Selected articles taken from the White Fathers' magazine April 1962

(Issue No. 123. Source : Eric Creaney)

F R O M   O U R   L E T T E R   T R A Y

Father John Miller has come down from the Kigezi country to Rubaga (Kampala) to work in the Uganda Catholic Secretariat. Naturally enough, he laments his farewell to his beloved mission at Bukinda . . . "And now," he says, "I am a bureaucrat!". You can imagine how valuable he is to the Secretariat with his thirty years of experience in Uganda.

Father Tolmie has also had a move. He has left the seminary at Lubushi and is now at Fort Roseberry. Among other things, he gives religious instruction in three schools and is responsible for the management of a Catholic book-shop.

Changes, too, at home. Father J Byrne, who was devoting his business acumen to launching the new house at Templeogue, has now turned his attention to more exclusively spiritual preoccupations. He is chaplain to the White Sisters' noviciate near Broome Hall: a busy round of conferences and Scripture class etc over and above the duties one normally associates with a convent chaplaincy.

Brother John Ryan and his team of Brothers, after completing their long job at Totteridge, turned their attention to altering a corner of Broome Hall and then went on to Bishop's Waltham where further extensive work awaited their ability as bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers. Working on the job at Bishop's Waltham was a return to old haunts for Brother David Kelly, who, only a month or so before, had been posted from The Priory to Brother Ryan's team.            

From Broome Hall, Father Francis Ball has been posted to the teaching staff at St Columba's, Newtown St Boswells, and his place as Procurator has been taken by Brother Casimir, Father Joinet, from St Columba's, is now teaching Scripture to our novices at Broome Hall.

A new Procurator also at the Priory in the person of Father Geraghty, late of Oyo, Nigeria.

Father Michael Maloney, who terminated his studies in London last summer, is now teaching at The Priory, whilst Father Patrick Fitzgerald, is happily installed in Rome, engaged in yet further intellectual delights.

Father John Murphy has had the happiness to return to Oyo and from West Africa has come Father John McNulty to replace him at Rutherglen. Father McNulty will be renewing his acquaintance with many old friends in Scotland after being associated for so many years with the splendid mission of Jirapa in Northern Ghana.

A letter from Father John Bradley calls to mind that he is due to come home on leave shortly. At the time of writing, he was planning yet another round of the outposts of his mission at Chungya. He did 120 days of hard-going safari in the course of the past twelve months. The results, he says, are very consoling.


There are encouraging developments, too, in the Kayambi mission in Northern Rhodesia. The huge mission of Chalabesa has been divided and a new mission founded at Kopa, the village of the paramount chief Babisa. A new catechist school is being built at Mulilanso and a new girls' secondary school near Mpika. The latter is to be staffed by the sisters from Barrhead convent. Father Patrick Boyd, who gives us all this news, says that all is now quiet again after the disturbances of some months ago.

Developments in the missions means building and building means Brothers! Brother Patrick Chambers wrote from Kabgaye, Ruanda-Urundi, that he was working with an old Brother from the Dutch Province, who has seen many, many years with bricks and mortar under the African sun.

It is a story of buildings and Brothers (shortage of the latter) from Brother Eugene Leonard* at Mzuzu. He has had to help out in two neighbouring missions besides coping with work in his own. The new church on which he worked at Katete was to be blessed, he wrote, shortly. Dr Banda had been invited for the occasion.

Fr Geoffrey Riddle, teaching at Tabora, Tanganika, had the excellent notion of taking advantage of a brief respite from his school duties to write a long letter. He tells us that when the Duke of Edinburgh was piloting his own Heron on his way to Dar-es-Salaam for the Independence Celebrations, he touched down at Tabora for three quarters of an hour.                                      

Almost the whole population of the town went out the five miles to the aerodrome to see him. Fr Riddle secured two successful colour snaps of him.

Besides a very full teaching programme, for the past three years, Fr Riddle has been looking after some two hundred African soldiers in the nearby barracks.

Two language study centres have now been set up in the district, one for Kiswahili and one for Kinyamwezi, for the young Fathers, and other not-so-young Fathers, who are unused to these languages.

From the Kiswahili centre, Father Leedal, of last year's Ordination, writes that he and Father Alan Thompson and Brother George Ascott are busy with a full study programme. He reports that Father Gerard Taylor, teaching at the Seminary, is, at he expected, valiantly coping with a dozen self-imposed projects for the benefit of his students. It is no wonder that reports reach us of splendid singing at Kipalapala in the tradition of Father Taylor's choir at Blacklion.

On top of letters from Tabora and thereabouts, we had first hand news from Archbishop Mihayo, the Archbishop of Tabora, who spent a week with us at the Provincial House. His Grace was particularly delighted to meet several old "Tanganyikans", among them Father Bernard Brown and Father Thomas Conway, both at Totteridge.

*Known as 'Brother Paddy'

Taken from the White Fathers' magazine, April 1962

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The cause of the African Martyrs

Barely seven years after the arrival of the first missionaries in Uganda, twenty-two new converts were put to death for their Faith. Their execution was decreed by King Mwanga. He had given them the chance to make a deliberate choice: they must abandon their religion or die. Mwanga was frightened by the new religion which had so recently been brought into his kingdom. He was absolute master of his subjects and nothing must come between him and them, not even religious convictions. What is more, he had contracted habits of vice to which no Christian could be party. There were, indeed, more than twenty-two victims of King Mwanga's rage, but only twenty-two were listed when the Cause of their Beatification was introduced, for the Church is always

most prudent in these matters and it had to be quite clear that those on the list had indeed been killed through hatred of the Catholic Faith and not for some other motive. Of the twenty-two, twelve were pages at the royal court. The youngest of them was thirteen, the eldest twenty-five. Amongst the other ten, were several important people. There was, for instance, Matthias Kalemba Mulumba, a fifty-year old chief. He had promptly given up polygamy when he learnt that it was against the teaching of the Gospel and the Church, and, thenceforth, his was an exemplary Catholic family. He was brutally mutilated by order of Mwanga. For three days he was left dying from his torture in a clump of rushes. Outstanding amongst the martyrs, was Charles Lwanga, the head of the royal pages.

(source:  Xaverian Movement)

He was a fine young man of twenty and the king was very fond of him: he was his most loyal and devoted servant. But when Charles saw how things 'were turning out and the temptations to which the king subjected the pages, he realised that, as their head, he must make. himself responsible for their spiritual welfare. He used every possible means of protecting them and the better he succeeded the more enraged the king became. On May 26th, 1886, the king ordered their arrest. All through the preceding night, Charles kept them together in prayer and gave baptism to those who were not yet baptised, for the missionaries could not always reach them. A few days later, on June 3rd, Charles himself was slowly burnt alive. Pius XII was later to declare him patron of all African Catholic Action groups. Charles and Matthias played such an important role amongst the martyrs that they have been given a special mention in the official documents, which speak of the Cause of the Blessed Martyrs Charles Lwanga and Matthias Kalemba Mulumba and their Companions.

The first to suffer martyrdom, however, was Joseph Mukas. He had been the most trusted courtier of Mwanga's father, King Mutesa. He was baptised in 1882. It was he who courageously rebuked Mwanga for the vices to which he had become addicted. In a fit of anger, the king ordered him to be beheaded and his body to be burnt. Within an hour or two, the king was filled with remorse for condemning his favourite to death, and sent word to prevent the execution. But it was too late, Joseph Mukasa was dead. There was, indeed, little likelihood of the king's message arriving in time, for the chief executioner was jealous of Joseph's influential position at court and had rushed him off to execution as soon as the king had ordered it. He first cut off one of Joseph's arms, later to be carried to the king as proof of execution, and then beheaded him and burnt his body. Thirteen of the martyrs were burnt alive on June 3rd, 1886 at Namugongo. They were made to walk there under the lashes of the executioners' whips and then tied up in faggots and thrown on a huge fire.

King Mwanga

Noe Mawaggali was killed with a lance in his own home. The king himself killed sixteen-year-old Denis with his lance. Gonzague and Athanasius were executed on the way to Namugongo. Since those days, the town of Kampala has been built up and has engulfed the spot where these two martyrs met their death. It is known as the Martyrs' Tree. Andrew and Pontianus were also martyred on the way to Namugongo. The last martyr of all was John Muzeyi. He was tortured for days on end and was finally strangled and his body thrown into a ditch, though some say he was buried alive. There were no women amongst the martyrs. Not indeed that there were none amongst the fervent Catholics of the early Church in Uganda. Many of them made it clear that they were ready to die for their Faith. Even one of the royal household, Princess Clare, the daughter of Mutesa, knowingly risked her life by publicly scorning a royal amulet which was the object of pagan superstitious cult. At the moment when Noe Mawaggali was


asassinated, his sister was working in a nearby banana plantation. When she saw what was happening, she came running up and declared that if it was through hatred for his religion that they had killed her brother, they must kill her also, for she too was a Christian.

The Cause of the Uganda Martyrs was introduced at Rome in 1912. Investigations had been begun by Bishop Livinhac,W.F., soon after their martyrdom. They were beatified by Pope Benedict XV on June 6th, 1922. In 1960, the cause of Blessed Charles Lwanga was reopened in the hopes of bringing about his canonisation. This caused a great increase in the devotion to this valiant young African martyr, all the more so because of his being the patron of Catholic Action. This, in turn, rekindled devotion to all the Uganda Martyrs and several bishops in Africa petitioned the Sacred Congregation of Rites to take up the cause of them all, and thus prepare their collective canonisation.


Namugongo, scene of the martyrdom

The Holy Father gave his approvai on May 10th, 1961. More than a hundred bishops in Africa signed the letter to the Pope expressing their wish to see the Martyrs canonised. But, as always in causes of canonisation, the Church requires at least two thoroughly authenticated miracles. There have, indeed, been many claims to miraculous cures put forward, especially in Africa, but it has not always been easy to follow the cases through with all the thoroughness which the Church demands, partly because of the shortage of doctors. There can be no doubt that the canonisation of the Martyrs would be a wonderful thing at this time, when Africa and the Church in Africa are facing a new and great phase in their history.

We White Fathers are naturally as eager as the Africans for this canonisation. For the Uganda Martyrs were amongst our earliest converts, and Father Lourdel, W.F., the first priest ever to set foot on Uganda soil, was there during those terrible days of persecution, instructing and praying with the future martyrs secretly at night. And when the thirteen were marched away to Namugongo, unable to approach them, he traced a last sign of the Cross over them from the wayside. We feel sure that many of our readers would like to join us in praying for the canonisation of our martyrs, and in begging their intercession for Africa.


Taken from the White Fathers' magazine, April 1962

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Full circles are no novelty in the life of a White Father. Fr Bernard Duffy, who has been the superior at The Priory since last September, finds himself looking down from the rostrum in the Study Hall at a desk which he himself occupied in 1936.

It was in the autumn of that year that Bernard Duffy came from his home town in Halifax, Yorks, to begin his seminary years.

He was Ordained at Jedburgh by Archbiship MacDonald in 1948 and taught at Bishop's Waltham and St Columba's until 1954 when he was appointed to Tanganyika. Here he was still busy with seminarians but this time with African students at the Seminary of Ujiji.

So it was from the heights near Lake Tanganyika that Father Duffy returned once more in January 1961, to the undulating hills of Hampshire. Are we right in detecting a a new and faraway look in his eye? Maybe, beyond the rows of desks that stretch before him at The Priory, he cannot take his eyes off his African boys at Ujiji!

For a White Father the two pictures easily merge into one.

Taken from the White Fathers' magazine, April 1962

Father J Sydney Stanley

Brother Modeste and Fr John Stanley, taken from a group photo of Priory staff and students 1935/6

Our last issue of the magazine had already gone to press when we learnt of the death of Frather Stanley, who was so well known to many of our friendss and readers.

Father Stanley taught for many years at Bishop's Waltham and then rendered invaluable service at St Mary's, Tabora, and latterly in the USA. In recent years his health caused considerable anxiety and in January we learnt from the Provincial of our American Province that he was to undergo a serious operation. A few days later the Provincial had to inform us that Father Stanley had died, fortified by the rites of Holy Church, on January 17th.

May he rest in peace.

Taken from the White Fathers' magazine, April 1962

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