Rev Fr. Patrick Hurst S M A
Provincial Councillor / Administrator / Superior
This Mayo man was one of the most pioneering missionaries of his Society. He was of a retiring disposition regarded with admiration and respect by those he worked with.
Patrick Hurst was born at Coolmeen, Claremorris on February 1903.
Patrick attended the Sacred Heart College in Ballinafad, Co. Mayo in1916 for two years. He completed his secondary education at St. Joseph’s College at Wilton, Cork. During 1921 he entered the Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’ Ireland novitiate at Kilgolgan, Co Galway. He received his theological formation in St. Joseph’s seminary Cork from1923 1926 then at Dromantine, Co. Down for a year until 1927. He became a member of the Society on July 15th 1923, was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern at St. Colman’s Cathedral in Newry, Co. Down on June 16th 1927. [i]
Following ordination Fr. Hurst was appointed to the Ondo district vicariate of the Bight of Benin by Ferdinand Terrien the vicar apostolic. During his first six months he learned the Yoruba language, studies local customs also undertook supervised pastoral work. [ii] He was appointed to Oshogbo district to assist Jan Sevriens, that district had over thirty secondary stations wildly scattered. Fr. Hurst was responsible for a central boarding school. During January 1929 Fr. Hurst was nominated Superior in Ordo, he was assisted by Amby O ‘Haire for a period of three years. This principle station had a Catholic community of three hundred – fifty members also fifty catechumens. In Ondo there were thirty secondary stations with a small mud – walled church, some had schools attached. Membership included seven hundred Catholics plus three hundred catechumens. For the last seventeen months of his first tour of duty Fr Hurst acted as Superior of St. Theresa’s inter visceral seminary at Oke Are, Ibadan. There he provided secondary education to twenty – six seminarians with the assistance of Nigerian Fr. Stephen Adewuyi. On his return to Africa in 1929 Fr. Hurst was assigned as Superior to Abeokuta district by Bishop O ‘Rourke for three years. He was assisted by Dick Fitzgerald, Martin Kenny also Lawrence Dolan at various times. The Abeokuta district had been founded during 1880, it consisted of the renowned Sacred Heart hospital, thirty – six secondary stations also a Catholic community of almost 3,000 members with five hundred catechumens. For the last two years of his second tour of duty Fr. Hurst was Administrator of Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos city. That Mission was the oldest in Nigeria as was established during 1868 with a Catholic community of 11,000 members. Four priests assisted him at the mission. When Fr. Hurst returned to Nigeria following his second leave time he spent six months at Lie Ife plus regained charge of the Ondo district until January 12th 1943 when it became a separate jurisdiction – the vicariate of Ondo Liorin – under Bishop Thomas Hughes. Fr. Hurst was appointed to the staff of the new vicariate. He spent the remaining years at Llawa and Ado Ekiti. During April 1947 Fr. Hurst was re-posted as Superior to Ondo. This jurisdiction was elevated to a Diocese to his delight during 1950. His selection by Bishop Hughes as First General was a fitting tribute to his work edict since 1927.[iii]
Fr. Hurst was recognised by the Society for his pioneering work plus his skills as an Administrator; he was elected Delegate to the Provincial Assembly of 1946 also to the General Assembly of June 1952, as a Delegate he was appointed Councillor to the Superior General Stephen Harrington that necessitated a move to Rome in Italy until 1958. At the Irish Provincial Assembly in 1958 Fr. Hurst was elected Provincial Councillor to John A. Creaven. Fr. Hurst held the position for ten years, firstly as Superior at Blackrock Road, Cork from 1958 to 1964, also as Superior from1964 to 1970 at a Doughcloyne hostel for African students in attendance at U. C. C. During that year he was transferred to Kilcogan to oversee the handover of the property to a new owner. Following that task he returned to Cork to become Bursar at Wilton until 1977 when he retired. He continued to reside there until 1981.[iv]
From March 1933 to March 1934 Fr. Hurst returned to Ireland for his first visit home. Again from July 1938 to August 1939 he had returned for a well – earned rest. His third visit home was from 1946 to 1947.[v]
Fr. Hurst’s demise occurred aged seventy – eight years on 12th August 1981 following a long illness at the Bon Secures Hospital, Cork. He was interred in Wilton Cemetery, Cork. [vi]
Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954
[i] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954
[ii] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954
[v] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954
[vi] Mayo Men’s Association, New York Journal, Diamond Jubilee Edition 1954