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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande

né le 15 août 1894 à Parke
dans le diocèse d’Achonry, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 juillet 1920
prêtre le 14 juin 1924
décédé le 5 avril 1956

1924-1927 missionnaire au Liberia
1928-1931 vicariat du Bénin
1932-1933 Egypte
1934-1936 Kilcogan
1936-1943 Ballinafad
1943-1946 malade, soins
1946-1950 Egypte
1951-1954 Nottingham, Grande-Bretagne
1954-1956 malade, soins

décédé à Ballinamore, Irlande, le 5 avril 1956,
à l’âge de 62 ans

 

(biographie en anglais à la suite)

Le père Patrick McHUGH (1894 - 1956)

A Ballinamore, (Irlande), le 5 avril 1956, retour à Dieu du père Patrick Mac Hugh, à l'âge de 62 ans.

Patrick Mac Hugh naquit à Foxford, dans le diocèse d'Achonry, en Irlande, en 1864. Il fit ses études dans les maisons de la Société, fit le serment en 1920 et fut ordonné prêtre en 1924. Après trois ans d'apostolat au Liberia et trois ans au Bénin, le père revint tuberculeux. Après quelques mois de sanatorium, il peut prendre le poste de professeur d'anglais au collège de Tanta en Egypte. Il achève l'année scolaire 1932-1933 et doit rentrer se reposer à La Croix. Destiné à l'enseignement par ses supérieurs, il peut reprendre un poste en 1934. Il enseigne à Kilcogan et à Ballinafad. En 1943, sa santé l'oblige de nouveau à s'arrêter pour trois longues années. En 1946, il peut de nouveau repartir pour le collège Saint-Georges, en Egypte, où il reste quatre ans. Il travaille dans le diocèse de Nottingham de 1951 à 1954, année où la maladie ne lui permet plus de servir, même de souffrir. Bon cœur, de caractère timide, mais jovial et studieux, le père Mac Hugh aurait pu faire beaucoup, mais sa mauvaise santé ne le lui permet pas.


Father Patrick Joseph McHUGH (1894 - 1956)

Patrick McHugh was born at Parke, Foxford, Co Mayo, in the diocese of Achonry, on l5 August 1894. He died in the St. John of God nursing home, Ballinamore, Co Mayo, on 5 April 1956.

Pat studied in the colleges of the Society. He received his secondary education in the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1914-1915) and in St. Joseph's college Wilton, Cork (1915-1918). He entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in October 1918 (a member of the first class to study in that house). Pat was admitted to permanent membership of the Society on 22 July 1920. Two months later he commenced his theological formation in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Daniel Cohalan of Cork diocese, in the chapel adjoining the seminary, on 14 June 1924. He was one of a group of eleven ordained on that day.

Pat never enjoyed robust health. Nevertheless after ordination he spent six years working in the tropics. His first appointment was to the prefecture of Liberia, in West Africa. This was the first mission entrusted to the Irish Province on its foundation in 1912. S.M.A. missionaries had first come to Liberia in 1906, after three previous efforts to root the Church there, in 1842, 1884 and 1903 had failed. When Pat came to Liberia the Church was firmly established on the Kru Coast, about 150 miles east of Monrovia the capital. On arrival in October 1924, Jean Ogé, the prefect, appointed Pat to Monrovia where the Church was still in its infancy. This station had been opened (or more correctly re-opened) in 1921, when Mgr. Ogé decided to make a renewed effort in the region. Pat joined a staff of three missionaries, led by Michael McEniry and with Joseph Donaghy as the second assistant priest. Together they served a Catholic community of 160 members and 39 catechumens, many of them immigrants from the Kru coast. There was also one elementary school to be staffed and supervised, with 232 pupils on the roll. Pat was given special responsibility for the school and soon made his mark in this difficult work.

In May 1927 Pat began to feel unwell and in July he returned to Ireland on the advice of a doctor. When he had recovered his superiors decided to send him to another mission, to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin, in south western Nigeria. He arrived in this mission in July 1928 where he joined the founding staff of St. Gregory's college, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria's first Catholic secondary school. Leo Taylor was principal, while other members of staff were Frank McNamara, Tom Hughes and James Saul. There were 91 boarding and 115 day pupils in the college and 30 students in a teacher training department attached to St. Gregory's. In June 1931 Pat was invalided home to Ireland with tuberculosis. After eight months in a sanatorium at San Remo, in Italy, he was assigned to the Egyptian mission which, with its dry heat, was considered a good climate for those suffering from consumption. Egypt was also a place where Irish members with teaching skills were often posted.

Pat was an excellent educator and most suitable for the teaching post which he took up at St. Louis college, Tantah, in September 1932. Pat taught English in this secondary college until the end of the academic year when ill-health again intervened and he withdrew to St. Croix Valmer, France, to convalesce. Later he returned to San Remo for a spell. In 1934 Pat was able to resume his teaching career, this time in Ireland, at Kilcolgan and later at Ballinafad. In 1943, however, he again fell ill and had to withdraw from active work for a period of three years. In 1946 he returned to Egypt, teaching in St. George's college, Choubra. This college, situated at 8 Midan El-Afdal, was also known as 'the Anglo-Copt college', because tuition for the 250 students was through the medium of English and most of the students were Europeans or oriental Christians - Copts. When Pat came to Choubra Tom Donoghue was superior. A year later John Heaney succeeded Fr. Donoghue. David Hughes was the third Irish member of staff. Pat went to Ireland on home leave in 1951. Between 195l 54 he worked in the diocese of Nottingham, serving in Lincoln, in St. Joseph's presbytery, Goodwood Road, Leicester, and also in St Charles Rectory, Hadfield. Finally his ongoing poor health forced him to retire from the active ministry. He spent his retirement in the Provincial motherhouse at Blackrock Road, entering the St. John of God nursing home at Ballinamore, in October 1955, not far from his home.

The following appreciation of Pat was written by a colleague: 'He was noted for his knowledge of English literature, especially of Shakespeare. His was a calm, contemplative soul. He travelled far as a missionary, and perhaps the most extraordinary thing about him was the way he seemed to look on life itself as a voyage. He lived as one does on a ship. He had a tourist's keen interest in his fellow-travellers and in passing ports of call. He studied the plays of Shakespeare as one studies the passenger lists. The feeble health that harassed him for years was for him a mal-de-mer and he used smile at the mention of the many times he had received the Last Sacraments.'

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.