Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

DONOGHUE Thomas né le 19 août 1898 à Terryglass
dans le diocèse de Killaloe, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 15 juillet 1923
prêtre le 16 juin 1927
décédé le 16 octobre 1980

1927-1934 missionnaire au Nigeria (vicariat du Bénin)
1935-1947 missionnaire en Egypte
1947-1972 aumônier militaire dans l’armée britannique
1947-1953 : Egypte
1953-1961 :Irlande du Nord
1961-1967 :Allemagne
1967-1972 : Grande Bretagne
1972-1980 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 16 octobre 1980,
à l'âge de 82 ans

Father Thomas Joseph DONOGHUE (1898 - 1980)

Thomas Donoghue was born in Terryglass, Borrisokane, Co Tipperary, in the diocese of Killaloe, on 19 August 1898. He died in St. Patrick's hospital, Wellington Road, Cork, on 16 October 1980.

Thomas (Tom) studied at Knockbeg college, Carlow, before coming to the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in 1921. Two years later he went to the Society's seminary, at Blackrock Road, Cork, to study theology (1923 1926). He completed his theological formation at Dromantine, Co Down, to which the seminary was transferred in 1926. Tom was admitted as a member of the Society on 15 July 1923 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 16 June 1927. He was one of a group of eleven ordained on that day.

After ordination Tom was appointed to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin, a territory which extended over much of south western Nigeria as well as a part of northern Nigeria. Since its erection in 1883 the jurisdiction had been staffed mainly by continental members of the Society under Bishops Chausse, Pellet, Lang and Terrien. From the earliest days Irish members of the Society served in this British colony where English-speaking missionaries were needed to conduct the education apostolate. Tom was to be one of those Irish missionaries who from 1930 took over from the continentals and then themselves became pioneers even further afield.

When Tom arrived in Nigeria, Bishop Terrien appointed him to Holy Cross mission, Lagos. This was the cathedral 'parish' and the oldest mission in Nigeria, founded in 1868. Holy Cross was also the largest station in the vicariate with a catholic community of some 6,000 members and with an average of 35 catholic marriages annually. The staff consisted of four confreres under the leadership of Louis Freyburger. Tom was given special responsibility for the schools attached to the mission. There were two boys elementary schools with 940 pupils, and a girls school managed by the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles, with 690 pupils. In 1929 Bishop Terrien died and was succeeded in 1930 by Bishop Francis O'Rourke. Tom was re-assigned to the district of Oshogbo, where Jakob Imholz was superior and the second assistant priest was Michael McLoughlin. Oshogbo mission had been established in 1915 and in the intervening years 24 secondary stations had been opened, one of them, Ilorin, which is now the seat of a diocese.

In the whole district there were 32 chapels, 37 catechists, a catholic community of 2,800 and 10 elementary schools. In December 1931 Tom was transferred to Ibonwon district, in Ijebu country, where he was appointed superior. A year later he went on his first home leave to Ireland. When Tom returned to Nigeria in October 1933, he was posted to Ibadan where the inter-vicarial minor seminary was located. Tom was given responsibility for the pastoral care of the district. Residing at the principal station of Ogunpa, where missionaries had first come in 1907, he ministered to a catholic community of some 2,000 members located in Ogunpa, Oke Offa, Ikire and Oguntolu. He was assisted by the three missionaries in the seminary - Tom Bunyan, Tom Galvin and Stephen Adewuyi (a Nigerian priest) - when they could spare the time. Tom remained in charge at Ibadan until October 1934 when he was struck down by severe malarial fever and was invalided home to Ireland.

After convalescing, Tom's superiors transferred him to the milder climate of Egypt. Here he was appointed to the staff of St. George's college at Ciccolani (Choubra) in the province of Galioubieh, known as the 'English' college (because English was the language of tuition), and later as the Anglo-Copte College (because most of the students were Europeans or oriental Christians - Copts). When Tom came to St. George's, Patrick Christal was principal and other staff members included Martin Farrington and Vincent Moore. Tom went to Ireland on home leave early in 1939. With the outbreak of the second world war he volunteered as a chaplain with British forces in the Middle East, many of whom were Catholics of Irish extraction. He served with the Eight Army in the Egyptian and North African campaigns. Later, after the war, he was to become head chaplain in the Middle East, a post which brought him to the troubled countries of Palestine, Iran, Lebanon and Jordan. Subsequently he was to serve as chaplain in Northern Ireland (1953 1961), Germany (1961 1967) and England (1967 1972).

In August 1972 Tom retired from the active ministry and took up residence in Blackrock Road. On 30 November 1979 he was hospitalised and died almost a year later. A colleague who knew him well wrote: 'Tom was in Nigeria with Bishops Shanahan, Thomas Broderick and Francis O'Rourke, when there were only three bishops and no diocese as yet in an area fifteen times and more the size of Ireland. In Egypt he was a dedicated teacher and mentor. As an army chaplain he saw active service in many theatres, bringing the sacraments to the dying, and consoling those who were badly wounded.'

Tom's had a relative, Nicholas Flavin, who joined the Society and was ordained in 1968.

He is buried in Terryglass, Co Tipperary.