Fr Laurence Kearney
Laurence Joseph (Larry) Kearney was born to National School teachers, Patrick and Agnes (nee Dunne) Kearney on the 3rd of February, 1928, the first-born of eight children, all boys. The family lived at Killyconnan, Stradone, Co Cavan in the Parish of Lavey. He attended Killyconnan Boys National School and then St Patrick’s College, Cavan from 1932 to 1946. He came to Kiltegan in 1946 for the spiritual year and then went to Cork where he resided in St Patrick’s, Douglas and studied for a science degree at University College, Cork.
When he graduated with a B.Sc. he was asked to do a Masters degree because of his academic ability. This was a very unusual assignment at the time and one which took him two years. As a result, his seminary training lasted ten years. He studied theology in Kiltegan for four years and was ordained a priest on the 1st of April, 1956 in Killamoat Church by Bishop Patrick Cleary SSC, Bishop of Nancheng.
Fr Larry was appointed to the Diocese of Calabar in Nigeria where he taught in St Patrick’s College from 1956 to 1967. He returned to Ireland because of the Civil War in Nigeria and was appointed to teach in the Patrician Brothers’ School in Tullow. He taught there for four years and was then seconded to the Diocese of Kilmore and appointed to teach in St Patrick’s College, Cavan. He was to exercise his priestly ministry in the Diocese of Kilmore for the next forty years apart from a three year interlude in Grenada. However, he maintained strong links with the Society over the years coming to Kiltegan for the annual retreat and attending various Society meetings.
After about fourteen years in St Patrick’s, Cavan he gave up teaching and was sent to work as a curate in Killinkere Parish near Virginia. He then went to Grenada in 1989 and ministered there for three years in the parishes of Gouyave and Beaulieu. Back in Ireland, he returned to Kilmore Diocese, to the parish of Kilsherdany and Drung and later to the parish of Corlough and Drumreilly. In 2013, he returned to Kiltegan, somewhat reluctantly. To his surprise and delight he loved life in Kiltegan and with the care available to him was soon much more mobile than when he arrived. His death on the afternoon of Saturday the 12th of October surprised everyone as he had concelebrated morning Mass that day.
Fr Larry was a very dedicated priest whose life was one of service and prayer. He developed an addiction to alcohol when he was in Nigeria, which he overcame fully, and this later led him to a wonderful ministry among people with addictions. He was very generous with his time and helped very many people to follow his example. He was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and said at a prayer meeting a few days before he died, “Mary will see me home”.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Joe Kelly
Joe was born on the 1st of May, 1915 in Draperstown, Co. Derry. He attended Straw Public Elementary School for his primary education from 1921 to 1929, after which he did his secondary studies at St. Columb’s College, Derry from 1929 to 1932. In 1932 he went to St. Patrick’s College, Carlow for studies in philosophy, a course which lasted until 1935, when he began his spiritual year in Kiltegan, where he did theology studies and was ordained in December, 1939 with four classmates.
In 1940, Joe went to Nigeria and was assigned to the then Prefecture of Ogoja and he ministered in Abakaliki during his first tour which ended in 1945, when he returned to Ireland for home leave. From 1945 to 1947 he was in Kiltegan as Spiritual Director to the Spiritual Year class in Humewood and also as local bursar. When the Society’s new house of studies opened in Douglas, Cork, Joe was appointed first superior and he continued in that capacity until 1954. In the meantime, he did a B.A. degree in U.C.C. from 1950 to 1953.
When he completed his tenure in Cork, Joe returned to Ogoja and in that Diocese, ministered in Abakpa from 1954 to 1969. This was followed by a short period in Mbube and in 1977, he went to Ohong. Finally, he went to Obudu in 1984 and remained there until 1987 when he left Nigeria. He also spent short periods as Principal of St Thomas’ T.T.C. and Abakaliki T.T.C. and was Supervisor of schools of Ogoja Diocese. Back in Ireland, he ministered at Pettigo, Co Donegal, where he was parish chaplain and supplied for the Parish Priest who is the Administrator of St Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg. He made a short farewell visit to Nigeria in 1994. He retired to Kiltegan in 1997 and had the distinction of being the oldest Society member for a number of years. Joe died at Kiltegan on the 17th of August, 2006.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Joe (Patrick Joseph) Kelly
Joe – baptised Patrick Joseph – was born in Cooraclare, Co. Clare on the 2nd of February, 1941. He received his early education from 1944 to 1953 at Cooraclare N.S. This was followed by his secondary studies at St Flannan’s College, Ennis from 1953 to 1958. He entered Kiltegan in 1958 and after his University studies he proceeded to Rome for theology where he was ordained priest in 1966.
Appointed to the Diocese of Ogoja that year he taught in Maryknoll Secondary School until 1976 when he was transferred to St. Thomas’s Teachers College, Ogoja, becoming principal of that institution in 1978. He worked in that capacity until his untimely death at the MMM hospital, Ogoja, on Easter Saturday, the 18th of April, 1981. He is buried in the grounds of St Benedict’s Cathedral, Ogoja.
Place of Rest: Ogoja, Nigeria
Mr Michael Kelly (Student)
Michael Joseph Kelly was born in Tullaugh, Clonmany, Lifford, Co. Donegal on the 14th of June, 1948. He did his primary studies in Crossconnell National School and went to Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co. Mayo for his secondary studies. He came to Kiltegan in 1968. After completing his Spiritual Year he went to Cork to study philosophy taking the oath of temporary membership. While at home on his Christmas holidays, Michael died unexpectedly on the 11th of January, 1970. He is buried in Clonmany cemetery.
Place of Rest: Clonmany, Co Donegal
Fr Mossie (Maurice) Kerin
Fr Mossie (Maurice) Kerin, 1927 - 1988
Mossie was born on the 19th of May, 1927 at Scartaglin, Farranfore, Co. Kerry. He did his primary education at the local N.S. and afterwards pursued secondary studies, first at Castleisland Secondary School from 1940 to 1942 and then in St. Brendan’s Seminary, Killarney from 1942 to 1946. In that year, he came to Kiltegan and after the usual studies, was ordained in 1954.
After ordination, he went to Nigeria and was assigned to Calabar Diocese. There he ministered until 1968. In that year, he returned home and received an assignment to parish work in Toronto, Canada. This lasted until 1972, when he went to Chicago to join the Society Promotion team there for two years. At the end of that period, in 1974 he ministered in Grenada, West Indies, a mission which had recently been assigned to our Society. He spent two years there and then, in 1976, he rejoined the Society Promotion team, this time in Cliffside Park, New Jersey where he spent a further two years.
After a short break in Ireland, he returned to Nigeria in 1979, this time to Port Harcourt Diocese where he worked until 1984, the year he was appointed to the staff of St. Patrick’s, Buchlyvie. In 1986, Mossie returned to Ireland, this time to a ministry in the Diocese of Limerick. He worked in St. Mary’s, Monaleen, Adare, Dromin and Askeaton. In July 1998, he retired to Kiltegan because of failing health and he died in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on the 19th of November, 1998.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Dermot (Jerry) Kiely
Jerry (called Dermot by his family) was born on the 10th of November, 1924 in Rosbercon, New Ross, Co. Wexford. He received his primary education at the National School, Rosbercon from 1928 to 1934 and at the C.B.S., New Ross from 1934 to 1937. His secondary education followed in the same institution from 1937 to 1942. In that year, he joined the Irish Army and served in Cappoquin and Templemore.
In 1945, he entered the Cadet College in the Curragh and was commissioned in 1947. Following his commission, he served in Galway and Athlone, and it was in the latter barracks that he finished his army life in 1956. In that year, he began his spiritual year in Kiltegan. Because of his education and maturity, he was dispensed from one year’s philosophy and was ordained at Easter, 1962. It also happened that in that year, a new mission territory in Nigeria was entrusted to the Society; this was the Prefecture of Minna. Jerry was one of the pioneering group of three sent to the new territory. There he ministered in parish work, was Coordinator for Social Development and also Vicar General of the Diocese.
His ministry in Minna continued until 1990. He did the Faith and Mission Course in Dalgan and in 1991, he was appointed to the USA on promotion work, which he continued until 1996. In that year, he returned to Ireland and took up an appointment in Graiguenamanagh in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Late in 2005 Jerry became ill and died on the 31st of January, 2006.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Vin Kiernan
Vin was born on September 8th, 1914 at Dysart, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Following his primary education at Dysart N.S. from 1920 to 1928, for his secondary studies he went to Castleknock College from 1928 to 1931 and completed them in St. Finian’s College, Mullingar from 1931 to 1934 and in the latter year he entered Kiltegan. On completing his Spiritual Year, he studied Philosophy in St. Patrick’s College Carlow for two years and returned to Kiltegan to complete his Theological studies. He was ordained in December, 1940. Filling positions on the staff in Kiltegan was a problem at the time, and on completion of his studies in 1941, Vin was appointed Bursar General for the years 1941 to 1944 and was then appointed to Ogoja. On completion of his tour there, he was once again appointed Bursar General for the years 1950 to 1956. Again when he completed his stint in this position, he returned to Nigeria for the years 1956 to 1967, again in the Diocese of Ogoja.
In 1968, he went to the U.S.A. and there worked as a Chaplain in St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, California. After a long and fruitful ministry there he reached the statutory age of retirement, and returned to Ireland in early 1990. This time he ministered as Chaplain in Holy Family Nursing Home in Tullamore. He retired to Kiltegan in 1997 and died in Naas hospital on the 2nd of December, 1999.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Thomas Kiggins
Thomas Joseph (Tom) Kiggins was born on the 2nd of August, 1942, to John Kiggins and his wife Winifred (née Ward) in Roxboro, Kilchreest, Co Galway. He attended Kilchreest National School from 1947 to 1955 and St Brendan’s Secondary School (De La Salle), Loughrea, from 1955 to 1959. He came to Kiltegan in September 1959 for the Spiritual Year. He then went to St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork and studied at University College Cork where he graduated with an honours degree in History and English in 1963. He returned to Kiltegan for his theological studies in September 1963 and was ordained on Easter Sunday, the 26th of March, 1967 in St Brigid’s Church, Hacketstown, by Bishop Patrick Lennon, then Auxiliary Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
After ordination Tom was appointed to study for a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, specialising in dogmatic theology. He graduated in June 1969 and was appointed to the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya, but was first sent to teach theology at St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Nairobi. In 1972 he went to Kitui and taught at St Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Mwingi. He was then appointed to the Diocese of Eldoret and ministered at the Mitume Centre in Kitale. He spent a short while studying theology in San Francisco before taking up a pastoral appointment at the Curragh Camp, Co Kildare. From 1976 to 1980 he was a member of the teaching staff at St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan. He returned to Africa in 1980 and ministered in Nakuru Diocese. He was very involved in diocesan administration, in communications and in publishing. Along with Fr Liam Blayney he edited a monthly magazine in Swahili called Mwananchi.
Tom returned to Ireland in the late 1980s and took on the massive task of writing the history of the Society. Maynooth Mission to Africa, the Story of St Patrick’s, Kiltegan was published in 1991 and is regarded by all as the definitive history of the Society. He also acted as Assistant Local Superior during the last year of his stay in Kiltegan. In 1992 he was appointed Executive Secretary of the Irish Missionary Union, a post he held until 2000. He was elected a member of the Central Leadership Team at the 2002 Chapter. When his term finished in 2008 he joined Fr Martin Smith and Loretta Brennan on the Africa magazine team until 2011. He “retired” for a short while until his appointment as Assistant District Leader for Ireland in December 2014.
Tom was a big man physically and he also had a very big heart. He was a powerful and kindly presence wherever he went. He was generous and gracious in his dealings with everyone. He was blessed with a very keen intellect and was a brilliant writer. His written work was noted for its clarity, its succinctness, its sobriety and its elegance. He knew the Society like nobody else. Members valued his advice and judgement and he was at all times fair, balanced, objective and blessed with an abundance of common sense. He had a special bond with past students and forged life-long friendships with many of the Kenyan priests whom he taught during his time in St Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi.
He had a special feel for those who struggled and found life difficult. He was very open about his own struggles. He had a constancy and solidity which were remarkable. He was a very gracious host and was meticulous in his preparations for any Society event. He had a mischievous sense of humour at times and never took himself too seriously. He remained close to his family and neighbours and loved his visits home. Despite his great intelligence and his many gifts he remained a very humble and unassuming man with simple tastes. He died on 10th November, 2017, following a brief illness. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Brendan Kilroy
Fr Brendan Kilroy was born on the 12th of May, 1936 to Thomas Kilroy and his wife Mary (nee Divine) at Callan, Co Kilkenny. One of ten children, he attended the local Mercy Primary School from 1941 to 1943 and the local CBS for the remainder of his primary education and the first year of his secondary education. He then went to St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny where he sat the Leaving Certificate in 1954.
In September of that year he came to Kiltegan and completed the Spiritual Year in June 1955. He then went to St Patrick’s Douglas, Cork where he studied philosophy. He returned to Kiltegan for a four year course in theology which was interrupted for one year because of ill health. He was ordained on the 22nd of April 1962 (Easter Sunday) at Killamoat Church by Bishop Patrick Cleary SSC.
After ordination Brendan was appointed as Assistant Director of the Spiritual Year programme at Kiltegan. It was a demanding position as, at that time, up to forty young men were entering our seminary each year.
In 1967, Brendan was sent to the USA with a view to setting up a recruitment programme there. He began by doing a degree in counselling and by the time that was finished plans for recruitment in the USA had been set aside.
Instead, he became involved in the promotion programme of the Society. He helped out in promotion activities including the bingo and the monthly dances and got to know a wide circle of Society supporters. He also took a great interest in the Society house at Cliffside Park that was to be his home for forty five years. With the late Fr Tom Grealy he supervised the refurbishment of the house and the development of the grounds.
In 1977 he took up an appointment at Don Bosco Prep High School, Ramsey, New Jersey and worked there until he fell ill shortly before Christmas, 2011. He served as Religious Education Teacher, Chaplain and above all as Career Counsellor. His great joy was to help students develop their potential and choose a fulfilling career.
In late 2011 Brendan became seriously ill and was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease He was flown home to Ireland on the 8th of March and spent nearly two weeks in Beaumont Hospital, before coming to the Care Unit in Kiltegan on the 21st of March. He died at 6am on the 27th of March 2012.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Roger Kinane
Roger Kinane was born in Rossmore, Goldcross, Co. Tipperary on the 16th of April, 1924. He was one of a family of eleven born to Michael Kinane and his wife, Margaret Sweeney. After finishing Rossmore National School he went to the Christian Brothers’ School in Thurles from 1937 to 1941. He then went to Mount Melleray Seminary where he finished his secondary studies and began his training for the priesthood.
Having completed two years of Philosophy, Roger came to Kiltegan in September, 1946. He then went straight to his theology studies in St. Patrick’s, Kiltegan and was ordained on the 25th of March, 1951 in Killamoat Church.
Roger was appointed to Nigeria, to the Diocese of Ogoja in 1951. He worked in St Teresa’s, Abakaliki (1951 to 1955); Corpus Christi, Nkalagu (1955), and back to St Teresa’s (1956 to 1957); Ugep (1957); Edda (1957 to 1959); Ohaozara, (1960 to 1963); Mbube (1963 to 1970); Ikwo (1970 to 1972). He then transferred to Port Harcourt Diocese and worked in Ogoni (1974 to 1977); Christ the King, Port Harcourt (1977 to 1980); Ahoada (1981 to 1986); Igwuruta (1986 to 1992); Umuaturu (1992 to 1994); Obioha (1995 to 1999), and his last parish was Woji (1999 to 2003). He was forced to return to Ireland for a hip-replacement in 2003.
Roger was a gracious, pleasant man who had great affection for his family and for the people of his home-place. Gaelic games had a key place in his life, especially hurling, and above all Tipperary hurling. Every time he returned to Nigeria, he was heartbroken at leaving home. Yet he did so repeatedly, and loved and served the people he was sent to with all his heart.
Roger was involved in a car accident shortly after 6pm while on his way home from his cousin’s house on Friday, the 26th of October, 2007 and died some hours later in South Tipperary Regional Hospital, Clonmel.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Pat Kitterick
Pat was born on the 7th of June, 1923 in Shranacloye, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. After his primary education at the local National School, he studied at St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam from 1937 to 1942, the year he began his Spiritual Year in Kiltegan. After ordination in 1949, he went to Nigeria and was appointed to the then Prefecture of Ogoja. In 1955, this area became a Diocese and in 1973, part of it, Abakaliki, became a separate Diocese; in this same area, Pat would minister for almost fifty five years of his missionary life. That life is simply a succession of appointments to various parishes over the years.
To a reader, the list might seen prosaic, but in actual fact, they are wonderful stages in a long missionary career: Kakwagom from 1949 to 1953; Ugep from 1953 to 1962; Ohaozara from 1962 to 1971; Ezzagu from 1971 to 1974; Effium from 1974 to 1983; St. Oliver’s, Ngbo from 1983 to 1988; Maryland, Ngbo from 1988 to 1994 and finally Mt. Carmel Parish, Ngbo, where he died on the 10th of January, 2004. He is buried in the grounds of the Cathedral in Abakaliki, Nigeria.
Place of Rest: Abakaliki, Nigeria
Fr Patsy Kivlehan
Patsy was born in Cooloney, Co. Sligo on the 4th of May, 1906. Details of his early years are sketchy but he studied at St. Patrick’s College, Carlow where he was ordained in 1934 for the Diocese of Achonry. Shortly afterwards, he joined our Society and was on Promotion work until 1938.
In 1938 he went to Nigeria and ministered in the then Prefecture of Calabar. Records show that he worked mostly in the missions of Ifuho, Edem Ekpat and Ikot Nseyen. An interesting feature was that because of his devotion to Mary the Mother of God, and his promotion of that devotion, he was known to the people as Udoh Mary, the Second Son of Mary. In 1964 he transferred to Minna where he continued the promotion of devotion to Our Lady. He made many pilgrimages to Rome where he spent hours prostrated before the High Altar in the Basilica of St Mary Major and was available as a confessor. He also had great devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and was a regular pilgrim there. He died in Minna on the 27th of February, 1978 and is buried in the grounds of the Cathedral.
Place of Rest: Minna, Nigeria