Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

holland james né le 23 novembre 1916 à Dunmore
dans le diocèse de Ross, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 29 juin 1936
prêtre le 17 décembre 1939
décédé le 16 janvier 1964

1941-1964 missionnaire au Nigeria

archidiocèse de Kaduna
Gawu, Kano, Zaria

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 16 janvier 1964,
à l'âge de 47 ans

Father James Patrick HOLLAND (1916 - 1964)

James Holland was born at Dunmore, Clonakilty, Co Cork (the family address was at Muckross, Clonakilty), in the diocese of Ross, on 23 November 1916. He died at the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on l6 January 1964.

James (Jimmy) came from a west Cork farming background. He studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1929 1931) and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (193l 1934), before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He was received into the Society on 29 June 1936 and went to Dromantine, Co Down, for his theological training. He was ordained a priest, by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 17 December 1939. He was one of a class of seven ordained on that day.

After ordination Jimmy was appointed to the prefecture of Kaduna in northern Nigeria, a relatively new jurisdiction, erected in 1934. Due to wartime restrictions he was unable to reach his mission until July 194l. His journey out was hazardous, the convoy on which he travelled suffering a number of casualties from bombing. Jimmy joined a small and mainly youthful missionary staff led by Thomas Hughes, who was succeeded in 1943 by John McCarthy. Jimmy ministered in the Kaduna jurisdiction until 1964, living to see the erection of his mission into a diocese in 1954 and an archdiocese in 1959. The development of this region, in which there was a very strong Muslim influence and where government policy tended to be restrictive towards Christians missions, was an astonishing achievement.

Jimmy was a practical man with a talent for building construction. In this capacity he was to play a key role in Bishop McCarthy's plans for the jurisdiction. When Jimmy first arrived in Kaduna Fr. McCarthy, then 'visitor', responsible to the Provincial for the welfare of the members, reported that 'Fr. Holland appears to be the right man for this prefecture'. This assessment was to be fully borne out in the years that followed. Jimmy's first missionary tour of duty (1941-1945) saw him serving in Kano, Argungu, Minna, Kaduna, Gawu and Kontagora. In these stations, he won his reputation as a fine builder as well as a conscientious pastor. He spent most of his second tour (1947-1941) in Minna and Kaduna, although he also served briefly in Kano and Gawu. He spent almost three years of his third tour (1952-1956) in Zaria, and the remainder in Gawu and Kano. His next tour (1957-1960) saw him serving again in Kano and Zaria, but also in Kurmin-Mazuga and Zonkwa.

Jimmy's memory is preserved in the many fine churches, residences, and other mission plant which bear his unique stamp throughout the Kaduna archdiocese. In the first place Jimmy was a perfectionist and so his constructions were always properly finished, every detail complete. Secondly, his approach to design was artistic. Never content with plain concrete blocks and cement, he always incorporated decorative features into his buildings. Moreover, he brought his artistic perspective to bear in the furnishings which he himself often designed and which were made by local carpenters under his close supervision. Among the most notable buildings associated with his name was Zonkwa hospital which he built for the St. Louis sisters; St. Malachy's college, in Minna; St. Louis convent and secondary school in Kano; St. John's secondary school, Kaduna; Our Lady's high school, Kaduna; and Christ the King church in Zaria which was built by Tom Duffy but which Jimmy supervised. In Kano he demonstrated his knowledge of flowers, plants, shrubs and trees, in the magnificent landscaping work he did with Gregory McGovern in the Fatima house compound. Jimmy was also an expert mechanic, a master of the motor car, or any other machinery which was liable to give trouble. He had a great capacity for friendship and was noted for a good turn of phrase. In 1964 Jimmy was invalided home with cancer and died following an operation. He was only 47 years old. Jimmy had a sister who became a religious with the Sisters of the Infant Jesus (Sr. Dympna), serving as a missionary in Malaya.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.