Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande

DREW Francis né le 16 janvier 1921 à Lackenstown
dans le diocèse de Meath, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 1er juillet 1942
prêtre le 15 juin 1946
décédé le 15 juin 1973

1946-1947 université de Londres
1948-1950 vicariat d’Asaba Bénin
1951-1958 diocèse de Benin City
1958-1962 diocèse de Jos
1962-1968 diocèse de Benin City
1969-1973 Warri, supérieur régional

décédé à Trieste en se rendant à l’AP de Cork
il est enterré à Wilton

décédé à Trieste, Italie, le 15 juin 1973,
à l’âge de 52 ans

Father Michael Francis DREW (1921 - 1973)

Michael Drew was born at Lackenstown, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath, in the diocese of Meath, on 16 January 1921. He died, unexpectedly, in hospital in Trieste, Italy, on 15 June 1973.

Mick was educated in the colleges of the Society. He studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1934 1937) and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1937 1940), before entering the novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in the autumn of 1940. He studied theology in the major seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down. Mick was admitted to membership of the Society on 1 July 1942 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Eugene O'Doherty of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 15 June 1946. He was one of a group of fourteen ordained on that day.

Mick had attended lectures at U.C.C. during his last year in Wilton and had also attended U.C.G. during his two years in Kilcolgan. In June 1942 he had graduated with a B.A. degree from U.C.G. Now, after ordination, he was sent to the Colonial Institute, attached to London University, to study for a teacher's diploma. Having secured his diploma in June 1947 he received news of his appointment to the vicariate of Asaba Benin (formerly the vicariate of Western Nigeria). Mick reached his mission (which two years later became the diocese of Benin City) early in 1948. His first appointment was to St. Thomas' teacher training college, Ibusa, which had been founded by Bishop Thomas Broderick in 1928 and supplied qualified teachers for the jurisdiction's elementary schools. In July 1950 Mick was invalided home for treatment. After a successful operation and convalescence he returned Nigeria in November 1951. He spent the next four years as principal of St. John Bosco teacher training college, Ubiaja. Later he was to serve in St. Joseph's teacher training college, Ozoro (1956-1958), Immaculate Conception secondary college, Benin City, Annunciation secondary college, Irrua, and Notre Dame college, also in Ozoro.

After l0 years in the Asaba Benin region Mick was seconded to the newly erected diocese of Jos where he served until 1962. When Mick arrived in Jos, in October 1958, Bishop John Reddington, who had requested his services, posted him as principal to Mary Immaculate teacher training college, Kafanchan, which at the time needed a thorough re-organisation. This was the college founded by Mgr. William Lumley in 1949, which supplied elementary school teachers for the ever increasing number of diocesan schools. When the re-organisation was complete, Mick returned to Benin City diocese, as education secretary. This was one of the most challenging posts in the jurisdiction, calling for great organising powers, tact and zeal. As education secretary he was responsible for the diocese's schools, for the appointment of teachers, the maintenance of academic standards, the quality of the physical plant, the acquisition of new sites and, not least, for liaising with the government education department from which annual subventions were sought. In 1969 Mick was appointed 'regional superior' of the Benin/Warri region, occupying that post until his death. As 'regional' he was responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his confreres, and had special responsibility for training newly-arrived missionaries and for their placements.

During the course of his missionary life Mick was heavily involved in the training of teachers in mid-western Nigeria. To provide a steady flow of multilingual teachers for this rapidly developing area of twelve linguistic groups, great organisation was necessary. In St. John Bosco teacher training college, Ubiaja, Mick's cool clear mind evolved a system of training that greatly impressed government inspectors and was later adopted by many other colleges. Later, in various secondary schools, Mick created the same orderly smooth running office that was the heart of a thriving institution. He brought vast experience to the post of education secretary and discharged his responsibilities with energy and signal success. When he took over the office of 'regional superior' in the two dioceses of Benin City and Warri, the Nigerian civil war had just ended, but the country, then at peace, still felt its terrible effects. So did the priests of the two dioceses. The ebb and flow of the fighting had brought their emotional life to a taut tightening. It was here that Mick's tall quietly moving figure brought calm. Mick died while on his way home to the Provincial Assembly, to which he had been elected by his colleagues as their delegate. He was taken ill in Trieste and died in the neurological ward of the Trieste General Hospital.

A confrere, reflecting on the lighter side of Mick's life, wrote: 'Mick lived with Bishop Patrick Kelly at Benin. Though he was a very serious missionary Mick could do a very good "take off" of Bishop Kelly. He could repeat with accuracy many wonderful quotes of the dear, great bishop. He was an excellent mimic. He was a loveable character and easy to get on with'.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.