Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

Garrett James né le 24 décembre 1912 à Goold’s Cross
dans le diocèse de Cashel, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 14 juin 1954
décédé le 13 février 1984

1954-1955 Ballinafad
1955-1957 Kilcogan
1957-1962 Dromantine
1962-1984 Ballinafad

décédé à Castelbar, Irlande, le 13 février 1987,
à l'âge de 71 ans

Brother James GARRETT (1912 - 1984)

James Garrett was born at Goold's Cross, Co Tipperary (the family address was at Shravaralla), in the archdiocese of Cashel, on 24 November 1912. He died in the County hospital, Castlebar, Co Mayo, on 13 February 1984.

Jim was baptised and confirmed in the parish of Clonoulty. As a young man he worked in building construction and later set up his own contracting business. In 1949, aged 37 years, at a time when his business was thriving, he decided to become a missionary. He came to the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (the Society's preparatory college), to study for the priesthood. He completed his secondary education at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork, in 1951. Jim studied philosophy and completed his novitiate in the Society's college at Kilcolgan, Co Galway (1951-1953). Next he commenced theological studies in the Society's major seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, where on 2 July 1953 he was received as a member of the Society. But in 1954 his ambition to become a priest was thwarted by ill health and difficulties with his studies due to age. However Jim was anxious to continue with his missionary vocation and received permission to become a brother in the Society. He took his permanent oath of membership on 23 June 1960.

A talented builder and wood worker, and highly skilled in the theory and practice of other crafts, Jim spent his life in the various Irish houses of the Society: Ballinafad (1954 55; 1962 84); Kilcolgan (1955 1957); and Dromantine (1957 1962). At Ballinafad he supervised and directed the building of the large extension made to that college in the early 1950's. A decade later he built the splendid and beautiful chapel at Ballinafad. Some years later he was invited by Dr. Joseph Cunnane, archbishop of Tuam, to supervise the building of Our Lady of the Wayside chapel near Letterfrack, in the heart of Connemara. During his years at Kilcolgan he carried out extensive renovations to the house and built new living-quarters for the sisters. While in Dromantine he supervised the construction of a new accommodation wing and assembly hall. Jim also spent a short period at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, then a student hostel for S.M.A. seminarians attending U.C.C., during which he remodelled the dormitories into private rooms and made important improvements to the staff quarters.

Jim was also a teacher. He taught woodwork, metalwork and building construction at Ballinafad. After the closure of the school and the establishment in its place of the Sacred Heart Agricultural College, Jim remained attached to Ballinafad until the time of his final illness. He had been in failing health for some years. On Sunday 12 February 1984 Michael Brady, an S.M.A. priest who was working in the area, telephoned Blackrock Road to say that Jim was unwell. Jim suffered a heart attack on the following day. After his death he was brought back to Ballinafad for a Requiem Mass. Among the concelebrants were Harry Bell S.M.A. who was chaplain in the Agricultural college, Gerry Sweeney (a member of the Provincial Council) and Michael Brady, Tom Harlow, Brendan Murphy and Luke Carney, all confrères of Jim's. Richard Finn, retired bishop of Ibadan diocese, presided at the Mass.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.