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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande
Le Père Bartholomew KEOHANE

 keohane  né le 19 juin 1904 à Gurtdromagh
dans le diocèse de Cork, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 8 juillet 1925
prêtre le 9 juin 1929
décédé le 5 décembre 1989
 

1929-1942 missionnaire au Nigeria
1942-1960 missionnaire en Géorgie, USA
1942-1943, Savannah, Saint-Antoine
1943-1944, Immaculée Conception, Augusta
1944-1960, Savannah, Sainte-Marie
1960-1968 missionnaire en Californie, USA, Sainte-Odile
1968-1989 Tenafly, retiré

décédé à Englewood, USA, le 5 décembre 1989
à l'âge de 85 ans

Father Bartholomew Joseph KEOHANE (1904 - 1989)

Bartholomew Keohane was born at Gurtdromagh, Caheragh, Drimoleague, Co Cork, Ireland, in the diocese of Cork, on June 13, l904. He died at St. Michael’s Villa, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA, with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, on December 5, l989.

Bartholomew (Bart or Barth) Keohane was one of ten children born to Bartholomew and Katherine (nee McCarthy) Keohane.He studied in the colleges of the Society in Ireland. He was a student at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (l9l8 l9l9), and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (l9l9 l923). He came to the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in l923. Two years later, on 8 July l925, he was admitted to membership of the Society. In l925 Bart commenced his theological course in the Society's seminary, at Blackrock Road, Cork, completing it in l929 at Dromantine, Co Down, to where the seminary was transferred in l926. Bart was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on June 9, l929. He was one of a group of fifteen ordained on that day.

After ordination Bart was appointed to the Vicariate of the Bight of Benin (Nigeria). In October 1929 he sailed for West Africa, disembarking at the port of Lagos. Two months earlier, in August, the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Ferdinand Terrien, had died. In March 1930 Francis O'Rourke of the Irish Province was appointed his successor and the jurisdiction was entrusted to the care of the Irish Province. Bart arrived at a time when the boundaries of the Church in south-western Nigeria were being pushed out from their centres in towns like Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan and Ondo, paving the way for successive divisions of the original Vicariate. Bart himself was to witness the detachment of the Ondo Ilorin region as a separate jurisdiction in l943 and the re naming of the original jurisdiction as the Vicariate of Lagos. He was to be incorporated into the latter Vicariate which was later to become the Archdiocese of Lagos.

Bart spent three tours of duty in the Lagos region. He spent the whole of his first tour (1929-1934) in the town of Abeokuta, the ancient capital of the Egbas. The Abeokuta district comprised the principal station of Abeokuta (established in 1880) and fifteen secondary stations. There was a Catholic community of some 2,000 members. Eugene Schaeffer was superior when Bart came to Abeokuta. But the dominant figure in the district was Jean Marie Coquard, founder of the renowned Sacred Heart hospital, who was a self-trained surgeon, who had been decorated by the British government (OBE) and had founded a training centre for midwives. Abeokuta mission too had one of the first leper settlements established in Nigeria. When Bart returned from his first home leave in October 1935 he was appointed superior of Effon district. The Effon mission, situated in Ekiti country, had been first opened in l9l6, a year after a group from the town visited the resident missionary at Oshogbo (Lambert Erkens) asking to have a mission opened in their town. In 1937 Bart was transferred to Topo island, near Badagry, where he was appointed superior. Founded in 1876 Topo island mission boasted a church, Fathers residence, a boarding school, a coconut farm (where copra was harvested as a cash crop) and a convent of OLA Sisters who ran an orphanage.

In December 1939 Bart returned to Ireland on home leave. Because of the world war he found it difficult to secure a sea passage back to his mission, but eventually got a place on a convoy which sailed in April 1941. Bishop Leo Taylor, who had succeeded Bishop O'Rourke as vicar apostolic in 1939, appointed Bart to Ibonwon district, a rural area in Ijebu country with a large number of outstations. The Ibonwon mission dated back to 1900 when Bishop Joseph Lang was prefect. Bart spent one years as superior of this mission before returning to Topo island for a further three years.

In l946 the American Province which had been formed in l94l from among Irish and Alsatian confreres, was seeking members from other Provinces to help with its many commitments. There was, for example, a new seminary to be staffed, students to be recruited, funds to be collected, African-American mission parishes to be staffed in Georgia and Southern Illinois, and a mission field in Africa (Cape Palmas, in Liberia) to be serviced. Bart was one of those seconded by the Irish Province to the American Province. With his wide experience of pastoral ministry among Blacks he was assigned to work in the mission parishes. On arrival he was appointed to St. Anthony's mission, Savannah, Georgia. Six months later he was posted to Immaculate Conception mission, Augusta, where he spent a year. His next assignment was to St. Mary's mission, Savannah, where he was pastor for twelve years. In 1960 he was assigned to St. Odilia's mission, Los Angeles. In l968, after over twenty years service in the African-American apostolate, Bart retired to the Province's headquarters at Tenafly, New Jersey. In the year of his death he celebrated 60 years of priesthood. Bart was the brother of Mother Patrick OLA and uncle of Sr. Kathleen, OLA.

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