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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

murphy joseph né le 22 mars 1912 à Enniscorthy
dans le diocèse de Ferns, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1931
prêtre le 21 décembre 1934
décédé le 15 janvier 1991

1935-1939 missionnaire au Ghana, collège Saint-Augustin

1940-1943 Wilton, directeur
1943-1964 missionnaire au Ghana, collège Saint-Augustin
1964-1968 Blackrock Road, Cork, supérieur
1968-1969 missionnaire en Egypte, Heliopolis
1969-1982 missionnaire au Nigeria, diocèse de Jos
1982-1991 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 15 janvier 1991,
à l'âge de 78 ans


Father Patrick Joseph MURPHY (1912 - 1991)

Patrick Murphy was born in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford (the family address was at 3 Irish Street), in the diocese of Ferns, on 22 March 1912. He died in the mother-house of the Irish Province at, Blackrock Road, Cork, on 15 January 1991.

Patrick (Pat) was educated at St. Mary's school, Enniscorthy, matriculating in 1929. He entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in 1929. Two years later he commenced his theological studies at Dromantine, Co Down. He was received as a member of the Society on 2 July 1931, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 21 December 1934. He was one of a group of twelve ordained on that day.

After ordination Pat returned to Dromantine to complete his theological formation. He was then appointed to the Gold Coast (Ghana) mission on the West African coast, where Irish missionaries had been active for well over half a century. The Irish were renowned for their contribution to catholic education, and it was to this work that Pat was to devote most of his priestly ministry in Africa. Pat arrived in his mission in October 1935 and spent a short period of acclimatization at Cape Coast mission. On 8 December he attended the ordination of two African priests by Bishop William Porter, the vicar apostolic. They were George Ansah and Francis Menyah. After Christmas Pat was appointed to the founding staff of St. Augustine's college, Cape Coast - Ghana's first catholic secondary school, which had developed out of St. Augustine's teacher training college, founded in 1930 at Amisano.

In 1940, with a view to further developing the mission's contribution to education, Pat was among a number of S.M.A. priests and students sent to U.C.C. During the three years of study (1940-43) he acted as director of students at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork. Then, having obtained his B.A. degree (with honours), he returned to the Gold Coast, where he resumed his duties at St. Augustine's. Pat was to remain on the staff of the college until 1964 and for a brief period (1948-51) was principal. During his twenty-five years in St. Augustine's Pat shared in the Christians education of the future leaders and professional men of Ghana as well as in the education of its future priests and bishops.

In September 1964 Pat assumed new duties, as superior of the S.M.A. house at Blackrock Road. This house not only catered for much of the Province's administrative work, such as promotion, publication of the African Missionary, and recruitment, but also provided a rest home for missionaries on leave from Africa and a retirement home for those no longer fit for active work. Pat's gentle efficiency soon won the respect and affection of all. Four years later, in 1968, he took up a post in Egypt, on the staff of St. George's college, at 15 Sharia Qait Bei, Heliopolis, near Cairo (originally located near Ciccolani, Choubra).

At the end of the academic year he was assigned to Jos diocese, in northern Nigeria. John Reddington, bishop of the diocese, appointed him to the staff of St. John Vianney's minor seminary at Barakin Ladi in the old Benue Plateau state. The seminary, which had been established in 1959 under the principalship of Mattie McNeeley, had over 100 students. Pat remained at St. John Vianneys for 11 years, teaching mathematics, religion and English. For much of his time during his tenure at the seminary, Pat lived at Zawan mission, where he assisted the parish priest of St. William's church, Leo Silke. In 1980 Pat was appointed parish priest of St. Jarlath's, Bukuru, where he was assisted by Fr. Martin Dama, a Nigerian priest (currently head of Media Services in Kaduna archdiocese). Two years later, with growing health problems and particularly a deterioration in his eyesight, Pat reluctantly decided to withdraw from Nigeria. He retired to Blackrock Road in 1983, although he still kept active, undertaking temporary pastoral appointments and also assisting in the sacristy of the public church attached to the Blackrock Road house.

A classmate wrote the following appraisal of Pat, after his death. 'From the day that Patrick Murphy joined our class in Galway in 1929 until we were ordained priests in Newry in 1934 he never changed. He was the youngest among us. In appearance, in mind and body, he seemed to be graced and gifted beyond us all. Quiet, modest, devout, he excelled, with apparently effortless ease, in everything he turned his mind to. He was absolutely conscientious about the Mass and prayer, but he never displayed his piety or his praying.' Pat was indeed an exemplary priest, dedicated and conscientious, always happy to serve. He was possessed of a refined temperament, meticulous about all things, a perfect gentleman. He died after a long and debilitating illness.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.