Papal Nuncio Visits Borrisoleigh To Celebrate A Famous Son In 2019

Derry Bourke honoured Archbishop Jude Okolo with gifts on June 2 during a parish celebration


Borrisoleigh in north Tipperary celebrated the memory of one of their famous sons, Bishop Joseph Shanahan, on Sunday, June 2 this year.

The Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thadeus Okolo, from southern Nigeria, was the chief celebrant, proud to acknowledge the man of whom they say, ‘He was our Saint Patrick.’

He was the apostle of southern Nigeria, from the day he stepped ashore from the River Niger in Onitsha in 1902.

With other Spiritan priests he brought the news of the saving love of Jesus which the people accepted eagerly; he also brought them education which he believed in passionately, as their gateway into the modern world.

As time went on he felt strongly that women missionaries were needed to reach out to the women, and this led him to found the Holy Rosary Sisters to do just that.

In Borrisoleigh, Fr Hennessy, the parish priest, the nieces and nephews of Joseph Shanahan to the third and fourth generation, with all the people of the parish, gave a big welcome to those who came to celebrate with them; after a beautiful Mass, at which the story of his life was told and everyone did their part with practiced skill, including the choir, there was tea and sandwiches for all, and music, song and Irish dancing performed by young and old.

After this they visited the Bishop Shanahan monument in Glenkeen and heard more of the story and more songs.

Borrisoleigh poet and local historian Derry Bourke presented a gift of two commemorative CDs to Archbishop Okolo, and Sister Angele Nkamsi.

Sister Nkamsi wrote to Derry. “I was overtaken by the words of the song and Paudric’s rendtion of Borrisoleigh My Native Home on June 2. The words are powerful.”

Archbishop Okolo wrote: “On that beautiful day, everyone was happy and the weather was very cooperative. Bishop Shanahan must have smiled from heaven. Please share our best wishes with the good people of Borrisoleigh.”

Borrisoleigh My Native Home

It's the place I was born and raised in,
Borrisoleigh is my native home,
You may travel far, far over,
To find a place like Borrisoleigh
Those winding roads that keep you going,
Slope down to Glenkeen, Where history is around you, In our ancient monastery,

Those lovely hills and sleepy valleys,
Are the byways to my home,
You may far, far over, to find a place like Borrisoleigh,
Where the people are so fair and happy,
And their music so nice and sweet,
Where our hurling is like religion,
In my home from Borrisoleigh,

We can't forget that lovely chapel,
Sitting on fair Illeigh,
Where the views are full of beauty,
And bring you home to Borrisoleigh.