Société des Missions Africaines – Province d'Irlande

 Hayes1  Le Père John Patrick HAYES
né le 24 juin 1901 à Abbeydorney
dans le diocèse de Kerry, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 22 juillet 1920
prêtre le 14 juin 1924
décédé le 30 décembre 1945

1924-1925 Wilton, professeur
1925-1935 Kilcogan, professeur de philosophie
1935-1945 missionnaire aux USA, East Saint-Louis

décédé à Savannah, USA, le 30 décembre 1945,
à l’âge de 44 ans

(biographie en anglais à la suite)

Le père John HAYES (1901 - 1945)

A Savannah (USA), le 30 décembre 1945, retour à Dieu du père John Hayes, à l'âge de 44 ans.

John Hayes naquit dans le diocèse de Kerry, en Irlande, en 1901. Il fit ses études dans les maisons de la Société, le serment en 1920 et reçut l'ordination sacerdotale en 1924. Il est destiné à l'enseignement. Après un an de professorat au petit séminaire de Wilton, il devient professeur de philosophie à Kilcogan. Il y reste dix ans. Homme bien équilibré, mais trop timide. Désirant la vie de mission, mais sa santé ne lui permettant pas d'aller en Afrique, il est nommé en 1935 aux USA.

Il va y passer dix ans dans un fructueux ministère.

Father John Patrick HAYES (1901 - 1945)

John Hayes was born at Laccamore, Abbeydorney, Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland, in the diocese of Kerry, on June 24, 1901. He died in St. Anthony's parish, Savannah, USA, on December 30, l945.

John was educated in the colleges of the Society in Ireland. He studied in the Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (l9l4 l9l5) and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (l9l5 l9l8), before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He received his theological formation in the Society's major seminary, at Blackrock Road, Cork (l920 l924). John was received as a member of the Society on July 22, l920 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Daniel Cohalan of Cork diocese, in St. Joseph's church, Blackrock Road, on July 14, l924. John required a dispensation from the Holy See in order to be ordained, being l0 days short of his 23rd year and below the canonical age. Ten classmates were ordained with him on that day.

In 1924 there were 75 members in the Irish Province of the Society. Among the commitments of the Province were the missions of Liberia and Western Nigeria, and two African-American missions in the diocese of Belleville, Southern Illinois. Irish members also were attached to missions in south-west Nigeria and in Egypt. However the heaviest commitment was towards the growing number of candidates who were flocking to the Society's schools and seminaries in Ireland, and for whom a good formation was required. There were few members of the Province qualified to provide this formation. During his student days John had shown himself to have the qualities which would make him suitable for such work. In particular, he had excelled as a student of philosophy. John too had delicate health and his superiors were uncertain as to whether he would survive long in the tropics. It was no surprise, therefore, that immediately after ordination he should be appointed to teach in the home houses.

John was first assigned to the staff of the Wilton college where there were 50 students studying for their leaving certificate. After six months he was transferred to the teaching staff at Kilcolgan. Nicholas Clery was superior and master of novices at Kilcolgan. The other two members of staff were William Cotter and Brother Tom Hughes. When John came to Kilcolgan there were 29 students in formation. John remained on the staff for ten years (l925 l935), teaching scholastic philosophy. Wanting to go on the missions but unable to obtain clearance for Africa because of poor health, John went to the United States in l935. He was posted to the district of East St. Louis, Belleville diocese. There were two African-American parishes in this district, namely St. Augustine's (founded in 1921) and St. Columba's (founded in 1932). Peter Harrington, founder of the Province's missions in America, was parish priest of St. Augustine's and it was to this parish that John was appointed.

In 1941 John applied for membership of the American Province of the Society, which had been erected in March of that year. In his letter of application to the Superior General, Maurice Slattery, he wrote: 'You may say I am changing my allegiance - but it is not that, for it is after all the same grand Society and I would prefer to belong to the Province where I am working'. And he added in his letter the following wish: 'With God's help the American Province, which you have just established, will rapidly grow and flourish, as the Irish Province has since it was founded'. He spent the last years of his short life helping the American Province to fulfil that wish by giving sterling service in the African-American parishes entrusted to the Society. John's last appointment was to St. Anthony mission parish in Savannah. Established in 1909, this was one of the oldest foundations by the Society in America. John made an invaluable contribution towards the evangelisation of Blacks through his work of formation in Kilcolgan and again, more directly, through his pastoral work in impoverished Black urban districts in America. Many SMA members will remember John from their student days in Kilcolgan, where he proved himself a capable teacher, serious and sensitive, with values which truly fitted his vocation. John’s death came unexpectedly in St. Anthony’s presbytery, Savannah. With him at the time of death was his confrere and assistant, Fr. Michael Feeley,

John was a relative of Bishop Thomas Broderick SMA, vicar apostolic of Western Nigeria.

He is buried in the SMA plot, at the cathedral cemetery, Savannah, Georgia, USA.