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From Father Ian Buckmaster, Provincial of Ireland.
Des Fitzmaurice was the archetypal tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold.
Not averse to taking a bulldog stance either as a schoolboy, union negotiator
or chief investigator of human rights for the Canadian Government, he
was nevertheless affectionate, generous, soft-hearted, and a loyal friend.
He was devoted to the White Fathers and a committed Pelican who travelled
often to England, Ireland and Scotland to attend Pelican gatherings. If
there were a prize for the one who travelled the most miles to Pelican
conventions, he would have won it outright.
He completed his philosophy studies at Broome Hall, entered the Novitiate in sHeerenberg, and continued there studying theology. In 1956 he left sHeerenberg and returned home to Ireland for a short time.
He emigrated to Canada in 1957 and worked as a miner in
the Hollinger gold mines at Timmins, Northern Ontario, where he organised
and led a miners union. He then moved to a government job with the
National Employment Service, and in 1967 went to the Department of Labour
in Ottawa to deal with labour-management relations. His progress was then
rapid. He moved to the Public Service Commission as chief investigator
of human rights and discrimination issues within the federal government,
and was then appointed Director of the Anti-Discrimination Branch of the
Public Service Commission. He later served as the Human Rights Advisor
to the Public Service Alliance of Canada. He retired in 1988 and formed
a small company dealing with human rights issues. He acted as an advocate
for people with employment problems and specialised in disability cases.
Father Gerard Burton WF 1912 - 2007
Taken from the White Fathers' International Website and adapted
Fr. Gerard Burton died in the evening of the 19th December 2007 at St. Vincent's Nursing home, Pinner, London. He died peacefully and suddenly. He was 95 years old, of which 69 of missionary life in Tanzania and in Great Britain.
May He Rest in Peace
Father James Barry WF 1916 - 2008
Taken from the White Fathers' International Website and adapted from a message from Fr J Gerrard WF, UK Provincial :
"Jim died this afternoon, 11th February 2008, in hospital in Glasgow.He had recently been receiving radium therapy and was doing quite well but this morning his condition worsened and was taken into hospital.
He was 91 years old of which 65 of missionary life
in Uganda and in Great Britain.
Let us keep him and his family in our prayers at this time.
The funeral of Fr. Jim Barry will take place on Friday the 15th Feb at St. Columbkille's parish, Rutherglen, at 1.00pm.
May He Rest in Peace
Father Patrick Houlihan WF 1921 - 2007
Remember Pat in your prayers and all of those who are grieving for him.
Patrick Michael Houlihan was born on the 5th July 1921 in Balham, London. His parents came from Ireland. His father was a policeman. His mother died when he was still a child. He was baptised on the 15th July in the parish of the Most Holy Trinity, Dockhead, Bermondsey. He had one brother who predeceased him in 1989. He attended the local Catholic primary school. He went to the nearby Xaverian College in Clapham for the 1st part of his secondary education. He then completed his secondary studies in the Priory, Bishop’s Waltham.
Pat began his philosophical studies at the outbreak of the 2nd World War in September 1939. It was felt that the south of England could become a dangerous place, so it was decided that the British and Irish students should travel to France to do their philosophical studies in Kerlois, France. However, the War soon caught up with them. The German Army arrived in Kerlois in 1940. The passports of the students were in Nantes waiting for endorsement so that they could not travel to the area controlled by the Vichy regime and the possibility of a return to Britain. The students travelled to Paris still trying to follow their studies. Eventually in July 1940, the British students were interned for the duration of the War. As Ireland was neutral, the Irish students were released. Because of his Irish parentage, Pat was able to claim Irish citizenship and was allowed to go.
He finished his philosophical studies in Tournus and he started his theological studies at Carthage in September 1941. He did his novitiate in Maison Carrée in 1942 and was then able to return to England in 1943 to complete his theological studies at Rossington Hall. He took the Oath of the Society on the 29th July 1945 and was ordained a priest on the 30th July 1946.
However, like many of his contemporaries, Pat was held back in the new Province for work and he saw service mostly as bursar at St. Boswell’s, Bishop’s Waltham and Monteviot, where he was also socius to the novice master of the Brothers. Eventually in 1949, he was able to leave for Nyassaland, Malawi, and the parish of Nambuma. For his first term in Nyassaland, Pat served in a variety of ministries. He taught in the junior seminary of Kasina and worked in the parishes of Guilleme and Mua. During this first period, it was noted that he was obedient, reliable, cheerful, faithful to prayer life, a good community man, but also a bit original in his ideas and not very well organised. He could react angrily to what he felt was authoritarianism. He felt that he was not given enough support when he was learning the language. In fact, he never really mastered the local language. It was also noted there could be trouble if he was asked to spiritualise a problem that could be fixed and not just accept it as God’s will.
He came on home leave in 1959 and did his 30-Day Retreat at Mours in 1960. 1961 sees him back at Mua for a short period. He was made superior in Kasina and worked very well with a local diocesan priest, although it was noted that the organisation of the parish left much to be desired. Towards the end of the 60s, after periods in Dedza and Bembeke, he felt very frustrated and at a low ebb. He even thought of incardination into a diocese in South Africa.
At the time, the South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference was asking the Malawian Bishops for chaplains to work with Malawian migrants in the South African mines. Pat was asked to go and look at the possibilities of such work. He set off with a Land Rover and a caravan and toured around, weighing up the possibilities. His report needed some clarifications, so it was Fr. Jean-Pierre Lescour who supplied the final details and the White Fathers with the Carmelites started the ministry to Malawian mine workers in 1973.
Pat came back to work in Zambia, first in Chassa as a teacher in the local secondary school and then in Petauke in the parish and in the local secondary school. While in Zambia, he had a serious accident when he crashed into a military convoy. His car was a write-off and he escaped only to be badly beaten up by angry soldiers. He suffered a broken jaw and some internal injuries. He came back to Ireland to receive medical treatment and recuperate. He impressed the students at the time by his good humour over the incident and by his determination to return to Africa. By 1986, he was 40 years a priest and talked of retiring. He did come to the Promotion house in Longford for a time, but still not quite ready to settle down. He was offered a chance to be chaplain to the expatriate community in Lilongwe and he undertook the task enthusiastically. However, he soon became discouraged and a threatened skin cancer made him decide to return to Europe. He was still not ready to settle and he was accepted by Bishop Budd of Plymouth to work in that Diocese. He started in Dawlish and eventually became parish priest of St. Ives in 1989. He was happy there and was able to rearrange the presbytery to his liking. His originality now became amiable eccentricity and he was well liked by the people. In 1995, he decided to retire for good and come back to Dublin
He was now a free man and he enjoyed free travel. The opening up of Eastern Europe to tourists meant that he could have holidays in Bulgaria and Romania. He came back on a number of times with bruises having tripped over things in darkened Orthodox churches. He enjoyed gambling on horse racing. He had a system which changed from time to time and he prepared meticulously for the afternoon foray to the bookmaker. He said it kept him sane and it did. His coups were a topic of conversation at meals or social events
A number of his friends, also regular Mass-goers at our chapel in Templeogue told us that he was missed by the clients at the local bookmakers as much for his cheerfulness as everything else. He was a man of prayer and often one found him praying in the oratory of the house. He seldom missed the community Mass.
Many tributes were paid to Pat. He was loved by his nephews and nieces and grandnephews and grandnieces. Everybody had a fond memory of him and appreciated his stories, jokes good humour and general cheerfulness. He was a man of faith and prayer and a devoted missionary. May he rest in peace.
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