Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

CAROLAN John né le 10 juin 1913 à Gurteen
dans le diocèse de Kildare & Leighlin, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 1er juillet 1934
prêtre le 19 décembre 1937
décédé le 4 avril 1983

1938-1967 missionnaire dans le diocèse de Jos
1967-1968 collège de Ballinafad
1968-1979 au service de la Province de Grande-Bretagne
animation missionnaire
1979-1983 invalide après une attaque

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 4 avril 1983
à l'âge de 70 ans

Father Michael John CAROLAN (1913 - 1983)

Michael Carolan was born in Gurteen, Killeigh, Tullamore, Co Offaly, in the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, on l0 June 1913. He died at St. Patrick's hospital, Wellington Road, Cork, on 4 April 1983.

Michael (Mickey) was educated at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork, before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1932. Two years later, on 1 July 1934, he was received as a member of the Society. He studied theology in Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, between 1934 1938. Michael was ordained a priest on 19 December 1937, by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry. He was one of a group of fifteen ordained on that day.

After ordination Michael returned to Dromantine for six months to complete his theology course. He was then appointed to the prefecture of Jos, in northern Nigeria. This prefecture had been founded in 1934 and entrusted to the care of William Lumley. Michael was to serve in this jurisdiction between 1938 1967. During this lengthy period he was to witness a steady growth of the Church, marked by the erection of Jos as a diocese in 1953, the commencement of a major seminary for northern Nigeria in Jos city (St. Augustine's seminary, opened in 1968), and the emergence of an ever increasing number of indigenous priests and sisters. Michael was deeply involved in these developments. In all he did six tours of duty, varying between five years and three years in duration.

On his arrival in Nigeria, in November 1938, Mgr. Lumley appointed Michael to Udei district, where Dick Tobin was superior. This district, which had been founded in 1934 under the patronage of St. Patrick, had a Catholic membership of 600 and almost 700 catechumens. Michael came there at a time Dick Tobin was working hard to develop the church among the indigenous population, who were concentrated in the district's many outstations. This involved long periods away from the central mission on trek. For much of this time, therefore, Michael was in charge of Udei mission, which incorporated not only the care of the Catholic community but also the management of the Tiv Training Centre - also known as the Catechist-Teacher Elementary Training Centre - a boarding school for young men from the outlying villages and towns, who wanted to become teachers and catechists. There were about 60 in residence in this important institution when Michael became principal. When Dick Tobin went to Ireland on leave in September 1941 Michael became superior of the mission, where he was joined first by Peter Bennett and later by Joseph Donnelly and Denis Donovan. Michael spent all of his first tour of duty at Udei, going home on leave in May 1943.

Michael was due back to Nigeria a year later, but because of restrictions on wartime travel, it was May 1945 before he returned to Jos. Mgr. Lumley re-assigned him to Udei where he re-joined Dick Tobin and Denis Donovan, and took charge of the Training Centre. In addition he was given responsibility for the Makurdi region, which is now the seat of a diocese. In September 1946 Michael was transferred to Shendam, the oldest mission in northern Nigeria, established in 1907. There he was placed in charge of the vernacular training college (moved to Kwa in 1949) which had been founded by Bishop William Porter in 1932 to provide teacher training for men, through the medium of Hausa. When Michael returned to Nigeria after his next home leave, in October 1950, he was appointed to his old mission of Udei. Michael was to spend another 17 years in the Jos jurisdiction. In 1956 he was placed in charge of Bauchi, where a new mission had been just established. A year later he was transferred to Jos mission, where John Reddington, who had become first bishop of Jos diocese in 1954, had his headquarters. After his return from leave in 1960 Michael was appointed to Zawan mission, where Frank Hughes was pastor. His final appointment was to the mission where he had started, Udei.

Michael went home on leave early in 1967, a few months before he was due to go, because he wanted to be with his 93 year old mother who was dying. His superiors decided to keep him at home, appointing him to the staff of the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad which was then a full secondary school. A year later he was seconded to the British Province of the Society where he worked promoting the missions between 1968 1979. In June 1979 he suffered a stroke and was invalided. He spent the remainder of his life in the Province's house at Blackrock Road. Michael was a remarkably talented musician, being a pianist of the first rank. Sensitive and refined, he was extremely well-read. He wrote a number of articles and stories for the African Missionary, including 'The Impact of Christianity on Pagan Life' (1955) and 'A Flower of the Field' (1956), the latter about the baptism and death of a young child.

He is buried at Wilton cemetery.