Remembering Our Deceased
Rest In Peace
Eternal rest grand unto them,
O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Fr Michael Kane
Michael Joseph Kane was born on the 14th of February 1941 to Thomas Kane and his wife Gretta (née Murphy) of Moneytucker, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. He was one of a family of nine boys and five girls. He attended Courtnacuddy National School from 1947 to 1955 and then proceeded to the Christian Brothers School in Enniscorthy for his secondary education. He sat the Leaving Certificate in 1960 and then helped on the family farm for a year. He joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1961 and completed the Spiritual Year in June 1962. He studied philosophy at St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork, before returning to Kiltegan for a four year course in theology. He was ordained priest on the 14th of April 1968 (Easter Sunday). The ordaining prelate was Most Reverend Patrick Lennon DD, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
After ordination Michael was appointed to the Diocese of Kitui where he served for almost thirty years. During his time in Kitui he ministered in many parishes including Mutunue, Migwani, Kyuso, Kitui Town, Mwingi and Nguuni. He was Vocations Director for the Diocese of Kitui from 1986 to 1992. He got very involved in rural development, the provision of clean water for the people being one of his top priorities. With financial aid from his family and from his generous neighbours in County Wexford, Michael helped to provide boreholes for many communities in the Diocese of Kitui. This ministry made a very significant contribution to the quality of life of the local people who lived in semi desert conditions and who invariably struggled to have a reliable supply of good clean drinking water. Even after he had left Kitui Michael continued to support those projects with the help of his family and neighbours. Each year his family organised a Steam Rally, and all the revenue collected was sent to Kitui to help with water projects.
Michael returned to Ireland around 2000 and spent a couple of years as curate in Kildare Town Parish. He came to Kiltegan in 2004. It would be his home for the rest of his life. He worked for some time as Assistant House Leader at Kiltegan and also served as Assistant Director of Slí an Chroí. He opened an EcoCentre on the compound which complemented his time growing vegetables and flowers in the community garden. Michael became very involved in the protection of the environment and took a keen interest in making St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, an ecologically friendly compound and he worked tirelessly to promote biodiversity. He was a member of the West Wicklow Environmental Network. One of his many campaigns was to keep to a minimum the areas of the compound designated as “lawns”. Michael was very much ahead of his time in all this pioneering work. He was delighted when Pope Francis published his Encyclical Laudato Si’ in 2015 as it was a vindication of the work he had been quietly promoting for many years.
Michael was a very keen photographer and many of his photos have graced the pages of the ‘Africa’ magazine. For the last four years he wrote a regular column for the magazine on nature and ecology under the title In the Family of Things. He wrote about the changing seasons and helped us to appreciate the beauty of creation that surrounds us here. He had a very easy style of writing that attracted many readers to his articles. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the trees, shrubs, plants, birds, bees, insects, butterflies and animals that are found on the compound. He attributed his great love of nature to his late father.
Michael was very generous in sharing his vast knowledge of nature and inspired many of us who lived in community with him to open our eyes more and take an interest in what was going on around us. He had a very gentle, warm and kindly presence which helped to put people at ease and had a very good sense of humour. He remained very close to his family throughout his life. They offered him great support especially during his three decades as a missionary in Kitui. He loved his regular visits to his family.
Michael became ill in the spring of 2021 – shortly after his 80th birthday. He was taken to Naas General Hospital on the 15th of July for medical tests. He died suddenly on the afternoon of Thursday, the 19th of August, 2021.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Robert (Bobby) Kavanagh
Robert Patrick (Bobby) Kavanagh was born on the 17th of August 1931 to Robert Kavanagh and his wife Nora of Moneygarrow, Castletown, Inch, Co Wexford. He was the last born of a family of six girls and three boys. He received his primary education at Castletown National School. He then proceeded to the Technical School in Arklow, Co Wicklow, for two years, before transferring to a private school called St Patrick’s Academy in Arklow where he sat the Intermediate Certificate in 1950. He completed his secondary education in St Peter’s College, Wexford, and sat the Leaving Certificate in June 1952. Bobby joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1952 and after the Spiritual Year and the usual courses in philosophy and theology he was ordained priest along with twenty three classmates on the 23rd of May 1959. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Thomas McGettrick SPS, Bishop of Ogoja. Bobby was a member of the biggest class ever ordained for the Society.
After ordination Bobby was appointed to the then Prefecture of Eldoret which was raised to the status of a Diocese a few weeks after his arrival. He set sail for Kenya on the 20th of August 1959 and arrived in Mombasa twenty eight days later. The ship sailed by Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean Sea before heading for Mombasa via the Suez Canal. The passage through the Red Sea left a deep impression on Bobby as the heat was extremely intense; he felt like he was in a furnace!
Immediately after arriving in Mombasa he went by night train to Nairobi and then on to Nakuru where his first appointment was to Molo which is 8200 feet above sea level; his parish priest was the late Brian Cunningham. A couple of days after arriving in Molo, Bobby began teaching in an Intermediate School which was beside the Mission. He taught forty two classes per week. After a year in Molo he was transferred to Turbo where he continued his teaching ministry. He also helped to open new Christian communities in the area - in one community he said Mass from the back of a lorry!
After five months in Turbo he was transferred to Elburgon which was quite near Molo. He lived on his own in a little house and began getting the parish established. He was no longer full time in teaching but was prepared to help out when the need arose. It was a time when the Land Freedom Movement was at its height and there was some violence in the area. He spent six years in Elburgon and made good progress with the building of the Church.
Bobby’s next appointment was to the Holy Rosary Parish in Nakuru where he worked with the late Paddy Cullen. After a few years in Nakuru he was asked to open a parish at Njoro which was part of Holy Rosary Parish. In 1972 he was transferred to Subukia where he helped build a beautiful Church. He was very proud of the Church in Subukia. He started a secondary school in 1974 and returned to the class hall. After six years in Subukia he took a sabbatical which included a 30 Day Retreat in Manresa, Dublin, and a course on spiritual direction. There were eleven other Society priests on the programme with him.
On his return to Kenya in 1979 Bobby was appointed once again to the Holy Rosary Parish in Nakuru which by then was the Cathedral Parish. While his preference was for a rural appointment he accepted the challenge and spent nearly four years as Administrator of the Cathedral. One of his assistants was Fr Peter Kairo who later became the Bishop of Nakuru. In 1982 he was asked to return to Molo. He moved to a big outstation at Kamwaura and opened schools in Kamwaura and Mwaragania.
1992 was a traumatic year for Bobby as he was expelled from Kenya because he spoke out against some of the actions of the government during the tribal clashes. He was deported on the 25th of May 1992. He wrote afterwards that it was the darkest day of his life. Bobby returned to Kenya in July 1993 and was stationed at Londiani for a few months. In 1994 he was appointed to Bahati and it was in that general area he spent the rest of his time in Kenya serving at Kabazi and later at Arutani Secondary School. During the final years of his life in Kenya Bobby was Chaplain at Arutani Secondary School.
Bobby regarded Kenya as his home and his hope had been to end his days there. Sadly it was not to be. In 2016 he was badly injured in a car accident and he had to come to Ireland for treatment. Much to his great sadness he was never able to return to his beloved Kenya. He died peacefully in the Care Unit at Kiltegan on the morning of Sunday, the 6th of March 2022.
Bobby was a very dedicated and hardworking missionary priest who was always prepared to serve wherever the need was greatest. He was above all a great pastoral priest who had a special ability to relate to people on a one-to- one basis. In his ministry he put a lot of emphasis on catechetics and on education. In all he opened eleven primary schools, four secondary schools and five nursery schools during his fifty seven years of active service. He was a man of deep faith who coped with the trials and tribulations of life with serenity and without undue fuss. He bore the sufferings of his final years with patience, fortitude and good humour. He was very courageous and was not afraid to speak out in the face of injustice; it was this quality that had led to his being deported from Kenya in 1992.
Bobby was a joyful person who enjoyed the company of others. He was blessed with a very rich, resonant and distinctive voice. He loved to sing especially in Church and at social gatherings. Less than two weeks before he died he joined Fr Enda Kelly in a beautiful rendition of “Boolavogue” during a sing-song in the Care Unit. He was very proud of his family and remained very close to them throughout his life. He appreciated their support especially in his last years.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
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, 2013, 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 John Kearns
John Gerard Kearns was born on the 8th of November 1957 to Michael Kearns and his wife Mollie (née Callaghan) of Cromague, Rockcorry, Co Monaghan. He was the second eldest of a family of one girl and four boys. He received his primary education first at Nart Primary School and then at Corcaghan Primary School before going to the Christian Brothers in Monaghan Town for his secondary education. He sat the Leaving Certificate in 1975 and in September of the same year he joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society. After completing the Spiritual Year he went to St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork, in September 1976 for a two year course in philosophy. He returned to Kiltegan in September 1978 for his theological studies but after one year he decided he needed time outside the seminary in order to reflect further on his vocation. He joined An Garda Síochána in late 1979 and after the normal training at Templemore Garda College he began his career as a Garda in 1980. He was stationed at Hackballscross near Dundalk in Co Louth. Thoughts of the priesthood were never far from his mind and in 1986 he took the brave step to seek readmission to the Society. He resumed his theological studies in September 1986 and after a four year course he was ordained priest in St Michael’s Church, Corcaghan, on the 17th of June 1990. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Joseph Duffy DD, Bishop of Clogher.
After ordination John was appointed to the Diocese of Mutare in Zimbabwe where the Society had opened a new mission the previous year. He was sent to St Paul’s Parish, Dangamvura, and worked with Noel McHenry. In 1995 he went to work in Good Shepherd Parish, Dombotombo, in the Archdiocese of Harare. John left Zimbabwe in 1998 and took a sabbatical. In 1999 he went to work in his native Diocese of Clogher and remained there for the rest of his life. He served in Pettigo, Monaghan and Rackwallace, Clones, Brookeboro and Belleek- Garrison.
John was a very kind and attentive pastor who was very much loved by the people to whom he ministered. His great warmth and humanity always shone through. He was also a very fun-loving person and a great practical joker. From an early age he developed a passion for motorbikes and was in his element when he was riding his Honda 500. He rode a bike in Zimbabwe and had no fear of travelling long distances on it. He once travelled from Mutare to Johannesburg by bike and enjoyed recounting his experiences of what he encountered on the way. His love of bikes opened up a new world to him and gave him access tothe lives of many people who would otherwise have little contact with a priest. He became the unofficial chaplain to bikers in Ireland. He officiated at their weddings, baptised their children and officiated at their funerals. John found this ministry very fulfilling and life-giving. He also had a great love of Country and Western music and was well known to some of the big names in the business.
John became seriously ill in 2013 and for the rest of his life he had to battle with very poor health. He spent many spells in Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry where he received excellent medical attention. Throughout his illness John remained positive and never lost his sense of humour. He was always grateful to the doctors who looked after him. He was also very grateful to Bishops Joseph Duffy, Liam McDaid and Larry Duffy for allowing him to stay on in the presbytery in Garrison despite his illness. The last months of his life were particularly difficult. He was often sick and unable to minister. Yet he never complained or lost hope. His sister Eileen visited him on Sunday, the 19th of December, and stayed overnight with him. He died peacefully in the early hours of Monday morning, the 20th of December, 2021.
Place of Rest: Corcoghan, Co Monaghan
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
Fr Liam Kelly
William John Kelly, popularly known as Liam was born on the 24th June 1941 to John and Kathleen Kelly (nee Long) of Ileigh, Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary. He was the eldest of a family of one brother and three sisters. He attended the local national school in Ileigh from 1947 to 1954 and had his secondary education with the Patrician Brothers in Ballyfin Co. Laois from 1954 to 1959.
In September 1959 he joined the spiritual year in Kiltegan. From 1960-64 he studied for his BSc degree in Cork and then proceeded to Kiltegan for theology and was ordained on 14th April 1968 along with twenty-two classmates in St Mary’s Church, Killamoate.
After ordination Liam was appointed to the diocese of Kitui, to a young church to work alongside his fellow missionaries who were determined to implement the vision of Vatican II. For fifty years Kitui diocese was his home and the place where he exercised his missionary vocation with great zeal by teaching in schools and in parish work.
Liam’s early missionary life was spent teaching science in secondary schools. He spent sixteen years in Kitui Secondary School. He taught in St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary Mwingi for eleven years from 1986-97. After a four-month sabbatical in Jerusalem in 1997, he moved to parish ministry in St Patrick’s, Migwani. In 2004 he transferred to Holy Spirit Parish, Mulutu, to join his lifelong friend Frank Minogue and they worked together for the next fourteen years, ministering to the people of the parish. After celebrating his Golden Jubilee of priesthood and serving the people of Kitui for fifty years, ill health forced him to retire and return to Ireland in May 2018. He immediately moved into the Care Unit and bore his failing health with great serenity.
Pope Francis wrote a pastoral letter, entitled ‘The joy of the Gospel’ in 2013. If there was ever a man who lived out this message, it was Liam Kelly, who radiated joy to everyone he encountered. Liam was a most positive person and always full of hope and related to his students and parishioners without judgement or criticism. He was a fantastic and committed teacher who was loved by all his students who blossomed under his encouragement. Before he retired a big group of his former students gathered to thank him and show their appreciation for all he did for them while at school. Liam was a very kind pastor who promoted small Christian communities in the spirit of Vatican II. He was also a great model and support to the young African priests who followed in his footsteps. Part of his spirituality was praying and sharing his faith with his fellow priests in the Charles de Foucauld fraternity. When one of the Kitui priests was badly traumatised by armed robbers, Liam accompanied him for a long period of time and helped to restore him to full health. Liam’s beautiful smile and gentle spirit will live long in the memory of all the people who knew him.
On Sunday the 20th November Liam began to get a bit confused and two days later his condition deteriorated and he was anointed that morning. He died, as he had lived, peacefully at lunch time on the 22nd November, 2022 on the feast of St. Cecelia patron of musicians, and being a man who loved listening to classical music it was surely appropriate.
Liam is predeceased by his parents John and Kathleen and his sister Loretta. He is survived by his brother Austin, his sisters Irene Houlihan and Geraldine Healy, his brothers-in-law Jim and Tommy and his sister-in-law Helen and their families.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Patrick Kelly
Patrick (Pat) Kelly was born on the 24th of April 1934 to James Kelly and his wife Mary (née Sweeney) of The Octagon, Westport, Co Mayo. Pat was the youngest in a family of four boys. He came to Kiltegan in September 1951 and was ordained with 23 classmates on the 23rd of May 1959. The ordaining prelate was Bishop Thomas McGettrick SPS, the Bishop of Ogoja.
After ordination Pat was appointed to the Diocese of Calabar, Nigeria, where he ministered for 6 years. From his earliest days he showed a great interest in languages and in the culture of the people. In 1965 he was sent to do a course in social anthropology at Linacre College, Oxford. His professor was the renowned social anthropologist Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard who regarded Pat as one of his finest students. As part of his studies Pat went to live among the Turkana People of Northern Kenya. During this time he produced a dictionary of the Turkana language and also became proficient in Kiswahili. In 1971 he was appointed to Rome to study theology. He graduated from the Angelicum University in 1973. Pat’s next appointment was to St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan, where he taught mission theology until 1979. This was followed by a number of years lecturing in the Theology Faculty of St Peter’s Major Seminary, Zomba, Malawi. Pat then returned to Ireland and was based in Kiltegan. He was available for a number of years as a retreat director and travelled all over the country giving retreats. In 1986 he was appointed to Brazil. Within a very short period he became very fluent in Portuguese. He worked in a number of parishes in São Paulo. He returned to Ireland in 1992 and devoted himself to studying the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Swiss theologian and spiritual writer. He produced many booklets which aimed to put the teachings of von Balthasar into more accessible language. He also resumed his work as a retreat master. Pat went to Africa again in the late 1990s and spent some time in the Cameroun. He ministered at Fuanantui. Once again he immersed himself in the language and the culture of the people. After returning from Cameroun Pat went to live at Leeson Park and continued his private studies in spirituality. In 2001 he was appointed Chaplain to Áras Mhuire, a Nursing Home run by the Medical Missionaries of Mary beside their Mother House in Drogheda. It was there he spent the rest of his life.
Pat was a deeply spiritual man who devoted his whole life to the pursuit of personal holiness. He was a man of deep conviction and total sincerity. He was a gifted linguist and very fluent in several languages. Pat was a very caring and compassionate man. His 19 years as Chaplain at Áras Mhuire were the happiest and most fulfilling years of his priestly ministry. He really blossomed and flourished as he attended to the residents and staff at Áras Mhuire. He was a noted preacher and his sermons at daily Mass were very well received by all who heard them.
Pat’s health deteriorated in mid-October 2020. He spent over a week in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital undergoing tests. He returned to Áras Mhuire on the 24th of October, 2020. He died peacefully on the morning of Friday, the 30th of October, 2020, surrounded by members of his family, by some MMM Sisters and by Áras Mhuire Staff.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
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