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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

CARROLL James né le 10 octobre 1909 à Fota
dans le diocèse de Cloyne, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 10 juin 1933
prêtre le 21 décembre 1935
décédé le 2 septembre 1990

1936-1955 missionnaire dans la préfecture de Jos
1955-1976 missionnaire dans le diocèse de Jos
1976-1990 Dublin, retiré

décédé à Dublin, Irlande, le 2 septembre 1990,
à l'âge de 80 ans


Father James Francis CARROLL (1909 - 1990)

James Carroll was born at Fota, Co Cork (his address when joining the Society was 'St. Alevan's', Belgard Road, Clondalkin, Dublin), in the diocese of Cloyne, on 10 October 1909. He died in Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin, on 2 September 1990.

Jim was educated by the Christian Brothers at the O'Connell's schools, Dublin. After matriculating in 1928 he studied at U.C.D. for a year. In the autumn of 1930 he entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Jim studied theology in the Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down (1932 1936). He was received as a member of the Society on 10 June 1933 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 21 December 1935. He was one of a group of twenty one ordained on that day.

After ordination Jim returned to Dromantine for six months to complete his theology course. He was then appointed to the Jos prefecture in northern Nigeria. This jurisdiction had been erected in 1934 when the vicariate of Northern Nigeria was divided. At the time of its foundation it comprised the stations of Shendam, Jos, Kwande and Udei, and a total catholic community of about 2,000 members and 800 catechumens. Most of the Church members were Igbos from the east who had come northwards with the railway. Jim was to work in the Jos jurisdiction until his retirement in 1976, a period of forty years unbroken service. On his arrival, in October 1936, he found himself part of a small and youthful missionary staff, under the leadership of William Lumley who was first prefect. Jim was to be one of the few who saw at close hand the work of these early years, conducted in the face of the greatest difficulties, bear fruit. He lived to see the erection of Jos diocese in 1954 and the vigorous progress of the Church thereafter under the leadership of John Reddington. At the time of his retirement he left behind him a diocese led by an African bishop (Gabriel G. Ganaka), with strong Christian communities throughout the territory, fine churches, hospitals, schools and a seminary for the northern region (St. Augustine's, Jos) which was already producing significant numbers of African priests.

Such extraordinary progress was due in no small measure to Jim's own exertions. Jim was one of four newly ordained priests to be assigned to the jurisdiction in 1936. His first appointment was to Shendam, the oldest station in the north, founded in 1907. Here he worked with Tony O'Dwyer, who had been ordained in 1934. Fr. O'Dwyer took charge of the station while Jim was principal of the vernacular teacher training college, which had been established in Shendam by William Porter in 1932. Tragedy struck in the closing months of 1937. In October Fr. Dwyer went to Kwande station where two Fathers were reported sick. He found one of them, John Marren, had died from yellow fever. Having buried Fr. Marren, Tony himself contracted the disease and died on 5 October. Jim was among those missionaries who travelled down to Lagos, shortly after this tragedy, to receive a newly developed inoculation against yellow fever.

Jim remained in Shendam (with Bill Gannon) until he went to Ireland on his first home leave in August 1941. The convoy on which he travelled was bombed at night and the ship directly in front of Jim's vessel, a tanker, was sunk. Jim returned to Nigeria in March 1943, resuming his duties in Shendam. One of the most promising outstations was a town called Kwa, some twenty miles from Shendam. During 1945 Jim and Bill Gannon built a mission residence in Kwa and in the following year Jim became the first resident priest, building a church in Kwa before he went on home leave in August 1946. When Jim returned to Nigeria a year later he continued on in Kwa. In 1948 Jim was appointed supervisor of schools, residing in Jos. This was a post of great responsibility, making him accountable for the conduct of the educational apostolate in the entire prefecture.

Endowed with exceptional leadership qualities Jim could justifiably have been expected to reach high office within the Society and the missionary Church. When William Lumley went on leave to Ireland in August 1952 Jim was appointed pro prefect (acting superior) of the Jos jurisdiction, a post he occupied with distinction until November 1954. With the appointment of John Reddington as bishop of the new diocese Jim was to be increasingly drawn into posts of responsibility within the Society. He represented his colleagues in northern Nigeria at Provincial Assemblies in 1952, 1958, 1968 and 1973 and at General Assemblies in 1968 and 1973. In October 1964 he became 'regional superior' of Jos and Kaduna dioceses, a post which made him responsible before his superiors in Ireland for the welfare of all S.M.A. members in the Northern Region. He was re appointed in 1969, occupying that position until his retirement in March 1974. During this period he presided over the tyrocinium at Kagoro, which prepared newly arrived priests for the apostolate in northern Nigeria. This was a time of great development in the Church throughout the north, and Jim played a critical role through his solicitude for the confreres, young and old, placed under his care, and particularly through his contribution to the training of the many young priests appointed to the region. They remember him with great affection and respect for the manner in which he bridged the yawning gaps in age and experience, for his unfailing hospitality, for his wit, and above all for his wise counsel.

After relinquishing his position as 'regional superior' in March 1974 (ill health had intervened) Jim remained on in Jos diocese until January 1976. He spent the first decade of his retirement (1976 1986) in Dublin with his sister, Betty (who served as a lay missionary in the Kano region, and is best remembered for her work at St. Louis secondary school, Bompai, where she became vice principal). Jim came to the S.M.A. house at Blackrock Road, Cork, for six months in 1987 returning to his sister in Dublin until September 1989. After a brief spell in the Meath hospital, Dublin, Jim entered Our Lady's Hospice, Harolds Cross, in March 1990. He died here six months later. Jim celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in 1985.

Jim is buried in Wilton cemetery.