Joe – baptized James Joseph – was born in Claremorris, Co. Mayo on the 29th of February, 1912. His father had been an R.I.C. policeman and it is believed he was a Sligoman. Thus the family re-located to Strandhill, Co. Sligo in 1914. There Joe received his early education from 1918 to 1926. From there he proceeded to Summerhill College, Sligo for his secondary education during the years 1926 to 1930. In that year, he went to All Hallows College for his two-year course in Philosophy.
In 1932, Joe enrolled in the newly-founded Kiltegan being in the first group to do the Spiritual Year there. Having completed this, he returned to All Hallows College for theology, doing three years of this from 1933 to 1936. Joe did his final year of theology in Kiltegan and was ordained in 1937, among a group of four, the first ordination group in our Society.
Faced with its teething problems, the young Society needed staff for the College and Joe found himself assigned to the Superior General’s Council, Dean of students and Bursar. He held these posts until early 1942, when he went to Nigeria, where he was appointed to Calabar. While there, he ministered in Anua, Ediene, taught in Holy Family College, Abak and finally was supervisor of schools for Calabar. He ministered in Nigeria until 1950, when a Chapter was held.
At this Chapter, Joe was elected Superior General, a post he held until 1962. His period of tenure has been described as the golden years of our Society. It saw a growth in membership, an extension of our missionary effort to East Africa, the expansion of our House of Studies in Cork and the building of the new College in Kiltegan. On completing his term of office, Joe returned to the missions, this time to Kenya, where he was assigned to Kitui. He ministered there from 1962 to 1969 in which year he was appointed Regional Superior for East Africa. He held this post until 1972.
In 1972, Joe re-located to another mission area this time to St. George’s, Grenada. He remained here until he was appointed to Cliffside Park in July, 1980 for a period of three years. However, he was taken ill in April, 1983 and returned to Ireland. He died on the 12th of August, 1983.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan