Br. John (Paddy) Leonard, M.Afr
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a) Tributes and Memories
b) Tribute from Fr Gerry Murphy, Irish Provincial
|May 28th 2003
at 05:08:55 AM
NAME : Eugene MacBride
From: "Missionaries of Africa \(Irl\)"
Date: Wed May 28, 2003 09:06:43 AM Etc/GMT
Subject: Br. Paddy RIP
Dear Eugene and members of the Pelicans
It is with the mixed emotions of a great sense of loss but also of
thanksgiving that I bring you the news that Br. Paddy died this morning.
As you know, Paddy was is remission after an operation to remove a malignant
cancer in the colon early last year. At the beginning of February this year
Paddy began to loose the power of his left arm and leg. Initially we thought
that he had suffered a couple of minor strokes. However, a brain scan showed
that the cancer had travelled to his brain. We cared for him in Cypress
Grove until the middle of March when he was admitted to Our Lady's Hospice
in Harold's Cross.
Paddy was comfortable and happy in Our Lady's and could not speak highly
enough of the dedicated care he was receiving. But, at the same time, he
also spoke of how he was looking forward to the day he would be discharged.
There were mite boxes to be collected and Brendan O'Shea's ordination to
attend. He was tenacious to the end.
Last Saturday evening [24th May] his visitors noticed that he seemed to be
very tired. On Sunday the staff of Our Lady's informed us that his health
was deteriorating. He was sleeping a lot and when he spoke his voice was
weak. Last night when we were with him it was clear that he was living his
last hours on earth. He gave up his spirit quietly and peacefully this
morning at 6.50am.
For manys a long day, many's the story that will be told about Paddy. At the
heart of them all will be gratitude for having known him and been enriched
by his presence.
No funeral arrangements have been made yet but I will inform you when they
(Fr.) Gerry (Murphy)
Many thanks for the sad message of Bro Paddy's death. May he rest in peace. He will be sorely missed .Paddy is someone who is just part of the fabric of the Irish and indeed British Province and as you say we all have a story about him; whether at the Priory, Blacklion, Longford or Templeogue. I always found him most welcoming when on leave from the missions and he always showed a great interest in our work in Africa. He never gave up, he enjoyed life, loved his confreres and could be as stubborn as a mule.
(Fr.)Ciaran Mc Guinness
|Sincere condolences to you and
your community. Paddy was one of the giants from our youth and is remembered
with great affection and respect.
Through about 6 e-mails we heard of the death of Brother Paddy. Our sympathies! He has built quite a name for himself. Because even the people who never met him, are likely to say; "yes, but I heard of his
May he rest in peace.
(Fr.) Piet de Bekker
|I am sure Paddy has earned his
just reward!!! Can only hope that Paddy is there to plead my case when I
am questioned at the Pearly gates!
Lots of love and best wishes.
|Dear Fr. Ian,
We are deeply sorry to hear that Bro. Paddy went to God and we are sure that he would get a great welcome. We trust that he will pray for us all in our apostolic undertakings on behalf of God's people.
We have only one regret - that we were not able to talk to him and say goodbye. But we remember him in our prayers and at Holy Mass.
God bless you all.
Kevin OMahoney, all the Missionaries of Africa in Ethiopia, Abba Tesfaselassie (Bishop of Adigrat), Abba Teum (Diocese of Adigrat), Abune Abraham Desta (Bishop of Meki), and all those who had the privilege of knowing Brother Paddy.
|Dear Fr. Gerry,
I have just heard the sad news of Bro. Paddy's death through an email message from Abune Tesfaselassie. I still have happy memories of Bro. Paddy from my study days in Tempelogue. Paddy was a dedicated very generous hearted man who always worked very hard for the missions. You have lost a great confrere but I am sure he will join the saints in heaven and pray for all of us.
Now I send my condolences to you and his family. May God rest him in peace.
With kindest regards,
+ Abba Abraham Desta
Br. Paddy prized his piece of bog oak. He didn't realise that he was exactly that plus a loving heart and a total respect for his fellow man and his God.
I am just back from wandering around Zambia. Thanks for the news about Br. Paddy's death, sad as it is. He was an 'institution' in his own right and will be missed.
(Fr.) Sean OLeary
Yes is it already a few days ago that Brother Paddy left us. He dedicated his whole life for the peoples of Africa. He neither counted his time nor the years but just gave his life to the missions in Africa. He never really worked in Africa but knew Africa better than most of us. He lived his vocation as a calling to serve where ever he was able to or needed. He was a faithful servant of the Lord. My sympathies to you and to his family.
(Fr.) Albert Thevenot
Thanks for letting us know of Paddy's death.
Even though it was expected, it still came as something of a shock. I had known him since I was 12 years old, and never imagined him as old or ill. He was always the Bro Paddy I knew as a boy. A devoted brother of the Society, a holy man, a courteous man, and a model for us all. Surely, if anyone is destined for Heaven it is him.
I haven't written to Gerry Murphy, as he will probably be inundated with letters of sympathy from around the world. Perhaps in the fullness of time you could send him a note on behalf of us all saying how much the individual Pelicans have reacted to the loss of Paddy, and how we are all praying for him. He must have a huge family of WFs, former students, and benefactors
offering up prayers for him at this very moment. Oh, that we should all be so fortunate !
|It is with deep sadness that I have learned, through
The Pelicans, of Br. Paddys passing...
As a young student in Blacklion he was an inspiration, an individual who met the needs of the day with what ever resources he had. He was a noble example to all who crossed paths with him... He was a man of humility (Well!!!), dedication, and spirituality who was indeed an inspiration to those of us who encountered him. Although I have chosen a path in life other than the White Fathers, I have to say that my life has been fashioned by some of the great people that I have met on that path. Br Paddy was one of them. Dont get me wrong - I hated potato picking. Br. Paddy was an extraordinary individual who did ordinary things to support extraordinary accomplishments.
Anthony Tucker (Vancouver)
I was sorry to hear about Brother Paddy. Like anyone who met him, I have a multitude of memories. One of them was coming across him one day behind the cowshed. He was digging into the earth at various spots with a pitchfork, so I asked him what he was doing. He replied that he was looking for a piece of machinery he had buried. "Never throw anything away. You never know when you might need it. First you leave it lying around for five years and, if you don't need it during that time, you bury it. Then when you need it you can dig it up. The trick is remembering where you buried it."
Paddy's death is very sad, made especially so that he had such expectations
of being discharged. Like many others, I have some very strong memories
involving him, at the Priory and at St. Augustine's he, and Hannibal,
and a shotgun for shooting down the local rat population. Every time I get
a 'ringing' in my ears, I bless him for the time he took a pot-shot on the
Blacklion, while I was within arms length!
He has been well and truly discharged from here, but no doubt starting another kind of Novitiate elsewhere - or telling St P. the gates need some 3 in 1 - and not the Trinity!
|Dear Eugene and Pelicans,
From around the world people I am sure people are reacting to the news of Brother Paddy's death. Here in Singapore, it has come neither as a surprise nor as a shock but as a great sadness that a kind, gentle and inspirational man such as he has left us. My earliest memories of him are as a boy cycling to the Priory (5 miles away) to spend time with Brother Paddy on the farm. He certainly inspired me to join the Society and engendered a love of farming. (Sold my last cow a few months before the foot and mouth epidemic).
Please add my sincere condolences to those of others who knew him better than I in his later life.
WJ Nimmo-Scott OBE
350 Orchard Road
Singapore 0065 6725 9852
Just to say that I did get to Paddy's funeral and that the sun shone and the great man was laid to rest with proper honours and almost palpable affection from the people who were there (and who, I know, were only a tiny fraction of those who still remember him kindly). I somehow missed speaking to or even catching sight of Robbie Dempsey, but at least there were two Pelicans there to represent the rest of the brood.
Bill (or Billy, whichever) Hart
Jun 6th 2003 at 06:43:40 AM
NAME : Jim Connelly
Sad to read about Bro Paddy's demise.
It was Autumn 1959, I had just completed my studies at Osterley and he was the first White Father to greet me on arrival at Blacklion gently whispering to me that his title was "Brother" not "Father".
We joined him in celebrating his Silver Jubilee in 1961 the highlight of which was a celebration dinner with all the turkey trimmings but, unbeknown to Bro Paddy (at the time)we appeared to have mistakenly slaughtered his prize male turkey (can't use the proper gender term as guestbook considers it profane). For a short while afterwards the subject of "egg yield " was kept at low key.
May he rest in peace.
May 29th 2003 at 08:27:58 PM
NAME : Mike Mearns
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Well he's gone! But who can forget that strong, nasal voice calling the Priory milk herd with " Giiiiiiiip, gip, gip, gip, gip, giip". God rest your soul, Brother Paddy.
I have two memories. One is being dragooned by Paddy along with Dave Airlie to go to Galleydown just before Christmas 1957 to get the tree. " C'mon Boys" he said and off we went, Paddy driving the Ferguson and the two of us perched on the mudguards. After a bit of searching we found "the one", yanked it out of the soil and returned triumphant to the Priory with Dave and I holding the branches off Paddy so he could steer a true course.
Another tractor story! Working on the farm, one of the hydraulic hoses split and the fluid jetted out. Undeterred, Paddy grabbed a can, charged through the oily shower, saved most of it and gave us a toothy, white grin, lighting up his blackened face in triumph.
Jun 3rd 2003 at 01:25:02 PM
NAME : Bernard Melling
Just to express my sorrow at the passing of Bro. Paddy: a giant of a man in more ways than one! I was with him both at The Priory and Blacklion and frequently worked beside him on the farm, with Hannibal, the donkey with deformed hooves! May he rest in peace. Amen.
Thanks for the news. One can hardly call it sad news since Paddy lived such a wonderful life. I have many fond memories of him at The Priory, Blacklion and finally Bishops' Waltham in 1998.
May he rest in peace
Dr Andrew Coyle CMG
University of London
75 York Road
London SE1 7AW
Tel: +44 (0)20 7401 2559
Fax: +44 (0)20 7401 2577
Thank you for the sad news about Paddy. I got it from Tommy (Price) earlier and sent it out to as many Pelicans as I have in the address book. It's like the death of a parent. It's a chunk out of your life.
Dessie Fitzmaurice tells the story from June 1950 of Paddy digging Brother Aubert's grave at the Priory. Fitzmaurice was a tough little geezer. "Can I help you, Brother?" Paddy turned to face him and the tears were streaming down his cheeks.
Once at the Priory I asked him: "Brother, what is a libertine?" Paddy (most solemn voice): "A very evil man."
He was back to the Priory for Whitsun 1998 and was one of the dignitaries on the sanctuary. He told me that day: "I am blessed with a robust constitution."
Do you remember he fell off his stool and cut his head at Templeogue in 1992? John Morton had just finished a story "...and that was when I was told the White Fathers didn't want me." Tom Bradley: "Cripes, I wish somebody had told me---". Paddy nearly choked and went over backwards on his stool.
May he rest in peace
Br. John Leonard RIP
A tribute from Fr Gerry Murphy MAfr, The Irish Provincial
On Wednesday 28th
May 2003 Br. John Leonard, better known as Br. Paddy, let slip the last
ties binding him to this world. As he had lived his life, so he left this
life quietly, unobtrusively, not wishing to be a bother to anyone,
grateful for each and every small deed done for him.