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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

FALLON John né le 20 mai 1916 à Mullagh
dans le diocèse de Clonfert, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 29 juin 1938
prêtre le 14 décembre 1941
décédé le 28 octobre 1976

1942-1943 études supérieures, Cork
1943-1966 missionnaire au Ghana
1943-1962, collège Saint-Augustin, Cape Coast
1962-1966, collège de Bogoso, formation
des maîtres
1967-1976 Corrandulla, aumônier des frères franciscains

décédé à Corrundulla, Irlande, le 28 octobre 1976,
à l'âge de 60 ans


Father John Francis FALLON (1916 - 1976)

Francis Fallon was born at Mullagh, Loughrea, Co Galway, in the diocese of Clonfert, on 20 May 1916. He died, unexpectedly, at the Franciscan Monastery, Corrandulla, Co Galway, on 28 October 1976.

Francis (Frank) was educated in the colleges of the Society. He studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1931 1932) and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1932 1936) before going to the novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Two years later, on 29 June 1938, he became a member of the Society and completed his theological training in the seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down. During his student years he was a fine hurler, winning a junior All-Ireland medal with Galway in 1939. Frank was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 14 December 1941. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Frank was a student during those years when the Society's missionary bishops were increasingly focusing on an educational apostolate. In Nigeria and the Gold Coast (Ghana) subsidies were available from the colonial authorities for mission schools, provided that high standards were reached and maintained, and teachers were suitably qualified. Society authorities in Cork were urged to provide priests with university degrees so that they could ensure the success of the education apostolate and especially the training of teachers. Frank was one of those students to be affected by the drive for university-trained missionaries. During his last year in Wilton, along with a group of classmates, he attended lectures at U.C.C. and again, during his two years at Kilcolgan, he attended U.C.G. In 1938 he was awarded a B.A. degree (philosophy and education) from U.C.G. After ordination he returned to U.C.G. for his higher diploma in education which he received in 1943.

His scholastic formation complete, Frank was appointed to the Gold Coast mission (now Ghana), reaching his mission in November 1943. This was the first of ten trips which he was to make to Africa. The Gold Coast mission had been first entrusted to the S.M.A. in 1879 and many Irish priests and brothers had served there with distinction, especially in the apostolate of catholic education. In 1926 the prefecture was handed over to the care of the newly-formed Dutch Province, but Ireland's connection with the mission's educational work remained. It was to St. Augustine's college, Ghana's first catholic secondary school (founded by a member of the Irish Province, Maurice B. Kelly), that Frank was assigned when he arrived in the Gold Coast. This college, established in 1936, in the district of Cape Coast, had some 200 pupils receiving secondary education and a further 120 students in a teacher training department located on the campus. Maurice Kelly was principal of the college, occupying this post until 1948 when Pat Murphy took charge. Other staff members who served with Frank during the 15 years he spent in the college, included Anthony Glynn, Michael Cunningham, Cornelius D. Murphy, Pat Killeen, Phil O'Shea, Pat O'Neill, Lawrence Skelly, Pat O'Leary and Michael Glynn.

Frank was to make a major contribution to St. Augustine's, in particular in the teacher training department. In 1958 that department was established as a separate institute at Bogoso and Frank was appointed principal. He remained in charge of teacher training until 1966. In January of that year he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in Bogoso. Following hospitalisation in Ghana and convalescence in Ireland he took up the post of chaplain to the Franciscan Brothers, Corrandulla, Co Galway in November 1967. He was to serve here for the next nine years, until the time of his death. He was survived by eight brothers and one sister.

Frank spent over 20 years in Ghana training teachers. His classes in the theory of education were of the highest quality. He was very careful in his choice of trainees and travelled the length and breadth of the country interviewing and assessing the many scores of young men who sought admission to the teacher training college. He believed in discipline and order, but his pupils will remember best his gentleness, his very genuine good humour, and hearty laugh. There is an interesting letter in the S.M.A. archives at Blackrock Road, from an African member of staff at Bogoso, Robert Mensah. He wrote to the Irish Provincial, John A. Creaven, asking for a photograph of Frank and expressing his appreciation of Frank's work: 'For those of us who were close to him, we can always remember him as a devoted, hardworking and dedicated priest. The late Father never at any time shirked his religious responsibilities and above all he was a strict disciplinarian who always saw to it that justice had its course. Father was a very good mixer and he was a family friend - ready to help when the need arose whether financial or otherwise.'

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.