Société des Missions Africaines - Province d’Irlande

mcdonagh anthony né le 27 février 1917 à Killeen
dans l'archidiocèse de Tuam, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1939
prêtre le 19 décembre 1942
décédé le 23 janvier 1994

1943-1944 Londres, université, études
1945-1973 diocèse de Benin City, Nigeria
1973-1982 diocèse d’Issele-Uku, Nigeria
1982-1992 diocèse d’Elphin, Irlande
1992-1994 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Blackrock Road, Cork, Irlande, le 23 janvier 1994
à l’âge de 76 ans

Father Anthony MAC DONAGH (1917 - 1994)

Anthony McDonagh was born in Killeen, Claremorris, Co Mayo, in the archdiocese of Tuam, on 23 February 1917. He died in the Society's house at Blackrock Road, Cork, on 23 January 1994.

Born into a family of seven boys and two girls, Anthony (Tony) received his secondary education at St. Jarlath's college Tuam, Co Galway (1932-1933) and in St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1933-1937). Having matriculated he joined the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1937. He commenced his theological formation in September 1939. Tony was received as a member of the Society on 13 June 1942; and he was ordained a priest, along with eight colleagues, in the chapel of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, at Moyne Park, on 19 December 1942. Society ordinations were usually held in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, but due to restrictions on the use of petrol in wartime, Moyne Park was chosen for those from the West of Ireland, thus enabling their families to attend. The ordaining prelate was Archbishop Joseph Walsh of Tuam.

Tony was ordained at a time when secondary education was beginning to expand in Nigeria. The colonial government let it be known that after the war substantial subsidies would be available to voluntary agencies willing to establish secondary schools. Increasingly more S.M.A. priests and students were equipped to pioneer these schools. Tony was a case in point. During his last year in Wilton, he had received lectures in philosophy and education at U.C.C. He attended further lectures at U.C.G. during his years in Kilcolgan and was awarded a B.A. degree in 1939. After ordination Tony spent a year at London University where he took a teaching diploma. From 1945-1973 he ministered in Benin City diocese, in western Nigeria.

From 1973-1982 he served in the diocese of Issele-Uku. Inevitably, given his training and the requirements of the mission, much of Tony's missionary career was spent in the field of education. Numerous institutions benefitted from his expertise: St. Patrick's college, Asaba (1945-1958); St. Anthony's, Ubulu-Uku (1958-1968 and 1975-1977) where he was founder and first principal; and St. Charles' college, Agbor (1969-1975). Tony was also keenly interested in the pastoral ministry and, after more than thirty years teaching, he embarked on full-time parish work in 1977 when he took charge of St. Charles' parish, Ubulu-Uku. Returning to Ireland in 1983, Tony spent most of the next decade ministering in Elphin diocese, serving in the parish of Frenchpark, Co Roscommon, while living in Ballinagare. In 1992, in failing health, he retired to Blackrock Road.

A colleague gave the following account of Tony in the African Missionary: 'Tony was impossible to limit to a category. Going beyond the rules and limits were his way of life; frustrating for the well-ordered who might live with him, impulsive, wearing his feelings on his sleeve, young at heart and enthusiastic; yet shrewd and intuitive. He had a gift beyond the ordinary for seeing inside people. At ease with the ordinary folk; he was as much at home talking to a Nigerian mother in her kitchen about the family, where they all were and what they were doing, as he would equally be in Ballinagare talking to a Roscommon mother about her family. And in both cases he would recall on his next visit all the details he had learned. With regard to Church services, Tony firmly believed that people everywhere liked them shorter rather than longer and acted accordingly, bypassing much red-tape in the process.' Tony celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in 1992.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.