Steady Progress

Amongst the poor missions to benefit by Mrs. Taaffe’s zeal and generosity were Calabar and Onitsha in Nigeria, West Africa.

From 1898 to 1907 the story of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society is one of consolidation and steady progress. By 1898 the work had developed beyond the control of any single person. Consequently in October of that year a committee was formed, with a President (Colonel George Peart), Hon. Secretary (Mrs. Taaffe), Editor of St. Joseph’s Sheaf (Father Henry Browne, S.J.), Hon Treasurer (Mr. Norbert Morgan, M.A.), Hon. Secretary for the Australian Branch (Mrs. Moran). Two years after the committee commenced the number of students had risen from ten to twenty. Though the fund continues to keep pace with this increase, the Committee came to realise that system of supporting the students on the chance contributions of the faithful was not sound finance. It was decided therefore to start a Guarantee Fund.

The nucleus of this Fund was provided by the sale of some jewellery, the gift of a Dublin Lady. This generous donor had originally intended to present her jewellery for a monstrance; but she came to realise that the provision of priests for the altar would be more pleasing to God. A drawing of prizes was also organised at Lucan Convent for the same purpose. The Fund grew year by year; but it was always kept within the moderate dimensions needed as a guarantee. The Committee preferred to devote any surplus money in hand to the foundation of Burses at Mungret Apostolic School.

The first of these Burses was called the Maloney Burse, and its foundation did much to awaken interest in China as a mission field for Irishmen.

In 1882 Father Patrick Maloney, C.M., who had laboured ten years in China and set up many Missions there, caught the disease le charbon and died, with no one to assist him in his last agony save a few native attendants. Seeing himself in danger of death, he sent for a priest; but the priest had to travel more than two hundred miles and arrived late. The story of Father Maloney’s life was published in St. Joseph’s Sheaf and was afterwards reprinted as a pamphlet. It evidently created considerable interest, because the first edition was soon exhausted. The scheme to found in Mungret a Maloney Burse for a Cashel student (Fr. Maloney was a native of Tipperary) had warm support. Fr. Henry Browne, with his usual energy and enthusiasm, gave a number of lantern lectures in Thurles, Tipperary, Cashel and Doon. By 1900 the Burse was fully subscribed – the first Burse for China ever founded in Mungret and as far as we know, the first ever founded in Ireland. The propaganda in connection with its foundation had the desired result in turning the eyes of Irishmen towards China.


Charity Number: CHY 1508 -