A Time in History (May 8-16)

May 11


 FR. PETER STEEN was born in 1925 at Navan, County Meath, Ireland. He died in the Dalgan Nursing Home on May 11, 2009. Educated at De La Salle and at St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan, Father Peter then studied dentistry for two years at University College, Dublin. Then in 1946 he entered Dalgan and was ordained priest there in 1952. He was one of three brothers to be ordained, Fathers Pat, also a Columban priest, and Ambrose. Father Peter was assigned to the Philippines where most of his pastoral work was done in Mindanao. He served as Chancellor of Ozamiz and pro-Director of Mindanao District. That was followed by two terms as Director of the Philippine Region [1975-1981] during which time he displayed interest and energy in implementing the new thrust given to the Society by the 1976 Chapter. Despite health worries in 1981, Father Peter returned to pastoral work in Mindanao and Illigan. In 1989 he became Chaplain to Makati Medical Centre, Manila. Due to continued ill health, he returned to Ireland in April 2009. Father Peter is buried at Dalgan Park, Navan.



(L-R) Frs. Brendan Kennedy and Peter Steen in Mindanao


May 12

piggot FR. JEREMIAH PIGOTT was born at Liscarroll, County Cork, Ireland in 1892. He died on May 12, 1976 as a result of being hit by a passing car near Dalgan.  Father Jerry received his secondary education at St. Colman’s College, Fermoy, Ireland. After his ordination to priesthood at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth in 1916, he joined the British Forces as chaplain during the first World War. After the war he was appointed to the teaching staff of St. Colman’s College, Fermoy. He joined the Society in 1922 and was appointed to Hanyang, China. He was a delegate at the 1931 Chapter. Returning to Hanyang he was appointed vicar-General of Hanyang and later pro-Director. He was visiting Ireland when World War II broke out and, unable to return to China, he joined the Royal Air Force as a chaplain. Returning to China in 1946 he led a group of Columbans to the new mission area of Huzhou. He remained in charge there until forced to leave China in 1952. Japan was the next country in his varied career; he worked there from 1953-61. He served in the Philippines [1961-75].  Father Jerry is buried at Dalgan.



FR. FRANCIS RUDDY was born at Newry, County Down, Ireland in 1914. He died in Melbourne, Australia on May 12, 1971. Father Frank received his secondary education at St. Colman’s College, Newry, Ireland before coming to Dalgan seminary in 1934. He was a member of the last class to be ordained priest at Dalgan, Galway in 1940.  In 1941, he took up temporary parish work in the diocese of Clifton, England. Assigned to China in 1946, Father Frank worked in Nancheng for a brief period before going to Hanyang. Due to ill health he left China in 1948 and was assigned to the Mexican parish at Westminster, California, USA.  In 1951, he was appointed to the Philippines but three years later he had to leave for health reasons. He went to Australia where he did pastoral work and was Superior at St. Columban’s, Perth.  Father Frank is buried at Carlton Cemetery, Melbourne.


May 13


FR. FRANCIS KEANEY was born on November 4, 1934 in Immaculate Conception Parish, Winchester, Massachusetts, USA.  He worked as an accountant before entering Milton seminary in 1957 where he was ordained on June 11, 1966.  A year later, he went to the Philippines, serving in Holy Rosary Parish, Oroquieta, San Isidro Labrador in Zamboanga del Sur, St. Michael the Archangel, Iligan City, St. Francis Xavier, Lopez-Jaena and St. Matthew, Aloran.  Despite his limitations with the local language, Father Frank found ways to communicate with the local people, remembering their names and their relationship with one another.  He assisted numerous poor children to obtain high school and college education.  In January 1989, he was given compassionate leave in order to support his brother Terry, who had special needs.  During those years, Father Frank became known for his compassion and patience toward those who were suffering, his brother, Columban confreres, or neighbors and relatives in nearby hospitals or nursing homes.  At the time of his brother’s death in May 2015, Father Frank’s physical and mental health was already in decline.  During his last three years, despite the challenges that resulted from a faltering memory, a broken hip, as well as various ailments, Father Frank’s family insisted on caring for him in the family home.  He did, however, have spells in care facilities, and died on Mary 13, 2018 at the Vibra Hospital in Rochdale, Massachusetts.  Father Frank was laid to rest in the Keaney family plot in Calvary Cemetery, Winchester.


FR. DONAL BENNETT was appointed to the Philippines after his ordination in December 1960. After his studies in language and culture, he was assigned to Zambales where he would spend most of the following 37 years. During all those years, he loved to invite his Columban neighbors  for Sunday night supper. He gloried in producing rare menu items, and in celebrating any and every occasion. He returned to Ireland in 2000. He was a joyful, friendly and extrovert person, and a splendid singer. He died in the Dalgan Nursing Home on May 13, 2023.



 May 14

bahl FR. EDMOND G. BAHL was born in 1918 at Buffalo, New York, USA. He died on May 14, 2001 at Lakeshore Nursing Facility, Silver Creek, New York. In preparation for priesthood, he had studied at Bristol, Silver Creek and Omaha and was ordained on December 18, 1943.  After serving for two years in a Buffalo parish Father Eddie was assigned to the Philippines in 1946. There he soon saw the value of schools, seeing them as “the only way to reach the kids”. Later, he became president of St. Columban’s College, one of the schools he had founded. He was instrumental in bringing the Sisters of Mercy of the Buffalo Diocese to the Philippines. This led to many Philippine women answering the vocation call to become Sisters of Mercy.  Father Eddie is buried at St. Columban’s on the Lake, Silver Creek, New York.