an experience.

John took his first vows on 8th September 1948. Ever afterwards he remained very loyal to those who had taken vows with him, making sure that each of them had the “vow photo” of the thirteen men who took vows on that day, taken by the internationally acclaimed photographer, Father Frank Browne, S.J. Like his fellow vow-men, John did his novitiate under two novice-masters, Father Tommy Byrne and Donal O'Sullivan, and like his colleagues he benefitted from the richness that came from two different approaches to the spiritual life and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. But John was a man of few words who did not speak easily about things personal to himself. Before entering the novitiate he had completed two years of a science degree at Glasgow University. But he never revealed this to his fellow-novices, most of whom were several years his junior and far behind him in academic attainments. Even less did he speak about his own spiritual life. He was a private man, one who enjoyed companionship but did not depend on it.

After a few years as refectorian in Tullabeg and secretary to the Rector in Clongowes, John moved to Rome where he spent several years as receptionist for the Curia. Because of his reticence in speaking about himself we do not know much about John's life during this period. But the few things we do know are very striking. He was outstanding for the generosity of his hospitality to Irish Jesuits who happened to be passing through Rome, going out of his way to ensure that they were able to visit church and historical sites. The fact that he took Final Vows in 1957, just eleven years after he had entered the Society, speaks volumes for the dedicated religious life he lived when in Rome. And during this period, John succeeded in doing what Hitler had been unable to do- he stopped General Montgomery in his tracks.

What happened was this. One day, when John was receptionist at the Curia, a tall man came in and said he wanted to see the General. John asked to see his ID, but the visitor said he was not carrying one. John retorted that in that case he could not admit him, to which the visitor replied that he had an appointment with the General. John looked at the day's documents detailing appointments and said he had no information on that, but the man insisted. So John asked him his name and then rang the General to tell him that a man called Montgomery was at the desk, saying he had an appointment - “send him in at once" was the reply, “I am waiting for him, he is also a General”.

But stopping high-ranking generals and the humdrum duties of receptionist at the Curia did not give John sufficient outlet for his apostolic zeal. Like every good Jesuit, he sought the Magis, he wanted to do more. And so it was that he undertook part-time studies at the Gregorian University, a move that would accelerate his transition to the priesthood in later life. The same zeal led to his being assigned in 1969 to the newly established Zambian Province where, after some time spent in learning a local language, he served as a secondary school teacher, first at Canisius, the Jesuit school, and then for several years at the government school in Namwala. In addition to his teaching duties, John also served as chaplain at Namwala School, a ministry that gave him much scope for his apostolic zeal.

From Namwala, John transferred for a short period to the Jesuit Teacher Training College, Charles Lwanga, and from there to the Government training college for secondary teachers, Nkrumah College in Kabwe, where he lectured in religious studies and served as chaplain. It was while he was in Kabwe that John's desire to be ordained as a priest came very strongly to the fore, leading to studies at the Bellarmino in Rome in 1985 and 1986 and ordination in June 1986 by Blessed John Paul II. On his return to Zambia John was again posted to Kabwe, where he served in the parish and lectured and was chaplain at Nkrumah College. As if these responsibilities were not enough, he also took on a heavy load of formation work for young religious. For a time he lectured at the national seminary in Mpima, but is probably better remembered for his catechetical work with postulants and novices for the Sisters of Charity and for the Little Servants of Mary.

Although physically very wiry, John always suffered from bad sight, attributable in great measure to his being an albino. This prevented him from ever driving a car on any of his apostolic journeys. Instead he undertook these on a Honda 110 motor-cycle. The image of John endures, sitting very straight-backed on his Honda, looking straight ahead and “put-putting” along miles of tarred and dirt roads. But the Honda eventually became John's undoing, leading to serious accidents as he hit unseen potholes or had brushes with passing cars. One of these accidents necessitated his return to Ireland in 2002 to recover from his injuries. When he retumed to Zambia two years later, the Provincial felt obliged to refuse his request that he could ride his Honda again and advised him that he would have to rely on the mistresses of novices in the various congregations to get him to and from his work with postulants and novices.

Nothing daunted, John set about this but the injuries he had previously sustained had weakened him so badly that it was again necessary for him to return to Ireland, this time in 2006. At first he was assigned to Milltown Park, but a year later it became necessary for him to transfer to the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield Lodge. He settled in well and was content. He greatly enjoyed visits from members of his family who came from Scotland a few times each year to spend some time with him. But his condition steadily deteriorated; he was confined to a wheelchair; his eyesight failed almost completely; and his hearing became quite poor. But he always remained patient and now seemed more than ever concentrated on his new apostolate, to pray for the Church and the Society. Every morning, on being wheeled in for Mass, he would say “Put me near the altar”. In many ways this sums up his life, to be near the altar - “nearer my God to thee, even though it be a cross that raiseth me”. In this spirit, John died peacefully on 2nd January 2012.

The prayers of commendation, before John's body was taken from Cherryfield to Milltown Park for his funeral Mass, included the reflection: “Rather than his body, we are left with the name of John which we speak now with reverence and affection, and pray: Lord God, remember this namewhich he was given by his parents, and by which he is known even though he is dead; the namethat you have written on the palm of your hand”. In the Society, in Ireland and in Zambia, he was known as John. But his family always called him “Jackie”. In keeping with his much-loved privacy, John preferred that this name be reserved for family use only and could be offended if it was used by any non-family member. But whether “Jackie” or “John”, we speak his name with reverence and affection because he was a sign of God's living presence with us, because he strained himself always to do more for the coming of God's kingdom among us, and because we are certain that his name - be it Jackie or John - is written on the palm of God's hand.

McCarron, Seán J, 1907-1975, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/275
  • Person
  • 01 October 1907-16 July 1975

Born: 01 October 1907, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1942, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 16 July 1975, Mungret College, County Limerick

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

Early education at O’Connell’s School Dublin

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
John McCarron was known as Sean. Even as a novice, his qualities of leadership and practical common sense were recognised. He was self-confident, sure of his judgment and, on occasion, forthright in urging his point of view. His self-confidence stood to him in counselling and directing the large number of people, both clerical and lay, who sought his advice.
He was born in Dublin on 1 October 1907 and entered the Society in 1925. After the normal course of studies, juniorate, philosophy, regency and theology, he was ordained at Milltown Park in 1938.

For 15 years (1942 to 1957) Fr Sean was the Central Director of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA) with the exception of the first year when he was the assistant. He possessed tremendous drive and was demanding of others both as to the quality and quantity of their work. Some within the Society said he was too demanding. However he had the knack or ability to draw around him people of talent and dedication who would give of their best.

He had a genius for organisation and administration which showed itself in the restructuring of the Pioneer office, in the conducting of Pioneer affairs and also in the overall direction of the memorable Golden Jubilee of the Association in 1949 which entailed a huge parade through the centre of Dublin and a massive meeting in Croke Park. He founded and launched the Pioneer Magazine in 1948 which quickly built up a good circulation in spite of the pundits who said that such a magazine would not be a practical proposition. He even procured a car for his work of promoting the Association - a very progressive action at the time. Until the late 40s, the only cars permitted in the Province were the four official cars for the country houses - Emo, Clongowes, Tullabeg and Mungret. The annual Pioneer Rally at Dublin's Theatre Royal was certainly the biggest annual rally of any group in Ireland. Because of the Association, he became one of the best known priests in Ireland.

An amusing incident took place when he was Director of the Pioneers. One afternoon seeing a poor woman pushing a pram up the hill in Gardiner Street, he went to assist her and found himself pushing a pram, not with a baby, but one full of bottles of beer!

He left the Association to be posted to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) for the express purpose of building and setting up Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College. His right hand man was Br Pat McElduff. It was quite a showpiece with even a fountain on the campus. He was a tremendous worker but at the same time he had great kindness towards the workers and foremen. The firms he dealt with had great respect for him as he was always so straight and clear about what he wanted. He lived where he worked, in a small house, the inside of which was littered with plans everywhere – on the floor, on the table, on his bed. Zambia was a very happy episode in his life which revealed his charm and affability.

Back in Ireland he founded Manresa Retreat House and was the first Superior of Loyola House, the provincial’s new residence. His health had not been good for a number of years though he always made light of this. The end came suddenly early in the morning of 16 July 1975 in Limerick where he had been living.

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.

Note from Pat McElduff Entry
For the construction of the Teachers Training College Charles Lwanga across the river from Chikuni, Br Pat was the obvious man for the building together with Fr McCarron just out from Ireland.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.
We moved in on Saturday morning, 14th August. Fr, Superior (Fr. McCarron), Fr. Minister (Fr. Kearns), and Bro. E. Foley constituted the occupying force, and Fr. T. Martin not only placed his van at our disposal, but gave generously of his time and labour for the heavy work of the first day.
A long procession of vans unloaded until noon, when the men broke off for their half-day, leaving a mountain of assorted hardware and soft goods to be unpacked and stowed. By nightfall we had a chapel installed, the kitchen working, dining-room in passable order, and beds set up, so we said litanies, Fr. Superior blessed the house and consecrated it to the Sacred Heart.
Next morning Fr. Superior said the first Mass ever offered in the building. It was the Feast of the Assumption and a Sunday, so we. placed the house and the work under the Patronage of Our Lady and paused to review the scene. Fr. Provincial came to lunch.
The building is soundly constructed from basement to roof, but needs considerable modification before it can be used as a temporary Retreat House. The permanent Retreat House has yet to be built on the existing stables about 130 yards from the principal structure, but. we hope to take about twenty exercitants as soon as builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and decorators have done their work.
Fr. C. Doyle is equipping and furnishing the domestic chapel as a memorial to Fr. Willie, who worked so tirelessly for the establishment of workingmen's retreats in Ireland. A mantelpiece of this room has been removed, and thermostatically controlled electric heating is being installed. Lighting is to be by means of fluorescent tubes of the latest type.
With all due respects to the expert gardeners of the Province, we modestly assert that our garden is superb. Fr. Provincial was so impressed by the work done there that he presented us with a Fordson 8 H.P. van to bring the surplus produce to market. Under the personal supervision of Fr. Superior, our two professional gardeners took nine first prizes and four seconds with fourteen exhibits at the Drimnagh show. Twelve of their potatoes filled a bucket, and were sold for one shilling each. The garden extends over 2 of our 17 acres and will, please God, provide abundant fruit and vegetables.
From the beginning we have been overwhelmed with kindness: by our houses and by individual Fathers. Fr. Provincial has been a fairy-godmother to us all the time. As well as the van, he has given us a radio to keep us in touch with the outside world. We have bene fitted by the wise advice of Frs. Doyle and Kenny in buying equipment and supplies, while both of them, together with Fr. Rector of Belvedere and Fr. Superior of Gardiner Street, have given and lent furniture for our temporary chapel Fr. Scantlebury sacrificed two fine mahogany bookcases, while Frs. Doherty and D. Dargan travelled by rail and bus so that we might have the use of the Pioneer car for three weeks. Milltown sent a roll-top desk for Fr, Superior's use. To all who helped both houses and individuals we offer our warmest thanks, and we include in this acknowledgement the many others whom we have not mentioned by name.
Our man-power problem was acute until the Theologians came to the rescue. Two servants were engaged consecutively, but called off without beginning work. An appeal to Fr. Smyth at Milltown brought us Messrs. Doris and Kelly for a week of gruelling labour in the house. They scrubbed and waxed and carpentered without respite until Saturday when Mr. Kelly had to leave us. Mr. Hornedo of the Toledo Province came to replace him, and Mr. Barry arrived for work in the grounds. Thanks to their zeal and skill, the refectory, library and several bedrooms were made ready and we welcomed our first guest on Monday, 30th August. Under the influence of the sea air, Fr. Quinlan is regaining his strength after his long and severe illness.
If anyone has old furniture, books, bedclothes, pictures, or, in fact anything which he considers superfluous, we should be very glad to hear of it, as we are faced with the task of organizing accommodation for 60 men and are trying to keep the financial load as light as possible in these times of high cost. The maintenance of the house depends on alms and whatever the garden may bring. What may look like junk to an established house may be very useful to us, starting from bare essentials. Most of all, we want the prayers of the brethren for the success of the whole venture, which is judged to be a great act of trust in the Providence of God.
Our postal address is : Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.

Irish Province News 50th Year No 3 and 4 1975

Obituary :

Fr Seán McCarron (1907-1975)

Fr Kevin O'Donnell writes:
“I went to Tullabeg in September 1925, a few days after Seán McCarron. We were together from that date until the end of our Tertianship in 1940, moving on from the Noviceship to the Juniorate, then to Philosophy, to Clongowes, to Milltown Park and finally to Rathfarnham.
Father Paddy Kenny was in constant attendance during our years of formation, being Socius and Minister during our noviceship and coming with us to Rathfarnham. He was appointed Minister in Clongowes at the same time as we were sent there as scholastics. We had, therefore, the benefit of the guidance and example of an outstanding Jesuit - a practical and deeply spiritual man.
Seán would be astonished if he heard anyone attempting to draw a comparison between himself and ‘PK’, and I don't intend to try it. His long and constant association with ‘PK’ undoubtedly influenced Seán.
Even in the Noviceship, Seán's qualities of leadership and practical common sense were recognised. At ‘outdoor works’, when Seán was in charge of a group, we all knew whom to obey, Seán was aware of his gifts - he was self-confident, sure of his judgement and, on occasion, forthright in urging his point. This self confidence stood to him in later life in counselling and directing the very large number of people - clerical and lay - who sought his advice.
In addition to a very practical mind and his gift of leadership, Seán had a deep and genuine spirituality, zealous and generous in giving the Spiritual Exercises, and a great worker on a Mission.
He gave devoted and distinguished service to the Society which he joined fifty years ago. God grant him his reward”.

Fr Dan Dargan writes about Seán as Director of the Pioneers :
“In 1942 Fr Seán McCarron was appointed assistant to the Director of the Pioneer Association, Fr Joe Flinn. The following year Fr Flinn died and Seán succeeded him as Central Director. He remained in that office until 1957 when he left Ireland to work on the Zambian mission.
For nine years I was his assistant, and during that time I grew to look on him as one of the most able men I have met in the Society. He was highly intelligent, practical and forceful, he commanded widespread respect throughout the country and became one of the best-known priests in Ireland. Himself possessing tremendous drive, he was demanding of others, both as to the quality and quantity of their work. In the Society some said that he was too demanding. Outside the Society I have known several people who were ready to work themselves to the bone for Fr McCarron and glad to be able to do it. Indeed a secret of his success in whatever he undertook was his ability to draw around him people of talent and dedication who would give of their best.
I was often struck by his handling of a thorny issue. He would study it, would get right to the kernel and would evaluate reasons for and against. Then, where others might hesitate, he would make a decision and would fearlessly execute it. He had a genius for organisation and administration, as he showed in his efficient re structuring of the Pioneer Association office, in his overall direction of the memorable Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Association in 1949, and in his conducting of Pioneer affairs. He was much sought after as a spiritual adviser, especially during his years at Manresa Retreat House. I have heard people speak of the valuable direction he gave them with his commonsense approach and generous kindness to them.
Until recently it fell to the lot of few Jesuits to be assigned to more than one totally new work in the course of their lives. Within ten years Seán McCarron was given three such assignments: he was appointed founder of Manresa Retreat House, first superior of Loyola, and was sent to Zambia for the express purpose of building and setting up the Charles Lwanga College. One reason for these appointments was his great initiative, to which any house where he was in charge bears witness. In the Pioneer Association, before his coming on the scene, it was the official viewpoint that a special magazine for the Association would not be a practical proposition. In 1948 Seán blew this theory to bits when he founded and launched the Pioneer magazine, which quickly built up a good circulation. After the Second World War, as soon as motor cars began to appear freely on the roads, Seán procured a car for his work of promoting the Association - an action which at the time was considered very progressive! (It may come as a surprise to younger Jesuits to learn that until the late 1940s the only cars permitted in the Province were the four official house cars allowed to our country houses, one each to Emo, Tullabeg, Clongowes and Mungret).
For him a favourite occasion was the annual Pioneer meeting in Dublin's Theatre Royal. This was quite a remarkable meeting, certainly the biggest annual rally of any group in Ireland. The theatre, which held three and a half thousand people, was always packed. No sooner had Seán risen and said a few words than you could see that he held his audience in the palm of his hand. He would begin in a relaxed, humorous vein, often referring jocosely to his personal proportions - at that time he weighed 18 stone - and he would have his listeners chuckling away merrily. Then he would grow serious, would speak with impassioned eloquence, often lifting his listeners to heights of enthusiasm. On many occasions he hit out hard at drink abuses, including breaches of the licensing laws. He was sometimes criticised by members of the Province for this, but he was convinced that he was justified in making strong protests against abuses which produced such damaging effects on the moral and social life of our people.
Those of us who worked with him often marvelled at his powers of persuasion in bringing people around to accept his viewpoint. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Association, he pro posed to archbishop McQuaid his intended programme involving a huge parade through the centre of Dublin and an open-air meet ing in Croke Park. The archbishop was anything but encouraging. Undaunted Seán explained to the archbishop the spiritual motivation of the Pioneer Association, and said that the rally would afford a unique opportunity to put this motivation before the general public. The archbishop withdrew his disapproval and gave his sanction to Seán's plans.
Almost on the eve of a national Pioneer pilgrimage to Knock in the Marian Year (1954), the men in the GNR company in the Drogheda area became involved in a dispute with the management, and decided that until they got satisfaction they would not operate any trains on Sundays. Realising the disappointment this would bring to people in Meath and Louth, Seán went up to Drogheda, met the men and appealed to them to run the trains for the Pioneer pilgrimage. To do so, he told them, would not adversely prejudice their case, but rather would win admiration from the public. The men were impressed, responded to his appeal, and - the Pioneers got to Knock!
It came as a surprise to many outside the Society to learn after his death that he experienced bad health in many forms for many years. He himself always made light of this, would even joke about it, but throughout his ill-health and suffering he showed remark able courage, never giving way to self-pity and showing a deep spirit of faith. He knew that the end might come suddenly at any time, and so it did, early in the morning of the 16th July, 1975, May his great soul enjoy happiness with God whom he served so cheerfully and courageously”.

Mary Purcell has a 3-page illustrated article on Seán in the Pioneer (September 1975).

Fr Charlie O'Connor writes about Seán in Zambia :
“I have a very clear picture of Seán in Zambia. I think he was in his element there. He had a job to do and he was complete boss in that job - and I think Seán needed to be completely in charge. He made a great job of the building of Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College: it was quite a showpiece - who in Africa had ever thought before of including a fountain in a campus?
The word I find coming to mind for the McCarron of those days (1956-'63) is genial. There was great affability towards workers and foremen - but the affable face could set in serious lines when problems arose. The firms he dealt with had great respect for him - I suppose because he was so straight and so clear about what he wanted.
Another picture comes to mind: he lived on his own in one of the teachers' houses he had erected. You'd go in and find him in a room littered with plans on the floor, table, bed, plans everywhere.
Another picture: You'd meet him making his way very purposefully towards one of the sites, his huge wide-brimmed hat on his head - that was quite a characteristic feature of Seán in those days - in shirt and trousers - and with a rolled plan under his arm.
I'm certain Zambia was a very happy episode in his life - and perhaps revealed more than other periods his great charm and affability. Before that I had thought of him as autocratic and not very warm.

McDonagh, Francis B, 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

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1995

Obituary

Father Francis McDonagh SJ

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, often been conscious of their help. Indeed, for a man like him, older than his confrères 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 unbothered 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 mission aries.

He had already presided at Belvedere. A member of the community 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 than Augustan Dorset Street.

McElduff, Patrick, 1923-2000, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/682
  • Person
  • 17 April 1923-06 April 2000

Born: 17 April 1923, Killeigh, Tullamore, County Offaly
Entered: 20 November 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 06 April 2000, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Early in his stay at Chikuni, one evening a worker came to Br Pat to report that a snake had fallen into the well, the source of the people's drinking water. ‘If it dies, no one will ever drink from the well again’ he was told. What to do? Br Pat was nothing if not inventive. Into the 30 foot well he lowered a bag of hay knowing that snakes liked to rest or hide under sacking or straw. Next morning at 04.00 hours, Br Pat was awakened by the worker who said, ‘We have killed the snake after hauling up the hay with the snake inside’. Br Pat writing about this incident years later wrote, ‘I suppose it's in overcoming challenges that we grow in joy, in closeness to our Creator, and in a knowledge of who we are and how closely we work with Him’. Br Pat was a deeply spiritual man and all his working life was a challenge to him.

He was born on 17 April 1923 in Killeigh, Co Offaly, Ireland, into a farming family. After school he went to the Tullamore Vocational School for Trades Training (carpentry and building) and further academic subjects. He looked upon his early life as ‘a good Catholic religious upbringing’. He came to the Society in 1944 to Emo where he stayed even after his vows working on the farm, eight years in all.

He came to Northern Rhodesia in 1952 and took charge of the Chikuni farm for six years. For the construction of the Teachers Training College Charles Lwanga across the river from Chikuni, Br Pat was the obvious man for the building together with Fr McCarron just out from Ireland. During the following eight years, 1964 to 1972, he was on the move around the diocese building churches, schools, teachers' houses and catechists' houses. He spent three years promoting agriculture around Chikuni, went to Kasisi outside Lusaka as farm manager for three years and returned again to Chikuni as farm manager for eleven years. He did a few years' stint at Namwala doing maintenance and pastoral work and then back to Chikuni, also on maintenance and assisting in the parish. His health began to trouble him which took him to Ireland. In 1999 he was back in Zambia and was operated on but this did not cure the trouble. In great pain he asked to be brought to Ireland where he died on 6 April 2000.

In all this tremendous work that he did, he never forgot that he was working for God, as he once told a contractor with whom he was working when they had a difference of opinion. He prayed for the people he worked with, took a great interest in his workers and their families. He fed the hungry in famine times, visited the sick, presided at communion services, attended Charismatic prayer groups and generally encouraged people everywhere he went. He was never short of a word of advice or a prayer of encouragement.

On a short curriculum vitae sheet which the Jesuits fill in for the archives, one of the items on the sheet reads ‘Other activities, apostolic interests, hobbies, publications etc.’ Br Pat had, with an arrow pointing to 'hobbies' written, ‘get on with the job’. That, in some ways sums up Br Pat's life. He was practical, spiritual, helpful and kind. Ever busy himself, he was always ready to help others. He was well known around the Chikuni area as one to whom people would go when in trouble, knowing that they would get a listening ear. This, the local farmers knew. He was a farmer like themselves and his advice was readily sought.

The people were sad that Br Pat had died abroad. They would have liked to have his body brought back for full traditional burial rites, such was the esteem and love which they had for him. But as the Tonga proverb has it. ‘They say goodbye, they say goodbye but they leave their names behind’.

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.

Note from Seán McCarron Entry
He was posted to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) for the express purpose of building and setting up Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College. His right hand man was Br Pat McElduff.

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

Murphy, Vincent, 1929-2016, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/834
  • Person
  • 19 April 1929-28 November 2016

Born: 19 April 1929, Ranelagh, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1954, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1972, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Died: 28 November 2016, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB : 1989

by 1960 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

Early Education at CBS Synge Street; Bolton Street DIT

1956-1959 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1959-1961 Monze, Zambia - Regency : Bursar at Charles Lwanga Teachers’ Training College; Learning CiTonga
1961-1965 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1965-1966 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1966-1972 Mazabuka, Zambia - Parish work in BMV Assumption Parish & Nakambala Sugar Estate
1972-1987 Gardiner St - Director of Mission Office; + Province Vocations Task Force
1972 Transcribed to Zambian Province [ZAM] (02/02/1972)
1977 Assists in Church
1987-1988 Sabbatical
1988-1994 Crescent Church, Limerick - Superior ; Prefect of the Church; BVM & St Joseph Sodalities; Promoting Zambian Missions
1989 President “Cecilians Musical Society”
1989 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (05/12/1989)
1994-1996 Gardiner St - Promotes Apostleship of Prayer and Messenger; Ministers in Church
1996-2016 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Treasurer and Administrator; Ministers in People’s Church; 2000 Assistant Chaplain in St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin
2007 Assistant Guestmaster; Assistant Community Treasurer
2010 Ministers in People’s Church: Assistant Community Librarian
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Jean Indeku Entry
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.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/rip-vincent-murphy-sj/

RIP: Vincent Murphy SJ
Irish Jesuit Fr Vincent Murphy passed away peacefully on the morning of Monday 28 November at Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park. A native of Ranelagh, Dublin, Fr Vincent qualified as a Quantity Surveyor and played for Shamrock Rovers FC prior to joining the Jesuits in September 1954. He was ordained ten years later, in 1964.
Vincent spent a number of years on mission work in Zambia, then returned to Dublin, where he was in charge of the Mission Office in Gardiner Street and was Chaplain in St. Vincent’s Hospital. In 1996, Vincent moved to Clongowes Community, and he remained there until 2014, when a stroke required that he move to Cherryfield.
His last few weeks were spent very peacefully, and he told his Rector that Cherryfield was a great preparation for heaven because of the care he was receiving there from the Staff who came to love him dearly.
Below is the homily given by Fr Michael Shiel SJ at the funeral Mass :
“This I know, that my redeemer lives, and, after my awaking, He will set me close to Him. And from my flesh I will look on God.”
As we gather to celebrate the long and full life of Vincent – rich in years and bearing much fruit – the above words are very appropriate to sum up the depth of faith of this follower of Ignatius Loyola and his ‘Friends in the Lord’. For if ever anyone was prepared to meet His Lord it was Vincent.
Some time last year, when I visited him in Cherryfield, he told me that his consultant had promised that he would live to see the new RWC Champions crowned. After the final, I asked him what his next deadline was. He said: “Now, I’m just waiting for Godot!” To which all I could say was: “Well, I hope you’ll have more luck than the other pair – Vladimir and Estragon!
Today we, as Christians, believe that he has. For we believe in the promise of Jesus just heard in the Gospel: “I am going to prepare a place for you, and I shall return to take you with me”.
Vincent was born in the year of the Great Depression. He went to school in Synge Street – and how proud he was of his Christian Brothers’ education there! He joined the Jesuits in 1954 as a late vocation, having qualified as a quantity surveyor in Bolton Street, DIT. Outside his professional life, he made his mark in (as he put it) the glory-days of Shamrock Rovers! His contemporaries in the Society used to recount how frustrated Vincent could become as they tried to find an approach to the beautiful game other than a Jack Charlton-like Garryowen-type hoof and follow!
The Irish Province’s mission to Zambia was still developing, and Vincent joined the growing band of Irish Jesuits for his regency there in 1959. After theology and ordination here in Milltown, and a final year of study in Rathfarnham, Vincent returned to Africa where he ministered in parish work before coming back again to Ireland to head up the Mission Office in Gardiner Street. His generous care of returning missionaries knew no limits and was greatly appreciated. He also helped out in the Church, and he was Vocations Director as well.
est of his apostolic life was spent in Dublin and Limerick, before he joined our Community in Clongowes just 20 years ago. He followed in the footsteps of Fr John Sullivan as he served in the People’s Church and then ministered as Chaplain in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. And lastly, as failing health brought him to Cherryfield Lodge, his final – and very important – mission was to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus, for his Companions who continue to carry on God’s work in many different fields.
Such, in very few lines, is the life of Fr Vincent Murphy SJ. He was unsung and unheralded in the world at large, but so too was he rewarding and fruitful in doing good and in enriching the lives of very many people and families to whom he brought the Good News of God’s saving power, as he lived it in his own life. God’s love was indeed inscribed with iron chisel (his faith) and engraving tool (his generosity) cut into the rock of people’s lives as they experienced his ministering zeal. Nowhere was this seen to greater effect than in his years as Hospital chaplain, where his patience and care for both the sick and the hospital staff bore much fruit and brought comfort and hope to those who were facing an uncertain future.
In later years, first of all in Clongowes Wood College and more recently in Cherryfield, God continued to give Vincent as a special gift to others, this time as someone in need of their love and care. It is only right, at a time like this, to pay tribute to the CWC Infirmary Nurses and Community Staff whose care allowed him bonus-years there.
For someone who, as I said at the start, was surely prepared to meet his Lord, Vincent seemed simply not to want to let go of his Cherryfield carer-friends, as I was to witness during the past week. It began for me as a simple overnight stay, and it ended as an extraordinary and privileged experience of seeing at first hand – behind-the-scenes, early mornings and late nights – the care of every single one of the staff, both nursing and support. It was fitting that the former dispenser of God’s caring love as a hospital chaplain should himself be the receiver of a quite extraordinary outpouring of care and love by the team in Cherryfield. On behalf of the CWC Community, and of the Irish Jesuits, I can only say a deep-down thanks to each and every one of you.
“I am going to prepare a place for you – and, after I have gone and prepared a place for you – I shall return to take you with me, so that, where I am, you may be too.”
It is our Christian faith which brings us to the Eucharist this morning – our Faith that Christ did indeed return to call His disciple home, when just two days ago, accompanied by George Fallon and myself, Vincent came to the end of his long and faith-filled journey. It was his dies natalis, his heavenly birthday, as the Roman martyrology called it, as his tent that we live in on earth was folded up, and he moved to the everlasting home, not made by human hands, in the heavens. Now, in his turn, Vincent has gone ahead of us to help prepare a place for us and he will be on hand to welcome each one of us to Our Father’s home.
So often in life we say good-bye. It comes from the ancient wish or prayer ‘May God be with you’. And today we say it to Vincent at this, his last Mass.
And so we pray: “May Christ enfold you in His Love, and bring you to eternal life; may God and Mary be with you.”
Be assured that we will pray for you, Vincent. May you also pray for us. And so we say farewell, and, until we meet again, good-bye.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

Note from Tommy Martin Entry
1974 He retired from this work of Missions Procurator and handed over to Vincent Murphy.

◆ The Clongownian, 2017

Obituary

Father Vincent Murphy SJ : A Special Gift to Others

A member of the community of Clongowes Wood College SJ, Fr. Vincent Murphy SJ, passed away peacefully last November (28th), in Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park; he will be sadly missed.

Vincent was a valued member of the Clongowes Community since his arrival here in 1996 as Treasurer and Administrator. In 2014 Vincent suffered a mild stroke and spent a weekend in Naas Hospital. He then transferred to Cherryfield Lodge where he lived very contentedly until around Hallowe'en when he began to decline. His last few weeks were spent very peacefully, and he told his Rector that Cherryfield was a great preparation for heaven because of the care he was receiving there from the staff who came to love him dearly.

Below is the homily given by Fr Michael Shiel SJ at Vincent's funeral Mass.

This I know, that my redeemer lives, and, after my awaking, He will set me close to Him. And from my flesh I will look on God. As we gather to celebrate the long and full life of Vincent - rich in years and bearing much fruit - the above words are very appropriate to sum up the depth of faith of this follower of Ignatius Loyola and his “Friends in the Lord”. For if ever anyone was prepared to meet His Lord it was Vincent. Some time last year, when I visited him in Cherryfield, he told me that his consultant had promised that he would live to see the new Rugby World Cup Champions crowned. After the final, I asked him what his next deadline was. He said: “Now, I'm just waiting for Godot!” To which all I could say was: “Well, I hope you'll have more luck than the other pair - Vladimir and Estragon!” Today we, as Christians, believe that he has. For we believe in the promise of Jesus just heard in the Gospel: “I am going to prepare a place for you, and I shall return to take you with me”.

Vincent was born in 1929 - the year of the Great Depression. He went to school in Synge Street - and how proud he was of his Christian Brothers' education there! He joined the Jesuits in 1954 as a late vocation, having qualified as a quantity Surveyor in Bolton Street, DIT. Outside his professional life, he made his mark in las he put it) the glory-days of Shamrock Rovers! His contemporaries in the Society used to recount how frustrated Vincent could become as they tried to find an approach to the beautiful game other than a Jack Charlton-like Garryowen-type hoof and follow!

The Irish Province's mission to Zambia was still developing, and Vincent joined the growing band of Irish Jesuits for his regency there in 1959. After theology and ordination here in Milltown, and a final year of study in Rathfarnham, Vincent returned to Africa where he ministered in parish work before coming back again to Ireland to head up the Mission Office in Gardiner Street. His generous care of returning missionaries knew no limits and was greatly appreciated. He also helped out in the Church, and he was Vocations Director as well. He was not destined to return to Zambia, although he retained strong affectionate links with Africa. The rest of his apostolic life was spent in Dublin and Limerick, before he joined our Community in Clongowes just 20 years ago. He followed in the footsteps of Fr John Sullivan as he served in the People's Church and then ministered as Chaplain in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. And lastly, as failing health brought him to Cherryfield Lodge, his final - and very important - mission was to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus, for his Companions who continue to carry on God's work in many different fields.

Such, in very few lines, is the life of Fr Vincent Murphy SJ. He was unsung and unheralded in the world at large, but so too was he rewarding and fruitful in doing good and in enriching the lives of very many people and families to whom he brought the Good News of God's saving power, as he lived it in his own life. God's love was indeed inscribed with iron chisel This faith) and engraving tool (his generosity) cut into the rock of people's lives as they experienced his ministering zeal. Nowhere was this seen to greater effect than in his years as hospital chaplain, where his patience and care for both the sick and the hospital staff bore much fruit and brought comfort and hope to those who were facing an uncertain future. In later years, first of all in Clongowes Wood College and more recently in Cherryfield, God continued to give Vincent as a special gift to others, this time as someone in need of their love and care, It is only right, at a time like this, to pay tribute to the Clongowes Infirmary Nurses and Community Staff whose care allowed him bonus-years there.

For someone whom, as | said at the start, was surely prepared to meet his Lord, Vincent seemed simply not to want to let go of his Cherryfield carer-friends, as I was to witness during the past week. It began for me as a simple overnight stay, and it ended as an extraordinary and privileged experience of seeing at first hand - behind-the-scenes, early mornings and late nights - the care of every single one of the staff, both nursing and support. It was fitting that the former dispenser of God's caring love as a hospital chaplain should himself be the receiver of a quite extraordinary outpouring of care and Love by the team in Cherryfield. On behalf of the Clongowes Community and of the Irish Jesuits, I can only say a deep-down thanks to each and every one of you.

“I am going to prepare a place for you - and, after I have gone and prepared a place for you - I shall return to take you with me, so that, where I am, you may be too”.

It is our Christian faith which brings us to the Eucharist this morning - our Faith that Christ did indeed return to call His disciple home, when just two days ago, accompanied by George Fallon and myself, Vincent came to the end of his long and faith-filled journey. It was his “dies natalis”, his heavenly birthday, as the Roman martyrology called it, as his tent that we live in on earth was folded up, and he moved to the everlasting home, not made by human hands, in the heavens. Now, in his turn, Vincent has gone ahead of us to help prepare a place for us and he will be on hand to welcome each one of us to Our Father's home.

So often in life we say good-bye. It comes from the ancient wish or prayer May God be with you and today we say it to Vincent at this, his last Mass. And so we pray:

May Christenfold you in His Love, and bring you to eternal life; may God and Mary be with you. Be assured that we will pray for you, Vincent. May you also pray for us.

And so we say farewell, and, until we meet again, good-bye.

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, Thomas PA, 1932-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/687
  • Person
  • 16 June 1932-06 August 1992

Born: 16 June 1932, Ennis Road, Limerick
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.

◆ The Clongownian, 2005

Obituary

Father Denis O’Connell SJ

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 che 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.

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 were 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 sec 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 riverbank. For him it was a time of prayer. He loved a good chat with friends once he had the pipe lit and glowing. Dinny's talent was · his easy, welcoming manner with people and his quiet, unobtrusive pastoral ability.

TMCG

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.

Wafer, Frank,1934-2021, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2368
  • 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.