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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

O'HAIRE Ambrose né le 6 janvier 1900 à Loughrea
dans le diocèse de Clonfert, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 15 juillet 1923
prêtre le 16 juin 1927
décédé le 3 juin 1976

1927-1934 missionnaire au Nigeria, vicariat du Bénin
1935-1939 Clough, malade
1940-1946 missionnaire en Egypte
1947-1950 au service du diocèse de Nottingham
1951-1962 Liverpool maison sma de Ullet Road
1962-1970 au service du diocèse de Portsmouth
1971-1972 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré
1972-1976 Dromantine, retiré

décédé à Newry, Irlande, le 3 juin 1976,
à l'âge de 76 ans


Father Ambrose O'HAIRE (1900 - 1976)

Ambrose O'Haire was born in Loughrea, Co Galway (the family address was 'The Seven Springs', Earlspark, Loughrea), in the diocese of Clonfert, on 6 January 1900. He died at the St John of God hospital, Courtenay Hill, Newry, Co Down, on 3 June 1976.

Ambrose ('Amby') was educated in the colleges of the Society. He studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1916 18), and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1918 1921), before entering the novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in the autumn of 1921. He studied theology first in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork (1923 1926) and then, on the transfer of the seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down (1926 1927). He was received as a member of the Society on 15 July 1923 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 16 June 1927. He was one of a group of eleven ordained on that day.

After ordination Amby was appointed to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin in south-western Nigeria. At this time most of the missionaries in the jurisdiction were French or Alsatian but, increasingly, Irish members of the Society were being introduced to this British colony in preparation for the transfer of the mission to the Irish Province. Amby reached his Nigeria in October 1927. His first appointment, given to him by the vicar apostolic, Ferdinand Terrien, was to Holy Cross cathedral mission, the oldest station in Nigeria, founded in 1868. Amby joined a staff led by Louis Freyburger, with Antoine Brungard as administrator and Tom Donoghue as director of schools. Holy Cross was the largest of the Society's Nigerian mission stations, with an average of some 40 catholic marriages annually and increasing from year to year (the number of catholic marriages was a good measure of the Church's progress). In 1929 Bishop Terrien died and a year later the vicariate was confided to the Irish Province, with Francis O'Rourke as vicar apostolic.

In the same year Amby was posted to Ondo district, in the north-east of the vicariate. Here the mission superior was Pat Hurst, one of the great pioneering missionaries in this region. Edward Ward was the second assistant priest. Ondo district (now the seat of a diocese) which had been founded in 1916, had a catholic community of 1,200 members and 800 catechumens located in Ondo town and its 35 secondary stations. In 1932 Amby was appointed superior of Ondo district on the transfer of Fr. Hurst to Ibadan. Amby remained in charge at Ondo until he went on his first home leave in February 1934, having given almost seven years unbroken serve in the vicariate. During these years he is remembered particularly in association with the Waterside region of Ondo district which he did so much to develop and for which he wrote much of the mission diary or coutumier. He was well-known in such Waterside stations as Okitipupa, Odigbo, Irele, Ikoya, Ayede, Orogbo, Igbodigo, Agbabu, Glekebo, Igbotako and Alatala. He was also very well-known in the Ondo-Akure district from which he served such stations as Oshogbo, Ondo, Akure, Oke-Igbo, Idanre, Aweba and Ile Oluji.

When Amby returned from Nigeria his superiors posted him to Kilcolgan. There were some 35 students in the house studying philosophy and making their novitiate. Anthony McAndrew was superior and master of novices, while Amby was professor of philosophy. In 1939 Amby was appointed to the vicariate of the Nile Delta, in Egypt, where the Province had responsibility for the 'English-language' schools. Amby ministered in Egypt during the war years, until June 1946. On his arrival in October 1939 (he travelled in a convoy which was frequently attacked by submarine and aircraft, on board the Empress of Australia), he was posted to St. Austin's (St. Augustine's) school, 3 Sharia Boutros Pasha Ghali, Heliopolis, Cairo. This institution had been founded in 1937 by John Prendergast as an intermediate school (John Lupton developed it into a full secondary college in 1939) and prepared some 170 pupils for the 'Standard London University matriculation'. In 1941 Amby was transferred to St. George's college, Choubra, where Pat Christal was headmaster. 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. In 1943 Amby was re-assigned to St. Austin's where he took charge of the elementary department. His superior, John Lupton, described him as 'an excellent teacher who works hard'. In addition to his teaching, Amby was chaplain to the convent of St. Clare, in Heliopolis, and also acted as chaplain to various military hospitals in the Cairo region.

On his return from Egypt Amby took up a pastoral assignment in Nottingham diocese. He ministered in St. Hugh's parish, Broadgate, Lincoln, from September 1947 until January 1951, when he was posted to the S.M.A. procure, in Ullet Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool. Here he not only helped in the work of looking after confreres in transit to, or returning from, Africa but ministered to the large numbers of immigrants flocking into England from the West Indies and Africa. In 1962 Amby became chaplain to St. Gabriel's Convent, Coldash, near Newbury, in the diocese of Portsmouth. He retired to Blackrock Road in September 1970. A year later, with the transfer of students from Dromantine to Maynooth, the opportunity to retire in Dromantine was offered and gladly accepted. He spent his last years peacefully in that sylvan setting.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.