Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande
Le Père James Patrick Malachy WARD

 ward  né le 14 août 1904 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 8 juillet 1925
prêtre le 9 juin 1929
décédé le 2 décembre 1946

1929-1939 missionnaire au Nigeria, Lagos
1940 Blackrock Road, Cork, repos, soins
1941-1946 Blackrock Road, Cork, archiviste

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 2 décembre 1946,
à l'âge de 42 ans

(biographie en anglais à la suite)

Le père James Patrick Malachy WARD (1904 - 1946)

A Cork (Irlande), le 2 décembre 1946, retour à Dieu du père James Ward, à l'âge de 42 ans.

James Ward naquit à Belfast, dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, en Irlande, en 1904. Il fit ses études dans les maisons de la Société, à partir de 1921. Serment en 1925 et sacerdoce en 1929.

Le père Ward travailla 10 ans dans le vicariat de la Côte du Bénin, devenu en 1943 vicariat de Lagos. Rentré bien malade en 1939, après une année de repos, il pourra prendre le poste d'archiviste à Cork. Le père Ward, était un grand travailleur et très entreprenant. Doué pour l'enseignement comme pour le travail manuel, habile menuisier, il avait une volonté forte et un caractère viril.

En mission, en 1935, il avait été nommé inspecteur des écoles et chargé de coordonner toutes les activités de l'éducation. Il y réussit.

En 1941, il fit paraître une "Vie de Notre Seigneur".

Father James Patrick Malachy WARD (1904 - 1946)

James Ward was born in Leeson St., Belfast, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 14 August 1904. He died in the Mercy home, Cork, on 2 December 1946.

James (Jim) received his early education in Belfast, at St. Malachy's college (1917 1918), and at the Christian Brothers technical school (1918 1920), where he studied engineering. Deciding to become a missionary priest he spent a brief period in the Society's preparatory college, at Ballinafad, Co Mayo, before completing his secondary education at St. Joseph's college Wilton, Cork (1921 1923). In the autumn of 1923 he entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Two years later, on 8 July 1925, he was admitted as a member of the Society and then commenced his theological studies in the Society's seminary, at Blackrock Road, Cork. He completed his studies at Dromantine, Co Down, to which the seminary was transferred in 1926. Jim was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 9 June 1929. He was one of a group of fifteen ordained on that day.

After ordination Jim sailed to Nigeria on the R.M.S. Adda, one of a band of 16 missionaries, led by Francis O'Rourke, who a year later was to become bishop of the mission to which Jim was assigned, namely the vicariate of the Bight of Benin. This jurisdiction was subsequently to be divided many times and today incorporates the archdioceses of Lagos and Ibadan, and their many suffragan dioceses including Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ilorin and Ijebu Ode. Jim came to the vicariate at a time when education was growing in importance as a means of evangelisation. A year before his arrival, in 1928, the apostolic delegate, Archbishop Arthur Hinsley, had visited West Africa and had urged that catholic education be given priority everywhere within his region. It was felt that children educated in mission schools would evangelise their parents and relatives, and in time would form the backbone of strong Christian communities. Some, it was hoped, would become the priests and religious of the future.

When Jim arrived in Nigeria he was assigned to the staff of St. Theresa's inter-vicarial minor seminary, at Oke Are, Ibadan. A year later he was appointed to St. Gregory's college, Lagos, Nigeria's first catholic secondary college for boys, which had been founded in 1928 with Leo Taylor as principal. Jim joined a staff of four missionaries, with 36 boarding pupils and 124 day-boys. In 1933 Jim became principal of this prestigious school, which now had some 230 students. Jim made a signal contribution to this college, not only as an administrator and teacher, but also as a promoter of dramatic productions. In the archives of the Irish Province there is a programme for a production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, 'adapted and produced by Rev. J. Ward', which was held in 1933. This was one of many productions undertaken during his years in the college. It was a token of Jim's quality as an educator and organiser that in 1935 Bishop O'Rourke appointed him supervisor of schools, entrusted with co-ordinating education policy and practice throughout the vicariate. Jim discharged his duties from Ibadan, fulfilling the expectations of Bishop O'Rourke, and making a unique contribution to the development of catholic education. Jim kept a diary which is preserved in the Province's archives at Blackrock Road. His entries for the years when he was supervisor of schools show the demanding nature of the work, which required him to liaise not only with school proprietors, managers and teachers, but also with the government education department.

Jim had a frail constitution and inevitably the long hours of work and the many miles which had to be travelled in visiting schools throughout the vicariate took their toll. In September 1939 Jim was invalided home to Ireland. After a year of rest, but still frail, it was clear that he would never return to the tropics and his superiors appointed him as the Province's first archivist. Residing at Blackrock Road Jim began the present archives, working through all the documentation since the foundation of the Province in 1912. Much of the work was done from his sick bed. Jim had visited the Holy Land during his first home leave from Africa in 1934. This had led him to contemplate writing a 'Life of Christ'. After his retirement from Africa Jim commenced this immense study, which he completed shortly before his death. This, his magnum opus, is now preserved in manuscript form in the same archives which he had founded.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.