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Click on the item you wish to view:

  1. Fr Kevin Wiseman
  2. Fr Dan Sherry
  3. Adrian Hastings, theologian
  4. Brother Aubert
  5. Fr Henry Moreton
  6. Bill Mathews
  7. Fr Tom Rathe
  8. Andrew Murphy



Fr Kevin Wiseman 1921 — 2001
Taken from The Petit Echo, Edition No. 922

Kevin Wiseman was born at Wakefield in Yorkshire on 10th February 1921. Two years later, the Wiseman family moved to Sheffield, famous for its stainless steel, where Kevin attended St. Wilfrid's Primary School and then went on to De La Salle College.

Like many people at that time, Kevin left school when he was 14, and went to work, helping his father who was in the printing trade. His work involved making deliveries at all kinds of places on his bicycle, and it was during this time, that Kevin met a White Father at the local Carmelite Convent. After a long time and much-soul searching, Kevin wrote to the White Fathers to say that he wanted to be a missionary. He was invited to come to the junior seminary at Bishop's Waltham, after the Christmas holidays in January 1936. So Kevin was back at a school desk again, but it was not easy. He had been put into a class with boys of his own age, but because he had been out of school for a while, he had a lot of catching up to do. Latin, especially, was a problem for him. After many difficulties, he eventually passed his Matriculation in 1938 and in September of that year was on his way to Autreppe in Belgium to begin his Philosophy.

However, things were not going well at home. His father had taken ill and the business was not doing well, so Kevin felt he had to go back to Sheffield to give a hand and help build things up until the firm was eventually taken over. In the meantime, the White Fathers had opened up Rossington Hall, which was not far from his home, as a formation house for the British Students, so Kevin was able to keep in touch with the fathers there. He asked if he could come there to begin his Philosophy again.

It was not to be. War was declared in September 1939 and Rossington Hall was taken over by the military. It was decided that since so many of the French seminarians had been drafted into the army, there would be ample space to accommodate the British students at Kerlois. Kerlois was situated near the West Coast in Brittany, a long way from the border with Germany. It would be safe!

Kevin's little book "Destined for Mission", which friends and acquaintances persuaded him to write when he was already an old man, describes what happened next. In June 1940, the Germans came into France through Holland and Belgium. At first, the little group of British students were advised to stay where they were, then they were told to flee. They were unable to reach the Unoccupied Zone in the South and were interned for the rest of the war at St. Denis in Paris. In 1942, some of the inmates at the camp were planning to escape and Kevin provided one of them with an address to go to if he ever got out. Unfortunately, he did not get very far. He was re-captured and the Germans wanted to know where he had got the address from. Kevin was arrested and taken to Fresnes Prison, where he was sentenced to be executed by a firing squad as a spy.

He spent the next three months in solitary confinement under death sentence before being pardoned. During his time under sentence, he was visited by a German sergeant who assured him that he would not be executed and quoted the Psalm, "In te Domini speravi, non confundar in aeternum" (In you, O Lord, I put my trust; I will not be let down forever.) Kevin remembered that the soldier was wearing slippers instead of the usual boots. These words of encouragement kept him going then, and indeed for the rest of his life.

Kevin returned to join his comrades at St. Denis, continued his studies after the war, and was ordained priest on June 3rd 1949. He was appointed to Tanganyika. His journey to Africa allowed him to visit Paris and say goodbye to the people and places that meant so much to him. He boarded the RAPTIM flight in Marseilles and arrived in Mwanza. Although he had been appointed to teach at Nyegezi Seminary, Bishop Blomjous wanted Kevin to get some hands-on experience of mission life and so he sent him to Kilulu for a couple of years before he started teaching. At that time, Kilulu was a newly-founded mission. The fathers' house and church still had thatched roofs. Kevin set to work learning Kisukuma.

Kevin taught at Nyegezi from 1951 until he went home on leave in 1958 and then for two more years, later on. He was not a trained teacher, and did not especially like teaching. Being the only Englishman on the staff, he was, of course, expected to teach English, but he was also called upon to teach Mathematics even in the higher grades. He managed to prepare his lessons and give them; and little by little, he got used to the seminary routine; but he missed the kind of life that he had barely tasted at Kilulu and Sayusayu. After a day in the classroom, he would rush to change into his work clothes to do some gardening or other manual work. Later, he helped lay a mile of two-inch pipes to pump up water from Lake Victoria to the seminary.

With his background in printing, Kevin and a couple of other fathers, started Lumuli, a newspaper in the local language. On Sundays, he would celebrate Mass for the students at the local government schools, and in the afternoons preferred to get out and meet people, rather than sitting watching the seminarians playing football.

Kevin never got back to Kilulu, but he did work in various missions in Mwanza diocese when he finished teaching at Nyegezi, including Bujora, Buhingo, and Mwabagole, and was working at the Cathedral in Mwanza when he went home on leave in 1966. Kevin stayed on in Europe for a while not quite sure of what he should do next. His family suggested he go and visit his brother in Canada. It was while he was there that he realised that he could still accomplish something even if he was not able to return to Tanzania. Kevin was invited by Bishop Remi De Roo to come and work in the Diocese of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in 1968.

He worked at Salt Spring Island, then at Sydney, and French Creek, and later at Ladysmith. He also served at St. Peter's Parish in Nanaimo, British Columbia, in the early 70's, and returned there as pastor from 1987 to 1990. When he retired from parish work in 1991, Kevin embarked on a new career with the Dwelling Place (an intermediate care facility). Kevin enjoyed a varied role in the community: as a managing director at Dwelling Place, as a chef trying out new recipes and as chaplain for Bethlehem Retreat Centre.

When he found he had cancer, Kevin was cared for at the nursing home founded by himself and his friends; and he died peacefully on Monday 19th March 2001 aged 80. His friends were reciting the third mystery of the rosary when Kevin opened his eyes, winked and quietly died. It was the feast of St. Joseph. The first remark of a friend and a bystander was "He's gone to heaven". Requiem Mass was offered on Monday March 26th in St. Peter's, Nanaimo, BC, where Kevin was parish priest until his retirement. Later Kevin's ashes were scattered around "the Dwelling Place".

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Fr Dan Sherry 1923 — 2009
Taken from The Petit Echo, Edition No. 916

Father Dan Sherry will always be remembered by anyone who knew him as someone who had time for them. He enjoyed being with people, whether it was the people he worked with, other missionaries, expatriates, Govemment officials, or anyone else who came his way.

Dan was a coalminer's son, born in the mining village of Glencraig, near Lochore in Fife, in 1923. He grew up during the years of the Depression, attending the local primary school in Lochore, then came to the Junior Seminary as a young boy of 12 . After Philosophy at St Boswells, Noviciate in Dorking and Theology at Rossington Hall and Monteviot, Dan was ordained in Jedburgh on 2 June 1949.

When Dan's appointment to Africa arrived in 1950, he had just suffered a slipped disc, and so had to wait a while before he could proceed to his mission in Northern Rhodesia. In the meantime, he was appointed to be Socius to the Brothers' Novice Master at Monteviot. The Provincial at the time remarked that Dan was not particularly suited to the post, but he was the only one available to fill the need at that moment, and he did the job to the best of his ability. It was the story of his life.

Dan spent the best part of his 76 years in the Diocese of Kasama in Northern Zambia, over half the time at Chilubula, a rural mission situated on the edge of the Bangweolo swamps. He took his turn working at the main mission and visiting the outlying areas, and when he was asked to give a hand at anything, Dan was ready and willing. Dan Sherry put his whole heart into whatever he undertook, and down the years he revealed a variety of talents. His greatest gift undoubtedly lay in personal relationships, and he was remarkable for the attention he always paid to others. The Regional said of him truly that he never spoke ill of anyone, a feature of his character rare enough to merit attention. He worked in several different missions: Kapatu, Kasama, Lwena, Mpolokoso, Mulobola, Ipusukilo, Lwitikila. He replaced the Education Secretary for six months a couple of times, in 1968, and was Archbishop's Secretary from 1970 to 1974, after which he was more than happy to return to his people in Chilubula.

Dan stayed in Africa until his health deteriorated. On his return to Scotland in 1993, after the Long Retreat in Jerusalem, he stayed first of all in the community in Rutherglen, then, when he needed more care and attention, had to go into a home first in Scotland then at Nazareth House in Hammersmith, where he died on 12 December 1999.

Fr. Dan Sherry was deeply human: that is the first thing that comes to mind when one evokes his memory. Any visitor turning up at the house where Dan happened to be posted, at any time of day or night, was sure to be welcomed. Dan was always ready to drop whatever he was doing to greet the visitor warmly and make sure he was comfortably seated with something to drink before returning to the task he was busy with. As soon as he was free again, all his attention would be centred on the visitor to make him feel at home and at ease.

Dan was eminently sociable. We appreciated his presence wherever we happened to meet several priests, brothers together: for a seminar, for a meal, for a social occasion. He was always ready to share his personal experiences of missionary life with the people around him, and to have a good laugh at his own misadventures. He was very witty, and ever ready to look at the pleasant side of events and people. He was very good at maintaining excellent relations with outsiders, such as officers of the Administration. This proved to be of invaluable help on more than one occasion.

He spent most of his missionary life in the rural areas. He was prepared to take his share of touring and spend days on end in a remote comer of the land among the villagers. He was a man who had trained himself to take in his stride everything that came his way, whether it was pleasant or not. He was straightforward enough to say what be thought, but never in a way that would create resentment or permanent antagonism.

He felt at ease in a team, would express his views, and then would earnestly abide by the decisions that had been taken in common. He was a man who, for years, at Chilubula, shared a car with another priest, and the association seemed to have survived the vagaries of individual habits. This is certainly to be laid at Dan's door as a positive achievement, because he was rather finicky as regards the proper use of things and loudly critical of thoughtless wastage. He stuck for years to an old van he had bought very cheap, and kept it going without a hitch, simply because he was extremely careful. In many ways he was an adept and an example of the simple lifestyle.

Dan was truly a priest who had dedicated his life to the service of the Kingdom of God in Africa. His vocation was clear: it was an answer to the call, "Go and preach!" Dan went and preached, to the best of his ability, with his limited Cibemba, but with all his faith and personal convictions. That is why the people accepted him as he was and liked him for what he was. He went about his work at his own speed and with his own relaxed attitude but there he was always on call wherever he was expected to be. His main point in everything was to remind the people that they were called to become new men and new women in Christ.

All those who knew Father Sherry - Missionaries of Africa, diocesan priests, Sisters, lay people - may have been sad for a moment at hearing of his death, feeling that they had lost a universal friend. But Dan's time had come to receive his own reward from his Lord after he had waited on so many of his Lord's people. We are grateful for his life and work.

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Adrian Hastings, Theologian 1929 — 2001
Taken from an article written by Paul Gifford for The Guardian, with his kind permission

In 1973, the Catholic Institute of International Relations (CIIR) decided to hold a public meeting during the visit to Britain of Portugal's Prime minister, Marcelo Caetano. The then Conservative government was planning to celebrate the sixth centenary of the Anglo Portuguese alliance with a great show of friendship, at a time when the Portuguese were waging a brutal colonial war in Africa

The theologian Adrian Hastings who has died aged 71, was to speakg at the ClIR meeting, and came into possession of a Spanish report, by the Burgos Fathers, of a 1972 massacre by the Portuguese army of around 400 peasants in a remote Mozambican village called Wiryamu. He had the report published in the Times just before Caetano's arrival.
The disclosure, became world news; within days Hastings had spoken at the United Nations, and the Labour opposition leader, Harold Wilson, called for a Commons debate. Caetano's visit became a fiasco. In his turn, Hastings used the storm for an assessment Of the Portuguese government, the wars of liberation in Portuguese Africa, and the church's role in countenancing - rarely criticising—colonial oppression.

The repercussions were profound. Indeed, it has been seriously claimed that the exposure—his book Wiryamu (1974) was translated into seven languages—played an important part in triggering Portugal's 1974 "carnation revolution".

The keys to Hastings's life and thought were the liberal tradition, Oxford University, the Church in Africa, the re-forming Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) and ecumenism. History was his passion, focused on Africa and Britain. His African history stemmed from his missionary involvement, and was sharpened academically during a fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), at London University, in the 1970's.

A lawyer's son, born in Kuala Lumpur, he was raised, from the age of two, in Great Malvern Worcestershire, where his family originated. Brought up a Roman Catholic, he determined at the age of eight to become a priest. Educated at Douai Abbey Benedicatine school, Reading, he graduated in history from Worcester ollege, Oxford, in 1949.

In his third year, he joined the White fathers, the main Catholic missionary society in Africa. Then, with characteristic independence and mastery of the grand gesture, he decided that the missionary life was not enough; he wanted to be a priest working under an African bishop. At that time, the only black bishop of the Latin rite was Kiwanuka, at Masaka, Uganda. Against all advice, Hastings applied—and was accepted.

Meanwhile, he trained at the College of Propaganda Fide, in Rome, from which he benefited enormously—perhaps surprising for someone who gained an anti-Rome reputation. The programme was ultramontane (favouring the centralised authority of the Pope), but it was here that Hastings steeped himself in radical Catholic theology. Living with Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Africans and other students, he experienced catholicity at firsthand.

Ordained a priest in 1955, he said his first mass at the altar where John Henry Newman had said his. This was something of great significance to someone so English, who was proud of being the first Oxford man since the 19th century cardinal to attend Propaganda.

Three years later, after completing his doctorate, Hastings left for Uganda. But he was very different from the person who had made his deliberately anti-academic decision to go to Africa. He had returned with vigour to intellectual life, and had published some books already, including White Domination or Racial Peace? (1954).

His six years teaching in an Ugandan seminary, ran into the years of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Once it was over, the bishops of the five East African countries entrusted him with educating the region's clergy about it. From 1966-68, based in Tanzania, he steeped himself in the 16 constitutions, decrees and declarations of the council, breaking them down explaining their major ideas.

But, from the start, Hastings was anomalous in Africa. He had gone there because he was a radical; the local clergy, trained by conservative missionaries, were not. He formed his own links with the wider church. In 1963, his thesis on Anglican ecclesiology was published, and, probably as a result, he was invited to join the Anglo-Roman catholic International Preparatory Commission, whose meetings deepened his ecumenical commitment. The commission led to the Anglo-Roman Catholic International Committee. He might well have joined it, but, in 1968, Pope PaulVI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae, banning artificial contraception. Hastings's unbudging dissent ended his usability within official Catholicism.

Hastings became the Catholic presence in Zambia's pioneering Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation (1968-70). There, friendship with the Anglican archbishop of central Africa led to him surveying the relationship in Africa between customary and church marriage. The result, completed in 1972, was an official report of one church—written by a member of another.

Yet, it was clear that there was no job for Hastings in the Catholic church in Africa, and, reluctantly, he returned to Britain. In 1972, he taught at the ecumenical campus of Selly Oak College, Birmingham. In 1973, he joined SOAS, researching Christianity in independent Africa, and then became a religious studies lecturer, later reader, at Aberdeen University (1976-82).

He was professor of religious studies at the University of Zimbabwe, before taking up the professorship of theology at the University of Leeds, from 1985-94, the year he concluded his research with his wide-ranging, elegant yet racy, magnum opus, A History of The Church in Africa 1450-1950.

Hastings's focus on the Christian history of Britain is best illustrated by his History of English Christianity 1920-2000 (latest revised edition). There were also co-operative projects like Modern Catholicism, Vatican II and after (1991), and the equally ambitious A World History of Christianity (1998), which attempted to be less church-centred and Eurocentric than some other histories. His 1996 Wiles Lectures at Queen's University, Belfast, became The Constructiuon of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (1997), a spirited rebuttal of accepted wisdom about nationalism, with examples from Africa to Yugoslavia.
Over 50 years, there was a remarkable consistency in Hastings's theological work, even if the emphases shifted. His mature theology is best seen in The Theology of a Protestant Catholic (1990), which grappled with the very survival of Christianity, or religious faith, the meaningfulness of God and Christ's relevance.

His reservations about the papacy's authoritarianism had been with him from the beginning, long before the centralising shown by Pope John Paul II, who, in his History of English Christianity, he accused of "an absolutism just a little reminiscent of the Stalinism he had fought so hard against". For such expressions, as for much else, the Catholic Church marginalised him.

Besides the advocacy in Hastings's theology—arguing for lay ministry, married clergy, intercommunion, the forwarding of Vatican II—there was that campaigning work. Twenty years after the Wiryamu controversy, appalled by the ethnic cleansing in collapsing Yugoslavia and the apathy of the television audience, he became a founder memeber of the Alliance To Defend Herzegovina, and a trustee of the Bosnian Institute.
In his interventions, he was ready to denounce individuals. In 1993, in the Guardian, he accused the then Foreign Secvretary Douglas herd of "complicity in genocide".

Hastings raised the journal Of Religion In Africa to the highest standing. His willingness to help colleagues and students was exemplary. In retirement, he edited The Oxford Companion To Christian Thought (2000), a huge enterprise, for which he wrote more than 70 articles. A few days before he died, he heard that it was proposed to elect him to fellowship of the British Academy, news which gave him pleasure.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, whom he married in 1979. Amidst considerable publicity, he had renounced the olbigation of celibacy, having convinced himself that the theological justification was simply wrong.

Adrian Christopher Hastings, theologian, born June 23 1929; died May 30 2001


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Brother Aubert — 1950
Taken from an article written by Brother Paddy in the Christmas 1950 edition of The Priorian

Brother Aubert (left) with Brother Paddy
The Priory group photo 1935 — 1936

(source: Eugene MacBride)

It was with deep regret that we announced in our last number the death of dear old Brother Aubert; and it is, with sorrow, yet mingled with joy, that we now pay a little tribute to one whom all past generations of Priorians knew so well. Those who came in contact with him realised that he was a man of God; those of us who lived with him over a period of years cherish that intimacy as a blessing.

Brother Aubert was temporarily appointed to the Priory in 1912—and it was here that he passed all his missionary life. When he arrived the new wing had taken shape; the doors and windows were being put in and the water supply had just been installed. Until the end of his life, he knew where every water pipe and drain were to be found on the premises. Brother Aubert took a keen interest in the numerous improvements which were made for the students' pleasure and comfort. It was he who began our modest farm: he erected the various sheds for the accommodation of the live stock, the hay-barn, the grainstore and the once famous slaughter-house.

He was, by nature, of a very retiring disposition, a man of few, words, but one who thought much; nevertheless in the community, his sense of humour was well known and appreciated. His contacts with neighbouring farmers were, in former years, very numerous, and at the Bishop's Waltham live stock sales he was well known and liked. His sandy beard and his kindly features attracted people to him. The following incident occurred several years ago at the close of one of these sales; he went along to the refreshment room and he was greeted with the usual refrain: "Hello, Brother". They had been saying something about parsons and one old farmer said: "Parsons, I ain't got no time for persons, when I be a-dying I'll send along to the Priory for Brother Aubert."

For the past ten years, his infirmities were very great and although he never complained, it was sometimes very obvious that he was in great pain., He also became hard of hearing and his eyesight began to deteriorate. Brother was a holy man, one who by his faithfulness to his spiritual exercises was a real source of edification, He worked hard all his life in his little corner of Our Lord's vineyard. He died after a very short-illness; just after his death one of his old farmer friends said this: "I'm sorry to hear that dear old Brother is gone. If everyone in the world were like him, what a grand place it would be to live in."

May he rest in peace,
Brother Patrick W.F.

Requiescat in Pace (Brother Aubert)
by James Wallace

His life on earth has come to an end,
(As all must do),
And now he has gone, we’ve lost a friend,
(A good friend too).
Silent, strong and ever true.
His one great cause:
To be a Brother, through and through;
And that he was.
Dead — but alive, in every brick,
In every clod.
Dead — but above, (without his stick)
He walks with God.


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Fr Henry Moreton 1904 — 1965
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965 - lent by Pat Gritton
Written by John Fowles, Superior at The Priory

When the White Fathers first arrived in Bishop's Waltham in 1912, they undertook to care for the handful of Catholics in the district who, until then, had belonged to the parish of Eastleigh some eight miles away. They could scarcely get to the parish church and Mass was celebrated only on rare occasions in one of the public houses of the village.

When Father Moreton died in January ol this year, he left behind a flourishing Catholic community some four hundred and fifty strong. Harry Moreton was born in Worcestershire in 1904 and was received into the Catholic Church at the age of seventeen. Feeling the call to the missionary priesthood, he joined the seminary of the White Fathers in Belgium and then went on to North Africa to finish his studies. He was ordained priest on June 11th 1938, and went to Uganda where he spent several years.

On his return to the British Isles he worked in most of the White Fathers' Houses up and down the country. Parochial work in the Scottish Borders gave him a useful insight into the administration of a rural parish and helped prepare him for the work of parish priest of Bishop's Waltham where he laboured so zealously for over four and a half years until his death after an operation at the Chest Hospital, Southampton on Tuesday, January 26th. All who met Father Moreton were struck by his kindnes, and sympathetic understanding. He was always ready to help those in need, even when considerable inconvenience was caused to himself.

As all his friends knew, his heart was set on building a worthy parish church for the Catholics of the area and he worked very hard for the realization of this plan. Sadly enough, he did not live even to see the work begun. By the death of Father Moreton, the Priory lost a good priest, and the parish a friend and kind father.

May he rest in peace

OUR JUBILARIAN —— Harry Moreton
Taken from The Pelican, 1963 lent to us by Mike Byrne

Harry Moreton was born into a non-Catholic family in 1904. Leaving school at thirteen, he worked at a pithead and later in a motor car factory. At the age of twenty, he decided that God called him to the Catholic faith and the missionary priesthood. His studies began at the training centre for late vocations at St Michael's, Glossop in Derbyshire, from where he went to the White Fathers' seminary of philosophy in Belgium and was finally ordained priest at Carthage on 11th June, 1938.

As a priest he has worked in Uganda for seven years and .in various houses of the British Province, devoting himself particularly to the formation of missionary brothers.

Three years ago he came as a parish priest to Bishop's Waltham where the fruits of his unflagging zeal are abundantly evident. The parish has grown in numbers and vitality and has great plans for the future. His kindness and genuine sympathy have most certainly contributed largely to his success.

Twenty-five years have passed since his ordination: indeed a milestone in his priestly life. We congratulate him on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee, thank God for his years of labour and service, and wish him Ad multos annos.

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Bill Mathews
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965 - lent by Pat Gritton
Written by Sean Hughes, Upper Sixth

For the first time in many seasons the Priory first XI finished undefeated. The players had tried hard, the support was enthusiastic and yet there was something missing: this was the first year that Bill Matthews was not there to cheer on the team.

The old man with the dog had become something of the scenery, the Priory scenery one never expects to change. He was there to cheer on the team against their opponents (though they might be the local XI), even joining in the criticism of the referee when the run of play was against us.

But old Bill was more than a hardy supporter of the, soccer or cricket teams. Every morning he went for his stroll around the grounds with his dog, Sally. His greeting of "Mornin' you boys, got a holiday today then?" signalled the beginning of a chat: a chat about anything but preferably something to do with the Priory. He recalled the French boys or the football teams "when Father Murphy and Father Robinson played". He remembered how even thirty years ago the boys, paying him a visit in his shop, would remind him to tell no one.

He was a likeable old man who found obvious enjoyment in conversation with the boys. He was never a member of the staff, or even a parishioner, but he was a friend who had been with the Priory since its infancy and one who will be sadly missed.

May he rest in peace.

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Fr Tom Rathe 1921 — 2002
Taken from The white Fathers — White Sisters magazine Issue No. 369, April/May 2003
From an article in the Ghana Link, April/June 2002, with additional information supplied by Fr Dick Kinlen, Provincial Secretary UK


At the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Paul Bemile, Bishop of Wa, a Funeral Mass was celebrated in memory of Fr. Tom Rathe on the 26th. July, 2002, at the chapel of Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Wa. Fr. Gerard Smulders W.F. spoke at the occasion. Here are some extracts.

The first reading of today says: "Let us praise illustrious men, their bodies have been buried in peace. The assembly will celebrate their wisdom." So, quite rightly, our Bishop in his invitation letter calls it a funeral celebration. We have reason to celebrate.

Fr. Tom Rathe was born in Wallasey on the 24 November, 1921. The family moved to Scarborough on the north east coast of England, where Fr. Tom grew up. Fr. Tom had a brother, Gerry, who also became a White Father and a sister, Kathleen, who became a Lady of Mary. They both died some years ago.

Fr. Tom joined the White Fathers just before the Second World War. He was sent to the north of France for his philosophy studies. When that area was occupied by the Germans, Fr. Tom became a prisoner of war as he was a British subject. One of the professors was also British, so they continued their philosophy studies in detention. He did the Spiritual Year (Novitiate) at St. Boswells and theology at Monteviot in Scotland and he was ordained at Monteviot on the 3rd. June, 1949. His first appointment was to Mariental in Luxemburg, where we had a training centre for Brothers. Later Fr. Tom returned to England to become the bursar at our Junior Seminary at Bishop's Waltham.

In 1959 Fr. Tom was appointed to the diocese of Tamale, Ghana. He wrote: "As I have been waiting for ten years since ordination for such an appointment, I am sure you will understand how delighted I am." On 9th. October, 1959, he wrote again to the White Fathers' Regional: "It is with great pleasure that I have to announce to you my arrival at Damongo. As the Bishop was up at Jirapa when I arrived at Tamale I got a lift up there and went to see him. The Bishop told me I was appointed to Damongo. I could come with him. We arrived here yesterday." In Damongo Fr. Tom was with Fr. Tom Tryers and Fr. Lallemand. Quite an exciting start of his life in Ghana! However, he did not stay there very long. Wa Diocese was erected and Fr. Tom was asked to move to Jirapa where he joined Mgr. Kyemaalo and Fr. Paquet.

Fr. Tom was not gifted for learning languages. He even suggested at the time to return to England in order to let some one else come out who was able to learn Dagare. Bishop Champagne also suggesting letting him come to Tamale, but Bishop Dery would not let him go. Fr. Tom found his way. There was the hospital in Jirapa, St. Francis Secondary School and several convents. He was also the local manager and he took this task very seriously. As Mgr. Kyemaalo testifies, Fr. Tom used to go to the many schools of Jirapa parish, which was very large at that time, visit them and say Mass there. Fr. Tom also got involved in the Credit Union of Jirapa. In a letter to Fr. Richard, the White Fathers' Regional at the time, he wrote: "In the old days I used to think that I was kept busy with various jobs I had to do. But since I took over the schools and the Credit Union I know what it is being busy. Still, that way I now feel that I am pulling my weight."

Fr. Tom had found his way and without knowing it, he was preparing himself for the next appointment. In 1963 he was asked to go to Wa and take over from Michel Graëff as General Manager of Catholic Schools. He was to do this job for nine years. As Fr. Tampah said: "People called him the 'Gentle Manager'. And gentle he was. It was not an easy job. The Social Security computer was spitting out rolls of paper with the wrong information. At the end of the month there was a crisis, a financial crisis. The money would come in late. The compound of Wapaane Mission would be full of teachers giving Fr. Tom hardly a chance to sort things out. After that he would go round the diocese with his '2 chevaux' and a trunk full of money. Any teacher of that time knows that Fr. Tom was gentle with everybody, devoted to his work and just.

Fr. Tom also did his share in the work of the parish. For years he said the English Mass on Sundays which was mainly attended by southerners in these days. Thus he became known as the 'kronkron' (Holy, holy in Twi!) chaplain, someone they could identify with.

Through his friendship with the Steadmans, the Methodist minister in Wa, he created friendly relations with the Methodists and through them with the Baptists. Also through his friendship with the Anglican Minister who used to come from Bolgatanga, Fr. Tom made a link with the Anglicans. Thus Fr. Tom contributed greatly to the friendly relations between the different churches in Wa.

All of us who have lived with Fr. Tom can, I think, confirm what Fr. Richard wrote: "Tom is quiet, but helpful, a very considerate confrere, liked by all, faithful to his spiritual exercises and a hard worker."

In 1975 Fr. Tom handed over to Bruno Ninnang as General Manager and returned to England. There he served for many years as Provincial Treasurer and Secretary. When I met Fr. Tom in London in 1998, he told me that he still had one desire left, to pay a visit to the Diocese. In 1999 Fr. Tom made a very rewarding trip to Wa and although his memory let him down he was very happy to meet old friends and see old places. From the way he spoke, one can see that the years spent in Ghana were certainly the best years of his life.

Fr. Tom returned to Oak Lodge in London to enjoy a well-deserved rest. This did not last too long. At the end of June, 2002, he was taken to Barnet Hospital for treatment of a kidney infection. On 16th June he suffered a heart attack and early Sunday morning, 30th June 2002, he died probably of a heart attack.

Let us praise illustrious people
, we heard in the first reading, their good works have not been forgotten. In their descendants there remains a rich inheritance born of them. Let us be grateful and thank God for having known and lived with Fr. Tom. May his example inspire us to follow in his footsteps.


May he rest in peace

BIONOTES supplied to us by Tom, the year before he died :

01/07/49 • Monteviot
20/11/50 • Centre Perf. Freres — Marienthal, Luxembourg
05/10/53 • Monteviot
01/07/56 • Bishop's Waltham (as Bursar and teacher)
19/05/59 • Grande Retraite — Mours
29/09/59 • Damongo, D.Tamale, Ghana
04/08/60 • Jirapa, D.Wa, Ghana
01/07/65 • Superior: Jirapa, Ghana
01/01/66 • School Manager: Wa, Ghana
01/01/75 • Assist.Dioc.Bursar: Wa, Ghana
14/09/77 • Stormont Rd, London
01/09/79 • Appointed Pr. Council
01/01/82 • Provincial Bursar: Stormont Road
01/01/84 • Provincial Secretary: Stormont Rd
01/09/85 • Superior: Woodville Gdns, London
01/09/87 • Provincial Secretary: Stormont Road
30/05/91 • Bursar: Stormont Road
08/05/94 • Bursar: Oak Lodge, London
18/05/00 • Residence: Oak Lodge
13/09/00 • Session 70+ — Roma, M.G.

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Andrew Murphy 1948 — 2001


(source: Mike Ellis)

The Melrose House outing to Largs on the Ayrshire coast, May 1961.
Fr John Conway, Andy Murphy and John Mattock on the boat to Rothesay.


Andrew died of cancer on June 18th 2001. Robbie Dempsey was a friend and contemporary of Andrew's during his time with the White Fathers and writes : "News of Andrew's death is a great shock to me and those of us who knew him down through the years in the 60's at St Columba's, The Priory and Blacklion. I had hoped to meet up again."

The following is a very brief resumé, which will no doubt be extended at a later date as the news reaches other friends.

Andrew, who was originally from Dumbarton, attended both St Columba's (1960-62) and The Priory (1962-67). This was followed by a year at Blacklion (1967-68) and a degree taken at Oxford University. He then joined joined the Marketing Department of 3M in London for a while. Following this he took up an appointment with Merrill Lynch as a broker, again in London. After some years of working in the City, he joined Morgan Stanley International Bankers and moved to Abu Dhabi.

In the early 80's he returned to the UK and worked with his brother Gerard in property development. Gerard eventually left to take up other interests and Andrew continued the business until his death.

Andrew was married with 2 children and lived in Harpenden where he is buried.


A brief search of the website reveals the following relating to Andrew:

Histories section, Page 17: Photo of him as a member of The Priory First XI Football Team 1964/5
Histories section, Page 23: The article "Mid-term in Blunt's Yard" which he wrote
Photos in the Gallery section: Pages 19, 20, 59, 60



May he rest in peace

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