Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

dervin bernard né le 20 octobre 1916 à Morganstown
dans le diocèse d'Elphin (Irlande)
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1939
prêtre le 19 décembre 1942
décédé le 15 janvier 1993

1943-1953 missionnaire au Nigeria, préfecture de Jos
1953-1954 Ballinafad, collège
1955-1962 missionnaire au Nigeria, diocèse de Jos
1963-1966 Cork, Doughcloyne et Blackrock Road
1966-1970 diocèses de Middlesborough et de Plymouth (Angleterre)
1971-1974 diocèse de Tuam, Irlande
1974-1979 Ballinafad, collège
1979-1981 Dromantine, Newry, collège
1981-1982 diocèse d’Elphin, Irlande
1982-1992 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 15 janvier 1993,
à l'âge de 76 ans

Father Bernard DERVIN (1916 - 1993)

Bernard Dervin was born at Morganstown, Mount Talbot, Co Roscommon, in the diocese of Elphin, on 20 October 1916. He died in the S.M.A. house at Blackrock Road, Cork, on 15 January 1993.

Bernard (Brian) attended Mount Talbot National school. His first contact with the Society came through the influence of two S.M.A. priests, Malachy Gately, a native of the Mount Talbot parish, and Joe Donnelly, a next-door neighbour. Brian received his secondary education in the colleges of the Society. He studied in the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, between 1933-1934 and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork, between 1934-1937. Having matriculated he entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1937. Two years later, in 1939, Brian commenced his theological formation in the Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down. Brian became a member of the Society on 2 July 1939. He was ordained a priest, in the chapel of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Moyne Park, Tuam, on 19 December 1942. The ordaining prelate was Archbishop Joseph Walsh, of Tuam. Society ordinations normally took place in Newry cathedral, but a fifty mile limit on car travel due to the war would have prevented his family from attending. Several other classmates were faced with the same problem so the ordinations for that year were held at three centres, Dromantine chapel, Skibbereen, and Moyne Park. Brian was one of a group of nine ordained on that occasion.

After ordination Brian was appointed to the prefecture of Jos, in northern Nigeria, where he was to serve for a decade. His first six months were spent in the town of Shendam, site of the first mission in the north (1907), learning the local Hausa language. Next he was appointed to Pankshin mission, in the south east of the prefecture. In 1948 he returned to Shendam, and from 1950 he was in charge of the district of Kafanchan (erected as a diocese in 1995). When Brian returned to Ireland for his vacation in 1952 he was retained for a year on the staff of the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad (1953-1954). He then returned to Jos diocese, serving mainly in the rural parts of the diocese. In 1958 his health began to deteriorate but he remained at his post (he spent his last years in his old mission of Kafanchan) until 1962 when he was finally invalided home.

After a period of convalescence Brian served in St. Xaviour's university hostel (for African students attending U.C.C.), located at Doughcloyne, Cork. Later, from January 1965, he was attached to the Province's headquarters at Blackrock Road. In September 1966 Brian went to England, taking up pastoral appointments in the dioceses of Middlesborough and Plymouth. He worked first as a supply priest and chaplain to the Alexian Brothers, in York (1966-1968), and then as chaplain to the sisters at Lakenham convent, in north Devon. He spent the years 1971-1979 in Tuam archdiocese. During this period he worked on mission promotion, as a confessor at Knock, as chaplain to the Franciscans at Cummer, Co Galway and finally as chaplain to the Franciscan convent, Loughglynn. Next he served on the Ballinafad staff (1974-79) and in the seminary at Dromantine (1979-81). He spent a year on pastoral work in the diocese of Elphin (at Castlerea) before retiring to Blackrock Road.

Brian's obituary in the African Missionary, written by a colleague gives the following reminiscences: 'He was known as Bernie in his native Four Roads but we always called him Brian... He was a sweet hurler. I saw him score four of Roscommon's eight goals from his position at top of the left against another Connaught team. He was the first non-Galway man to play for Connaught in a Railway Cup game. In his early years he enjoyed good health, however in the autumn of his life he was forced to retire to Blackrock Road through ill-health... Just after celebrating his golden jubilee he went to meet his Maker...'

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.