1951 - Moving beyond Nigeria

1951 was a watershed year in the Kiltegan story: it was the year St. Patrick's Missionaries looked beyond the narrow limits of Southern Nigeria. For 19 years, the Society had worked only in Nigeria where there was still more than enough work for its priests. However, there were greater needs elsewhere and, at Rome's request, a new mission was undertaken in Kenya on the opposite side of the African continent. The first Society priests left for Kenya in December 1951, to work with the Mill Hill Fathers in the Great Rift Valley among both nomadic and settled peoples.

 

Their territory stretched from the barren Turkana Desert through the farmlands and forests of the White Highlands to the wide plains of Central Kenya, and in due course the area was divided into the three dioceses of Lodwar, Eldoret and Nakuru. In 1956 Kiltegan accepted responsibility for Kitui, another Kenya mission, taking over from the Holy Ghost Fathers.

 

The number of vocations in Ireland was so great in the 1950s, that it was decided to build a new college in Kiltegan and to expand the Society's House of Studies in Cork. The two building projects - vital for the training of St. Patrick's Missionaries - were eventually completed, thanks to the generosity of old friends in Ireland and new friends in the United States. And by the end of the 1950s there were nearly 200 Kiltegan priests in Africa.

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