Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

Killeen Patrick né le 15 janvier 1923 à Mullagh
dans le diocèse de Killaloe, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 1er juillet 1942
prêtre le 15 juin 1946
décédé le 6 février 1969

1946-1947 Londres, université
1948-1961 Ballinafad, professeur
1961-1965 missionnaire au Nigeria, Ibadan
1965-1968 Ballinafad, professeur
1968-1969 Cork, secrétaire provincial

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 6 février 1969,
à l'âge de 46 ans

Father Patrick Joseph KILLEEN (1923 - 1969)

Patrick Killeen was born at Mullagh, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, in the diocese of Killaloe, on 15 January 1923. He died in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 6 February 1969.

'P.J.' ('Pidge') was the eldest in a family of three boys and two girls. Both his brothers became priests and one of his sisters joined the Mercy order. P.J. studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1935 36) and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1936 40), before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was admitted to the Society on 1 July 1942 and, in September of the same year, entered the Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, to study theology. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Eugene O'Doherty of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 15 June 1946. He was one of a group of fourteen ordained on that day. During the course of his studies, at Wilton and Kilcolgan, P.J. also attended lectures in U.C.C. and U.C.G., taking a B.A. degree in arts (philosophy and education) in 1942. In the year following his ordination, he attended London University (1946 47) taking a teacher's diploma.

By temperament and intellectual endowment, P.J. was particularly suited to a teaching ministry. In fact he was to spend the whole of his priestly life in the classroom. After completing his teaching diploma he was assigned to the Gold Coast mission (now Ghana), where since its foundation in l879, Irish missionaries had made a signal contribution to Catholic education. On his arrival in January 1948 P.J. was immediately appointed to the staff of the prestigious St. Augustine's college, Cape Coast. However within a month he fell seriously ill and had to be repatriated. After convalescing for three months at Dromantine, struggling against bitter disappointment, he was declared fit to return to the active ministry. However there could be no question of returning to Africa at this time and his superiors appointed him to teach in Ballinafad.

The Sacred Heart college, at Ballinafad, had been founded in 1908 as a preparatory school where students were introduced to the Society and commenced their secondary schooling up to intermediate certificate level. It also accommodated students who had completed secondary education but required special tuition in Latin before undertaking their philosophical and theological studies. In 195l when Wilton college (the senior secondary school) became a hostel for S.M.A. students attending U.C.C., Ballinafad became a full secondary college. P.J. was a valued member of the staff during the thirteen years (1948 196l) he spent in the college, helping to supervise the important transition from intermediate to senior school which took place during that time.

In 196l P.J.'s requests to return to Africa were at last granted and he was assigned to the diocese of Ibadan, erected three years earlier (1958). Richard Finn, bishop of the diocese, was energetically developing secondary education in his jurisdiction, and P.J., with his wealth of experience, was appointed to the staff of Loyola college, Ibadan city. In 1965 P.J's health again gave cause for concern and he had to withdraw from Africa. After a period of convalescence he was appointed to Ballinafad. In 1968 the British Province of the Society, most of whose founding members were Irish, was established. Michael Walsh, the Provincial Superior, was seeking staff members for the Province's major seminary at Dutton Manor, Lancashire, and it was thought that P.J. would be admirably suited for this work. However, after six months, ill-health again intervened, and he withdrew from England, thereafter taking up a post in the Provincial secretariat at Cork. P.J. had a great devotion to Our Lady, especially under the title: 'Our Lady of Knock'. He suffered a brain haemorrhage on 5 February 1969 and died in hospital. Two days before he died the Provincial, John A. Creaven, travelled to Ennis to visit Bishop Harty and brought P.J. along on the trip so that he could visit his parents. The family subsequently saw this as a providential occurrence.

An obituary written by a classmate records the following portrait of P.J. 'Though physically frail he had a great capacity for work. Conscientious, thorough, methodical, patient and persistent, he had what it takes to be successful at the blackboard. As a member of a teaching staff he was generous and cooperative, feeling honoured to be called upon for extra-curricular work. And as a member of a community he held a central position, either as the willing bait for banter or the quick-witted and witty regaler of his audience... He was a teacher who remained a student and in his last years became keenly interested in the new developments in catechetics and the Church generally. Not only we who were his classmates but also the many Fathers of the Irish Province whom he conducted from "mensa...mensae" to the Odes of Horace will hold his memory in respect and affection.'

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.