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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d'Irlande

KELLY Patrick né le 18 juin 1912 à Thomastown
dans le diocèse d’Ossory, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1933
prêtre le 20 décembre 1936
décédé le 28 octobre 1962

1937-1962 missionnaire au Nigeria
1937-1942, vicariat du Bénin
1943-1953, diocèse de Ondo Ilorin
1954-1960, diocèse de Ondo
1960-1962, diocèse d’Ibadan

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 28 octobre 1962,
à l’âge de 50 ans


Le père Patrick Francis KELLY (1912 - 1962)

A Cork (Irlande), le 28 octobre 1962, retour à Dieu du père Patrick Francis Kelly, à l'âge de 50 ans.

Patrick Francis Kelly naquit dans le diocèse d'Ossory, en Irlande, en 1912. Il fit le serment en 1933 et fut ordonné prêtre le 20 décembre 1936.

En 1937, le père Kelly s'embarquait pour la Nigeria et travailla jusqu'en 1942 dans le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale. Après son congé régulier, il repartait pour les missions, mais cette fois au vicariat d'Ondo-Ilorin. De 1954 à 1960, le père Kelly travailla dans le diocèse d'Ondo et ensuite, pendant deux ans, dans le diocèse d'Ibadan. C'est donc une carrière de 25 ans en Afrique que le père Kelly pouvait offrir à Dieu et à sa Société. Malade, il dut rentrer en Europe et attendit l'heure du Seigneur en la maison du Bon Secours à Cork.


Father Patrick Francis KELLY (1912 - 1962)

Patrick Francis Kelly was born at Thomastown, Co Kilkenny (the family address was at Pipe Street), in the diocese of Ossory, on 13 June 1912. He died in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 28 October 1962.

Patrick (Patsy) studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1927 1928), and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1928 1931), before entering the S.M.A. novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Two years later, on 2 July 1933, he was admitted to membership of the Society and went to the seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, for his theological formation. Patsy was ordained a priest along with seventeen colleagues, by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 20 December 1936.

Appointed to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin, in south west Nigeria, Patsy set sail for Africa in October 1937. On his arrival Philip Corish, the pro-vicar (Bishop Francis O'Rourke was ill in Ireland at the time) appointed him to the district of Effon, in Ekiti country, which had been founded in 1914. He spent four months in this district, mainly studying the local language. He was then appointed to Topo island, near Badagry. Topo had been given to the catholic mission in the early 1870's. Over the years a coconut farm had been grown which yielded a good copra crop (dried fruit of the coconut used for making soap and cosmetics). There was also a boarding school for boys, an O.L.A. convent and orphanage, and a 'parish' with the usual church and outstations. After eighteen months at Topo Patsy was transferred to St. Theresa's inter-vicarial minor seminary, at Oke Are, Ibadan. This seminary provided secondary education and a foundation in Latin for students from the south, west and even the north of Nigeria. Patsy spent the last year of his first tour of duty at Holy Cross mission in Lagos.

Patsy returned to Nigeria in July 1943. He was very fortunate to survive the sea journey. He was a passenger on board the S.S. California, a troop-carrying liner, which was bombed and sunk four days out to sea. Although many lives were lost, the large party of missionaries, both men and women, was rescued by the corvette Moyola, and disembarked at Casablanca. Patsy's return to Nigeria coincided with the detachment of the Ondo and Ilorin districts of the vicariate and their erection as a separate vicariate under the leadership of Bishop Thomas Hughes. Patsy was incorporated into the new jurisdiction, named the vicariate of Ondo-Ilorin, and appointed in charge of Effon district where he had served his early apprenticeship. When Patsy returned from his next home leave, in December 1948, he was appointed superior of Oro district, with Tom Gorman as his assistant priest. This district, opened in 1926, had a catholic community of some 3,000 members, with 200 catechumens and five schools. However the Church was still in its infancy as can be seen by the virtual absence of catholic marriages at that time.

In 1950 the Nigerian hierarchy was erected and the vicariate was elevated to the status of a diocese. In 1951 Patsy returned to Effon district where he was assisted by Florence O'Riordan. Statistics for this year show that in Effon (Effon-Alaye) there had been three catholic marriages. Patsy went on home leave in March 1953 and on his return a year later he was posted to Owo district. Owo was a relatively recent mission, established in 1948 under the patronage of St. Francis Xavier. In July 1955 Patrick was invalided home from Africa with heart trouble. After medical attention he returned to Ondo diocese. However he was in poor health from this time on. He spent the last two years of his time in Africa (1960 1962) as a missionary in the diocese of Ibadan, teaching at Fatima college, Ikire. In total he was to spend a quarter of a century in Africa. At the time of his departure the vicariate, to which he originally belonged, had been divided into several dioceses and other divisions were to take place within a decade. Patsy died of heart failure after a relatively minor operation in Cork. He was only fifty years old.

In his student days Patsy was a brilliant student of the Irish language, scoring almost full marks in his intermediate certificate examination in 1930. His love for Irish endured throughout his life. He spent most of his vacations in the Ring Gaeltacht. In Africa he was equally capable in the class-room and in the parish. He was to be a key member of the Ondo-Ilorin vicariate staff, which paved the way for the erection of Ondo diocese. He is best remembered for his remarkable aptitude in teaching Christian doctrine.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.