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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande
Le Père Edward Joseph MURPHY

 murphy joseph  né le 17 avril 1910 à Carrickmacross
dans le diocèse de Clogher, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 septembre 1935
prêtre le 20 décembre 1936
décédé le 4 décembre 1937

1937 part en octobre 1936 pour le vicariat du Bénin

décédé à Ibadan, Nigeria, le 4 décembre 1937,
à l’âge de 27 ans

 

 

Le père Edward Joseph MURPHY (1910 - 1937)

A Ibadan (Nigeria), le 4 décembre 1937, retour à Dieu du père Edward Murphy, à l'âge de 27 ans.

Edward Murphy né à Carrickmacross, dans le diocèse de Clogher, en 1910, arriva aux Missions Africaines en 1933, venant de chez les Maristes. Il fit le serment en 1935 et fut ordonné prêtre en décembre 1936. Après un pèlerinage à Lourdes en octobre 1937, le père Murphy s'embarquait pour le vicariat apostolique de la Côte du Bénin.

De Freetown où il s'était arrêté pour prier sur la tombe de notre fondateur, il écrit à un ami: "J'ai visité les tombes de ceux qui nous ont tracé et bien éclairé le chemin, et j'ai demandé à Dieu, moi aussi, le privilège de mourir sur le continent noir et de ne jamais plus revoir ma patrie, si ma mort peut servir à la cause. C'est ma volonté de mourir ici comme les pères O'Dwyer et Marren. Plaise à Dieu que ma prière soit exaucée!" Les deux pères cités venaient de mourir de la fièvre jaune à Jos.

Le père Murphy mourra après six semaines de mission.

"Tant que nous seront animés de cet esprit d'héroïsme, nous resterons les dignes enfants de Mgr de Brésillac, son esprit sera toujours vivant parmi nous. Avec un tel trésor, nous n'avons rien à craindre, mais tout à espérer de la divine providence." (Le père Slattery)


Father Edward Joseph MURPHY (1910 - 1937)

Edward Murphy was born in Carrickmacross (his home address was at O'Neill's Street), Co Monaghan, in the diocese of Clogher, on 17 April 1910. He died in Ibadan, Nigeria, on 4 December 1937.

Edward (Eamonn) studied at St. Patrick's Academy, Carrickmacross and in the Marist's St. Mary's college, Dundalk, from 1923 1929. Entering the Marist congregation he completed his novitiate and studied philosophy at 'The Monastery', Paignton, South Devon, and later at Mount St. Mary's, Milltown, Dublin (1930 1932). He had taken temporary vows in the Marist congregation when in 1933 he decided to become an African missionary and entered the Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down. He took his oath of membership there on 22 September 1935 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 20 December 1936. He was one of a class of eighteen ordained on that day.

After ordination Eamonn remained on in Dromantine until June when he completed his theological formation. Then, after a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the first week of October 1937, Eamonn set out for the vicariate of the Bight of Benin. This mission had been entrusted to the Irish Province in 1930 and extended over much of south western Nigeria as well as a part of northern Nigeria. Bishop Francis O'Rourke was the first Irish vicar apostolic, living until 1938. En route to his mission Eamonn stopped off at Freetown, in Sierra Leone, to pray before the tomb of the Society's founder, Bishop de Marion Brésillac who had perished there of yellow fever in 1858. This was a usual practice for missionaries going out to West Africa.

Eamonn died within six weeks of his arrival. The details of his brief missionary career and his death were described in a poignant letter to the Provincial, Stephen Harrington, by Philip Corish, who was 'visitor' (responsible for the welfare of the Irish members in the Benin vicariate). Eamonn arrived in Nigeria on 28 October 1937, in the middle of a yellow fever outbreak which had carried off two young colleagues in Jos, namely John Marren and Anthony Dwyer. Fr. Corish, made arrangements with the Director of Medical Services at Lagos to have his missionaries inoculated, noting that 'all the Europeans were being inoculated'. At that time the serum used was considered 'live' (capable of infecting others) and those inoculated were placed in quarantine in Apapa, Lagos. Eamonn was one of those inoculated and placed in the isolation block at Apapa, between 1st November and 10th November. Since Bishop O'Rourke was in Europe, it was Fr. Corish who gave him his first appointment - a posting to Ijebu-Ode district, where he would be introduced to the Yoruba language. Eamonn set out for his station by launch on 12th November.

He began his ministry among the Ijebus with great energy, under the direction of William Field, the mission superior. Eamonn, it was reported 'became very interested in the study of Yoruba, began to train the school-boys for a Christmas concert, and began preparations to found a Legion of Mary branch among the parishioners.' On Friday, 26th November, however, he arose with a sore throat. That evening the Medical Officer, Dr. Greene, came to examine him and attended him for the next few days. On 30th November Dr. Greene advised that Eamonn be taken to the European hospital at Ibadan, and on the following day Fr. Field took him there by private car. His condition stabilised, the inflammation of his throat subsided, and he began to improve. Then, much to the surprise of the doctors and his confreres, at 9.15 on the morning of December 4th Eamonn died suddenly. Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul at Ogumpa, Ibadan, with Fr. Corish as celebrant.

The cause of death was uncertain, but the doctors felt that his heart had given way. A second priest, also inoculated with the yellow fever vaccine, Tom Rolt, died on 28th March 1938 from heart failure during a bad malarial fever (although the initial diagnosis was meningitis). There was an interesting footnote to both death in a letter from Fr. Corish to the Provincial, dated 21 April 1938. 'I have asked several doctors after Fr. Murphy's death and again after Fr. Rolt's death if the inoculation against yellow fever could have had a bearing, and all have assured me that it had absolutely nothing to do with either case... The only after-effects of inoculation are that about 5% get jaundice in a mild form. Therefore I believe that there can be no connection between the deaths of these two confreres and the yellow fever inoculation.'

A classmate wrote of Eamonn as follows: 'A strong personality, purposeful, serious but not solemn, Eamonn enjoyed all that was enjoyable in the day to day seminary life; he mixed evenly with the group of classmates he had just joined in Dromantine; he was an athletic type, on and off the field. He was also a fine actor. In one particular college stage performance he excelled - the play was: A Saint in a Hurry. A drama on the missionary life of St. Francis Xavier in India (a translation from Spanish by Aodh de Blacam). Eamonn portrayed Francis Xavier in an inspirational as well as a memorable way, the highlight being the death scene on the Chinese island of Sanchion.' Eamonn's sister became a missionary, joining the congregation of Our Lady of Apostles, and taking the name Leonardus.

He is buried in the grounds of St. Theresa's minor seminary, Oke Are, Ibadan, Nigeria.