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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d'Irlande

DONAGHY Joseph né le 25 février 1899 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor (Irlande)
membre de la SMA le 12 septembre 1919 
prêtre le 26 mai 1923
décédé le 23 avril 1944

1923-1928 missionnaire au Liberia
1928-1934 Dromantine, Newry, professeur
1934-1938 missionnaire dans l’Ouest Nigeria
1939-1943 Dromantine, Newry, professeur
1943-1944 missionnaire en Egypte

décédé au Caire, Egypte, le 23 avril 1944,
à l’âge de 45 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)

Le père Joseph DONAGHY (1899 - 1944)

En Egypte, le 23 avril 1944, retour à Dieu du père Joseph Donaghy, à l'âge de 45 ans.

Né à Belfast, dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, en 1899, Joseph Donaghy fit ses études aux Missions Africaines. Admis au serment en 1919, il fut ordonné prêtre le 26 mai 1923. Il fut d'abord missionnaire au Liberia en un "coin difficile" où il eut à supporter de nombreuses privations. Il restaure sa santé pendant un an et enseigne ensuite au grand séminaire à Dromantine, jusqu'en 1934. Missionnaire au vicariat de la Nigeria Occidentale de 1934 à 1938, il travaille à Assaba et Igbuzo. Il était bon organisateur, généreux et serviable. En 1939, il reprit ses cours de droit, d'histoire et de musique à Dromantine. En 1943, en pleine guerre, malgré les privations entrevues, il accepta de partir comme professeur au collège Saint-Georges en Egypte.


Father Joseph Malachy DONAGHY (1899 - 1944)

Joseph Donaghy was born in Copperfield St., Belfast, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 25 February 1899. He died of small pox, in the new Egyptian hospital, Choubra, Cairo, Egypt, on 23 April 1944.

Joe began his secondary education in St. Malachy's college, Belfast, before coming to the Society. He studied at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1915 1917), in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, where he followed a course in philosophy (1917 1918), at Kilcolgan, Co Galway (to where the philosophy course was transferred in September 1918), and again at the Blackrock Road seminary where he studied theology (1919 1923). Joe was received as a member of the Society on 12 September 1919 and was ordained a priest, along with three colleagues, at Cork, on 26 May 1923. The ceremony took place in St. Joseph's church, adjoining the seminary at Blackrock Road. The ordaining prelate was Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria.

In October 1923 Joe was appointed to the Liberian mission which had been entrusted to the Irish Province on its foundation in 1912. Liberia was a demanding mission, arguably the most difficult in west Africa, with a hazardous climate, few local resources, and a small widely scattered population. Joe's first appointment, given him on his arrival by Mgr. Jean Ogé, the prefect, was to Monrovia district. Attempts to establish a mission in Monrovia, Liberia's capital, during the 19th century had failed on three occasions. Two further attempts in the first decade of the 20th century had also proved futile. Monrovia was the home of the Americo Liberian elite which ruled Liberia since their arrival there as emancipated slaves from the U.S.A. early in the 19th century. This elite, many of whose members belonged to Protestant sects, was unhelpful to the missionaries and, indeed, often offered outright hostility.

Mgr Ogé decided to make a fresh attempt to establish the Church in the capital in 1921. Since 1912 significant progress had been made on the Kru Coast, east of Monrovia. The prefect felt that roots might be put down in Monrovia first among the Kru immigrants. Joe took up residence with Mgr. Ogé and Eugene O'Hea, ministering to a Catholic community of scarcely 50 members and 40 catechumens, almost all Krus. He spent two years in the capital, serving his second year with Michael McEniry and Pat McHugh. Early in 1926 Joe was transferred to Grand Cess, on the Kru Coast, a thriving mission which had been founded ten years previously and had a Catholic community of almost 1,000 members. Joe spent three years in charge of Grand Cess district, until 1929 when he fell ill and was compelled to return to Ireland. After convalescing he was appointed to teach at Dromantine, Co Down, where the theological seminary of the Province had been relocated since 1926. He remained there until 1934, teaching canon law, Church history, and sacred music.

In 1934, strong enough to return to Africa, Joe was appointed to the vicariate of Western Nigeria. This was the first mission confided to the Irish Province in Nigeria, on the appointment of Thomas Broderick as vicar apostolic and bishop in 1918. Western Nigeria was very different from Liberia, a densely populated territory where the Gospel had already made significant inroads. Joe served briefly in Asaba, headquarters of the vicariate, before being appointed vice principal of St. Thomas' teacher training college, Ibusa, in 1935. A year later the vicar apostolic, Leo Hale Taylor, appointed him principal of this important institution which supplied the jurisdiction's vast network of elementary schools with capable teachers.

In 1939 Joe returned to Dromantine to teach sacred scripture, joining a staff led by Martin Lavelle, with John Cadogan, Thomas Hughes, John Flanagan and John Murphy as the other members of staff. In November 1943, braving threats from submarine and aeroplane, Joe travelled to Egypt where the Province was responsible for a number of secondary colleges. On his arrival John Lupton, the mission superior, appointed him to St. George's college, Choubra, Cairo. Within a matter of months he was dead from smallpox. A colleague gave the following account of his death and burial: 'On Easter Tuesday Fr. Donaghy went to bed not feeling well, and running a temperature. On Friday his condition worsened and I searched for a doctor for three hours. When the doctor came he said it might be smallpox and Fr. Donaghy was removed to a new Egyptian hospital. During the following week Fr. (Denis) O'Connor succeeded in getting in to see Fr. Donaghy, who he found quite conscious, but desperately ill. He anointed him. On the following Saturday we got news there was no hope for him. He died at 6.30 a.m. after eight days in hospital. It was a terrible blow to all of us. Four Masses were said for him before he died and the convents prayed all the time he was in hospital. He was buried on Sunday evening in Latier cemetery, Cairo, with the French Fathers'.

He is buried in the S.M.A. plot, Latier cemetery, Choubra, Cairo, Egypt.