Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

OLEARY Patrick né le 9 juin 1923 à Cork
dans le diocèse de Cork, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1944
prêtre le 13 juin 1948
décédé le 20 mai 1961

1948-1950 Blackrock Road, Cork, Saint-Joseph
1950-1951 Wilton, professeur
1951-1953 Ballinafad, professeur
1954-1961 missionnaire au Ghana
1954-1960, collège Saint-Augustin
1960-1961, secrétaire général de la
hiérarchie au Ghana

décédé à Cape Coast, Ghana, le 20 mai 1961,
à l'âge de 38 ans

 Le père Patrick Senan O'LEARY (1923 - 1961)

A Cape-Coast (Ghana), le 20 mai 1961, retour à Dieu du père Patrick O'Leary, à l'âge de 38 ans.

Patrick O'Leary naquit à Cork en 1923, dans une famille dévouée aux Missions Africaines. Après ses études secondaires au collège diocésain de Cork, il entrait au noviciat des Missions Africaines et fit le serment en 1944. Ordonné prêtre en 1948, il passe deux ans à l'Université de Cork, puis un an comme professeur à Wilton.

Nommé professeur à Ballinafad en 1951, le père O'Leary obtint de partir en mission en 1954. Il fut nommé au collège Saint-Augustin de Cape-Coast au Ghana, dirigé par les confrères de la province d'Irlande. En 1960, le père O'Leary était désigné comme secrétaire général de la hiérarchie au Ghana. Poste de confiance et de labeur, où le Seigneur ne lui donna qu'un an pour œuvrer. Il mourut accidentellement dans une collision de voitures.

Father Padraig Senan O'LEARY (1923 - 1961)

Padraig O'Leary was born in Cork city (Windmill Road, South parish), on 9 June, 1923. He died in Ghana, as a result of an automobile accident, on 20 May 1961.

Padraig (Paud) belonged to a Cork family which had long been strong supporters of the Society. He was the son of Denis O'Leary who for years had done splendid work raising funds for the African missions. Paud received his secondary education in Cork, at the Christian Brothers school, Sullivan's Quay (1936 1939) and St. Finbarr's diocesan seminary, Farranferris (1939 194l). Paud joined the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1942. He was received as a member of the Society on 2 July 1944 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Eugene O'Doherty of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 13 June 1948. He was one of a group of fourteen ordained on that day. Earlier, on the completion of his secondary education, Paud spent an extra year at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, during which he attended lectures at U.C.C. While in Kilcolgan he continued his university studies at U.C.G., receiving a B.A. degree (philosophy and education) in June 1944. After ordination he returned to U.C.C. (residing in the Society's house at Blackrock Road) where in June 1949 he was awarded a higher diploma in education.

Paud spent the next academic year on the staff of St. Joseph's college, Wilton, where some 40 students for the Society spent three years completing their secondary education. Pat McKay was principal of the school and other staff members included Francis McNamara, Gerry Fergus, John Hackett and Alphonsus O'Shea. In 195l Paud was appointed to the staff of the preparatory college at Ballinafad, Co Mayo, where students commenced their secondary education and where mature students learned Latin to prepare them for their philosophical and theological studies. Ballinafad was a larger institution than Wilton with a student population of almost 90. Three years later, in 1954, Paud was posted to the Gold Coast (Ghana) where he was assigned to the staff of St. Augustine's college in Cape Coast. This college, founded in 1936 by Maurice B. Kelly, was the first Catholic secondary school in the Gold Coast. Paud joined a staff led by Michael Glynn and which included Frank Fallon, Pat Murphy, Con Murphy and Lawrence Skelly. There were some 330 pupils in the school and 130 students in a teacher training department attached to St. Augustine's. Paud soon won a reputation as an excellent teacher of English and Latin, his students gaining high grades in the 'West African School Certificate Examination'.

In September 1960 John Kodwo Amissah, archbishop of Cape Coast sought permission from the Irish Provincial to have Paud appointed Secretary General of the National Catholic Secretariat which the Ghanaian hierarchy intended to establish in Accra. Dr. Amissah expressed the view that Paud had all the qualities necessary to make a success of this important work prudence and courage combined with shrewdness and an ability to sort out very rapidly the true issues involved in a problem, gifted also in human relationships, both with Africans and Europeans. Paud was duly released from his work in St. Augustine's to take up this post.

Paud was 38 years old when he died tragically in a motor accident. About five months before his death, having worked successfully as first Secretary General to the N.C.S., he took up a new appointment as education secretary for the archdiocese. This was a post of great responsibility, involving all aspects of the education apostolate the appointment and payment of teachers, maintenance of academic standards, the upkeep of physical plant and, not least, liaising with the government education department from which crucial subsidies were obtained to maintain the Catholic schools. Much travel was necessarily involved and it was in the course of a journey in connection with his duties that he died. An account of his death and burial was given in a letter from Pat Murphy to the Provincial Superior. 'It happened on Saturday morning, May 20th, about 9.30 a.m. He was driving alone from Cape Coast to Accra, having spent the night with us at St. Augustine's. He collided with a lorry and died instantly. The accident occurred about 30 miles from here. He was brought first to Saltpond hospital and then to Saltpond mission. Later he was taken to St. Augustine's where he was waked by the students and townsfolk. Next day, at the request of the people, he lay in state at the cathedral. Con Murphy buried him at 4.30 p.m. on Sunday, and I sang the Requiem next day. He is buried in the Catholic cemetery, on the way to Adisadel College. He had a remarkably large funeral'.

Paud had a gift for human friendship. In St. Augustine's he was loved by both staff and students and by all those associated with the college. Many of these students went on in later life to play a leading role in government and the service. Paud had a keen mind, in the academic mould, and had a lively interest in a wide range of intellectual subjects. His death, at such an early age, was a severe blow to the Ghana mission, and a great loss to his family (his mother was already widowed) and friends in Cork.

He is buried in Cape Coast, Ghana.