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Société des Missions Africaines

né le 18 janvier 1958 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor (Irlande
membre de la SMA le 21 septembre 1883
prêtre le 25 juillet 1885
décédé le 17 août 1886

1885-1887 missionnaire dans la préfecture
du Niger supérieur, Lokoja, Imaha

décédé à Lokodja, Nigeria, le 17 août 1886,
à l’âge de 28 ans


Le père Andrew DORNAN (1958 - 1886)

A Lokodja (Nigeria), le 17 août 1886, retour à Dieu du père Andrew Dornan, à l'âge de 28 ans.

Andrew Dornan naquit à Whitehouse, près de Belfast (Irlande), dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, en 1858. Il entra à Cork en 1879, passa à Lyon en 1881. Il fit le serment à Noël 1882 et fut ordonné prêtre en juillet 1885.

En octobre suivant, le père Dornan partait pour la préfecture du Niger Supérieur. Il ne passa que 7 mois en mission. Il accompagna les pères Poirier et Zappa, lors de leur deuxième visite dans la région d'Imaha. Au retour, il fut pris d'une fièvre pernicieuse qui dura 4 jours. La fièvre disparut et on le crut hors de danger. Cependant le père Dornan restait très faible à la suite de nombreux vomissements.

Il mourut dans la nuit du 17 au 18 août, en dormant, s'éteignant "comme une lampe qui n'a plus d'aliments".


Father Andrew DORNAN (1858 - 1886)

Andrew Dornan was born at White house, Belfast, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 18 January 1858. He died at Lokoja, Western Nigeria, on 17 August 1886.

We have very little biographical information on Andrew. His parents were Andrew and Margaret (McCann) Dornan. He commenced his secondary studies with the Holy Ghost Fathers at Blackrock college, Dublin. It is probable that he intended to become a missionary with that congregation and entered the Blackrock scholasticate which was attached to the college c. 1876, at the age of eighteen years. For whatever reason Andrew did not continue with the C.S.Sp. congregation. He came to the S.M.A. in August 1879 to complete his education. The Society's apostolic school had first opened in April 1877 at 'Lough View', on the Old Youghal Road and had moved in October 1877 to 'Elm Grove', in Mayfield.

Andrew studied in 'Elm Grove' and completed his schooling just before the school was moved to a fine building on the Blackrock Road, in the fashionable south‑east suburbs of Cork city. On 21 September of 1881 Andrew entered the Society's major seminary, at Cours Gambetta, Lyon, France, for his philosophical and theological formation. He was accompanied by Michael John Healy and Daniel J. O'Sullivan. Andrew was received as a member of the Society on 21 September 1883 and was ordained a priest in the seminary chapel at Lyon, on 25 July 1885. Among those ordained with him on that day were Daniel O'Sullivan and Michael Healy. Subsequently Fr. Healy ministered in the vicariate of the Bight of Benin (south‑western Nigeria) for three years before leaving the Society and going to the U.S.A. Fr. O'Sullivan died a member of the Society in 1930, after a fruitful career, serving briefly in Egypt and spending the remainder of his life fund‑raising for the Society.

After ordination Andrew was appointed to the prefecture of the Upper Niger (Nigeria) which had just been erected, under the leadership of Jules Poirier. He sailed for the Niger mission on 2 October 1885, and it is probable, as was the custom, that he never met his family after ordination. On arrival he was appointed to the town of Lokoja. The Lokoja mission, founded in 1884, was the first headquarters of the prefecture. Situated in a cup of hills at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers, Lokoja was a town where Mohammedan influence was strong and where slave‑trading was well‑established. Propaganda Fide hoped that Lokoja would be the gateway for opening up to Christianity territories north of the Niger. In practice, however, the town proved resistant to the best efforts of the missionaries, while access to the north had been prevented by endemic inter‑tribal conflict along the route. Subsequently the seat of the prefecture was moved 100 miles south, to Asaba, a much more suitable location from every point of view.

Andrew was to die only seven months after his arrival in Africa. His death was a great blow to the Society and to his family. He was the first Irish priest‑member of the Society to be buried in Nigeria. Fr. Poirier reported his death to the Superior General in a poignant letter: 'Father Dornan died on the morning of the 17th of August. On the 7th towards evening he took a violent fever with severe stomach upset. On the following day his temperature had moderated and he was able to take quinine. The fever stayed away but he continued unable to tolerate food. After three days he improved and we believed him out of danger. He then began to be able to take small quantities of food. Nonetheless day by day he grew weaker, although there was no evident fever. He received Holy Communion on the feast of the Assumption, but each day his condition was deteriorating. He could no longer tolerate food and eventually he died like a light which has run out of oil. It is a great loss for our mission. Out of six of us who came here now there are only three left. Pray for us.'

Andrew's classmate, D.J. O'Sullivan, wrote the following tribute in his book The Land of the Pyramids and the White Man's Grave: 'Father Andrew Dornan of Belfast who is now sleeping his last sleep by the Niger river was another alumnus from Blackrock college. A splendid type of Irish manhood he often answered the taunts of certain confreres (in France) on the alleged lack of the missionary spirit in Ireland with a determined declaration such as this in a gnarled northern accent: "Wa'll go out to Africa an' wa'll die there'". And well the brave fearless fellow kept his word. A week or two before the departure from Lyon of the band to which he and I belonged there was news from the Gold Coast [Ghana] that Father Hennebery who had left Lyon only seventeen months previously had died. "Boys", said Father Dornan, addressing us encouragingly, "Pray Hard ‑ We're all going the same road".'

He is buried in Lokoja, Nigeria.


Société des Missions Africaines
Le Père Andrew DORNAN
né le 18 janvier 1958 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor (Irlande
membre de la SMA le 21 septembre 1883
prêtre le 25 juillet 1885
décédé le 17 août 1886
Père Andrew Dornan

1885-1887 missionnaire dans la préfecture
du Niger supérieur, Lokoja, Imaha

décédé à Lokodja, Nigeria, le 17 août 1886,
à l’âge de 28 ans


(biographie en anglais à la suite)
Le père Andrew DORNAN (1958 - 1886)

A Lokodja (Nigeria), le 17 août 1886, retour à Dieu du père Andrew Dornan, à l'âge de 28 ans.

Andrew Dornan naquit à Whitehouse, près de Belfast (Irlande), dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, en 1858. Il entra à Cork en 1879, passa à Lyon en 1881. Il fit le serment à Noël 1882 et fut ordonné prêtre en juillet 1885.

En octobre suivant, le père Dornan partait pour la préfecture du Niger Supérieur. Il ne passa que 7 mois en mission. Il accompagna les pères Poirier et Zappa, lors de leur deuxième visite dans la région d'Imaha. Au retour, il fut pris d'une fièvre pernicieuse qui dura 4 jours. La fièvre disparut et on le crut hors de danger. Cependant le père Dornan restait très faible à la suite de nombreux vomissements.

Il mourut dans la nuit du 17 au 18 août, en dormant, s'éteignant "comme une lampe qui n'a plus d'aliments".


Father Andrew DORNAN (1858 - 1886)

Andrew Dornan was born at White house, Belfast, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 18 January 1858. He died at Lokoja, Western Nigeria, on 17 August 1886.

We have very little biographical information on Andrew. His parents were Andrew and Margaret (McCann) Dornan. He commenced his secondary studies with the Holy Ghost Fathers at Blackrock college, Dublin. It is probable that he intended to become a missionary with that congregation and entered the Blackrock scholasticate which was attached to the college c. 1876, at the age of eighteen years. For whatever reason Andrew did not continue with the C.S.Sp. congregation. He came to the S.M.A. in August 1879 to complete his education. The Society's apostolic school had first opened in April 1877 at 'Lough View', on the Old Youghal Road and had moved in October 1877 to 'Elm Grove', in Mayfield.

Andrew studied in 'Elm Grove' and completed his schooling just before the school was moved to a fine building on the Blackrock Road, in the fashionable south east suburbs of Cork city. On 21 September of 1881 Andrew entered the Society's major seminary, at Cours Gambetta, Lyon, France, for his philosophical and theological formation. He was accompanied by Michael John Healy and Daniel J. O'Sullivan. Andrew was received as a member of the Society on 21 September 1883 and was ordained a priest in the seminary chapel at Lyon, on 25 July 1885. Among those ordained with him on that day were Daniel O'Sullivan and Michael Healy. Subsequently Fr. Healy ministered in the vicariate of the Bight of Benin (south western Nigeria) for three years before leaving the Society and going to the U.S.A. Fr. O'Sullivan died a member of the Society in 1930, after a fruitful career, serving briefly in Egypt and spending the remainder of his life fund raising for the Society.

After ordination Andrew was appointed to the prefecture of the Upper Niger (Nigeria) which had just been erected, under the leadership of Jules Poirier. He sailed for the Niger mission on 2 October 1885, and it is probable, as was the custom, that he never met his family after ordination. On arrival he was appointed to the town of Lokoja. The Lokoja mission, founded in 1884, was the first headquarters of the prefecture. Situated in a cup of hills at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers, Lokoja was a town where Mohammedan influence was strong and where slave trading was well established. Propaganda Fide hoped that Lokoja would be the gateway for opening up to Christianity territories north of the Niger. In practice, however, the town proved resistant to the best efforts of the missionaries, while access to the north had been prevented by endemic inter tribal conflict along the route. Subsequently the seat of the prefecture was moved 100 miles south, to Asaba, a much more suitable location from every point of view.

Andrew was to die only seven months after his arrival in Africa. His death was a great blow to the Society and to his family. He was the first Irish priest member of the Society to be buried in Nigeria. Fr. Poirier reported his death to the Superior General in a poignant letter: 'Father Dornan died on the morning of the 17th of August. On the 7th towards evening he took a violent fever with severe stomach upset. On the following day his temperature had moderated and he was able to take quinine. The fever stayed away but he continued unable to tolerate food. After three days he improved and we believed him out of danger. He then began to be able to take small quantities of food. Nonetheless day by day he grew weaker, although there was no evident fever. He received Holy Communion on the feast of the Assumption, but each day his condition was deteriorating. He could no longer tolerate food and eventually he died like a light which has run out of oil. It is a great loss for our mission. Out of six of us who came here now there are only three left. Pray for us.'

Andrew's classmate, D.J. O'Sullivan, wrote the following tribute in his book The Land of the Pyramids and the White Man's Grave: 'Father Andrew Dornan of Belfast who is now sleeping his last sleep by the Niger river was another alumnus from Blackrock college. A splendid type of Irish manhood he often answered the taunts of certain confreres (in France) on the alleged lack of the missionary spirit in Ireland with a determined declaration such as this in a gnarled northern accent: "Wa'll go out to Africa an' wa'll die there'". And well the brave fearless fellow kept his word. A week or two before the departure from Lyon of the band to which he and I belonged there was news from the Gold Coast [Ghana] that Father Hennebery who had left Lyon only seventeen months previously had died. "Boys", said Father Dornan, addressing us encouragingly, "Pray Hard We're all going the same road".'

He is buried in Lokoja, Nigeria.