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John Morrissey WF 1932 2002
Taken from White Fathers - White Sisters magazine August/September 2003
Fr John Gregory Morrissey was bom in York, the capital city of Yorkshire, on I Ith May 1932. His mother, Mary Clare, died in 1994 at the ripe old age of 100 years. She had given birth to nine children, of whom Fr John was the sixth. It was a staunch and devout Catholic family which was always supportive of Fr John's vocation. At his funeral one could feel the pride that even the younger generation had for their 'missionary uncle'.
His formal education had begun in York. Then he moved to the Priory, Bishops Waltham 1947-51. From there he went to Broome Hall, Dorking, for his Philosophy (1951-53) before doing his Novitiate and finally his theological studies at both St Bonifatius 's Heerenberg (1954-57) and Monteviot (1957-58). Throughout all his period of training, Fr John embodied the qualities of his native county - dependable, cautious and thorough. He was ordained to the missionary priesthood at Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders, on 7th May 1958.
Fr John was appointed to Nigeria. From his earliest letters it is obvious that Fr John was keen to go to Oyo. For the next thirteen years he lived the life of a missionary with devotion and dedication. He served in Oyo and Oshogbo. For seven years he was manager of various schools and for six years he was Administrator of St Benedict's Cathedral. During all of this time, FrJohn took a keen interest in the new liturgical developments of the time and tried to adapt and introduce them into his pastoral work. He was talented in music and worked hard to develop and capture the Yoruba expression of liturgy on tape. Some of these recordings have been lodged in Sutton Coldfield.
In 1971 Fr John was asked to come back to the Province and work in the area of vocations and promotion. It was a time when faith in the junior seminary system was waning. For seven years Fr John worked in Scotland and, particularly in Ratho, outside Edinburgh, where new approaches to seminary training were being introduced. In his reports from that time Fr John expressed the need to introduce new blood to address the new challenges and the new atmosphere in which the Church was operating. The concept of mission was undergoing dramatic changes. Fr John was ready to return to Nigeria.
Before returning to his beloved Nigeria, Fr John went to Maynooth to follow a Mission Diploma Course headed by Fr Donald Dom. He enjoyed the course very much and profited from it. But he still found it hard going back in the parish of Iseyin where study leave and ordinary leave had reduced the staff from four to two. But Fr John was back at the coal face and working hard at his mission.
In the early 1990s there was a request for Fr John to come back to the British Province. Fr John's own preference to remain in Nigeria was respected but already there were tell tale signs of forgetfulness and uncharacteristic behaviour which were beginning to give cause for concern. When Fr John did return to Britain in 1994 it was in view of a rest and then a renewal session in Jerusalem. Sadly, it soon became apparent that Fr John was not his normal self. Reflecting on this period of Fr John's life in his funeral homily, Fr Pat Fitzgerald said "They were years in which the missionary, so active in Nigeria for many years was now passive. He who had taught and preached was now silent; he who had been the initiator and creator of so many enterprises was now the object of initiatives of others. He who had been independent was now totally dependent.
The Oak Lodge community took care of Fr John until it became both unfair to him and to them. By providence and good fortune Fr John was accepted into Nazareth House, where his needs, physical and spiritual, were looked after by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and their staff in a way for which we remain ever grateful. His Alzeheimer's condition developed from bad to worse and the cause of his death on 2nd May 2002 was stated as 'advanced Alzheimer's dementia'.
The Requiem Mass was celebrated in the chapel of Nazareth House. Fr Gerry Stones was the principal celebrant while Fr Pat Fitzgerald gave the homily. Many members of Fr John's family were present. They were a great support to him in death as they had been in life. The Sisters and staff were present. Students from St Edward's were there as were other members of the Province. It was a familiar and fitting send-off. Fr John's remains were buried at the Society's plot in Kensal Rise. His memorial card is a ray of hope for all: 'Pray for me and I shall pray for you and all your friends that we may merrily meet in heaven.'
May He Rest In Peace
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Hughes MP 1946 1990
Two obituaries taken from The Universe and The Catholic Herald
THE UNIVERSE, Sunday July 1, 1990
SEAN FRANCIS HUGHES MP on June 24, aged 44.
The Labour Member for Knowsley South, Merseyside, who tried out his vocation to the priesthood before embarking on a teaching career and eventually politics, tragically lost his 13-month fight against cancer in Whiston Hospital last week.
His Party Leader Mr Neil Kinnock described Mr Hughes as a "hardheaded, courageous and progressive socialist who showed kindness and good humour." His parish priest Fr John Joyce of St Aloysius, Roby, as "a good friend, who had the gratitude of countless, people he had helped. A very committed Catholic."
Sean Hughes was committed to Catholicism and Socialism from an early age, and like many other Liverpudlians, never wavered from either.
He was a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists in Huyton, Merseyside, since teenage years, but followed a teaching career rather than going into professional politics. A history teacher for 13 years, Mr Hughes was Head of History at the Ruffwood Comprehensive School in Kirby from 1973 to 1983.
In 1983 he was elected as Labour Member of Parliament for Knowsley South, Harold Wilson's old Huyton seat, with an 11,769 majority. Four years later his majority stood at 20,846.
Mr Hughes was a front bencher on defence, and was generally considered in the Labour ranks to be destined for ministerial rank in any future Kinnock Cabinet.
Promoted to the Whips' Office within 12 months of his election, Mr Hughes saw the Militant threat in his constituency and successfully led a purge of the party within a party.
Mr Kinnock spoke with obvious affection about his friend and' colleague. He said: "I cherished my strong personal and political friendship with Sean Hughes. He was a fine representative of his constituents and, a great asset to the Labour Party both as a member of the From Beach and in every other activity.
"Sean Hughes had so much more of his ability and wisdom to give.
Fr Joyce said : "Sean tried out his vocation to the priesthood earlier in his life. Instead he later went into politics but retained his compassion and a desire to help those around him. His death is a great, great loss.
Mr Hughes was due to be buried in Roby Parish churchyard on Thursday (June 28), following Requiem Mass, at St Aloysius. He is survived by his wife Tricia and two year old daughter Charlotte.
THE CATHOLIC HERALD, July 1990
"LIVERPOOL'S TEACHER ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR AND DE-HUMANISED"
CATHOLIC MP Sean Hughes, Labour member for Knowsley South and a shadow defence minister, died this week at the age of 44.
Labour leader Neil Kinnock praised his friend's "brave fight" against cancer. He had been ill for several months.
"Sean's death is a terrible, tragedy that fills me and countless others in the Labour movement with a deep sadness," said Mr Kinnock.
"I cherished my strong personal and political friendship with him and greatly valued his hard-headed, courageous and progressive socialism and his kindness and good humour. He was a fine representative of his constituents and a great asset to the Labour party, both as a member of the front bench team and in every other activity."
Mr Hughes, who at the last general election retained his seat with a 20,846 majority over the Conservatives, entered the House of Commons in 1983. He served as an opposition whip from the following year until 1987, when he became a front bench spokesman on defence and disarmament and arms control, subjects on which he had a formidable knowledge.
Of Irish Catholic stock, Mr Hughes was born and brought up on Merseyside and attended local schools before going on to Liverpool and then Manchester 'University.
He worked as a personnel management trainee for Unilever at Port Sunlight, Merseyside, in 1969, and was a history teacher at Ruffwood Comprehensive School from 1970 until 1983.
Mr Hughes had joined the Labour party in Huyton, then Harold Wilson's constituency, in 1966, and after an unsuccessful attempt at taking Crosby in the general election of February 1974, he became chairman of Huyton's constituency Labour party.
He was adopted as prospective candidate to succeed Harold Wilson in the seat in 1981, although boundary changes meant the area he inherited incorporated parts of both Huyton and Widnes.
Newly-eleced, Mr Hughes eloquently described his new patch, which contained vast council estates into which families from Liverpool's slums were being moved, as monotonous labyrinths, grimly regimented and dehumanising". Its 25 per cent unemployment rate made him a forceful speaker on the subject in the House.
He met his wife Patricia during his teaching days, and the two married at St Aloysius' church, Huyton, in 1984. Their only child, Charlotte, was born in October 1988.
|TRIBUTE TO THE LATE SEAN FRANCIS HUGHES
in the House of Representatives
by the HON. ROBERT G. TORRICELLI
(Extension of Remarks - August 03, 1990)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share a sad note with the Congress of the United States. Today our Nation joins in mourning the loss of a valued and significant leader from Great Britain, the Honorable Sean Francis Hughes, Member of Parliament.
God's taking of this young, vibrant man is not only a loss to his lovely wife, Trisha, to his family and friends, it is not only a loss to the United Kingdom, but it is a loss to all public servants around the globe. For whenever someone of such rare and inspiring quality fails, especially so prematurely, all of us who fight for peace, justice, and betterment of humankind suffer too.
To those who knew him he was an erudite, studied, and insightful young leader. And most importantly, he grasped history's significance to our modern world and applied its lessons to the challenges and conundrums of today. He was respected as a critical thinker at this critical time of Europe's history.
To his neighbors and constituents, Sean Hughes, MP, was a compassionate, sensitive man. He sat and listened to their problems at endless surgeries and diligently worked, along with his staff, to bring relief. He had such a personal hand in the resolution of so many people's problems.
It would have been easy to relish the power and pomp of Parliament, but Sean Hughes always remembered that the public servant's greatest call is to be a voice for the voiceless and a help to the helpless.
To his friends he will be a fond memory of wit and wisdom. He will be remembered as a giving, caring man who spared no expense or effort for a friend. He was a model of what public service is all about. Sean Hughes brings to mind the words at the entrance of the John F. Kennedy Library, which is `dedicated to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world.'
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American poet, wrote that to `leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition, or that one life breathe easier because you lived--this is to have succeeded.' By his beautiful and only child, Charlotte, by his tireless pursuit of peace, and through his constant concern for others, Sean Hughes was a clear and genuine success whose noble life will always remain a model for all.
Now we will carry on his fights, for peace, for social improvement, and so much more, holding true to his high principles and always remembering his fine example.
May He Rest In Peace
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Sweeney Brother John Ogilvie
WF 1916 1998
Taken from The White Fathers - White Sisters magazine, October/November 1999
At Brother John Ogilvie's funeral, music and singing were provided by the students in the International Third Phase of formation at St Edward's College. That was only right and fitting because although the present generation of students had not had the opportunity of getting to know John, the longest time he had stayed in one house and probably the happiest period of his long life was when he was at St Edward's College from 1972 to 1991.
Brother John had been a member of the St Edward's community, without being on the formation staff as such, but lending a hand in many practical ways : cooking, gardening, keeping the grounds in order, answering the telephone, and welcoming people at the front door.
Having an older person, who had interests and experience outside the world of studies, was of immense value in a young formation community. John was well liked and appreciated by the students. He took a friendly interest in what they were doing and was there for them, especially the students from Africa and overseas, who might have found their first days in a new country bewildering and lonely.
He was an example of piety, devotion and hard work, all carried out with a simple joy. In his lifetime, John probably took part in more ordinations than many bishops. Not long ago, the question was asked as to how many young people have become Missionaries of Africa through contact with the students at St Edward's College. No one really knows, but one thing is certain : at least one young man became a brother through contact with Brother John Ogilvie at St Edward's.
John came from Greenock, a busy port on the Firth of Clyde to the West of Glasgow. Ships came and went to faraway exotic places, especially the boats bringing sugar from the West Indies for the huge refinery in the town. Young men went sailing on the seven seas. John's own father was a merchant seaman. Perhaps John thought of taking his faith to foreign lands.
His mother died while he was still a boy, and with his father being at sea, John was brought up in a home. When he left school at the age of 15, John followed a course at the West of Scotland Agricultural College.
"He is a vigorous, jolly man, of strong physique", is how one Provincial described him in a letter of introduction, and he must have seemed the answer to their prayers when he presented himself to join the Society in 1934. At that time, the White Fathers were just getting started in Scotland. They had bought a farm near St. Boswell's in the borders with a piece of land on a hill top overlooking the River Tweed on which a Junior Seminary was to be built. John was sent there as a postulant . Accommodation was rudimentary and resources in short supply. It was a tough time for everyone. Some brothers were sent over from Germany to do the actual building but John was asked to stay on and help with digg ing the foundations and some of the heavy work.
Eventually, he went to Maison Carée for his Noviciate from 1936 to 1939 and made his first Oath on 17th April, 1938. He took the name of John Ogiivie after the Scottish martyr who had been beatified not long before by Pius XI. Except for official papers and when he went to hospital he was always known as Brother John Ogilvie or John Og for short.
His namesake was a Jesuit, who had been a missionary in his own country. Educate, and ordained abroad, Saint John Ogilvie had returned to Scotland to care for the spiritual needs of Scots Catholics in a time of persecu tion, before being executed for the faith in 1615. Brother John Ogilvie followed in his footsteps. He suffered from a condition that was never properly diagnosed which came upon him when he was overtired, or anxious or was not getting enough to eat (which oftenhappened during the war years, and immediately afterwards). Anyway, it stopped him from receiving an appointment to Africa,
His first appointment was to Pau, which already at that time, was the Sanatorium for the care of the sick and elderly. John learnt to speak French quite well and enjoyed his work with the confreres, especially those who could remember the beginnings of the Society. He obviously liked his time in Pau because when he himself got old he wanted to retire there!
Much as he would have liked to have stayed in-France, the hostilities which began in 1939 forced him to come back to Britaim. Not only were the British Isles cut off from the.Continent by the war, but the White Fathers, who were still finding their feet in this country, were cut off from the help they had been getting from other Provinces, mainly, Holland. Fortunately, many of the houses, especially the formation houses, had a farm or a kitchen garden at that time. John spent the next few years at St. Boswell's, Dorking, Rutherglen, Ratho and other houses in the Province helping to, feed hungry mouths and make ends meet by his work on the farm, in the garden, in the kitchen and in the laundry. One time when John was due to go on retreat, there was great difficulty in finding someone to take his place milking the cows!
John worked as a Missionary of Africa in his own country, doing what he could in formation houses and supporting those who were 'on the missions' by his work, his prayers and his enthusiasm for Africa. Although be knew that he would never be appointed there, John asked to at least be able to go and visit Africa. So in 1978, he spent a few months in Tanzania visking Dar-es-Salaam, Mbeya, Tabora, Mwanza and Bukoba. Having seen Africa, he thought he would have been able to stay stay longer and work there for a while but by then he was too old to to adapt and start learning a new language.
John celebrated his Golden Jubilee at Totteridge in 1988. By then he felt almost ready to retire. Having started his missionary life in Pau, John dreamed of ending his days there too, so it was arranged dig he would go there, and the French Province welcomed him with open arms. However, despite his age, John did not consider himself as retired. He did what he could to help the others, those who were sick and those who were not as fit as he was. In the end, he was trying to do too much. He did not realise that he could no longer do what he had in the past. Also, half a century had passed since he was last there, and too much had happened since then. Pau had changed and France had changed. It was not easy to adapt to the new situation. After about a year, John asked to go back to the surroundings that were more familiar to him.
At that time, the house for the elderly in Corfton Road was being renovated, so John was one of the new community that moved in when the job was finished. He was still one of the fittest people in the community. Besides doing what he considered his share of the work in the house and the garden, and running errands for those who were not able to go themselves, John was a member of the local SVP and would visit people who were housebound on a regular basis.
Brother John Ogilvie would have celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of his Oath in 1998. In fact, by the time the date of his anniversary came round, he was too ill to take part 'in any celebrations. Being unwell, John made an appointment to see the doctor, but collapsed in the waiting room before the doctor could see him. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Over the next few months he was in and out of hospital, until he was no longer well enough to return to his community, at which point he was cared for by the sisters at Nazareth house, until he died on the 9th September, 1998.
May He Rest In Peace
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APF-Mill Hill supporter
13th March 1897 - 13th October 2003
(Mrs Rose, who died recently at the astonishing age of 106, was a parishioner of Our Lady of Apostles Church in Heston Middlesex during (and after) the days when it was run by the White Fathers. For certain, the priests that knew her would be delighted that she is 'mentioned in dispatches' here, alongside their colleagues from those days.
This short tribute was taken from the Spring 2004 edition of Mission Today).
"Customarily, on the profile page we hear from someone on the 'official' wing of APF-Mill Hill. However, we all know that the backbone of the work consists of the army of about 25,000 volunteers who quietly marshal the generosity of all our supporters and whose example is itself a work of mission. It is appropriate that their work should be acknowledged only by the angels but every so often the angels have a special witness to bear! In Mrs Rose we have such a case now.
Mrs Rose's life spanned three centuries and she witnessed some of the most exciting discoveries in humankind's history as well as some of its worst atrocities. She was born when Mill Hill's founder was Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. She remembered the passing of the funeral cortege of Queen Victoria in 1901 and very clearly the carnage of the Great War of 1914-18 in which so many of her friends were killed. She was brought up in the Church of England but became a convert in 1920 while working in the well-known Catholic bookshop of Burns, Oates and Washbourne.
She became an active member of her parish of St Anselm's, Southall, Middlesex, rising to the dizzy heights of chairwoman of the Catholic Women's League! It was there that she met and married her husband of 54 years and gave birth to her five children one of whom, Peter, was killed in action in 1944. However, it was when the family moved to Our Lady's, Heston, that her interest in the missions really began to flourish. She helped to organise jumble sales for the missions. She was a longstanding supporter of the APF - the red box was never far from view in her home.
She wanted no honour for herself whatsoever, and when she was presented with the Bene Merenti medal, in recognition of all her work for the Church, she was utterly flabbergasted.
While remaining fervently and actively committed throughout the whole of her life, she believed in making way for the younger generation, encouraging their participation at all levels. She would have echoed the words of Cardinal Vaughan in one of his letters to Lady Herbert, his soul mate. 'It's no use inaugurating a jubilee collection for me with such a plea as that a man has been 25 years a bishop. What if he has! Time to make way for younger ones and not for a personal glorification . . . There are people who think every goose a swan. Beware of them.' (19 August, 1897)
May She Rest In Peace
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Tony Maguire 1927 - 2003
Taken from The White Fathers - White Sisters magazine, April / May 2004
Fr. John O'Donohue WF pays tribute to the late Fr. Tony Maguire.
The parish of St. Swithun's, Southsea, has been a fruitful nursery of White Fathers, many of whom became well-known in the Society. Frs. Bernard Brown, Michael Ryan and William Burridge were perhaps the earliest. They were followed by Fr. Harold Beckwith and the two Maguire brothers, Fr. John, who served as British Provincial for a number of years, and Fr. Tony, who died in July, 2003.
The Beckwith's and the Maguire's were connected by marriage as well as by their association in the Society. Fr. Patrick Fitzgerald, now working for Africa in the United States of America, is the last of this distinguished line of Southsea White Fathers. Fr. Tony Maguire was born in 1927, the younger brother by about ten years of Fr. John, commonly known as Fr. Jack, who died in 1991. All his life Fr. Tony revered his elder brother, and it was not surprising that he followed him into the White Fathers' Junior Seminary in Bishop's Waltham. This was towards the end of the Second World War, while Fr Jack was interned in Paris with the British philosophers from Kerlois, of whom Fr Tom O'Donnell is probably now the only survivor.
(photo, left, taken when Fr Tony was part of the Promotion Team in Sutton Coldfield in the 1960s).
Fr. Tony went through the usual programme of philosophy, novitiate and scholasticate, and, was ordained with thirty-five other students from Monteviot in Galashiels by Archbishop, later Cardlinal, Gordon Gray on 31st. May, 1952.
Fr. Tony had an exceptionally lively and attractive personality, and his appointment to work for the promotion of the White Fathers in Britain had something inevitable about it. He stayed in this work for eleven years, eventually taking over from Fr. Gerry Rathe as Superior in 1954/60. He was based in Sutton Coldfield, but his work took him all over the country. Such a charming man could not fail to be a great success in this work, and children especially loved his good humour and sense of fun. He was also a gifted mimic and actor. At the same time, he was an efficient worker and a good organizer.
Eleven years was an unusually long period to spend in this work and, in 1963, Fr. Tony was finally released. After making the Long Retreat in Rome under the guidance of Fr. Delfijk, he was appointed to the diocese of Mbarara, in Uganda, then under the direction of Bishop Ogez. Fr. Tony was more fortunate than most English-speaking White Fathers in that he managed to avoid being trapped in schools and seminaries and spent the whole of his six years in Uganda in parish work, principally Makiro, Butare and Kagamba. He settled down very well in Africa, became fluent in the language, Runyankole, was greatly loved by the people, and seemed destined for a long and happy pastoral missionary ministry. In 1969 however Fr. Bernard Duffy, the newly-appointed Provincial of Great Britain, asked him to help him as provincial Treasurer, and so Fr Tony's missionary life came to a sudden and premature end.
He worked very hard as Provincial for eight years, among other things organizing the transfer of the Provincial House in London from Holland Villas Road to Stormont Road, and he seemed fairly happy in this very demanding post. In 1977, it was time for a change. These were the Amin years in Uganda, and Fr. Tony apparently did not feel able to return there after such a long absence. During his years in Sutton Coldfield he had become friendly with a number of priests in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, and it was this experience that led him to think of settling down there. So it came about that he left the White Fathers, to the great regret, it must be said, of all his confreres, and shortly afterwards became incardinated in the Archdiocese of Birmingham where he spent the rest of his life, principally as the much-loved parish priest of Tipton, Knowle and Solihull.
Fr. Tony Maguire's priestly life was therefore almost equally divided between the White Fathers and the Archdiocese of Birmingham. In later years he came occasionally to the funerals of his former confreres, but inevitably there was a certain distance and the White Fathers largely lost contact with him. We only heard of his illness a week before his death. The funeral was celebrated in Avon Bassett, near Leamington, on 22nd. July, 2003. Archbishop Vincent Nicholls presided, with a good number of diocesan priests and White Fathers. Members of Fr. Tony's family were also there, including two of his brother Tom's daughters, Mary and Paddy.
We missed you sadly, Fr. Tony, after you left us, but we look forward to a happy reunion in due course in the house of the Lord whom you served so faithfully.
May He Rest In Peace
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