St. Patrick's Society for the Foreign Missions (Latin Societas Sancti Patritii pro Missionibus ad Exteros) is an Irish Roman Catholic society of apostolic life composed of missionary priests, sometimes known as the Kiltegan Fathers from its headquarters at Kiltegan, County Wicklow. Its members use the postnominal initials of S.P.S. The Latin motto of the Society is Caritas Christi Urget Nos (2 Corinthians 5:14) or, in English, Christ's love compels us.
The Kiltegan Fathers origins stem from an appeal by Bishop Joseph (Ignatius) Shanahan of the Holy Ghost Order, in 1920 to seminary students in Maynooth College for missionaries to Nigeria, Africa, where he was bishop; later that year Fr. Whitney accompanied Bishop Shanahan to Africa.
The society was founded officially on St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1932 by Monsignor Patrick Whitney (1894 - 1942) at Kiltegan, County Wicklow, Ireland. Its original aim was the Christian evangelization of Nigeria. In 1951, the society expanded its missionary activities outside of Nigeria.
In the 1950s the society expanded, building a new college in Kiltegan, and opening a House of Studies in Sutton House, Rochestown, Douglas in Cork, with seminarians attending lectures in University College Cork.
In 1997 the Kiltegan Fathers, with the drop in vocations from Ireland, officially decided to open up internationally and set up houses of formation in Nigeria and Kenya. In 2000 trainee priests began studying philosophy in St Joseph’s Institute in Cedara, South Africa, and KWA Patrick house was setup. 2002 seen students study theology at the Kiltegan House in Nairobi, as the Society joined other orders in Tangaza University College. Also in 2002 a house of formation was founded in Lusaka, Zambia.
As of 2008, the society has 307 priests on four continents including the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Grenada, Brazil, the United States, Italy, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
St. Patricks - High Park, Kiltegan
The Society moved to High Park, about 2 km from Kiltegan Co. Wicklow the former home of the Westby family, and named it St. Patrick's. It had been donated by a catholic businessman John Hughes to Fr. Pat Whitney in 1929. Fr. Whitney took over the building in 1930. The High Park residence had been rebuilt after it had been damaged in the 1798 rebellion.
- 1920 - Appeal by Bishop Joseph (Ignatius) Shanahan
- 1929 - Donation of High Park, Kiltegan to Fr Whitney
- 1932 - Formal Foundation
- 1934 - Kiltegans take charge of Calibar when the Diocese was divided
- 1951 - First Mission outside Nigeria was to Kenya
- 1956 - Kiltegan Fathers took over Kitui, Kenya from the Holy Ghost Fathers
- 1961 - First mission to Brazil
- 1967 - Outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War
- 1970 - Kiltegan Fathers went to West Indies
- 1970 - Kiltegan Fathers went to Malawi
- 1983 - Mission in South Sudan
- 1989 - Seen Missions to Cameroon, South African and Zimbabwe
- 1993 - Society first sought members from outside Ireland
- 1997 - Society opened houses of formation in East, West and Central Africa
- 2015 - Headquarters moved to Nairobi, Kenya
Jeremiah McGrath of the Kiltegan Fathers was convicted in Liverpool, England in May 2007 for facilitating abuse by a paedophile named Billy Adams. McGrath had given Adams £20,000 in 2005 and Adams had used the money to impress a 12-year-old girl whom he then raped over a six-month period. McGrath denied knowing about the abuse but admitted having a brief sexual relationship with Adams. His appeal in January 2008 was dismissed.
In 2003 the society paid €325,000 for abuse committed by Fr. Peter Kennedy of the Kiltegan Fathers in 1982.
Notable members of the Society
- Bishop Derek Byrne S.P.S - Bishop of Primavera do Leste–Paranatinga, Brazil (2014- ),Bishop of Guiratinga, Brazil (2008-2014)
- Bishop Edmund Fitzgibbon S.P.S. - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Warri in Nigeria.
- Bishop John Magee S.P.S - Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland (1987-2010), Master of Papal Ceremonies, The Vatican (1982-1987), Papal Private Secretary, The Vatican (1978-1982).
- Bishop William Dunne S.P.S. - Bishop of Kitui (1963-1995)
- Bishop Edmund Fitzgibbon S.P.S. (1925-2010)
- Bishop John Christopher Mahon, D.C.L, S.P.S. - Bishop of Lodwar, Kenya (1978-2000),
- Bishop James Moynagh S.P.S. (1903 - 1985)
- Bishop John Alphonsus Ryan MA PhD S.P.S.
- Bishop Thomas McGettrick SPS, first Bishop of Abakaliki, Nigeria
- Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley BSc, SPS, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kitale, Kenya (1998- )
In 2014 St Patrick’s Missionary Society held a General Chapter meeting which elected a new leadership team. In 2015 the society commenced moving its headquarters from Kiltegan in Ireland to Narobi in Kenya. The Society produces the Africa - St. Patrick's Mission magazine. The Society has installed a wind turbine in Kiltegan. There is also a retirement home in Kiltegan for its members.
- "History". St. Patrick's Missionary Society. Retrieved 2012-03-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- About Kiltegan Fathers UK
- Kiltegans relocate to Africa due to lack of vocations Archived 2017-01-01 at the Wayback Machine by Cathal Barry, Irish Catholic, October 1st, 2015.
- RTÉ News https://web.archive.org/web/20110527171108/http://www.rte.ie/player/. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. Missing or empty
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- "Morning Ireland: Regina Doherty discusses latest hearing into Portlaoise baby deaths". Morning Ireland. RTÉ News. Retrieved 2015-05-20. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Priest who helped groom child for sex loses appeal". Irish Independent. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2009-04-08. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Anita Guidera (3 September 2003). "Bishop is urged to tell all he knew of abuse case". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2015-05-20. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Kiltegan Priest appointed Bishop in Brazil www.kandle.ie
- Africa Magazine Facebook page
- Wind Trubine installation St Patricks Missionary Society Enerpower Official Website, www.enerpower.ie
- what we do Sisters of the Holy Faith