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

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

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  • Paddy O'Brien

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Dates of existence

26 December 1910-21 March 1991

History

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

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

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

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

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

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

Fr. P.J. T. O'Brien, Johannesburg, Africa, 10-2-46 :
“We docked in Durban on February 6th. The Oblate Fathers, who had come to the boat to meet ten Christian Brothers from Dublin, very kindly took us in, The trains were crowded with holiday-makers and demobilised soldiers. We reached Johannesburg on the 9th, and the Oblates again invited us to stay with them. We hope to catch the train for Livingstone to-morrow night. The voyage was quite pleasant, though things were a bit congested on board, as the ship was carrying a lot of troops : 2,000 Basutos and 800 coloured Cape soldiers got on at Suez.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

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

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948
Fr. P.J. O'Brien writes from Lusaka (N. Rhodesia), 16th September :
“Fr. Dowling's cable arrived a few days ago bringing the welcome news that he and Fr. Gill expect to sail for Cape Town on 12th October. May I again say how very grateful we all are for sending the two Fathers. They will be a great acquisition here, especially to the Secondary School. African Secondary Education is non-existent in this country, except for one Government school (and another for teachers). Hence the Department of African Education hopes for a lot from the new Catholic Secondary School. In fact it expects that the Jesuits will show what can and should be done in this line, and that we will give a lead to the whole country and to itself. It is very important, of course, that we should do so, and play a big part in Secondary Education, for it is the Africans who have received this who will form public opinion amongst their fellows and form it for or against the Church..
I had a three week's rest in Livingstone recently with the Irish Capuchins, who treated me with the greatest kindness and hospitality. I was very glad to meet their Provincial, Fr. James, who was out on visitation. Their Mission is to the south and west of us ; the Italian Franciscans are to the north, and the White fathers are in all parts to the east.”

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia, 1946-1969 (1946-1969)

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IE IJA MSSN/ZAM

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia, 1946-1969

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

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Zambian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1969- (1969-)

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Zambian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1969-

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

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IE IJA J/686

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IE IJA

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