Société des Missions Africaines

né le 13 décembre 1896 à Liverpool
dans le diocèse de Liverpool, Angleterre
membre de la SMA le 16 juillet 1921
prêtre le 11 juin 1925
décédé le 19 juillet 1926

1925-1926 Asaba (Benin-City), Nigeria

décédé à Asaba, Nigeria, le 19 juillet 1926
à l’âge de 29 ans


Le père William Gerard BOND (1896 - 1926)

A Benin-City (Nigeria), le 21 juillet 1926, retour à Dieu du père William Bond, à l'âge de 30 ans.

William Bond naquit dans le diocèse de Liverpool (Angleterre), en 1896. Il fit ses études secondaires à Liverpool. En 1919, il entrait au noviciat des Missions Africaines à Kilcogan. Il fit le serment en 1921 et fut ordonné prêtre en juin 1925.

Le père Bond fut nommé au vicariat apostolique de la Nigeria Occidentale. Il se montra un confrère charmant, un missionnaire généreux et zélé. Revenant d'Ibadan et retournant à Sapele, le père Bond se trouva si malade qu'il dut s'arrêter à Benin-City où il mourut, croit-on, de la fièvre jaune.

Father William Gerard BOND (1896 - 1926)

William Gerard Bond was born in Liverpool, England (the family address was at 156, Queen's Drive, West Derby), in the diocese of Liverpool, on 13 December 1896. He died, probably of yellow fever, at Benin City, Nigeria, on 21 July 1926.

William (Willie) was born in Liverpool of Irish parents. We have no record of the circumstances of his vocation to the S.M.A. He was educated at St. Peter's college, Freshfield, Liverpool, before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in 1919. He became a member of the Society on 2 July 1921 and completed his theological training at St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Thomas Broderick, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria, in the Society's public church, adjoining the seminary at Blackrock Road, on 11 June 1925. He was one of a group of six ordained on that day.

Willie was appointed to the vicariate of Western Nigeria in November of the same year. This jurisdiction was the first in Nigeria to be entrusted to the Irish Province when, in 1918, Thomas Broderick was nominated vicar apostolic. When Willie arrived his bishop was visiting the U.S.A. on a fund-raising tour, and Eugene Strub, the pro-vicar (an Alsatian member of the Society) posted Willie posted to Warri mission. Here he spent his 'tyrocinium' or period of induction, during which he learned the local language, studied local culture and undertook supervised pastoral work. He was then appointed to Sapele mission where he immediately set about building a badly-needed school. Three months later he died at Benin City. Returning from Ibadan by motor-cycle and bound for Sapele he found himself ill and had to stop in Benin City.

William Porter, the 'visitor', responsible for the welfare of the members in Western Nigeria, sent the following account of the tragedy to Maurice Slattery, the Irish Provincial: 'I have the painful duty of announcing to you the sad news of the death of another confrere, that of Father Bond. It occurred with such tragic suddenness that even now it is difficult for us to realise that he is dead. He had been taking a few days rest at Ibadan with Fr. (Edward) Hill. He was in perfect form on returning, as he said himself, until he arrived at Benin City, one of his own stations. Then he took suddenly ill, the doctor was called in, and Asaba (headquarters of the vicariate) informed immediately. I went off as soon as the news arrived on Saturday morning July 17th. Arriving there on Saturday evening I found him in a serious condition and was informed by the doctor that it was a case of yellow fever and apparently had been contracted en route from Ibadan.

On Sunday morning I administered the last sacraments and during that day he suffered intense pain. On Sunday night he seemed to improve and on Monday morning the doctor was so pleased with his condition that our hopes for his recovery revived. Towards midday however he grew visibly weaker and weaker until at 6 o'clock his weakness was so extreme, in spite of all treatment, that the doctor gave up hope of his recovery. He rallied on, quite conscious, until 8 o'clock when he died quite peacefully and quite resigned, offering his life as a sacrifice in accordance with God's Holy Will. His death occurred at 8 p.m. on Monday 19th after four days illness. His body was brought here to Asaba for burial on July 21st. All the available Fathers were present. This sad event has been a terrible shock to us all and a terrible loss to the mission, as he was so full of energy, interest and zeal for his work, and had accomplished great work in his new station of Sapele.'

The tragedy of Willie's death was a second body-blow to the Society in Nigeria and to the Western Nigerian mission; for scarcely two months previously, on 27 May, Philip Cassidy of Mayo had died on the fifth year of his first tour in the vicariate. Maurice Slattery, the Provincial, recorded in the African Missionary that 'Father Bond had all the grace and urbanity of English cultured life coupled with the manliness and generosity of his Irish parentage'. And of the premature deaths of the two confreres he wrote: 'Viewed with the eyes of flesh, these early deaths seem irreparable losses and calculated to shatter our boldest resolve. But in their real light they are our gain and our confirming grace; for who amongst us could ever contemplate the idea of abandoning those sacred graves in Africa.'

He was buried in Benin City, Nigeria.