Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

KINNANE Louis né le 21 mars 1911 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 19 juin 1932
prêtre le 21 décembre 1935
décédé le 6 novembre 1985

1936-1942 missionnaire au Liberia
1943-1947 aumônier dans la Royal Air Force
1948-1949 Blackrock Road, Cork, soins
1949-1950 missionnaire en Egypte
1951-1952 Blackrock Road, Cork 
1953-1957 diocèse de Dunkeld
1958-1959 Belfast
1959-1967 diocèse de Nottingham
1967-1982 Belfast
1982-1985 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 6 novembre 1985,
à l'âge de 74 ans

Father Louis Austin KINNANE (1911 - 1985)

Louis Kinnane was born in College Square North, Belfast, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 21 March 1911. He died in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 6 November 1985.

Louis studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1926 1927) and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1927 1930), before entering the S.M.A. novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was admitted to membership of the Society on 19 June 1932 and later in the same year went to Dromantine, Co Down for his theological formation. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 21 December 1935. He was one of a group of twenty-one ordained on that day.

After ordination Louis returned to Dromantine to complete his theological training. In October 1936 he set sail for the West African Republic of Liberia. The Liberian field was perhaps the most difficult of the Society's West African missions, for many reasons, not least a hazardous climate and a lack of even the most rudimentary medical facilities. There was much isolation too in this impoverished, strife ridden Black Republic with its small, scattered population. In April 1934 the Liberian prefecture was erected to the status of a vicariate and John Collins was appointed bishop. Louis spent the whole of his first tour of duty (prolonged because of the war), from October 1936 until March 1942, in the town of Bassa. This mission which had been pioneered in 1928 by Michael McEniry, and which was under the patronage of St. Peter Claver, was situated on the coast, some 70 miles east of Monrovia. Together with Martin Lacey, the superior, Louis cared for a catholic community of 330 members and 230 catechumens, located in the town of Bassa and its four outstations. There were four elementary schools to be looked after, a catechist training centre, and prospective outstations to be explored, such as River Cess, Edina, Marshall, Little Kola and Hartford. But progress was slow as is indicated by the number of catholic marriages, perhaps the best indication of the Church taking root. In his first year Louis witnessed a single catholic marriage. There was no marriage in his second year, and only four in the remaining three years of his tour.

In the early 1940's, when the scale of the world war began to increase dramatically, there was a demand by British forces and their allies for catholic chaplains. In response from their bishops and superiors, several S.M.A. priests in West Africa volunteered, most of them serving with the West African Brigade whose members included many Catholics. In August 1943 Louis became a chaplain with the Royal Air Force. He served first in the U.K. and then in the Far East, until January 1947 when he was invalided to Ireland with a perforated duodenal ulcer.

After convalescing in Blackrock Road, Louis was declared fit for work, but was advised not to return to the tropics. His superiors appointed him to the Egyptian mission. The S.M.A.'s first contacts with Egypt date from 1877 when Augustine Planque, Superior General at that time, was urgently seeking a suitable mission field in Africa for members no longer capable of enduring the rigors of the tropics. By the time Louis came to the vicariate of the Nile Delta, in March 1949, there were some 40 French Society members in the jurisdiction and seven Irish Fathers. The Irish were primarily engaged in the educational apostolate. Louis was appointed to the staff of St. Austin's school, which had been founded in 1937 by John Prendergast at another location and which was now situated at 3, Sharia Boutros Pasha Ghali, in modern Heliopolis. Tuition was through the medium of English and pupils were prepared for the London University Matriculation exam. The principal of St. Austin's was Henry Baker and the 160 pupils were mainly Europeans and oriental Christians living in Egypt (Copts), half of whom were catholic. Louis's stay in St. Austin's was short. In February 1950 he was diagnosed as having stomach ulcers and when these failed to clear up after treatment, he was invalided home in May of the same year.

After convalescing in Blackrock Road, Louis was again declared fit to take up an active ministry. In February 1953 he went to the diocese of Dunkeld, Scotland, assisting in the parish of Our Lady of Victories, 22, Powrie Place, Dundee. In September 1957 Louis again fell ill and went to his home in Belfast from where he received medical attention. Later, from February 1959, in better health, he worked in the diocese of Nottingham. He ministered first in the parish of the Annunciation, Chesterfield, and then as first parish priest of St. Hugh's, Newbold, Chesterfield. Ill-health again intervened in November 1967 and Louis went to live with friends in Belfast, undertaking light pastoral work when able. Finally in January 1982 he retired to Blackrock Road where he lived out the last years of his life enjoying the friendship and company of his confreres. At the time of his death he just missed celebrating the golden jubilee of his ordination. Louis was a priest at a time when discipline was strict, perhaps over-strict and he did not always see eye to eye with his superiors. Yet during his forty-nine years of priestly ministry, despite much suffering, he won the hearts and minds of many people in many places for Christ and the Church.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.