Through the 20th c. young Irish men and women joined religious orders with a view to working on as missionaries around the world. The countries they worked in were often at war, famine-ridden or suffering through enormous social injustice.
In 2011, the Irish Missionary Union commissioned us to compile an oral history collection to record the experiences of 150 retired Irish missionaries who displayed incredible bravery and mental endurance in the face of multiple dangers. These soundclips are taken from just six representative recordings collected:
Fr. Michael Healy SSC. Born c. 1918. He describes some of his terrifying experiences in China.
Fr. Dan Fitzgerald SSC. Born 1916. He speaks about mental torture at the hands of the Peoples Liberation Army.
Sr. Columba O’Flaherty PBVM. Born 1910. She taught in India for over 60 years, taking care of the “Untouchables”.
Sr. Maeve O’Sullivan DC. Born c. 1920. She worked with prisoners in Nigeria.
Fr. Brian Starrett CSSP. Born 1930s. His mission was to Sierra Leone. He recalls his involvement in peace and reconciliation activities and the Child Soldier programme.
Br. Benignus Buckley OFM Cap. Born 1930s. He speaks about his mission on the Angola border, working with refugees during the ten year war in South Africa.