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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

KETT Patrick Joseph né le 4 juillet 1907 à Rathkeale
dans le diocèse de Limerick, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1930
prêtre le 10 juin 1934
décédé le 5 avril 1987 

1934-1938 missionnaire au Nigeria, préfecture de Jos
1938-1942 Irlande, animation missionnaire
1942-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria, préfecture de Jos
1949-1952 Irlande, chargé des vocations
1953-1959 missionnaire au Nigeria, diocèse de Jos
1959-1961 Irlande
1961-1978 missionnaire aux USA, Floride
1961-1968, diocèse de Saint-Augustin
1968-1978, diocèse de Orlando
1978-1987 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 5 avril 1987,
à l'âge de 79 ans


Father Patrick Joseph KETT (1907 - 1987)

Patrick Joseph Kett was born at Rathkeale, Co Limerick (his family lived at Drumbane in the parish of Upperchurch, Co Tipperary), on 4 July 1907. He died in the S.M.A. house at Blackrock Road, Cork, after a long illness, on 5 April 1987.

Joe received his secondary education from the Cistercian monks in Roscrea. Coming from a farming background he decided to become a horticulture instructor and studied at the Salesian college, Pallaskenry, for two years and at the Salesian college, Warrenstown, Drumree, for a further two years. Following a consultation with a Cistercian monk at Roscrea he then decided to study for the missionary priesthood. He was twenty years old when he went to the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, where he spent a year studying Latin. He entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1928, and two years later, on 2 July 1930, was admitted to membership of the Society. He completed his formation in the theological seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 10 June 1934. He was one of a group of seventeen ordained on that day.

After ordination Joe was appointed to Jos prefecture, in northern Nigeria. He sailed to his mission on the Elder Dempster liner, the R.M.S. Adda, along with 16 other members of the Society. Disembarking in Lagos, and travelling by train to the north - a journey which lasted two days - Joe was received by his superior, William Lumley, who appointed him to the parish of Udei. This was a new parish, just founded by Michael Flynn. While Fr. Flynn spent much of his time travelling on the train from Makurdi almost to Kaduna, stopping at each station to take care of the Christians there (mostly Igbos from the east), Joe remained in Udei where he was entrusted with evangelization of the indigenous Tiv population. Joe approached his task with imagination and zeal. His extrovert disposition and sense of humour were signal advantages in breaking down the barriers. Joe spent the whole of his first tour of duty, lasting four years (1934-1938), in Udei. After two years a third priest, Dick Tobin, came to the parish, enabling Joe to spend more time in the outstations. In the village of Thiaabo he built a school (a mud block house, bamboo and grass roofed), which was also used as a church. With Dick Tobin, too, he started a boarding school in Udei which catered for the most promising boys from the villages. In this institution students received 'teacher training', and 'catechist training', and were later deployed as teacher-catechists in the district's many outstations.

In 1938 Joe returned to Ireland on vacation. He attended the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park on 3 September 1939, the day the second world war broke out. The war interfered with his plans to return to Jos and, while awaiting a sea passage, he did promotion work in Ireland. Eventually, in February 1942, he obtained a place in a convoy travelling to West Africa. On his arrival in northern Nigeria Joe was appointed superior of Jos district, a large segment of territory stretching from Jos down as far as Pankshin. Ten of its outstations today are residential stations. Jos was a bustling township with a population of some 20,000 people, very different from the rural ambience of Udei. It was also the headquarters of the prefecture and home of Mgr. Lumley. Joe spent the last year of his second tour in Allogani mission. After a vacation in Ireland he returned to take charge of Jos mission in February 1948. In January 1949 Joe contracted sleeping sickness (from the tetze fly). After hospitalisation for a period of 10 weeks, he was sent home to Ireland to convalesce. Joe spent the next three years as director of vocations in Ireland. In January 1953 he sailed once more for Africa, remaining in the Jos jurisdiction (erected a diocese under Bishop John Reddington in June 1953) for two further tours of duty, until 1959. Between 1953-1956, while stationed in Kafanshan, Joe built a solid concrete-block school in the village of Kagoma, about 11 miles away from the central station. Among one of the first students to attend the school was a boy called Peter Jatau who Joe baptised. Later Peter was to become archbishop of Jos. Between 1956-1959 Joe served in Shendam, the oldest mission in the north, which in 1957 celebrated its golden jubilee.

In 196l Joe's health deteriorated and he was advised to spend some time outside the tropics. He went to the U.S.A., to the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, where he was assistant pastor in St. Matthew's church, Jacksonville. Later he worked in the diocese of Orlando, serving in the Good Shepherd church and in St. James' church, both in Orlando city. In 1978, suffering from chronic ill-health he returned to Blackrock Road for his retirement.

Joe was a warm‑hearted, compassionate person. A good conversationalist, always polite, he had many friends and mixed easily. He had a great fund of stories, mostly about Nigeria, which he told to his many Irish and American friends, serving to build up the mystique of the missionary. A fervent follower of Tipperary's hurling fortunes he went to every match he could as long as 'Tipp' was playing.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.


Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande
Le Père Patrick Joseph KETT
né le 4 juillet 1907 à Rathkeale
dans le diocèse de Limerick, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1930
prêtre le 10 juin 1934
décédé le 5 avril 1987
Père Patrick Kett

1934-1938 missionnaire au Nigeria, préfecture de Jos
1938-1942 Irlande, animation missionnaire
1942-1949 missionnaire au Nigeria, préfecture de Jos
1949-1952 Irlande, chargé des vocations
1953-1959 missionnaire au Nigeria, diocèse de Jos
1959-1961 Irlande
1961-1978 missionnaire aux USA, Floride
1961-1968, diocèse de Saint-Augustin
1968-1978, diocèse de Orlando
1978-1987 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 5 avril 1987,
à l'âge de 79 ans


Father Patrick Joseph KETT (1907 - 1987)

Patrick Joseph Kett was born at Rathkeale, Co Limerick (his family lived at Drumbane in the parish of Upperchurch, Co Tipperary), on 4 July 1907. He died in the S.M.A. house at Blackrock Road, Cork, after a long illness, on 5 April 1987.

Joe received his secondary education from the Cistercian monks in Roscrea. Coming from a farming background he decided to become a horticulture instructor and studied at the Salesian college, Pallaskenry, for two years and at the Salesian college, Warrenstown, Drumree, for a further two years. Following a consultation with a Cistercian monk at Roscrea he then decided to study for the missionary priesthood. He was twenty years old when he went to the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, where he spent a year studying Latin. He entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1928, and two years later, on 2 July 1930, was admitted to membership of the Society. He completed his formation in the theological seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 10 June 1934. He was one of a group of seventeen ordained on that day.

After ordination Joe was appointed to Jos prefecture, in northern Nigeria. He sailed to his mission on the Elder Dempster liner, the R.M.S. Adda, along with 16 other members of the Society. Disembarking in Lagos, and travelling by train to the north - a journey which lasted two days - Joe was received by his superior, William Lumley, who appointed him to the parish of Udei. This was a new parish, just founded by Michael Flynn. While Fr. Flynn spent much of his time travelling on the train from Makurdi almost to Kaduna, stopping at each station to take care of the Christians there (mostly Igbos from the east), Joe remained in Udei where he was entrusted with evangelization of the indigenous Tiv population. Joe approached his task with imagination and zeal. His extrovert disposition and sense of humour were signal advantages in breaking down the barriers. Joe spent the whole of his first tour of duty, lasting four years (1934-1938), in Udei. After two years a third priest, Dick Tobin, came to the parish, enabling Joe to spend more time in the outstations. In the village of Thiaabo he built a school (a mud block house, bamboo and grass roofed), which was also used as a church. With Dick Tobin, too, he started a boarding school in Udei which catered for the most promising boys from the villages. In this institution students received 'teacher training', and 'catechist training', and were later deployed as teacher-catechists in the district's many outstations.

In 1938 Joe returned to Ireland on vacation. He attended the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park on 3 September 1939, the day the second world war broke out. The war interfered with his plans to return to Jos and, while awaiting a sea passage, he did promotion work in Ireland. Eventually, in February 1942, he obtained a place in a convoy travelling to West Africa. On his arrival in northern Nigeria Joe was appointed superior of Jos district, a large segment of territory stretching from Jos down as far as Pankshin. Ten of its outstations today are residential stations. Jos was a bustling township with a population of some 20,000 people, very different from the rural ambience of Udei. It was also the headquarters of the prefecture and home of Mgr. Lumley. Joe spent the last year of his second tour in Allogani mission. After a vacation in Ireland he returned to take charge of Jos mission in February 1948. In January 1949 Joe contracted sleeping sickness (from the tetze fly). After hospitalisation for a period of 10 weeks, he was sent home to Ireland to convalesce. Joe spent the next three years as director of vocations in Ireland. In January 1953 he sailed once more for Africa, remaining in the Jos jurisdiction (erected a diocese under Bishop John Reddington in June 1953) for two further tours of duty, until 1959. Between 1953-1956, while stationed in Kafanshan, Joe built a solid concrete-block school in the village of Kagoma, about 11 miles away from the central station. Among one of the first students to attend the school was a boy called Peter Jatau who Joe baptised. Later Peter was to become archbishop of Jos. Between 1956-1959 Joe served in Shendam, the oldest mission in the north, which in 1957 celebrated its golden jubilee.

In 196l Joe's health deteriorated and he was advised to spend some time outside the tropics. He went to the U.S.A., to the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, where he was assistant pastor in St. Matthew's church, Jacksonville. Later he worked in the diocese of Orlando, serving in the Good Shepherd church and in St. James' church, both in Orlando city. In 1978, suffering from chronic ill-health he returned to Blackrock Road for his retirement.

Joe was a warm hearted, compassionate person. A good conversationalist, always polite, he had many friends and mixed easily. He had a great fund of stories, mostly about Nigeria, which he told to his many Irish and American friends, serving to build up the mystique of the missionary. A fervent follower of Tipperary's hurling fortunes he went to every match he could as long as 'Tipp' was playing.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.