Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

   Le Père Michael MAHONY
né le 10 juin 1900 à Kilnadeema, Loughrea
dans le diocèse de Clonfert, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 28 septembre 1922
prêtre le 23 mai 1926
décédé le 20 décembre 1966
 1926-1930 missionnaire au Liberia

1930-1931 Dromantine, professeur de morale
1931-1937 Kilcogan, directeur spirituel
1937-1944 Kilcogan maître des novices
1944-1946 Dromantine, directeur spirituel
1946-1947 responsable des vocations
1947-1952 Daughcloyne, économe
1949-1958 conseiller provincial
1956-1963 Dromantine, directeur spirituel
1963-1966 Wilton, supérieur

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 20 décembre 1966,
à l'âge de 66 ans

Father Michael MAHONY (1900 - 1966)

Michael Mahony was born at Kilnadeema, Loughrea, Co Galway, in the diocese of Clonfert, on 10 June 1900. He died in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 20 December 1966.

Michael studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1916 1917), and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1917 1920), before going to the Society's house of philosophy and novitiate at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Two years later, on 28 September 1922, he was admitted to membership of the Society. He studied theology in St. Joseph's seminary at Blackrock Road, Cork and was ordained a priest in St. Joseph's church, adjoining the seminary, by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria, on 23 May 1926. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

After ordination Michael was appointed to the prefecture of Liberia, in West Africa. This was the first mission of the Irish Province, entrusted to its care when it was founded in 1912. Three missionary expeditions had failed to establish the Church in Liberia during the 19th and early 20th century. It was the S.M.A.'s first expedition, in 1906, which had finally succeeded. When Michael came to Liberia, in October 1926, the Church was firmly established on the Kru Coast some 200 miles east of the capital, Monrovia. In Monrovia, where there was a large Americo-Liberian population, many of whom belonged to Protestant sects which were virulently anti-Catholic, little progress had been made. In 1921 Jean Ogé, the prefect, made a new effort to evangelise the Monrovia district, establishing a residential mission in the capital. It was to this mission that Michael was assigned on his arrival. He joined a missionary staff which included Michael McEniry, the mission superior and Anthony McAndrew. Monrovia district had about 200 Catholics and some 50 catechumens, many of them immigrants from the Kru Coast, and also an elementary school, with 285 pupils. The Kru Coast district, in contrast, had over 2,000 Catholics, 500 catechumens and 6 schools. In addition to the principal station of Monrovia, there were four secondary stations to be visited, including a large rubber plantation which the Firestone company had established in the region. Michael served in Monrovia until April 1930 when he returned to Ireland on home leave.

In the late 1920's and early 1930's the number of students in the Society's Irish colleges was increasing rapidly, and additional staff was required to provide them with adequate missionary formation. Michael was one of those considered eminently suitable for such work by his superiors. Subsequently he was to have a long and distinguished career in the Irish houses of the Society. First of all he was assigned to the major seminary at Dromantine, Co Down, as professor of moral theology, a post he occupied for a year. Next he was appointed spiritual director at Kilcolgan, taking up his post in September 1931. In the same month he enrolled at U.C.G. and three years later, in 1934, he was awarded a first-class honours B.A. degree. Between 1937-1944 Michael was novice master in Kilcolgan. He was spiritual director at Dromantine between 1944-1946. Then for a year (1946 47) he recruited for the Society, visiting schools and colleges throughout the country. Next (in 1947) he was assigned to the recently opened St. Xavier's university hostel, Doughcloyne (which catered for African students attending U.C.C.), as bursar and dean of residence. He was co opted onto the Provincial Council in October 1949, a post he occupied until March 1952, while continuing to serve at Doughcloyne. From July 1956 until June 1963 he was again spiritual director at Dromantine, before taking up his last assignment at Wilton. Here he served as vice-superior and confessor, until the time of his death in 1966.

Michael will be long remembered by generations of S.M.A. students and priests for the quality of his deep faith and trust in God which he communicated calmly and without fuss in spiritual conferences and in the confessional. He was greatly valued as a spiritual adviser and confessor, not only within the Society but among priests and religious throughout the country. He was related to Mick Scully and to Bishop William Mahony both distinguished members of the Society.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.