Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

McGuirk James né le 23 mars 1889 à Dublin
dans le diocèse de Dublin, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 31 mars 1918
prêtre le 13 juin 1920
décédé le 15 février 1966

1920-1921 Ballinafad, professeur

1921-1922 Blackrock Road, Cork, professeur
1922-1925 Wilton, professeur
1925-1928 Ballinafad, professeur
1928-1937 Wilton, directeur puis professeur
1937-1950 Ballinafad, professeur
1950-1966 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 15 février 1966,
à l'âge de 77 ans

Father James Joseph Patrick McGUIRK (1889 - 1966)

James McGuirk was born at 70, Meath Street, Dublin, in the parish of St. Catherine's, on 23 March 1889. He died in the Mercy hospital, Cork, on l5 February 1966.

James completed his secondary education at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1914 l5), before entering St. Joseph's major seminary, at Blackrock Road, Cork. He became a member of the Society on 31 March 1918; and was ordained a priest in the Society's public church, at Blackrock Road, on 13 June 1920. The ordaining prelate was Bishop William J. Miller, O.M.I., vicar apostolic of the Transvaal. He was one of a class of ten ordained on that day.

James was ordained some eight years after the Irish Province had been erected. Large numbers of students were now offering themselves for the missionary life throughout Ireland. The Maynooth Mission to China, founded in 1916, had struck a deep chord within the Irish Church and generated a widespread interest in foreign missions from which all the missionary societies and orders (including the S.M.A.) were to benefit. The Irish Province had been entrusted with the prefecture of Liberia as its first mission (in 1912). The vicariate of Western Nigeria became an Irish mission in 1918; and already Irish missionaries were being deployed in another large vicariate in south western Nigeria (the Bight of Benin), which within a decade would become the third mission of the Province. These growing commitments placed a heavy strain on resources, particularly on personnel. At the time there were no more than three dozen ordained priests to staff the Province's West African mission fields, to cater for the administration of the Province and to maintain its expanding colleges in Ireland.

James had acquitted himself well as a student and by the time he reached ordination, he had been already earmarked for a teaching ministry. His indifferent health determined that this ministry should be exercised in the home houses and he was to spend the 46 years of his priesthood in Ireland, of which 30 years were devoted to the class room. James taught in the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, from 1920 1921, again from 1925 1928 and from 1937 1950. He was on the staff of St. Joseph's college, Wilton, between 1922 1925, 1928 193l, and 193l 1937. He spent one year (1921 1922) teaching in St. Joseph's seminary, Blackrock Road. In 1950 ill health forced him to retire and he was to spend the remainder of his life in residence at Blackrock Road.

Over the years James was to become one of the best known priests within the Society. A strict disciplinarian and dedicated teacher, he made an invaluable contribution to the work of missions as a formator of priests. Those who were his students remember him as a fair minded man, whose gruff exterior and stern discipline never prevented him from showing compassion to those experiencing difficulties. Behind the exterior James was a gentle, sensitive priest. It is not generally known that he wrote religious poetry, and in the years of his retirement printed a small volume entitled: 'To Our Lady, Queen of Ireland'. He also had a fine singing voice, shown to particular advantage at departure ceremonies for missionaries leaving Ireland at the close of the novena to St. Theresa held in the Society's church at Blackrock Road each October.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.