Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

RING Jeremiah né le 21 avril 1923 à Cork
dans le diocèse de Cork, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 23 mai 1951
décédé le 30 juillet 1976

1951-1953 Dromantine, travail de promotion
1953-1961 Blackrock Road, Cork, travail de promotion
1961-1974 missionnaire au Nigeria, Ilorin
1961-1969, secrétaire du préfet apostolique
1969-1974, secrétaire de l'évêque
secrétaire diocésain de l'enseignement
coordonnateur diocésain
1974-1976 Blackrock Road, Cork, malade

décédé à Goleen, Irlande, le 30 juillet 1976,
à l'âge de 53 ans

Brother Jeremiah Benjamin RING (1923 - 1976)

Jeremiah Benjamin Ring was born in Cork and baptised in the parish of St. Finbarr's South (his home address was St. Columcille's Street, Fermoy, Co Cork), on 21 April 1923. He died while visiting his relatives in Gyleen, Co Cork, on 30 July 1976.

Jerry was brought up in Fermoy, in the diocese of Cloyne, and attended the C.B.S., Fermoy, from 1936 1939. He then worked as a clerk with Messrs. M.J. Magner and Son, Auctioneers and Undertakers, Fermoy, until 1948. During these years, 1939 47, he attended the Fermoy technical school, studying book keeping, woodwork and Irish. In November 1948 he became a postulant for the brotherhood with the S.M.A., at Blackrock Road, Cork. He went to Kilcolgan for the Long Retreat (Ignatian Exercises) in August 1950 and afterwards, in September, he was attached to Dromantine, Co Down, where he worked at candle making and on the wine accounts. Jerry was appointed to Blackrock Road in March 1953, with responsibility for the winery which provided altar wine, imported from the continent and bottled by the Society, to parishes in many counties. On 23 May 1951 Jerry was admitted to temporary membership of the Society, renewing his oath on 23 May 1953 and finally taking his permanent oath of membership on 23 May 1957.

From the time of its erection in 1912, brothers of the Irish Province were retained in Ireland. Before the establishment of the Province three Irishmen who had become brothers in the Society, gave distinguished service in West Africa: Michael Fagan who worked in Lagos (1878 1884), Alphonsus Nolan who died in Agoué (Dahomey) in 1880, Jerome Killen who died in Lagos in 1880 and James Duffy who served in Elmina (Gold Coast) from 1881. Many of those who became brothers in the Irish Province would have liked to serve overseas. Eventually at the Provincial Assembly of 1958 it was decided to deploy brothers in Africa. Jerry was among the first group to be assigned to the mission fields, setting out for Nigeria on 2 June 1961. He was appointed to the prefecture of Ilorin, which had originally been a 'mission district' in the vast vicariate of the Bight of Benin, later (from 1943) formed part of the vicariate of Ondo Ilorin and subsequently (from 1950) a district in Ondo diocese. On 20 January 1960 Ilorin district was erected as a prefecture under the leadership of William Mahony. The prefecture was designated as part of Nigeria's Northern Ecclesiastical Province. Jerry was the only missionary brother in a staff which consisted of eight priests, all members of the Society. They ministered to a catholic population of scarcely 6,000 members, located in eight mission 'parishes'.

Jerry's secretarial and accounting skills, which were well recognised in Ireland, were immediately put to good use in Ilorin. Mgr. Mahony appointed him as his secretary, a post which required not only an ability to run an office, but also a capacity to relate well to people, not only the many Africans who crossed his path, but especially weary confreres who were working in difficult and remote parts of the jurisdiction. Jerry was an admirable secretary, well organised, discreet, and always welcoming. Mgr. Mahony was later to give Jerry two additional portfolios, appointing him education secretary and social welfare co ordinator. Jerry was to serve in Ilorin until 1974, remaining at his post for two years after a serious form of diabetes had been diagnosed. He had the joy of seeing the prefecture erected as a full diocese on 29 May 1969. In September 1974 Jerry's health deteriorated further and he entered Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, Drogheda. A month later, as a result of his diabetes, his right foot had to be amputated. In January 1975 Jerry entered the Rehabilitation Centre, at Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, and two months later he returned to Blackrock Road. Jerry bore his illness with fortitude and faith. His was also determined to get back to work. Clearly Africa was now out of the question, so took up a post in the Family Vocations Office at Blackrock Road. His death, at an age when he was still relatively young, was a great loss to his family, to the Society, and especially the diocese of Ilorin.

A colleague wrote of Jerry's work in Nigeria on the occasion of his silver jubilee in 1976: 'Jerry's longed for opportunity to serve on the missions came in June 1961 when he was appointed to Ilorin. The expertise of Brother Jerry and his computer like memory were formidable. He knew every Nigerian teacher in the diocese by name and their sisters and their cousins and their aunts! and hundreds of others, catholic and non Catholic alike. Little wonder that he could hold down at one and the same time such responsible posts as diocesan secretary and education secretary and social welfare co ordinator. He was, administratively, Bishop Mahony's right hand man.'

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.