File 48 - Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1963

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IE IJA MSSN/ZAM/48

Title

Correspondence between Jesuits in Nothern Rhodesia and the Irish Fr Provincial during the year 1963

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  • 4 January-30 December 1963 (Creation)

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53 items

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Name of creator

(25 March 1906-02 November 1981)

Biographical history

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

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Clane, Co Kildare community at the time of death

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

Early Education at CUS, Dublin and Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1938 at Petworth, Surrey (ANG) health

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943

The O’Conor Don, Owen Phelim O’Conor who died at Glenageary Dublin, on 1st March, was the last lineal descendant, from father to son of Roderick O’Conor, last High King of Ireland, who resigned in the 12th century. He was the second son of the late Right Hon. Charles Owen O'Conor and succeeded to the title on the death of his elder brother, Denis, in 1917. The new holder of the title is our Fr. Charles O’Conor, Minister of Juniors at Rathfarnham, the only son of the late Mr. Charles O’Conor K.M., Lucan House Dublin, and nephew of the late holder. He is the first bearer of an hereditary Irish title to be a priest, and not until his death will the title go to the son or grandson of a cousin of Owen Phelim O’Conor. This gentleman, Mr. Charles William O’Conor was once M.P. for Sligo and now lives in Herefordshire.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

Frs. G. Casey and C. O'Conor represented the Province at the Solem Requiem Mass celebrated at Kikeel Church, Co. Down on 22nd January for the late Fr. John Sloan, S.J., of Patna Mission (Chicago Province) who perished in the Dakota crash outside Karachi on the night of 27th December. Fr. O'Conor was the Celebrant. A brief account of his career appears below.

Irish Province News 34th Year No 4 1959

GENERAL
On 20th July Fr. Charles O'Conor, former Rector of Gonzaga College was appointed Provincial in succession to Fr. Michael A. O’Grady. The best wishes of the Province are with the Provincial in his new office, and to Fr. O'Grady the Province offers its gratitude for his services during his Provincialate. He will be remembered, beyond doubt, above all for his outstanding kindness, under standing and sympathy. His great and quite genuine charm of manner made personal contact between him and his subjects easy. They could always feel that their position was understood even if it could not always be improved. And these qualities extended themselves outside the Society and won for Fr. O’Grady and for the Province the goodwill, esteem and affection of everyone with whom he came into contact.
When he became Provincial in 1953 Fr. O’Grady was faced with a task which demanded gifts of this high order, The period of office of his predecessor, Fr. T, Byrne, had been one of expansion after the war. It was for Fr. O’Grady to consolidate. He found himself with a number of new enterprises-the Catholic Workers' College, the Mission in Rhodesia, Gonzaga College - which he had to see firmly established. This involved, among other things, a heavy building programme. It has been his great achievement that he courageously carried through this programme, though the toll on his health was at times very great. Besides the buildings at Gonzaga and the Workers' College, there were the preparatory school at Belvedere, the Pioneer Hall, the extension to Manresa and the renovation of Loyola, Eglinton Road, which was purchased as a Provincial Residence in his term of office. That, in spite of the expenditure involved, the Province is in a sound financial position is a tribute to Fr. O'Grady's generous use of his great personal gifts and to his inexhaustible patience and zeal.
Other activities recently undertaken which received his wholehearted en couragement were the Missions to Britain and to the Irish workers in Britain, the work of teaching Christian Doctrine in the Technical Schools, and the Child Educational Centre, which was started in his Provincialate and was finally established in its new premises in Northumberland Road last year.
He visited both China and Northern Rhodesia, and it was largely through his tireless negotiation that a satisfactory status for the Rhodesian Mission was worked out and the Mission of Chikuni created. He also saw the expansion of the Mission to the Chinese in Malaya. In both Missions he supported extensive building schemes of which the most ambitious were the new Wah Yan College, Queen's Road, Hong Kong and the Teacher Training College, Chikuni. And for all this the Province is grateful to Fr. O’Grady.

Name of creator

(24 November 1910-12 August 1987)

Biographical history

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

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

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03 December 1969

Early education at St Columb’s College Derry

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

Tertianship at Rathfarnham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name of creator

(17 February 1911-02 May 1975)

Biographical history

Born: 17 February 1911, Rosmuc, County Galway
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943
Professed: 15 August 1946
Died: 02 May 1975, Vatican Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Early education at Mungret College SJ; Tertianship at Rathfarnham

by 1937 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1939 at St Aloysius, Sydney, Australia - health
by 1940 in Hong Kong - Regency
by 1946 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - First Zambian Missioners with Patrick JT O’Brien
by 1947 at Brokenhill, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working
by 1962 at Loyola, Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Sec to Bishop of Lusaka

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
In 1926 and 1927, a team of three boys from Mungret College at Feis Luimnighe (Limerick Festival) swept away the first prizes for Irish conversation and debate. The three boys were native Irish speakers. They were Seamus Thornton from Spiddal who became a Jesuit in California and later suffered imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese communists, Tadhg Manning who became Archbishop of Los Angeles and Paddy Walsh from Rosmuc who joined the Irish Province Jesuits in 1928.

Fr Paddy was born in the heart of Connemara, an Irish speaking part of Ireland and grew up in that Irish traditional way of life, a nationalist, whose house often welcomed Padraic Pearse, the Irish nationalist who gave his life in the final struggle for Irish independence. Fr Paddy came to Northern Rhodesia in 1946 and felt an immediate sympathy with the aspirations of the younger and more educated African nationalists.

For regency, he went to Hong Kong, China, but a spot on his lung sent him to Australia where he recovered in the good climate of the Blue Mountains. Back in Ireland for theology and ordination in 1943, he once again volunteered for the missions, this time to Northern Rhodesia where he came in 1946.

His first assignment was Kabwe as superior and education secretary. Chikuni saw him for two years, 1950 and 1951, and then he went north to Kabwata, Lusaka as parish priest where he constructed its first church. From 1958 to 1969 he was parish priest at Kabwata, secretary to Archbishop Adam, chaplain to the African hospital and part-time secretary to the Papal Nuncio. He became involved in the problems of race relations, an obvious source of prejudice, and he had a hand in setting up an inter-racial club in Lusaka where the rising generation of both Africans and Whites could meet on an equal footing. His own nationalist background led him to participate in their struggle which he embraced with enthusiasm. When many of the leaders were arrested and sent to prison, Fr Paddy was a constant source of strength and encouragement, especially for their bereft families. He administered funds for their support which in large part came from the Labour Party in England. He was a friend of Kenneth Kaunda and looked after his family and drove his wife to Salisbury to visit Kaunda in prison. Within six weeks of Independence, Fr Paddy had his Zambian citizenship and at the first annual awards and decorations, the new President Kaunda conferred on him Officer of the Companion Order of Freedom.

In 1969 Fr Paddy had a heart attack and it was decided that he return to Ireland. As a mark of respect and appreciation, the President and some of the ministers carried the stretcher onto the plane.

Fr Paddy recovered somewhat and returned to Roma parish in 1970 but his health did not improve and it was felt that a lower altitude might improve things, so he went back to Ireland and Gibraltar to work there. The Papal Nuncio in South Africa, Archbishop Polodrini who had been in Lusaka, invited Fr Paddy to be his secretary in Pretoria. He accepted the offer in 1973. 0n 2 May 1975 Fr Paddy died in Pretoria of a heart attack and was buried there, a far cry from Rosmuc.

Fr Paddy was completely dedicated to whatever he did, especially in the African hospital where he ministered and he bitterly complained to the colonial powers about the conditions there. He had a great sense of loyalty to people, to a cause, to the Lusaka mission, to the Archbishop himself and to the welfare of the Zambian people and the country.

At the funeral Mass in Lusaka, attended by President Kaunda and his wife, the Secretary General, the Prime Minister and some Cabinet Ministers, Kaunda spoke movingly of his friend Fr Paddy. He said that he had had a long letter from Fr Paddy saying ‘he was disappointed with me, the Party, Government and people of Zambia because we were allowing classes to spring up within our society. Please, Fr Walsh, trust me as you know me, I will not allow the rich to grow richer and the strong to grow stronger’.

Archbishop Adam wrote about Fr Paddy who had worked as his secretary for eleven years: ‘It was not very easy to know and to understand Fr Walsh well. Only gradually I think I succeeded – sometimes in quite a painful way. But the more I knew him the greater was my affection for him, and the respect for his character and qualities. Apart from his total dedication, I admired his total disregard for himself, his feeling for the underprivileged and his deep feeling for justice’.

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

Note from Bob Thompson Entry
With Fr Paddy Walsh he became friends with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other leaders at the Interracial Club. This was all during Federation days.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-truth-without-fear-or-favour/

A hundred years ago, Paddy Walsh was born in Rosmuc to an Irish-speaking family that frequently welcomed Padraic Pearse as a visitor. Paddy was the first Irish Jesuit missionary to “Northern Rhodesia”. He felt a natural sympathy with the leaders of the struggle for independence. When Kenneth Kaunda (pictured here) was imprisoned by the Colonials, Paddy drove his wife and family 300 miles to visit him in Salisbury gaol. As a citizen of the new Zambia, Paddy was trusted by Kaunda. He upbraided the President for permitting abortion, and for doing too little for the poor. Kaunda revered him, insisted on personally carrying the stretcher when Paddy had to fly to Dublin for a heart operation, and wept as he eulogised Paddy after his death: “This was the one man who would always tell me the truth without fear or favour.”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. O'Brien and Walsh left Dublin on January 4th on their long journey to North Rhodesia (Brokenhill Mission of the Polish Province Minor). They hope to leave by the "Empress of Scotland" for Durban very soon.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

From Rhodesia.
Frs. O'Brien and Walsh reached Rhodesia on February 21st. They were given a great welcome by Mgr. Wolnik. He has his residence at Lusaka and is alone except for one priest, Fr. Stefaniszyn who did his theology at Milltown Park. Lusaka is the capital of Northern Rhodesia and is a small town of the size of Roundwood or Enniskerry.
Fr. O'Brien goes to Chikuni, which is a mission station with a training school for native teachers. Fr. Walsh is appointed to Broken Hill. where he will work with another father. ADDRESSES : Fr. Walsh, P.O. Box 87, Broken Hill, N. Rhodesia; Fr. O'Brien, Chikuni P.O., Chisekesi Siding. N. Rhodesia

Fr. Walsh, Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia, 16-2-46 :
Fr. O'Brien and I arrived in Durban on February 6th, having come via Port Said and the Suez Canal. The voyage was a tiresome one, as the ship was overcrowded - in our cabin, a two-berth one in normal times, we had thirteen, so you can imagine what it was like coming down through the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa. We had a large contingent of British soldiers as far as Port Said. They got off there to go to Palestine. We had also about six hundred civilians, demobilised service-men, their wives and children. We had ten Christian Brothers, two Salesian priests, two military chaplains (both White Fathers), six Franciscan Missionary Sisters going to a leper colony quite near Bioken Hill, four Assumption Sisters, and two Holy Family Sisters, so we had quite a big Religious community.
Our first stop was Port Said where we got ashore for a few hours. We moved on from there to Suez and anchored in the Bitter Lakes for a day and a half. There we took on three thousand African (native) troops, most of them Basutos. The Basuto soldiers were most edifying. There were several hundred of them at Mass every morning, very many of whom came to Holy Comnunion. They took a very active part in the Mass too - recited the Creed and many other prayers in common, and sang hymns in their native language, and all this on their own initiative. They are certainly a credit to whatever Missionaries brought them the Faith.
Our next stop was Mombasa, Kenya, then on to Durban. The rainy season was in and it rained all the time we were there. We arrived in Joannesburg on Saturday night, February 9th. We broke our journey there, because we were very tired, I had a heavy cold, and there was no chance of saying Mass on the train on Sunday. We were very hospitably received by the Oblate Fathers, as we had been also in Durban. I could not praise their hospitality and kindness to us too highly. Many of them are Irish, some American and South African. We rernained in Jo'burg until Monday evening and went on from there to Bulawayo. We had a few hours delay there and went to the Dominican Convent where we were again most kindly received - the Mother Prioress was a Claddagh woman. We were unable to see any of the English Province Jesuits. Salisbury, where Fr. Beisly resides, would have been three hundred miles out of our way. Here at Livingstone we visited the Irish Capuchians. We were both very tired, so we decided to have a few days' rest. We have visited Victoria Falls - they are truly wonderful. The Capuchians have been most kind to us and have brought us around to see all the sights. It is wonderful to see giraffes, zebras and monkeys roaming around. Recently one of the Brothers in our mission was taken off by a lion. We expect to come to Broken Hill on Wednesday night. Most of our luggage has gone on before us in bond. We were able to say Mass nearly every day on the boat, except for a few days when I was laid up with flu. I think we are destined for the ‘Bush’ and not for the towns on the railway. It is very hot here, but a different heat from Hong Kong, very dry and not so oppressive. On the way up here we could have been travelling anywhere in Ireland, but they all say ‘wait till the rainy season is over’.”

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Rhodesia :
Fr. P. Walsh, P.O. Box 87, Broken Hill, N. Rhodesia, 15-8-46 :
“On the day of my final vows I ought to try to find time to send you a few lines. My heart missed a few boats while I glanced down the Status to see if there was anyone for Rhodesia. Fr. O'Brien and I are very well and both very happy. I met Fr. O'Brien twice since I came out, once when he came to Broken Hill, and again last month when I went to Chikuni to give a retreat to the Notre Dame Sisters who are attached to our mission there. Chikuni is a beautiful mission. The school buildings there are a monument to the hard work done by our lay brothers. The brothers whom I have met out here have struck me immensely. They can do anything, and are ready to do any work. Yet they are wonderfully humble men and all deeply religious. I am well settled in to my work now, You may have heard that I have been appointed Superior of Broken Hill. I am blessed in the small number of my subjects. My main work continues to be parish work among the white population. As well as that I am Principal of a boarding school situated about eight miles outside Broken Hill. We follow the ordinary school curriculum for African schools, and we also have a training-school for vernacular teachers. Most of the work is done by native teachers. I go there about three times a week and teach Religion, English and History One lay-brother lives permanently at the school. He is seventy two years of age but still works on the farm all day. The farm is supposed to produce enough food to support the boys in the school (and sometimes their wives), The hot season is just starting now. It has been very cold for the last month. L. have worn as much clothes here in July and August as ever I wore in the depth of winter at home. Although we do not get any rain during the cold season, still the cold is very penetrating. It will be hot from now tili November or December, when the rains come. We were to have Fr. Brown of the English Province here as a Visitor. (He was formerly Mgr. Brown of S. Rhodesia). He had visited a few of our missions and was on his way to Broken Hill when he got a stroke of some kind. He is at present in hospital. One leg is paralysed com pletely and the other partially. He is 69 years of age, so he will hardly make much of a recovery. It is difficult to find time for letter writing. I seem to be kept going all day, and when night-time comes there is not much energy left”.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

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A file of letters written during the year 1963 relating to the Chikuni Mission, Northern Rhodesia.
Includes a letter from Fr Bernard Collins SJ, Catholic Church, Chivuna, PO Box 199, Monze to Irish Fr Provincial Charles O'Conor SJ concerning vocations to the Society from the Chikuni mission. Refers to the strike, by students, which took place in Canisius College and remarks 'The affects of the strike are lamentable, I should think, so far as vocations to the Society are concerned' (31 January 1963, 2pp).

  • Includes a letter from Fr Patrick J. Walsh, S.J, Archbishop's House, PO Box RW3, Ridgeway, Lusaka to Irish Fr Provincial Charles O'Conor SJ concerning a number of visitors from Northern Rhodesia travelling to Ireland to visit various Government Departments. Asks Fr Provincial if it would be wise for the Irish Province to become involved in the visit (4 September 1963, 1p).

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