Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka

Fr Alan Fudge
Mary Bliss
Fr John O'Donohue
Verna Burdett-Clark
Fr. Pierre Aucoin

Archbishop Joseph Nakabaale Kiwanuka
1899 - 1966

from a brief biography by Fr Aylward Shorter M.Afr.

Joseph Nakabaale Kiwanuka was the first native African to be ordained a Catholic bishop in modern times. He was born at Nakirebe in Mawokota county, Uganda, the child of Catholic parents, Victoro Katumba Munduekanika of the monkey clan and Felicitas Nankya Ssabawebwa Namukasa of the lungfish clan. Joseph was baptized at Rubaga, Kampala, on June 25, 1899. He received his primary education at Mitala Maria from 1910 to 1914, when he entered Bukalasa junior seminary. After studying philosophy and theology at Katigondo major seminary, he was ordained priest at Villa Maria on May 26, 1929. In his fourth year at Katigondo, Kiwanuka felt the call to join the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). Bishop Henri Streicher, his ordinary, opposed the move. However, Fr. Voillard, the Superior General of the society, who visited the seminary in 1928, agreed to admit Kiwanuka after ordination to the priesthood.

Shortly after his ordination, Kiwanuka received his call to the novitiate of the Missionaries of Africa on July 15, 1929. However, Bishop Streicher again intervened, sending the young priest to Rome for further studies. Kiwanuka lodged at the house of the Missionaries of Africa on via Trenta Aprile and attended the Pontifical Angelicum University, where he took a licentiate and doctorate in Canon Law. The subject of his doctoral dissertation, which he defended in 1932, was the marriage contract. After visiting France and England, Kiwanuka arrived in Algiers to make his novitiate with the Missionaries of Africa on October 8, 1932. He completed his novitiate on October 12, 1933 and, after his return to Uganda, pronounced the missionary oath at Entebbe on October 12, 1934. Meanwhile, Bishop Streicher's diocese had been divided into the vicariates of Masaka and Rubaga, on his retirement in 1933.

After pastoral appointments at Bikira and Bujuni, Kiwanuka came to Katigondo seminary, where he joined the teaching staff. On June 1, 1939 he received news of his appointment as Vicar Apostolic of Masaka. Joseph Kiwanuka was consecrated bishop in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, by Pope Pius XII on October 29, 1939, assisted by Archbishop Henri Streicher. Kiwanuka came back to his diocese soon after the start of World War II. In August 1940, the new bishop moved his diocesan headquarters from Villa Maria to Kitovu near Masaka town. In 1947, Kiwanuka played an important role at the General Chapter of the Missionaries of Africa in Algiers by championing the international character of missionary personnel in Uganda and resisting compliance with the desire of the British colonial office to admit only British, Commonwealth and English speaking missionaries to Uganda.

In January 1961 Joseph Kiwanuka was appointed Archbishop of Rubaga, on the retirement of Archbishop Joseph Cabana, and in October of the following year played a prominent role in the celebrations accompanying the attainment of political independence in Uganda. Immediately afterwards, Kiwanuka came to Rome to attend the sessions of the Second Vatican Council 1962 to 1965. During the third session of the Council, Bishop Kiwanuka assisted Pope Paul VI at the canonization of the twenty-two Catholic Martyrs of Uganda on October 18, 1964. In 1965 Obote's government in Uganda underwent a political crisis, and Kiwanuka responded by publishing an inspiring pastoral letter on political leadership and democratic maturity. This was Kiwanuka's final legacy, for he died suddenly on February 22, 1966, the day before Milton Obote assumed unconstitutional powers. He is buried in Rubaga Cathedral. The leadership of Archbishop Kiwanuka opened the door to the full development of the Catholic Church in Africa, which is now entirely in African hands.

Rugaba Cathedral

May he rest in peace.

Return to Top


Fr Alan Fudge
who died 5th August 2011

The following article was published in The Tablet

Where Gospel and world meet
by Piers Plowright
London NW3

How splendid to read Christopher Lamb? article (?hurch resurgent? 13 August) about
the ?ransfiguration?of that battered old Soho church, St Patrick?. And inspiring to see
how Fr Alexander Sherbrooke and his team have transformed it into a gleaming and lightfilled space, fit ?in Fr Sherbrooke? words ??o take people to heaven?
St Patrick? was one of several churches I used to pause in to and from work at BBC Broadcasting House from the early 1970s to my retirement in 1997, and a place I?e continued to visit. Now it will be a place to revel in.

But there? another church, the other side of Oxford Street, on the edge of Fitzrovia, that? always been a thing of beauty and where I lit a candle most mornings and some evenings. That? St Charles Borromeo in Ogle Street. It? like no other church I know, a Victorian-Byzantine extravaganza, with a glowing iconostasis, a feast of colour and candles throughout the liturgical year, and equipped with the most wonderful marble plunge-pool for total-immersion baptism.

The beauty and pizzazz of the place have been largely due to its charismatic
priest, Fr Alan Fudge, who, to my great sadness and, I imagine, that of his parishioners
?he had been there for 33 years ?died of lung cancer on 5 August.

A fiery, jazz-inflected preacher (I was told he was an accomplished jazz pianist, but never heard him play), a generous listener to the people who came to him for help at all hours, and writer and illustrator of a challenging weekly newsletter, Fr Alan proved, as Fr Alexander is proving once again, how much a motivated priest with an eye for beauty can make his church a place where the Gospel and the world truly meet.

May He Rest In Peace

Please note : Fr Alan is featured in the website's Gallery : Pages 241 and 277

Fr Alan James Fudge RIP
a tribute by Vincent Harrington
Posted: Thursday, September 1 2011
in The Independent Catholic News

(Left: Fr Alan Fudge after Baptism)

The Requiem Mass for Father Alan Fudge, parish priest at Ogle Street, central London took place at Westminster Cathedral 2nd September 2011. The chief celebrant will be Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

The burial was at Saint Mary? cemetery at Kensal Green. After the Mass, and after the burial, there was an Agape in the parish hall of Holy Apostles in Pimlico. A note on the Ogle Street parish website says:  'An Agape is more than some refreshments ? it is an extension of the liturgy. We enjoy a communion with each other that only God can create.'

Tribute by Vincent Harrington :

lan James Fudge was born in Bristol on 31 December 1940 during an air raid attack. He was the only son of Jim Fudge, himself an only child, and of Phyllis Dibble, one of a large and bustling family of ten children. They were married on Boxing Day 1939. Jim was not a Catholic and Alan did not attend a Catholic school. In his early teens he was taken by a friend to the Jesuit Church of St Mary on the Quay where his maternal grandmother lived. He developed a great love for the parish, the liturgy and the Jesuit priests there, becoming an altar boy and he soon began to display his talent for music on the organ.  It was there, at the age of 15, that Alan made his first Holy Communion.

His vocation developed steadily from about this time. His first thought was to become a Jesuit lay brother in order to live a life of prayer, a gift which he certainly received. The priests at St Mary helped him to discover his calling to the priesthood, though not as a Jesuit. He retained a lifelong affection and gratitude towards the Jesuits and a great love for St Ignatius.

After working for a time in the offices of a paper manufacturing company, in 1961, he left employment and went to the Jesuit house of studies at Osterley to continue his education. While there, he became attracted to the missions and joined the White Fathers, an order dedicated to the mission in Africa. He studied with them at Blacklion in Ireland and at Totteridge in North London and received the habit on 8 September 1965. The international make up of his fellow students who came from so many different parts of the globe he always considered a great blessing in his formation, as indeed was the excitement of the Second Vatican Council taking placing during his seminary years.

However, it transpired that the White Fathers was not to be the path for Alan and, after further studies at the diocesan Seminary at Ware, he was ordained deacon on 29 June 1970 for the Diocese of Westminster and served in the parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, at Fulham in London. Meanwhile his father had undergone instruction in the faith, and to Alan? great joy, Jim Fudge was received into the Catholic Church.

Alan was ordained priest on 10 July 1971, a swelteringly hot summer? day, by Bishop Victor Guazzelli, at St Mary on the Quay. His first appointment was to the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, Marylebone, where he was also chaplain to St Mary? Hospital in Paddington, a ministry which kept him extremely busy and which he grew to love greatly. There he revealed a talent for preaching firmly based on his own love of scripture and his familiarity with biblical studies: his desire was always to engage the Word with the everyday experiences of his congregation.

In September 1977, he accepted his appointment as curate to the nearby parish of St Charles  Borromeo, Ogle Street, and as chaplain to the Middlesex Hospital. The parish had been due for closure. However, he succeeded Fr Ronald Cox as parish priest on 14th September 1981, continuing to serve the Middlesex, and other hospitals in the parish, as chaplain, though he was now on his own.

One of his overriding concerns was to re-instruct and catechise lapsed, baptised Catholic adults, of whom he saw more and more. In the aftermath of the Council, and of the sexual revolution and increasing secularisation, Fr Alan suspected that this would require a more sustained, long-term and radical approach.

Before he became parish priest, he had been introduced to the Neo-Catechumenal Way by his friend and White Father confrere, Fr Angel Iglesias. With the permission of Fr Cox, he invited an initial Catechesis to the parish and the Neo-Catechumenal Way began there on 16th October 1978, the same evening that John Paul II was elected Pope ?a date he  had always considered significant. The first community, of which he himself was a member, came into being, and an annual catechesis for adults continued every year for the next 33 years. This sustained adult catechesis accompanying a journey of faith for countless parishioners and aimed specifically at renewing the grace of baptism, was his life? work. Whatever fruits arose from his catechetical endeavours and his zeal for ?e-evangelisation??and there were many (marriages, children, vocations, courses, Mass attendance, local evangelisation, rediscovery of the all night Easter Vigil) ?he would refuse any credit, believing these were the fruits of God? work, regarding himself more often as an obstacle. But it was a source of joy to his priesthood, and comprised what he repeatedly called ?ust straightforward Christianity?

To emphasise the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism, with the full co-operation of the diocesan liturgical commission, he reordered the church beautifully, installing, among other things, an octagonal baptismal font in which even adults could receive baptism by immersion. This was completed in 1984. Alan always took great care to maintain and renew the furnishings of the church, to make it welcoming as a place of prayer, and very often he was himself to be seen praying there.

Although Fr Alan had no assistant priest, he often gave hospitality to priests and seminarians from around the world who were studying and needed to stay in central London. In turn they assisted him in the work of the parish during their stays. One such was Fr Justin Furaha from Rwanda, subsequently murdered there, and later, for a long period, Fr Jesse Amedze from Ghana.

Though by nature a very private person, and most comfortable with his family and close friends, Alan? hospitality extended far beyond his immediate circumstances. Thanks to his hard-working Scottish housekeeper of many years, Sister Agnes, he was able invite whoever he wished to his table. The presbytery was nearly always full of visitors, some staying for long periods. He was keenly grateful for the generosity of his parishioners. His care for others was genuine, spontaneous and very deep. As a priest, he often said, God called him to be an ?con of Christ? and while he considered himself a poor replica, he consciously made himself available, virtually day and night, for those who required confession, spiritual direction or merely to talk at length about their troubles: from the richest to the poorest. He genuinely believed that most priests had no real idea how much their flock truly loved them.

However, most people will remember Fr Alan for his dignified and beautiful celebration of the Liturgy, and in particular his homilies in which he ?roke the bread of the Word? week after week, season after season. He preserved this gift to the end, always explaining the context and richness of the readings as ?ord?of God, relating them to real events in the lives of his hearers and, above all, proclaiming the love of God for sinners and the salvation that comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In his final weeks, weakened by illness, he insisted on celebrating the two Holy Communion Masses, in each delivering the ?erygmatic?announcement to which he was a devoted disciple, in ever more simple and resonant terms. He considered a homily without the ?erygma,? that is the clear and hopeful announcement of the death and resurrection of Christ, was a disservice to his flock.

During his last Mass, celebrated on the fortieth anniversary of his priestly ordination, he gathered strength to give thanks to God for his vocation, his parish, and the many blessings he had received. He asked forgiveness of God and his flock for his shortcomings. Many will also remember his weekly newsletters, in which he distilled the words of his homilies. When congratulated on their pithy charm and insightfulness he would retort that he had never had an original idea of his own, and praise was due to others gone before him.

Others will remember him as their catechist and how they benefitted from his frankness, insights, and deep personal faith in the Gospel. Others again will remember the many First Communion classes, Confirmation and Marriage courses presented over the many years by Alan together with his many teams of catechists. He had great admiration and faith in the laity, among whom he had many collaborators and from whom he in turn received great inspiration.

It was a great personal joy for Alan to encourage and nurture those from the ?ommunities?who felt a vocation to the priesthood, and he was responsible for their formation for a time. He continued to help them as spiritual director at the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in London. Many other priests and seminarians have had the benefit of his spiritual direction.

Though adult catechesis was for him the real work of the parish, Alan was open to other initiatives: AA groups meeting nearly every evening, an Angolan prayer group, occasional meetings of Youth 2000 and the weekly meetings of the charismatic prayer group Soul Food. They now make use of the rooms in the crypt which was dug out and opened in 1990 to accommodate the neo-catechumenal communities, the other parish courses and catechesis. A project dearly loved by Alan, the second stage of this work is due to be completed next year. He also had a long and amicable relationship with local pastors, religious leaders, and especially with the local synagogue.

Alan became ill in March and spent a month of investigations at UCL hospital before having an operation to remove colon cancer. This was successful, but there was also a tumour on his lung and the treatment for this had no effect. However the end came quickly. He had returned home to the presbytery where his cousin Anne was among those caring for him. They accompanied him throughout his illness. He died peacefully at 3am on 5 August, as they were reciting the Creed at his bedside. In a letter concerning his wishes about his funeral he had said ?I wish to die professing the Faith of Our Holy Mother the Church? He placed himself in to the hands of his merciful Father, Our Lady, St Charles Borromeo, St Ignatius, St John Vianney and his most beloved intercessor, St Therese of Lisieux.

Vincent Harrington

Click below to see a short film with Fr Alan introducing Ogle Street.




Mary Bliss

The following is taken from an email sent by Fr Chris Wallbank (Sector Secretary of the White Fathers in the UK) to colleagues and friends (7th September 2011):

I have just been informed of the death of MARY BLISS (thank you, Ted).
For many years a faithful servant and friend of the Missionaries of Africa and known to those of you who passed through St Edwards.

She died on Tuesday and her funeral will be on 20th September.
Ted will be the celebrant.
If any of you wish further details then, please, get in touch with myself or Ted.
We remember her in our payers.  May she enjoy eternal rest and peace.
Chris Wallbank M.Afr.
Missionaries of Africa
Sector Secretary
64 Little Ealing Lane
W5 4XF


And this email was sent the following day by Aloysius Beebwa to John MacWilliam and others :

Dear John,
Thank you for informing us of the passing into eternity of Mary Bliss.
Yes, I knew her from those days at St. Edward's College, London. On one occasion, she offered to drop me off at Mill Hill Broadway. It was in her last days of driving. As we got towards the then famous Rising Sun, we found a 251 bus that had just driven right into it, apparently coming to a halt at the counter. Mary Bliss suddenly said, "That must be a driver from the Continent."
I was taken aback. I asked her why she thought it was someone from the Continent who had been driving. She looked at me and said, "It is the people from the Continent who never keep rules."
She then told me at another occasion that she was going to give up driving. I asked her how she had come to that conclusion and then she said, "Well common sense seems to tell me that." Voila!!!!
Mary was a generous friend to generations of White Fathers, White Sisters and others for decades.
I remember her coming to St. Edward's on Fridays to especially mend clothes or knit hats for the new arrivals for the winter period. At table she would occasionally correct our sometimes bizarre pronunciation, and would kind of say, "In England we do not say it that way."
She sometimes would forget names of students and she would come up with something like, "What is the name of the tall lad from West Africa?"
Or, "What is the name of that lad who speaks English very well?" That would be quite a puzzle for many of us to sort out.
She often came for the Sunday Mass at St Edward's College. That Mass was often attended by friends of the house as students would mostly be out in parishes or prisons--visiting. It used to be followed by a good cup of tea.
When she gave up driving, she then would be kindly driven back home by people like the late Alfred Azzopardi and his wife Antoinette or sometimes by a member of the community.
Mary used to proudly speak of her two years of living and working in Uganda as a teacher. She mentioned many of her encounters and told me how she was once thrilled to be served a cup of tea by no other but bishop Joseph Willigers, MHM, now Emeritus bishop of Jinja, Uganda.
She was also very proud for having lived in Canada and for having been able to freely drive around and about and for having been able to see so much during her holidays. " I never regret at all." She would later insist.
There is so much to remember Mary Bliss for and to be very grateful to the Lord of having shown his creativity in creating a creative person with the imagination of Mary Bliss.
May the blissful Mary, as she sometimes called herself, now rest in peace,and intercede for us.
Aloysius B

Return to Top

Father John O'Donohue

Fr O'Donohue died at Glasgow Hospital, on the 31st of March 2011,
at the age of 84 years of which 59 of missionary life in Uganda,
Tanzania, Kenya, Italy, Burkina Faso and Great Britain.

The funeral Mass was held 5th April 2011 at St Columkille Parish in Rutherglen

Click here for an Obituary by Fr Chris Wallbank MAfr

Bishop Devine, Frs. George Smith, Patrick Harrity, Stephen Collins, John
McLean and several local clergy concelebrated with Fr. Paul Hanon.
Eric Creaney, Patrick Gibbons, Owen Gormley and his wife represented The Pelicans.


Original Diocese:
Spiritual Year:

01-09-1957 Teacher St Columba's

Photo above : Fr O'Donohue with the lads from Melrose House at St Columba's. (1957)

01-10-1952 Studies M.A. St Andrews Great Britain
01-09-1954 Teacher St Mary's Tabora Tanzania
01-09-1956 Studies M.A. St Andrews G.B.

01-09-1958 Teacher Bishop's Waltham
01-09-1962 CIPA Roma,M.G. Italia
01-09-1964 Pastoral Course London Totteridge G.B.
01-12-1964 Headmaster Mutolere Sen.School Uganda
01-05-1967 Curate Nandere, D.Kampala
01-11-1967 Curate Kisubi, D.Kampala
01-04-1968 Teacher Hist.Philos. Katigondo, Maj.Semin.
01-04-1969 Ministry H.C.: New Jersey U.S.A.
01-10-1969 Studies Soc.Anthrop. Oxford G.B.
01-12-1971 Teacher Alokolum Nat.Semin. Uganda
01-01-1973 Lecturer+Sec. Makerere University
16-07-1976 Back to G.B.
01-04-1977 CESAO Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso
01-04-1978 Writing on Social J. Roma, M.G. Italia
01-01-1979 Studies Theology Notre Dame, Indiana U.S.A.
01-04-1980 Learning German K?n Deutschland
01-12-1980 Secr.Asso.Theo.Inst. Nairobi,Chaplaincy Kenya
01-01-1982 +Lecturer St Thomas Nairobi Kenya
01-05-1986 Lecturer Makerere University Uganda
28-01-1988 Oecumenical Team J?usalem Isra?
02-03-1988 Session-Retraite J?usalem
11-10-1988 Ministry H.C.: Ash,Aldershot G.B.
22-01-1991 Translations Roma, M.G. Italia
17-05-1998 Traductor .Eng.Chapitre
01-12-2003 Chaplain H.C.: ..Musselburgh G.B.
01-11-2009 Residence Rutherglen G.B.
31-03-2011 Back to the Father (84) at the Hospital Glasgow G.B.

Mike Mearns writes (Dec 2012):

"I knew Fr O'Donohue only for one year at the Priory ( my 6th form 1958-59) where he was our English prof. He provoked our thinking as we made our way through: The Tempest, Hamlet, Middlemarch, Lamb's Essays and the other set books.

He set us each a topic to speak on for ten minutes with the assurance that anything less than 10 minutes would result in absolute silence for the remaining minutes. Of course there was no silence and some presentations exceeded the alloted time.

He directed the production of The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse in which I played Badger ( one of the Doctor's gang of robbers) and drew from me a performance that I am still proud of. John Paul Larkins told me that he felt like crying when I left the gang on my way to certain death from " me 'eart".

There were two female roles in the play: the Nurse and the Gangster's Moll ( played by Andy Coyle and Mike Keller respectively). Bunny McGrath provided a box of dresses and other female attire for these two. John opened the box and took out the garments one by one as the cast stood around. The final item was a diaphanous negligee. He held it up and said, much to our appreciation, "a little too nuptial I think". He treated us as adults and we all relished that.

Chris Wallbank describes him as a radical in the obituary. He was that and i thank him for it. By the way, I paased A level English."

Rest In Peace

An Obituary
by Fr Chris Wallbank MAfr

John was born in Manchester, G. B., on the 22nd September, 1926, together with his twin sister to whom he remained deeply attached to the end of his life. He had an elder brother and sister who both died before him.

John attended St. Bede? Grammar School in Manchester before going to the Junior Seminary of the Society, for a few months in 1943, at the height of World War Two. In September of that year, he began his course of Philosophy at St. Boswell?, on the Scottish borders. There, he quickly showed his intellectual qualities. They were by no means his only positive qualities. He rarely, if ever, mentioned his academic achievements at three Universities and from the very outset he displayed the thoroughness that would mark all his activities. One down-to-earth example may serve as an illustration. At St. Boswell? he was the sacristan. This was at a time when the chapel was filled on Sundays with Polish soldiers, in their hob-nailed boots. Every Saturday, John and his deputy would energetically polish the whole of the wooden floor and on Sunday morning would cover it with blankets to protect it from the hob-nailed boots. This was in the days when elbow grease was the only implement used!

This thoroughness was to stay with John all his life. It was particularly evident in his writings, his own and his translations of the work of others. He knew French well and, later in life learned German as well. His thoroughness was accompanied by hard work. He dreaded the prospect of becoming an intellectual couch-potato, and towards the end of his life he translated all the Latin classics and was working on the Greek when the end came. All his written work was elegant in style and rich in vocabulary. He was modest about his achievements and rarely spoke of having studied at St. Andrews, Oxford, and Notre Dame in the USA (he said that it was in America that he had had to work the hardest!)

Throughout his years of formation, John was seen to be extremely gifted intellectually and it was therefore inevitable that an academic future was foreseen for him. After ordination, he worked in Junior Seminaries in Britain and as a lecturer in Makerere University in Uganda, where he was also headmaster of Mutolere Secondary School.

However, as the long list of places in which John served suggests, he experienced difficulties in his relationships both with confreres and students. He was a radical, did not suffer gladly people whom he thought lazy and he expected high standards as the norm from his students. He could express his opinions and judgments in a radical and, at times, a provocative way, partly to shock, partly to provoke a reaction. He expressed forcefully his judgment on the value ? or otherwise ?of even basic aspects of the Society? pastoral priorities, to the point of wondering - sometimes aloud ?if the Society should continue its work in Africa at all!

John? tendency to express himself forcefully could land him in serious trouble. This was precisely the case in l976 when he was lecturing at Makerere University. A female member of the staff had been abducted and murdered, presumably by the secret police. John was very disturbed


that other staff members seemed unwilling to a public protest. He sent a circular letter to the Vice-Chancellor and senior members of the staff urging them to protest officially and publicly, as a body, at what had been done. This led to a confidential report that a deportation order was to be served on John. Subsequently, John was seen to be followed by people using the same make of car as the murderers of the staff member had used. He was driven to the British High Commission and was able to take a plane out of the country the same evening.

Some people thought John had been imprudent to speak out about the murder. Others expressed their admiration for his courage and supported his stand.

John was all of piece! Forceful though he might be, John could eat humble pie and admit to having been mistaken once he was convinced that he was in the wrong.

In time, John? radical views led to his disenchantment with Africa or rather with some of the policies followed by the Church and the Missionaries of Africa. He was unable to see the value of much of the work being done. Indeed, he thought some of it was counter-productive. At times, he was unable to see the complexity of situations or the need to progress slowly. He remained a good priest and had no desire to leave the Society. He went to Rome where he became a highly valued translator of Society documents and books.

The final chapter of his life saw John back in pastoral ministry. For three years, he was acting parish priest in the English Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, where he was greatly appreciated, particularly for the high quality of his sermons. Later, he became chaplain to Carmelite Sisters in the Midlands and his final appointment was as chaplain to Sisters in Musselburgh in Scotland.

It was at Musselburgh that his health deteriorated. He suffered from emphysema and this finally prevented him from saying Mass for the Sisters. He moved to the Society? community at Rutherglen, near Glasgow, where he was well looked after. However, he was now in need of specialised attention and was moved to the Sisters of Nazareth Home in Glasgow. It was there that he died, peacefully, on the 31st of March.

John had been dedicated to searching for and proclaiming the truth. It was a source of sadness to him and to others that his many talents could not come to fruition, yet his attachment to the priesthood and to the Society remained strong to the end. The seeker after truth has now, we may hope, come face to face with the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.


May he enjoy eternal life in the vision of God.


Chris Wallbank

Return to Top

Verna Burdett-Clark
Who died December 6th 2011

(source: Paul West)

Peter Finn: Verna and her family were parishioners of the Priory parish and of Our Lady Queen of Apostles parish, Bishops Waltham. They were good friends of the White Fathers and of the Pelicans, and Verna continued to attend the Pelican? annual Pentecost Mass and celebration into extreme old age. Her son, Stephen when informing me of her death wrote:

? wanted you to know that my mother Verna died peacefully and comfortably on December 6th.  She was attended by Fr. John Buckley. On each occasion he annointed her and we knew she had placed her faith and future in Jesus Christ. Hers was a life well lived and well loved.

Mum always looked forward to the special celebration of Pentecost at Bishops Waltham, especially when "the Priory boys" returned and sang so beautifully.

My father? ashes were buried in the White Father's Cemetery there on Pentecost Sunday 2nd June 2001 with some of the Pelicans in attendance. As my parents were blessed to be members of the "Priory Parish" since the late 1940s, it would perhaps seem appropriate if her ashes were to be buried at some point during your centenary celebrations. I have already asked Fr John.

Return to Top








Fr. Pierre Aucoin M.Afr (1930 - 2021)
Société des Missionnaires d’Afrique - Society of the Missionaries of Africa
Father Réal Doucet, Provincial of the Americas,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father
on Thursday, 29 July 2021
in CHSLD ( Centre Hospitalier de Soins de Longue Durée / Long-term care hospital) St-Vincent de Paul - Sherbrooke (Canada)
at the age of 91 years, of which 67 years of missionary life
in Malawi, Zambia, Great Britain, Italy and Canada.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.
Born in / Né à :
on/le [date]
Spiritual Year
Année Spirituelle
Missionary Oath
Serment Missionnaire
Diocese / Diocèse : 12/08/1950 18/06/1954 20/01/1955
Citizenship / Nationalité :
Canadian / canadien

Funeral of Father Pierre Aucoin, August 21, 2021

Father Pierre Aucoin passed away peacefully around 7:00 p.m. on July 29, 2021 at the CHSLD Saint-Vincent in Sherbrooke where he was receiving very good care. He had been there since the move on July 21, 2020 of all the colleagues from our house from Lennoxville to Les Terrasses Bowen. This is a new seniors' residence recently built in Sherbrooke. Pierre's precarious health did not allow him to be with them.

The restrictions related to the health measures required during the pandemic have resulted in limiting the number of visitors to only a few designated colleagues and one of her nieces: Annie de la Sablonnière. On the other hand, Pierre managed to keep a close bond with the members of his family thanks to the phone calls. This family closeness was manifested during the gathering at the Alfred Dallaire Memoria funeral home on Saint-Martin Boulevard in Laval on Saturday afternoon, August 21.

About thirty people, the vast majority of whom were his nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews, as well as their spouses, presented their tribute with great gratitude for their uncle or great-uncle. Already that morning, all the confreres and sisters of St-Hubert Street in Montreal had prayed for Pierre during a mass celebrated in the large hall of the Afrika Center . As with the gathering at the funeral home, two musical pieces accompanied the prayer.

The first song, O Rest in the Lord , composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1846, inspired by Psalm 37, is a call to trust God and to wait patiently for him. The evangelical link is that of John 16:33: “I say these things to you so that you may have peace in me . In the world you will have to suffer , but have faith ; I have conquered the world. This victory , "is our faith in Jesus , Son of God. »(1 Jn 5).

According to Annie de la Sablonnière, this musical composition is central to the spirituality of Pierre Aucoin. A violinist since his youth, this song was part of the repertoire of the choir that Pierre conducted at Fort Jameson, now Chipata, in Zambia. It was there that he had received an ebony conductor's wand as a gift from the choir. This was given to Nathalie Côté , her grand-niece and only goddaughter.

A more recent song entitled I become the wind again , composed by Manuel Laroche, music by Martin Léon and interpreted by Fred Pellerin, enhanced the celebration by establishing a very beautiful link with the spirituality that inhabited Father Aucoin. The trust that Peter placed in his God led him to peace beyond his sufferings . Like most missionaries, he regularly battled malaria. Now: He has become the wind again after leaving his loves, his friends, his journey , he is invisible again, because his life was only a short momentdespite being 91 years old. The most fragile of all the siblings, Pierre nevertheless lived the longest!

Father Aucoin's violin

At the funeral home, after welcoming remarks, Charlotte Bertrand, daughter of Isabelle Aucoin, one of Pierre's nieces, played Schubert's Ave Maria by interpreting it with the violin made by Father Aucoin when he was in Toronto. At that time he was a member of the York Symphony Orchestra Amateur Symphony Orchestra. Already, at the age of 10 or 11, Pierre had interpreted Schubert's Ave Maria during a gathering in the village of St-Colomban.
Moreover, according to Guy Martineau, in addition to being an actor, Pierre Aucoin could well have become a professional musician. His talent as a violinist allowed him to win the Excel bread competition broadcast on Saturdays on the CKAC radio station.

Saint-Martin cemetery in Laval  

At the request of the family, the Missionaries of Africa agreed to have the ashes buried in the Saint-Martin cemetery in Laval. This brief ceremony took place on Monday August 23 at 2:00 p.m. under a blazing sun in the company of some family members and friends as well as Réal Doucet and Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr.

The lot has been that of the White Fathers since the time of the Saint-Martin novitiate; a building, meanwhile, became the Eldercare Inc. St. Jude . Very wide, the third gravestone is already half full of names. The last in the list is Father Paul Tremblay.

Former novitiate now CHSLD St-Jude

Photo of Pierre's mom

Surprise! A photo of Pierre Aucoin's mother, offered by Marie Smith, granddaughter of Elisabeth Lanteigne, cousin of Marie-Anne, was placed near the ashes of her son. The mother was called Marie-Anne Lanteigne-Aucoin (1897-1954). At the same time as her son Pierre, she received the final blessing before the burial of the urn by her nephew Daniel Aucoin .

The Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) are especially grateful to two nieces of Father Aucoin: Annie and Lucie de la Sablonnière, for all the steps taken at the funeral home, to join the family members, for the funeral program and for Father Aucoin's bookmark.

“May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. "

“By the mercy of God. Amen! "


21-page African Memories from Father Pierre Aucoin to members of his family.

Bernard Melling writes:
Not only did he teach French at St. Columbia’s he also taught me all I know about .Gregorian Chant.
I corresponded with him until about two years ago, when he went ‘off the grid’.
He was in charge of the Schola at St. Columbia’s. God rest his soul.

Art McGuigan writes:
Bernard Melling the Gregorian Chant and the tuning fork he used. I lost track of him about the same time but I thought he was in Quebec.
  • Bernard Melling
    Art McGuigan I remember the tuning fork. He’d bang it on his hand and put the end of it on a desk so that we could all hear it.
    Return to Top