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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande

healy john né le 10 octobre 1886 à Aughrim
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 décembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 3 janvier 1949
(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

Le 3 janvier 1949, à Warri, en Nigeria, retour à Dieu du père John Healy, à l'âge de 62 ans.

John Healy naquit le 10 octobre 1886 à Anghrim, dans le diocèse de Ferns, en Irlande. En 1907, il faisait profession comme frère spiritain et partait en Nigeria, dans le diocèse d'Onitsha. Après 13 années passées en mission, il demandait à entrer aux Missions Africaines. Il fit ses études à Kilcogan et Blackrock. Il fit le serment en 1922 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1926. Il partait aussitôt pour le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale que le fleuve Niger sépare de son ancienne mission.

Vaillant missionnaire au caractère entreprenant, il était vraiment doué pour l'activité pastorale et l'administration. Il revint des stations de Burutu et Forcados, où il avait été pour Noël, avec une grosse fièvre qui dégénéra en pneumonie et entraîna la mort.


Father John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

John Healy was born at Aughrim, Co Wicklow, in the diocese of Ferns, on 10 October 1886. He died in the General hospital, Warri, in the Asaba‑Benin vicariate, Nigeria, on 3 January 1949.

John ('J.J.') studied with the Holy Ghost congregation (C.S.Sp.) at Blackrock college, Dublin, between 1900‑1905. In September 1907 he made his profession as a brother in the congregation, taking the name 'Kevin'. In the same year he came to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Onitsha‑Owerri. For the next thirteen years he worked under the guidance of the pioneering Irish missionary, Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. who was appointed prefect apostolic of the Lower Niger in 1905 and nominated vicar apostolic of Southern Nigeria in 1920. John was engaged mainly in the construction of schools and in financial management. John gradually came to the realisation that he had a vocation to priesthood. Since it was not permitted for brothers to become priests in his congregation, John decided to join the S.M.A. and returned to Ireland in June 1920 for this purpose. On the expiry of his religious vows in September 1920, he came to the S.M.A. novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received as a member of the Society on 22 December 1922 and, having studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, was ordained a priest in the adjoining church on 23 May 1926, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Immediately after ordination John returned to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Western Nigeria, which was separated from his old mission by the river Niger. This was the Irish Province's first mission in Nigeria, confided to Bishop Broderick in 1918, and staffed in the early days by a youthful team of Irish members and a handful of veteran continental missionaries who remained on when the Irish assumed responsibility. By the time John came to the vicariate considerable progress had been made by this dynamic group, paralleling the achievements of the Holy Ghost congregation on the eastern bank of the Niger in their commitment to the schools apostolate and the development of catechist networks.

With his wide experience of the region John was to become a valuable member of the vicariate staff. Bearded and like a modern Melchizedek, he traversed the banks of the Niger from his bases in Aragba, Asaba and Warri, establishing outstations, building schools and chapels, and supervising these young Christians communities. Other towns associated with his name were Agenebode where he served with Tom Greene (John lived at Apashu-Auchi and looked after that part of the parish), and Ashaka where he was superior. One of the very few letters written by John preserved in the Provincial archives at Cork is a request for financial help, made shortly after his posting to Apashu-Auchi, in December 1933. The letter is addressed to Maurice Slattery, then a Provincial councillor: 'The house consists of mud walls covered with grass; the church is of the same material and consequently I cannot keep the Holy Sacrament. The people here are the poorest of the poor. I don't see where to turn for help to build a church-school unless to a man so well known as yourself. The good people will carry stones and make bricks, but timber, cement and zinc will require money. Hoping you will come across some good benefactor in holy Ireland who will take us out of this plight'.

John was to spend 36 years in Africa and to die at his post. The circumstances of his death are described by a colleague who was present during his last days. 'John J. Healy left Warri for Burutu a few days before Christmas 1948. On 26 December John J. Begley (Kaduna) and Tony McDonagh arrived in Warri for a few days rest. J.J. Healy returned from Burutu on 27 December, the feast of St. John. That night Frs. Healy, Begley, McDonagh and John Browne (the latter had said the Christmas Masses in Warri) sat together in the upstairs sitting room chatting before taking supper. About 10.p.m. Fathers Browne and McDonagh went downstairs and left the house briefly. On their return as they reached the stairs Fr. Healy fell without any cry or warning, like a dead weight, at their feet. He had fallen from the top of the stairs, striking his head on the cement steps at the bottom and he was quite unconscious. Fr. Browne gave him absolution and extreme unction. Bishop Kelly and Fr. Willie Keenan (the 'regional superior') arrived from Benin City on the evening of 28 December. Fr. Healy never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital on 3 January 1949. The doctors who attended him were of the opinion that his fall was precipitated by a stroke and that further damage was done to the brain by the blow to his head. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia.

He is buried in Asaba, Nigeria.


Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande
Le Père John Joseph HEALY
né le 10 octobre 1886 à Aughrim
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 décembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 3 janvier 1949
Père John Joseph Healy

1926-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria

décédé à Warri, Nigeria, le 3 janvier 1949,
à l’âge de 62 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

Le 3 janvier 1949, à Warri, en Nigeria, retour à Dieu du père John Healy, à l'âge de 62 ans.

John Healy naquit le 10 octobre 1886 à Anghrim, dans le diocèse de Ferns, en Irlande. En 1907, il faisait profession comme frère spiritain et partait en Nigeria, dans le diocèse d'Onitsha. Après 13 années passées en mission, il demandait à entrer aux Missions Africaines. Il fit ses études à Kilcogan et Blackrock. Il fit le serment en 1922 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1926. Il partait aussitôt pour le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale que le fleuve Niger sépare de son ancienne mission.

Vaillant missionnaire au caractère entreprenant, il était vraiment doué pour l'activité pastorale et l'administration. Il revint des stations de Burutu et Forcados, où il avait été pour Noël, avec une grosse fièvre qui dégénéra en pneumonie et entraîna la mort.


Father John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

John Healy was born at Aughrim, Co Wicklow, in the diocese of Ferns, on 10 October 1886. He died in the General hospital, Warri, in the Asaba Benin vicariate, Nigeria, on 3 January 1949.

John ('J.J.') studied with the Holy Ghost congregation (C.S.Sp.) at Blackrock college, Dublin, between 1900 1905. In September 1907 he made his profession as a brother in the congregation, taking the name 'Kevin'. In the same year he came to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Onitsha Owerri. For the next thirteen years he worked under the guidance of the pioneering Irish missionary, Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. who was appointed prefect apostolic of the Lower Niger in 1905 and nominated vicar apostolic of Southern Nigeria in 1920. John was engaged mainly in the construction of schools and in financial management. John gradually came to the realisation that he had a vocation to priesthood. Since it was not permitted for brothers to become priests in his congregation, John decided to join the S.M.A. and returned to Ireland in June 1920 for this purpose. On the expiry of his religious vows in September 1920, he came to the S.M.A. novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received as a member of the Society on 22 December 1922 and, having studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, was ordained a priest in the adjoining church on 23 May 1926, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Immediately after ordination John returned to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Western Nigeria, which was separated from his old mission by the river Niger. This was the Irish Province's first mission in Nigeria, confided to Bishop Broderick in 1918, and staffed in the early days by a youthful team of Irish members and a handful of veteran continental missionaries who remained on when the Irish assumed responsibility. By the time John came to the vicariate considerable progress had been made by this dynamic group, paralleling the achievements of the Holy Ghost congregation on the eastern bank of the Niger in their commitment to the schools apostolate and the development of catechist networks.

With his wide experience of the region John was to become a valuable member of the vicariate staff. Bearded and like a modern Melchizedek, he traversed the banks of the Niger from his bases in Aragba, Asaba and Warri, establishing outstations, building schools and chapels, and supervising these young Christians communities. Other towns associated with his name were Agenebode where he served with Tom Greene (John lived at Apashu-Auchi and looked after that part of the parish), and Ashaka where he was superior. One of the very few letters written by John preserved in the Provincial archives at Cork is a request for financial help, made shortly after his posting to Apashu-Auchi, in December 1933. The letter is addressed to Maurice Slattery, then a Provincial councillor: 'The house consists of mud walls covered with grass; the church is of the same material and consequently I cannot keep the Holy Sacrament. The people here are the poorest of the poor. I don't see where to turn for help to build a church-school unless to a man so well known as yourself. The good people will carry stones and make bricks, but timber, cement and zinc will require money. Hoping you will come across some good benefactor in holy Ireland who will take us out of this plight'.

John was to spend 36 years in Africa and to die at his post. The circumstances of his death are described by a colleague who was present during his last days. 'John J. Healy left Warri for Burutu a few days before Christmas 1948. On 26 December John J. Begley (Kaduna) and Tony McDonagh arrived in Warri for a few days rest. J.J. Healy returned from Burutu on 27 December, the feast of St. John. That night Frs. Healy, Begley, McDonagh and John Browne (the latter had said the Christmas Masses in Warri) sat together in the upstairs sitting room chatting before taking supper. About 10.p.m. Fathers Browne and McDonagh went downstairs and left the house briefly. On their return as they reached the stairs Fr. Healy fell without any cry or warning, like a dead weight, at their feet. He had fallen from the top of the stairs, striking his head on the cement steps at the bottom and he was quite unconscious. Fr. Browne gave him absolution and extreme unction. Bishop Kelly and Fr. Willie Keenan (the 'regional superior') arrived from Benin City on the evening of 28 December. Fr. Healy never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital on 3 January 1949. The doctors who attended him were of the opinion that his fall was precipitated by a stroke and that further damage was done to the brain by the blow to his head. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia.

He is buried in Asaba, Nigeria.

Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande
Le Père John Joseph HEALY
né le 10 octobre 1886 à Aughrim
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 décembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 3 janvier 1949 Image
Père John Joseph Healy

1926-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria

décédé à Warri, Nigeria, le 3 janvier 1949,
à l’âge de 62 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

Le 3 janvier 1949, à Warri, en Nigeria, retour à Dieu du père John Healy, à l'âge de 62 ans.

John Healy naquit le 10 octobre 1886 à Anghrim, dans le diocèse de Ferns, en Irlande. En 1907, il faisait profession comme frère spiritain et partait en Nigeria, dans le diocèse d'Onitsha. Après 13 années passées en mission, il demandait à entrer aux Missions Africaines. Il fit ses études à Kilcogan et Blackrock. Il fit le serment en 1922 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1926. Il partait aussitôt pour le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale que le fleuve Niger sépare de son ancienne mission.

Vaillant missionnaire au caractère entreprenant, il était vraiment doué pour l'activité pastorale et l'administration. Il revint des stations de Burutu et Forcados, où il avait été pour Noël, avec une grosse fièvre qui dégénéra en pneumonie et entraîna la mort.


Father John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

John Healy was born at Aughrim, Co Wicklow, in the diocese of Ferns, on 10 October 1886. He died in the General hospital, Warri, in the Asaba‑Benin vicariate, Nigeria, on 3 January 1949.

John ('J.J.') studied with the Holy Ghost congregation (C.S.Sp.) at Blackrock college, Dublin, between 1900‑1905. In September 1907 he made his profession as a brother in the congregation, taking the name 'Kevin'. In the same year he came to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Onitsha‑Owerri. For the next thirteen years he worked under the guidance of the pioneering Irish missionary, Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. who was appointed prefect apostolic of the Lower Niger in 1905 and nominated vicar apostolic of Southern Nigeria in 1920. John was engaged mainly in the construction of schools and in financial management. John gradually came to the realisation that he had a vocation to priesthood. Since it was not permitted for brothers to become priests in his congregation, John decided to join the S.M.A. and returned to Ireland in June 1920 for this purpose. On the expiry of his religious vows in September 1920, he came to the S.M.A. novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received as a member of the Society on 22 December 1922 and, having studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, was ordained a priest in the adjoining church on 23 May 1926, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Immediately after ordination John returned to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Western Nigeria, which was separated from his old mission by the river Niger. This was the Irish Province's first mission in Nigeria, confided to Bishop Broderick in 1918, and staffed in the early days by a youthful team of Irish members and a handful of veteran continental missionaries who remained on when the Irish assumed responsibility. By the time John came to the vicariate considerable progress had been made by this dynamic group, paralleling the achievements of the Holy Ghost congregation on the eastern bank of the Niger in their commitment to the schools apostolate and the development of catechist networks.

With his wide experience of the region John was to become a valuable member of the vicariate staff. Bearded and like a modern Melchizedek, he traversed the banks of the Niger from his bases in Aragba, Asaba and Warri, establishing outstations, building schools and chapels, and supervising these young Christians communities. Other towns associated with his name were Agenebode where he served with Tom Greene (John lived at Apashu-Auchi and looked after that part of the parish), and Ashaka where he was superior. One of the very few letters written by John preserved in the Provincial archives at Cork is a request for financial help, made shortly after his posting to Apashu-Auchi, in December 1933. The letter is addressed to Maurice Slattery, then a Provincial councillor: 'The house consists of mud walls covered with grass; the church is of the same material and consequently I cannot keep the Holy Sacrament. The people here are the poorest of the poor. I don't see where to turn for help to build a church-school unless to a man so well known as yourself. The good people will carry stones and make bricks, but timber, cement and zinc will require money. Hoping you will come across some good benefactor in holy Ireland who will take us out of this plight'.

John was to spend 36 years in Africa and to die at his post. The circumstances of his death are described by a colleague who was present during his last days. 'John J. Healy left Warri for Burutu a few days before Christmas 1948. On 26 December John J. Begley (Kaduna) and Tony McDonagh arrived in Warri for a few days rest. J.J. Healy returned from Burutu on 27 December, the feast of St. John. That night Frs. Healy, Begley, McDonagh and John Browne (the latter had said the Christmas Masses in Warri) sat together in the upstairs sitting room chatting before taking supper. About 10.p.m. Fathers Browne and McDonagh went downstairs and left the house briefly. On their return as they reached the stairs Fr. Healy fell without any cry or warning, like a dead weight, at their feet. He had fallen from the top of the stairs, striking his head on the cement steps at the bottom and he was quite unconscious. Fr. Browne gave him absolution and extreme unction. Bishop Kelly and Fr. Willie Keenan (the 'regional superior') arrived from Benin City on the evening of 28 December. Fr. Healy never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital on 3 January 1949. The doctors who attended him were of the opinion that his fall was precipitated by a stroke and that further damage was done to the brain by the blow to his head. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia.

He is buried in Asaba, Nigeria.


Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande
Le Père John Joseph HEALY
né le 10 octobre 1886 à Aughrim
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 décembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 3 janvier 1949
Père John Joseph Healy

1926-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria

décédé à Warri, Nigeria, le 3 janvier 1949,
à l’âge de 62 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

Le 3 janvier 1949, à Warri, en Nigeria, retour à Dieu du père John Healy, à l'âge de 62 ans.

John Healy naquit le 10 octobre 1886 à Anghrim, dans le diocèse de Ferns, en Irlande. En 1907, il faisait profession comme frère spiritain et partait en Nigeria, dans le diocèse d'Onitsha. Après 13 années passées en mission, il demandait à entrer aux Missions Africaines. Il fit ses études à Kilcogan et Blackrock. Il fit le serment en 1922 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1926. Il partait aussitôt pour le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale que le fleuve Niger sépare de son ancienne mission.

Vaillant missionnaire au caractère entreprenant, il était vraiment doué pour l'activité pastorale et l'administration. Il revint des stations de Burutu et Forcados, où il avait été pour Noël, avec une grosse fièvre qui dégénéra en pneumonie et entraîna la mort.


Father John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

John Healy was born at Aughrim, Co Wicklow, in the diocese of Ferns, on 10 October 1886. He died in the General hospital, Warri, in the Asaba Benin vicariate, Nigeria, on 3 January 1949.

John ('J.J.') studied with the Holy Ghost congregation (C.S.Sp.) at Blackrock college, Dublin, between 1900 1905. In September 1907 he made his profession as a brother in the congregation, taking the name 'Kevin'. In the same year he came to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Onitsha Owerri. For the next thirteen years he worked under the guidance of the pioneering Irish missionary, Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. who was appointed prefect apostolic of the Lower Niger in 1905 and nominated vicar apostolic of Southern Nigeria in 1920. John was engaged mainly in the construction of schools and in financial management. John gradually came to the realisation that he had a vocation to priesthood. Since it was not permitted for brothers to become priests in his congregation, John decided to join the S.M.A. and returned to Ireland in June 1920 for this purpose. On the expiry of his religious vows in September 1920, he came to the S.M.A. novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received as a member of the Society on 22 December 1922 and, having studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, was ordained a priest in the adjoining church on 23 May 1926, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Immediately after ordination John returned to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Western Nigeria, which was separated from his old mission by the river Niger. This was the Irish Province's first mission in Nigeria, confided to Bishop Broderick in 1918, and staffed in the early days by a youthful team of Irish members and a handful of veteran continental missionaries who remained on when the Irish assumed responsibility. By the time John came to the vicariate considerable progress had been made by this dynamic group, paralleling the achievements of the Holy Ghost congregation on the eastern bank of the Niger in their commitment to the schools apostolate and the development of catechist networks.

With his wide experience of the region John was to become a valuable member of the vicariate staff. Bearded and like a modern Melchizedek, he traversed the banks of the Niger from his bases in Aragba, Asaba and Warri, establishing outstations, building schools and chapels, and supervising these young Christians communities. Other towns associated with his name were Agenebode where he served with Tom Greene (John lived at Apashu-Auchi and looked after that part of the parish), and Ashaka where he was superior. One of the very few letters written by John preserved in the Provincial archives at Cork is a request for financial help, made shortly after his posting to Apashu-Auchi, in December 1933. The letter is addressed to Maurice Slattery, then a Provincial councillor: 'The house consists of mud walls covered with grass; the church is of the same material and consequently I cannot keep the Holy Sacrament. The people here are the poorest of the poor. I don't see where to turn for help to build a church-school unless to a man so well known as yourself. The good people will carry stones and make bricks, but timber, cement and zinc will require money. Hoping you will come across some good benefactor in holy Ireland who will take us out of this plight'.

John was to spend 36 years in Africa and to die at his post. The circumstances of his death are described by a colleague who was present during his last days. 'John J. Healy left Warri for Burutu a few days before Christmas 1948. On 26 December John J. Begley (Kaduna) and Tony McDonagh arrived in Warri for a few days rest. J.J. Healy returned from Burutu on 27 December, the feast of St. John. That night Frs. Healy, Begley, McDonagh and John Browne (the latter had said the Christmas Masses in Warri) sat together in the upstairs sitting room chatting before taking supper. About 10.p.m. Fathers Browne and McDonagh went downstairs and left the house briefly. On their return as they reached the stairs Fr. Healy fell without any cry or warning, like a dead weight, at their feet. He had fallen from the top of the stairs, striking his head on the cement steps at the bottom and he was quite unconscious. Fr. Browne gave him absolution and extreme unction. Bishop Kelly and Fr. Willie Keenan (the 'regional superior') arrived from Benin City on the evening of 28 December. Fr. Healy never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital on 3 January 1949. The doctors who attended him were of the opinion that his fall was precipitated by a stroke and that further damage was done to the brain by the blow to his head. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia.

He is buried in Asaba, Nigeria.

Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande
Le Père John Joseph HEALY
né le 10 octobre 1886 à Aughrim
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 décembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 3 janvier 1949 Image
Père John Joseph Healy

1926-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria

décédé à Warri, Nigeria, le 3 janvier 1949,
à l’âge de 62 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

Le 3 janvier 1949, à Warri, en Nigeria, retour à Dieu du père John Healy, à l'âge de 62 ans.

John Healy naquit le 10 octobre 1886 à Anghrim, dans le diocèse de Ferns, en Irlande. En 1907, il faisait profession comme frère spiritain et partait en Nigeria, dans le diocèse d'Onitsha. Après 13 années passées en mission, il demandait à entrer aux Missions Africaines. Il fit ses études à Kilcogan et Blackrock. Il fit le serment en 1922 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1926. Il partait aussitôt pour le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale que le fleuve Niger sépare de son ancienne mission.

Vaillant missionnaire au caractère entreprenant, il était vraiment doué pour l'activité pastorale et l'administration. Il revint des stations de Burutu et Forcados, où il avait été pour Noël, avec une grosse fièvre qui dégénéra en pneumonie et entraîna la mort.


Father John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

John Healy was born at Aughrim, Co Wicklow, in the diocese of Ferns, on 10 October 1886. He died in the General hospital, Warri, in the Asaba‑Benin vicariate, Nigeria, on 3 January 1949.

John ('J.J.') studied with the Holy Ghost congregation (C.S.Sp.) at Blackrock college, Dublin, between 1900‑1905. In September 1907 he made his profession as a brother in the congregation, taking the name 'Kevin'. In the same year he came to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Onitsha‑Owerri. For the next thirteen years he worked under the guidance of the pioneering Irish missionary, Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. who was appointed prefect apostolic of the Lower Niger in 1905 and nominated vicar apostolic of Southern Nigeria in 1920. John was engaged mainly in the construction of schools and in financial management. John gradually came to the realisation that he had a vocation to priesthood. Since it was not permitted for brothers to become priests in his congregation, John decided to join the S.M.A. and returned to Ireland in June 1920 for this purpose. On the expiry of his religious vows in September 1920, he came to the S.M.A. novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received as a member of the Society on 22 December 1922 and, having studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, was ordained a priest in the adjoining church on 23 May 1926, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Immediately after ordination John returned to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Western Nigeria, which was separated from his old mission by the river Niger. This was the Irish Province's first mission in Nigeria, confided to Bishop Broderick in 1918, and staffed in the early days by a youthful team of Irish members and a handful of veteran continental missionaries who remained on when the Irish assumed responsibility. By the time John came to the vicariate considerable progress had been made by this dynamic group, paralleling the achievements of the Holy Ghost congregation on the eastern bank of the Niger in their commitment to the schools apostolate and the development of catechist networks.

With his wide experience of the region John was to become a valuable member of the vicariate staff. Bearded and like a modern Melchizedek, he traversed the banks of the Niger from his bases in Aragba, Asaba and Warri, establishing outstations, building schools and chapels, and supervising these young Christians communities. Other towns associated with his name were Agenebode where he served with Tom Greene (John lived at Apashu-Auchi and looked after that part of the parish), and Ashaka where he was superior. One of the very few letters written by John preserved in the Provincial archives at Cork is a request for financial help, made shortly after his posting to Apashu-Auchi, in December 1933. The letter is addressed to Maurice Slattery, then a Provincial councillor: 'The house consists of mud walls covered with grass; the church is of the same material and consequently I cannot keep the Holy Sacrament. The people here are the poorest of the poor. I don't see where to turn for help to build a church-school unless to a man so well known as yourself. The good people will carry stones and make bricks, but timber, cement and zinc will require money. Hoping you will come across some good benefactor in holy Ireland who will take us out of this plight'.

John was to spend 36 years in Africa and to die at his post. The circumstances of his death are described by a colleague who was present during his last days. 'John J. Healy left Warri for Burutu a few days before Christmas 1948. On 26 December John J. Begley (Kaduna) and Tony McDonagh arrived in Warri for a few days rest. J.J. Healy returned from Burutu on 27 December, the feast of St. John. That night Frs. Healy, Begley, McDonagh and John Browne (the latter had said the Christmas Masses in Warri) sat together in the upstairs sitting room chatting before taking supper. About 10.p.m. Fathers Browne and McDonagh went downstairs and left the house briefly. On their return as they reached the stairs Fr. Healy fell without any cry or warning, like a dead weight, at their feet. He had fallen from the top of the stairs, striking his head on the cement steps at the bottom and he was quite unconscious. Fr. Browne gave him absolution and extreme unction. Bishop Kelly and Fr. Willie Keenan (the 'regional superior') arrived from Benin City on the evening of 28 December. Fr. Healy never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital on 3 January 1949. The doctors who attended him were of the opinion that his fall was precipitated by a stroke and that further damage was done to the brain by the blow to his head. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia.

He is buried in Asaba, Nigeria.


Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande
Le Père John Joseph HEALY
né le 10 octobre 1886 à Aughrim
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 décembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 3 janvier 1949
Père John Joseph Healy

1926-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria

décédé à Warri, Nigeria, le 3 janvier 1949,
à l’âge de 62 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

Le 3 janvier 1949, à Warri, en Nigeria, retour à Dieu du père John Healy, à l'âge de 62 ans.

John Healy naquit le 10 octobre 1886 à Anghrim, dans le diocèse de Ferns, en Irlande. En 1907, il faisait profession comme frère spiritain et partait en Nigeria, dans le diocèse d'Onitsha. Après 13 années passées en mission, il demandait à entrer aux Missions Africaines. Il fit ses études à Kilcogan et Blackrock. Il fit le serment en 1922 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1926. Il partait aussitôt pour le vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale que le fleuve Niger sépare de son ancienne mission.

Vaillant missionnaire au caractère entreprenant, il était vraiment doué pour l'activité pastorale et l'administration. Il revint des stations de Burutu et Forcados, où il avait été pour Noël, avec une grosse fièvre qui dégénéra en pneumonie et entraîna la mort.


Father John Joseph HEALY (1886 - 1949)

John Healy was born at Aughrim, Co Wicklow, in the diocese of Ferns, on 10 October 1886. He died in the General hospital, Warri, in the Asaba Benin vicariate, Nigeria, on 3 January 1949.

John ('J.J.') studied with the Holy Ghost congregation (C.S.Sp.) at Blackrock college, Dublin, between 1900 1905. In September 1907 he made his profession as a brother in the congregation, taking the name 'Kevin'. In the same year he came to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Onitsha Owerri. For the next thirteen years he worked under the guidance of the pioneering Irish missionary, Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. who was appointed prefect apostolic of the Lower Niger in 1905 and nominated vicar apostolic of Southern Nigeria in 1920. John was engaged mainly in the construction of schools and in financial management. John gradually came to the realisation that he had a vocation to priesthood. Since it was not permitted for brothers to become priests in his congregation, John decided to join the S.M.A. and returned to Ireland in June 1920 for this purpose. On the expiry of his religious vows in September 1920, he came to the S.M.A. novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received as a member of the Society on 22 December 1922 and, having studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, was ordained a priest in the adjoining church on 23 May 1926, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Immediately after ordination John returned to Nigeria, to the vicariate of Western Nigeria, which was separated from his old mission by the river Niger. This was the Irish Province's first mission in Nigeria, confided to Bishop Broderick in 1918, and staffed in the early days by a youthful team of Irish members and a handful of veteran continental missionaries who remained on when the Irish assumed responsibility. By the time John came to the vicariate considerable progress had been made by this dynamic group, paralleling the achievements of the Holy Ghost congregation on the eastern bank of the Niger in their commitment to the schools apostolate and the development of catechist networks.

With his wide experience of the region John was to become a valuable member of the vicariate staff. Bearded and like a modern Melchizedek, he traversed the banks of the Niger from his bases in Aragba, Asaba and Warri, establishing outstations, building schools and chapels, and supervising these young Christians communities. Other towns associated with his name were Agenebode where he served with Tom Greene (John lived at Apashu-Auchi and looked after that part of the parish), and Ashaka where he was superior. One of the very few letters written by John preserved in the Provincial archives at Cork is a request for financial help, made shortly after his posting to Apashu-Auchi, in December 1933. The letter is addressed to Maurice Slattery, then a Provincial councillor: 'The house consists of mud walls covered with grass; the church is of the same material and consequently I cannot keep the Holy Sacrament. The people here are the poorest of the poor. I don't see where to turn for help to build a church-school unless to a man so well known as yourself. The good people will carry stones and make bricks, but timber, cement and zinc will require money. Hoping you will come across some good benefactor in holy Ireland who will take us out of this plight'.

John was to spend 36 years in Africa and to die at his post. The circumstances of his death are described by a colleague who was present during his last days. 'John J. Healy left Warri for Burutu a few days before Christmas 1948. On 26 December John J. Begley (Kaduna) and Tony McDonagh arrived in Warri for a few days rest. J.J. Healy returned from Burutu on 27 December, the feast of St. John. That night Frs. Healy, Begley, McDonagh and John Browne (the latter had said the Christmas Masses in Warri) sat together in the upstairs sitting room chatting before taking supper. About 10.p.m. Fathers Browne and McDonagh went downstairs and left the house briefly. On their return as they reached the stairs Fr. Healy fell without any cry or warning, like a dead weight, at their feet. He had fallen from the top of the stairs, striking his head on the cement steps at the bottom and he was quite unconscious. Fr. Browne gave him absolution and extreme unction. Bishop Kelly and Fr. Willie Keenan (the 'regional superior') arrived from Benin City on the evening of 28 December. Fr. Healy never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital on 3 January 1949. The doctors who attended him were of the opinion that his fall was precipitated by a stroke and that further damage was done to the brain by the blow to his head. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia.

He is buried in Asaba, Nigeria.