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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d'Irlande
Le Père Patrick William LAVAN

 Lavan william  né le 25 février 1906 à Kiltimagh
dans le diocèse d'Achonry, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 8 juillet 1927
prêtre le 7 juin 1931
décédé le 1er décembre 1962
 

1932-1942 missionnaire au nord Nigeria
1942-1946 Ballinafad, collège, économe
1947 passe à la Province américaine
1947-1959 Tenafly, maison provinciale
1959-1961 Georgetown, Caroline du Sud
curé de la paroisse Saint-Cyprien

décédé à West Palm Beach, USA, le 1er décembre 1962,
à l’âge de 56 ans

(biographie en anglais à la suite)

Le père Patrick William LAVAN (1906 - 1962)

A West Palm Beach (USA), le 1er décembre 1962, retour à Dieu du père Patrick Lavan, à l'âge de 56 ans.

Patrick Lavan naquit dans le diocèse d'Achonry, en Irlande, en 1906, Il fit le serment en 1926 et fut ordonné prêtre le 7 juin 1931. Le père Lavan s'embarquait la même année pour la préfecture de la Nigeria Septentrionale.

Il y travailla pendant 11 ans et revint en Irlande en 1942 comme économe à Ballinafad. En 1947, le père Lavan était transféré en la province d'Amérique. Il résida à la maison provinciale de Tenafly jusqu'en 1959, année où il prit en charge la paroisse Saint-Cyprien à Georgetown, en Caroline du Sud. Il resta deux ans à ce poste. Il mourut en Floride, à l'hôpital Sainte-Marie, à West Palm Beach.


Father Patrick William LAVAN (1906 - 1962)

Patrick Lavan was born in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, in the diocese of Achonry, on February 25, 1906. He died at St. Mary's hospital, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, on December 1, 1962.

Patrick (Pat) was one of seven children born to Andrew and Catherine (nee Doyle) Lavan, who farmed near Kiltimagh. He received his elementary education in the national schools at Mayo Abbey and Balla. He came to the colleges of the Society for his second-level education. He studied at the Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1920 1922) and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1922 1925), before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Two years later, on July 8, 1927, he was admitted as a member of the Society. He studied theology in the Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down (l927 l93l) and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman’s cathedral, Newry, on June 7, 193l. He was one of a group of twelve ordained on that day.

Later that year Pat set out for the prefecture of Northern Nigeria. The first mission in the north had been established by the intrepid SMA missionary, Oswald Waller, who came to Shendam in 1907. At the time northern Nigeria formed part of the prefecture of the Upper Niger which encompassed all the territory north of the rivers Niger and Benue and the southern part of 'French Niger'. On August 24, 1911 this prefecture was divided into two jurisdictions, the prefectures of Western Nigeria and of Eastern Nigeria. In 1929, after further re-arrangements of territory, the prefecture of Eastern Nigeria was greatly enlarged and was re-named the prefecture of Northern Nigeria. When Pat came there, in October 1931, William Porter was prefect, and there was staffs of fourteen priests, eleven of them from the Irish Province. Pat was appointed to the principal station of Kaduna, where Michael Flynn was superior. Kaduna mission, at that time, had a vast hinterland, and the missionaries served some fourteen outstations, two of them (Minna and Kafanchan) which today are the headquarters of dioceses. Kaduna itself became the seat of an archdiocese. When Pat took up his appointment there was a Catholic community throughout Kaduna and its hinterland of perhaps 1,000 members, most of them Igbo and Yoruba immigrants from the east and south. In April 1934 the prefecture of Northern Nigeria was divided into two separate jurisdictions, the prefectures of Jos and Kaduna. Pat was appointed to the Kaduna prefecture, which had its headquarters at Kano, and whose first superior was Thomas Hughes. Pat's first tour of duty lasted until February 1935. He spent the last year of the tour in the great town of Kano which was the largest Islamic centre in the north. Here, as in most of the central stations at that time, there were few indigenous Christians.

When Pat returned from his first leave, in January 1937, he was posted as superior of Argungu district, a rural area in the north of the prefecture, which had been founded by Mgr. Hughes in 1934 as part of a drive to root the Church among the indigenous population. Argungu had seven secondary stations (including Sokoto) and a Catholic community of 100 members. Much of Pat's work consisted in visiting the far-flung secondary stations and laying the groundwork for the development of new stations. In 1939 Pat was appointed superior of Zaria district. Zaria mission was one of the oldest residential stations in the north, having been founded in 1918. When Pat took charge, Zaria had six outstations, and a Catholic membership in excess of 1,500 as well as some 200 catechumens.

Pat never enjoyed robust health. His first home leave was extended because of ill-health. In 1941 he again fell ill and was invalided home to Ireland, even though it was dangerous to travel because of the world war. After hospitalisation and a period of convalescence he was appointed bursar at Ballinafad, taking up this post in October l942. Five years later, still in uncertain health, Patrick transferred to the American Province of the Society which had been formed in l94l and had not yet succeeded in training significant numbers of priests. Pat was on the staff of the Provincial house, at Tenafly, New Jersey, until l959, at which time he took charge of St. Cyprian's parish in Georgetown, South Carolina. During his years in America, Pat experienced personal difficulties which undoubtedly shorted his life. He eventually contracted lung cancer and died in Florida.

He is buried in the SMA Community Plot, Mount Carmel cemetery, Tenafly, New Jersey, USA.