Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

 christal  Le Père Patrick CHRISTAL
né le 7 février 1898 à Ballyshrule
dans le diocèse d'Ardagh, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 1er novembre 1918
prêtre le 29 juin 1921
décédé le 11 décembre 1967

1921-1923 Kinnury et Kilcogan, professeur
1923-1925 collège de Ballinabad, professeur
1925-1934 collège de Wilton, professeur
1934-1965 collège Saint-Georges, Egypte, professeur
1965-1967 retiré pour raisons médicales

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 11 décembre 1967,
à l'âge de 69 ans

Father Patrick Joseph CHRISTAL (1898 - 1967)

Patrick Christal was born at Ballyshrule, Co. Longford, in the diocese of Ardagh, on 7 February 1898. He died in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, after a prolonged illness, on 11 December 1967.

Pat studied in the colleges of the Society in Ireland. He received his secondary education in the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1911 1912) and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1912 1916). He studied philosophy and theology in the Society's seminary, at Blackrock Road, Cork (1916 1921). He became a member of the Society on l November 1918, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria, in St. Joseph's church, Blackrock Road, on 29 June 1921. He was one of a group of ten ordained on that day.

Destined by aptitude and disposition for a teaching ministry, after ordination Pat was assigned to the colleges of the Society in Ireland. He taught in the brothers novitiate at Kineurry, near Westport, Co Mayo, at the priest's noviciate and house of philosophy in Kilcolgan, Co Galway (1921 1923), at the preparatory college in Ballinafad (1923 1925) and finally at the apostolic school in Wilton (1925 1934). He was an exceptionally gifted teacher and in the early years of the leaving certificate examination some of the students he taught at Wilton received the highest honours in Ireland. Gentle but firm in the classroom, he employed a pedagogy which was particularly effective; he believed that correction was the best method of teaching, and insisted that pupils correct their work in his presence, knowing that thereafter they would remember their mistakes.

In 1934, after thirteen years at home, Pat was assigned to the Egyptian mission (the vicariate of the Nile Delta), whose superior was Bishop Jules Girard S.M.A. The Society's first contacts with Egypt date from 1877. At the time the Superior General, Augustin Planque, was urgently seeking a suitable mission field for the growing number of members whose health had been irreparably damaged in West Africa, or who for other reasons were no longer capable of enduring the rigors of tropical Africa. Egypt had a good climate to recommend it and was a most suitable mission for Pat who had a delicate constitution and at one time suffered from tuberculosis.

One of the primary methods of the apostolate in Egypt was catholic education. The Society had several schools which gave tuition through the medium of French and English. Irish missionaries were mainly deployed in the English-language schools. Pat was to make a unique contribution to the educational apostolate in Egypt. His first appointment was to St. George's 'English' college, near Choubra, in the province of Galioubieh, where he was nominated principal. When Pat returned from his first home leave, in 1938, he was appointed to St. Austin's (St. Augustine's) school, Heliolopis and as headmaster in St. Paul's school, Alexandria (1946-1949). Patrick spent over 30 years of his life as a missionary in Egypt. During this long period he was often sick, but he showed great determination and zeal in staying at his post. In 1954 he fell seriously ill and had to return to Ireland, but as soon as he had regained a little strength he came back to Egypt. Eventually, in 1965, he was compelled to retire from his mission, with acute pulmonary disease. He died two years later, in his seventieth year.

Pat is remembered as a dedicated, gentle priest, and as a distinguished teacher, a man of great patience in the classroom, who took infinite care with each individual pupil. Although his health was never robust he gave sterling service to the work of missions during his relatively long life-time.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.