Birth Name            Michael Fitzgerald                            
Religious Name     Michael of the Child Jesus   
Born            23.07.1941 at Broadford
Profession    08.09.1960
Ordination    17.12.1966
Died    09.07.2009 in Dublin (Avila)


Fr Michael was born in Broadford, Co. Limerick, Ireland on July 23, 1941. Following his primary education locally he went to St Thérèse College, Castlemartyr for his secondary education. He entered the Carmelite Order in Loughrea in 1959 and made his First Profession there on September 8, 1960. Following his Philosophy and Theology studies he was ordained on December 17, 1966. He later obtained a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology at the Teresianum, Rome.

After his studies he was appointed to St Mary's, Gayfield, Dublin where he took a great interest in Adult Religious Education. In 1973 he was asked to go to the Philippine Islands and spent fifteen years there. Soon after his arrival he was asked to take on roles of responsibility and was the first Regional Superior when the Philippines became an independent region under the authority of the Generalate House. In 1988 Fr Philip Sainz de Baranda, Superior General of the Order, asked him to help set up a mission in Nigeria with Frs Charles Newell, OCD and Tom Curran, OCD. They worked tirelessly to develop the Nigerian Region and the present day success of the Region owes a great deal to them. Once again Fr Michael was asked to take on roles of responsibility: prior, formator, vocations director and eventually Regional Vicar. It was a great joy to him to see his work crowned with success when the first Nigerian Carmelite to be appointed Provincial Delegate, Fr Remigius Ikpe, OCD, took up office in 2005. The Region tooks its first steps towards independence by voting to become a Regional Vicariate in 2008. The first Regional Vicar is Fr Francis Odigwe, OCD.

Besides his work with the expansion of the Order he had a great concern for justice and worked especially to alleviate the condition of prisoners. He was instrumental in setting up CAPIO, the Carmelite organization that works for the just treatment of prisoners

Fr Michael had a great affection for the Carmelite nuns and preached retreats to many communities. He was very helpful to the nuns in the Philippines and Africa when they were setting up their Associations. He visited South Africa earlier this year to help the nuns with on-going formation. While in Nigeria the nuns in Zing had a special place in his affection. He visit them frequently despite this involving an eight hour drive each way and spent a lot of time helping them establish their community. He was also very generous with his time to the nuns in Owerri.

Fr Michael returned to Ireland in 2007 and joined the Avila community in Dublin. He was elected Prior of that community in May 2008. He was in the process of developing programmes for the new Avila and looked forward with excitement to their implementation. He was a tireless worker and was giving a directed retreat when God called him home. He was confessor to the Carmelite Nuns at Kilmacud and had been with them on the afternoon before he died. While there he was his usual self, full of good humour.

Fr Michael was an avid reader and loved especially to study the Scriptures. It was a real joy to listen to his homilies and talks explaining the Scriptures. Listeners could echo the words of the disciples at Emmaus, "Did not our hearts burn within us as he explained the scriptures to us." He was widely read on areas such as theology, spirituality, history, literature and politics. He loved a debate on any of those subjects! He loved theatre and was a very well informed critic of it.

He was a keen sportsman and followed his native county with great interest over the years. He jokingly referred to the "pilgrimages" he used make to the various sports grounds where they played! He had a remarkable memory for sporting incidents and loved to regale groups with accounts of them. As well as gaelic sports he took a great interest in many other sports and became very knowledgeable about all of them. He was a voracious reader of sports literature! He still loved to run and play some hurling and did so even during the last few days.

He was a dedicated Carmelite, a good and faithful servant who died giving of his best. A true shepherd of the flock of Christ, may he now hear the voice of the Good Shepherd welcoming him to his eternal home. May he rest in peace. We offer our sincere sympathy to his family.