Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

DOYLE Patrick né le 15 janvier 1916 à Cork
dans le diocèse de Cork, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 26 juin 1937
prêtre le 22 décembre 1940
décédé le 11 août 1981

1942-1947 missionnaire en Egypte
1947-1959 hospitalisé, sérieusement malade
1959-1963 Wilton, maître des novices
1963-1972 Dromantine, directeur spirituel
1972-1981 Wilton, directeur spirituel

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 11 août 1981,
à l'âge de 65 ans

Father Patrick Francis Doyle (1916 - 1981)

Francis Doyle was born in Chapel Hill, Roman St., Cork, in the parish of Saints Mary and Anne, Shandon, on 15 June 1916. He died in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 11 August 1981.

Frank received his secondary education in Cork between 1931 1935, studying with the Presentation Brothers on the Western Road, and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton. He went to the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1935 and two years later, on 29 June 1937, he was admitted to membership of the Society. Frank received his theological formation in the Society's seminary at Dromantine, Co Down and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 22 December 1940. He was one of a group of nineteen ordained on that day.

After ordination Frank returned to Dromantine for six months to complete his theology course. He was then appointed to the vicariate of the Nile Delta, in Egypt, although it was almost two years before he could secure a sea passage to his destination because of the war. Sailing in one of the dangerous wartime convoys, which ran the gauntlet of German and Italian submarines and airforce, he arrived at his mission in August 1942. Accompanying Frank on the voyage was Pat Lynn, also destined for Eygpt. By the time Frank reached his mission there were perhaps 40 French Society members in the jurisdiction and some 15 Irish, several of whom had been invalided from tropical Africa, and had been sent to Egypt because of its dry climate.

Since 1936 the Irish Province had taken responsibility for the 'English language' schools of the vicariate, and it was to one of these, St. Austin's college at 3 Sharia Boutros Pasha Ghali, in Heliopolis (near Cairo), that Frank was assigned as a professor. St. Austin's had been originally founded in 1937 by John Prendergast, as an intermediate school, at 6 Avenue Baron Empain. In 1939 John Lupton had transferred St. Austins to Heliopolis and developed it into a full secondary college. The physical plant left much to be desired. A contemporary description of this institution is available: 'The school, in which there are about 170 pupils, consists of three rented private houses, part of a terrace of houses. Two houses are occupied by the Fathers, and the third is the school proper. There are 9 rooms used as classrooms and an office'.

The students were mainly Europeans and oriental Christians living in Egypt, half of whom were Catholics of the Coptic rite. Under the careful eye of John Lupton, who was superior when Frank came on the staff, the students were prepared for the 'Standard London Matriculation examination'. Reports from Fr. Lupton to the Irish Provincial (Fr. Lupton was also 'visitor' responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the members) noted that Frank was 'level headed and sane, an excellent teacher who works hard, and in addition to his teaching duties had taken on the post of bursar'. Fr. Lupton added: 'I am very glad to have him'. We know that Frank also devoted himself to pastoral work whenever he had the opportunity and was spiritual director to a praesidium of the Legion of Mary. Fr. Lupton also expressed concern about Frank's health, noting that he was very thin and delicate.

In 1946 Fr. Lynn, who had come to Egypt after battling for some years with tuberculosis, succumbed to the disease, dying on 8 February. A year later, on 10 February 1947, Malachy Morris, then superior of St. Austin's, gave the Irish Provincial the sombre news that Frank had now contracted tuberculosis and was in hospital. Fr. Morris wrote: 'He has been looking very pale and thin for some time past, but he kept working away and refused to give in until it became absolutely imperative'. In March Frank returned to Ireland and entered St. Joseph's sanatorium, Mount Desert, on the western outskirts of Cork city. He was to spend most of the next twelve years in Mount Desert, leaving the hospital briefly in March 1949 for a stay in Rialto hospital, Dublin, and again between July and October of 1955 when he had a lung removed in Blanchardstown chest hospital, Dublin. Making a partial recovery in June 1959 Frank left hospital and went to Wilton as director of students. Four years later he was appointed to a similar post in the major seminary, at Dromantine. From 1972 until the year of his death, 1981, he was spiritual director, at Wilton.

Frank was to leave an indelible impression on the students who knew him at Dromantine and Wilton. He was to be revered for his patience, tolerance, candour, wit, common sense and his eminently sound judgement. During the turbulent years of the post Vatican 11 era, his was a voice to which students could respond. Indeed the stability of the seminary during those difficult days owed much to his influence. Later, as spiritual director of the novitiate, with insight, experience and compassion, he was to guide a new generation of students into the special following of Christ.

Frank had another side to him. During his long years in Mount Desert sanatorium he made a close study of bird life, building his own aviary, and becoming in time one of the foremost authorities in Ireland and further afield on this subject. Among the books which he published was Breeding Roller Canaries in Ireland, a classic work of its kind. He also gave freely of his knowledge and expertise to students of bird life, some of whom subsequently were, like Frank, to win national and international reputations. Later, while in Dromantine, Frank took a keen interest in the environment, converting the lake into a trout preserve, keeping a watchful eye over the wild fowl, breeding pheasants for the local gun club, and rejoicing in the splendid 'pleasure grounds' of that magnificent estate with their exotic shrubbery and mysterious woodland.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.