A Time in History (November 17 – 23)

November 20


FR. ABRAHAM SHACKLETON was born at Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland in 1908. He died suddenly at Dalgan on November 20, 1978. Fr. Abe attended various Dublin schools until his father, an engineer, moved to Belfast, Ireland. He received practically all his secondary education at St. Malachy’s College, Belfast. He began his studies for priesthood at St. Senan’s College, Cahiracon, Ireland in 1926.  After his ordination in 1932 at Dalgan he did post-graduate studies in Rome and was awarded a Doctorate in Canon Law [1936]. He spent the next ten years [1936-46] in Hanyang, China. He was appointed to the U.S. [1947] and was engaged in many apostolates there for the next twenty years – promotion, office work, spiritual direction and student formation. In 1967, he went to St. Columban’s, Solihull, Britain where he assisted in setting up the office. He left for the Philippines in 1969 and worked in the diocese of Ozamis until ill health forced him to return to Ireland in 1976.  Fr. Abe is buried at Dalgan.



Frs. Joseph McDonnell and Abraham Shackleton


 November 21

FR. MICHAEL DUFFY was born at Johnstown, County Meath, Ireland on November 28 1931. He followed his brother Fergus into the Columbans and was ordained December 21, 1956. The Superior General sent him to Antigonish, Nova Scotia to study cooperatives and to Denver for journalism, while waiting for a visa to Burma.  Since the visa was refused, Fr. Michael did promotion in Westminster and San Francisco, California and taught in Milton and Silver Creek, USA. Assigned to the Philippines in 1966, he worked in San Narciso, San Antonio, San Felipe, Poonbato and Botolan. His perfectionism and gentle, punning sense of humor helped as District Superior in Zambales in 1980, in the formation programme in Cebu City and Quezon City and while struggling for Justice and Peace in Tondo, Manila. Fr. Michael was appointed to Britain in 1989 where he did mission education, was lay mission coordinator and vice-director.  In 2003, he was transferred to Ireland. Even in retirement he enriched the community with Lectio Divina and bridge. Fr. Michael died in Our Lady’s Infirmary, Navan, Ireland on November 21, 2016. He is buried in Dalgan.


L-R:  Fr. Seán Coyle, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal (+) and Fr. Michael Duffy, Cebu City



FR. JAMES MULROY was from Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland where he was born in 1923. He died in Manila on November 21, 1965.  Fr. Jim did his secondary studies at St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen, Ireland before entering Dalgan in 1941. He was ordained priest there in 1947 and appointed to the Philippines.  At the time of his death he was chaplain at Far Eastern University, Manila. He had a bad heart condition for some years. Fr. Jim was buried at Iligan City, where he had worked after his arrival in the Philippines. Later he was re-interred in Cagayan de Oro.





The remains of Frs. James Mulroy and Ernest Brennan inside a Philippine Air Force plane bound for Iligan City




 November 22

 brenanFR. ERNEST P. BRENNAN was born at Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland in 1930. He died at Manila, Philippines, on November 22, 1965.  Having studied at Belvedere College, Dublin, Ireland Fr. Ernie went to Dalgan in 1949 and was ordained priest there in 1955. He was assigned to the Philippines and worked in Cagayan de Oro City.  His death took place in a Manila hospital where he was convalescing from a minor operation. His death coincided with that of Fr. James Mulroy. Since both had worked in Iligan City it was decided they should be buried there. Through the good offices of the Vice-Mayor of Manila, the Philippine Government provided an Air Force plane to take the bodies of the two priests to Iligan City. They have both been re-interred in Cagayan de Oro since then.




Fr. Ernest Brennan with parishioners



 November 23

 kalickFR. QUENTIN KALICK was born at Buffalo, New York, USA in 1918. He died on November 23, 2004 at Manila Doctors’ Hospital where he was a regular patient in the months prior to his death. His formation for priesthood took place at Bristol, Silver Creek and Omaha, Nebraska, USA before being ordained at Providence, Rhode Island in 1942. Unable to go on overseas mission due to the war, Fr. Quentin did pastoral work in San Diego and Redlands, California, USA. In 1945 he was a member of the first post-war group to go to the Philippines where he worked until his retirement to Singalong in 1991. Despite indifferent health throughout much of his life Fr. Quentin will be remembered for his wit and bright companionship. He is buried at Manila.



FR. MICHAEL SINNOTT  was born in Clonard, Wexford on 17 December 1929 and educated in the CBS and in St Peter’s, Wexford. He joined the Columbans in Navan in 1948. Following his ordination in December 1954 he finished postgraduate studies in Rome before being appointed to the Philippines in 1957. Michael’s first term in the Philippines was spent in Iligan in Mindanao before he was appointed to the seminary staff in Ireland. He became rector of the seminary in 1967 just as the turbulent tide of change was reaching Dalgan Park. He remained on the Dalgan staff until 1976 and then returned to the Philippines and Mindanao. For the next ten years he worked in the Pagadian area where he gained the reputation as a fearless defender of people and their rights. He was vocal in his criticism of military abuses and local corruption and then brought the same energy to Manila during his a four year term as Vice Director of the Philippine Region. Rather than returning to parish ministry he decided it was time to attend to another need that was not being met anywhere in Mindanao at that time. He began the Hangop Kabataan (The Children’s Shelter) foundation for children with special needs in 1998. He worked away quietly for years until the spotlight was focused on him by events beyond his control. One of these was when he had to undergo a quadruple by-pass operation and his blood type was not available anywhere. Another was his kidnapping by Islamist group in October 2009 when he was held for thirty-one days before being released. He was glad of a few months at home after that ordeal but he had no intention of staying in Ireland. “I want to do the little bit I can, for as long as I can”. That’s what he said at the time and that was what he did. He returned to Ireland finally in 2012 but he remained as determined as ever as he pushed his walker around Dalgan, even if it was just to find a TV showing Heineken Cup rugby. Father Michael was taken ill after lunch and died in Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan in the afternoon of 23 November, the feast of St Columban. We have been blessed to have him as a friend and companion.


FR. DESMOND MORRISON was born in Dublin on 28 February 1925. He graduated from the University College Dublin with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1945. He joined the Columbans in Dalgan that same year and was ordained on 21 December 1951. After ordination, he did postgraduate studies and obtained a doctorate in Canon Law in 1955 from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. In that same year and continuing into 1956 he spent time with a well-known architectural firm which enabled him to get a lot of experience in building methods and procedures. He had been encouraged to do so by the Superior General at the time so that he would be better prepared to help with the building of churches and schools when he went on mission. He was assigned to the Philippines in 1956, overseeing church planning and playing a pivotal role in designing the impressive Ozamiz Cathedral. Over the years, he contributed significantly to constructing cathedrals, churches, schools, and presbyteries across Mindanao. From 1979, Father Des focused on the Family Life Apostolate, promoting natural family planning methods. He later moved to Cagayan de Oro, continuing this work and aiding Marriage Tribunals in Cagayan de Oro and Manila. He was known for his compassionate counsel regarding marital issues and advocated for a deeper understanding of reconciliation’s role as a manifestation of God’s mercy within canon law. Father Des passed away on the feast of St Columban 2022 in Big Hearts Care Home, Parañaque, Manila, after a long illness. He was buried at Loyola Memorial Gardens, Sucat, Parañaque.