Brother John Conway was born in Brogue Lane in Ireland in 1920. He received his primary education at Strand Road School and started his first job at age 14 as a driver’s helper with the Shell Oil Company in Tralee. He continued to take odd jobs and took evening classes at a technical school in Moyderwell at age 16 before immigrating to England at age 20. Though he worked both in construction and as a long-distance lorry driver for several years, in 1948 he joined the English province of the Jesuits as a lay brother. His one and only mission abroad as a Jesuit was to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), where he worked at Saint Paul’s Mission in Musami from 1954-1977. It is said that he built the mission by himself: he not only built a school and a house, but he also served as a doctor, preacher, and even the mission’s lorry driver. During his time there, the mission grew from nothing to a mission of 2,000 people with a primary school, a secondary school, a farm, a hospital, and a social center.

On February 6, 1977, nationalist guerrillas arrived at the mission, rounded up the white staff (which also included five Dominican sisters), and took them a short distance away. In the words of Father Dunstan Myerscough, a priest who survived by throwing himself to the ground when the shooting began: “Finally, three of them turned on us and raised their guns…we didn’t know they were going to shoot us until the firing started…when the firing stopped I looked up and saw that the other seven were dead and that there was nothing I could do for them.” Brother John Conway was 57 years of age when he was killed.

 

Sources: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/lifestyle/tragic-brother-remembered-at-st-johns-27364874.html

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/11th-february-1977/1/seven-missionaries-killed-in-rhodesia

http://www.dsiop.org/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=294:news-from-dominican-sisters&catid=33&Itemid=56

http://newsaints.faithweb.com/new_martyrs/Zimbabwe.htm

http://www.jesuit.org.uk/features/musami.htm

 

Shannon Doyle

Shannon Doyle is a Junior at John Carroll university from Westfield, NJ. Last semester she studied at NUI Maynooth in Ireland. She is majoring in sociology with a minor in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights and is planning to complete her masters in Non-Profit Administration. She bacame interested in the Ignatian Solidarity network after attending the Ignatian Family Teach-in last fall. She has been involved in many volunteer activities in and outside of campus including volunteering each summer at Sister Pat’s Kids Camp in New York for kids with cancer and blood disorders. last summer she also volunteered with the York Street Project in Jersey City which helps young mothers complete their high school degree. At John Carroll she is also President of the Carroll Cinema Society and a member of the Ultimate Frisbee Team.