Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

HURST Paul né le 27 juin 1894 à Cork
dans le diocèse de Cork, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 4 janvier 1928
décédé le 8 septembre 1969

1928-1935 Ballinafad
1935-1955 Blackrock Road, Cork
1955-1969 Doughcloyne

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 8 septembre 1969,
à l'âge de 75 ans

Brother Paul Joseph HURST (1894 - 1969)

Paul Hurst was born in Cork, on the Douglas Road, on 27 June 1894. He died at the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 8 September 1969.

We have no information on Paul's earlier life before he decided to become a brother in the S.M.A. In 1926 he came to the Society and was sent to the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, for his period of postulancy and his novitiate. He was admitted to temporary membership of the Society on 4 January 1928. Exactly two years later, to the day, he renewed his oath. Paul took his permanent oath of membership on 27 July 1934. He was then assigned to the Provincial house, at Blackrock Road, Cork, where he joined four members of the Society brotherhood, Charles West, Patrick Deasy, James Carroll and Joseph McCabe. Michael Colleran, John Power and James Stritch were to join the brotherhood in the following year. Paul fell ill with tuberculosis in September 1936 and was sent to St. Joseph's hospital, Mount Desert. He remained there until May 1937 when he was discharged. Paul was re admitted to hospital in September of the same year, and there was considerable concern as to whether he would survive. However he gradually improved and returned to his community, although he was always to remain delicate.

Paul spent 20 years attached to the Blackrock Road house where he fulfilled a variety of duties. Among his tasks was serving the Fathers' table, looking after the sacristy and the library, and preparing the rooms of visiting missionaries. However Paul was best known within the Society for his work in promoting the 'Missionary Shilling' and, indeed this was his chief duty. Devised by Maurice Slattery, who became Provincial in 1913, the 'Missionary Shilling' was an important scheme for stimulating interest in missions and providing income. Paul's particular role was to look after the extensive correspondence which this scheme generated. In the last two years of his time in Blackrock, Paul's health deteriorated and he was again hospitalised on a number of occasions. From 1955 1969 Paul was attached to St. Xavier's Hostel, Doughcloyne which was then a hostel for African students attending U.C.C., although in its latter years it ceased to serve this purpose and was eventually sold in 1976. There Paul performed a wide range of tasks, tending to the house and garden and helping the students adapt to their new environment.

To the many members of the Province who visited Blackrock Road and Doughcloyne over the years Paul was one of the 'characters' of the Society, with a mind of his own and a memorable turn of phrase. However few knew of the extent of his sufferings except his superiors. And even with his superiors there were often differences of opinion, in an era where discipline was strict and where tolerance of eccentricity was not notable. Paul's obituary in the African Missionary paints the following kindly portrait: 'Brother Paul was concerned with the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. For most of his life he supervised and served at meals in the dining halls of our colleges and houses. In the far off days when student fare in colleges and seminaries was neither exciting nor ample, many a student with a good appetite welcomed the extra helping, morsel or dish that Brother Paul's ingenuity and kindness unfailingly produced when most needed. He was, in himself, the living embodiment of that miracle of which every priest and brother must be aware in his own shortcomings and inadequacy the miracle of the Empty Hands. The down and outs of Cork knew which cleric they might approach for a cigarette. Only at his obsequies did his own confreres realise the range and number of his friends.' Several of these friends came from Crosshaven where Paul always spent his annual summer holidays.

Paul was knocked down by a motor scooter in Patrick Street, Cork, on 5 September 1969. He suffered a few bruises and shock and was taken to the Bon Secours hospital, where it was hoped that he would make a good recovery, despite his advanced age. However two days later he suffered a series of heart attacks and died on the 8th of September. Paul was a younger brother (by 16 years) of Thomas Hurst who became a priest member of the Society in 1900. He was an uncle of Sister Peter Claver, O.L.A.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.