PRESS RELEASE: FRANCE – ATTACK ON SMA RETIREMENT HOME.
Fr. Michael McCabe SMA, Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of African Missions (SMA), has expressed his condolences to the family of the French woman who was brutally murdered on Thursday night at the SMA retirement home at Montferrier-sur-lez, near the southern city of Montpellier.
“Following the recent attacks in France, news of this kind is always worrying,” Fr. McCabe said. “While we are grateful that none of our retirees; Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (OLA); or lay people who share the facility, were injured, we are deeply saddened to learn that one of our lay staff was murdered. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to her family, friends and associates.”
Fr McCabe also praised the bravery of another female member of staff who, despite being attacked and bound, managed to alert police to the intruder.
Police have recovered an abandoned car in a wooded area close to the retirement home and are following a definite line of inquiry. As yet, no motive for the attack has been established.
“I ask the Irish people to also join with us,” Fr McCabe said, “in remembering the Montferrier-sur-lez community and their families in your prayers, as well as all our priests throughout the country.”
Society of African Missions (SMA):
The SMA in France has several houses throughout the country and Montferrier is the official retirement home for more than 60 SMAs who have served in many parts of Africa, particularly in Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and DR Congo.
The Society of African Missions was founded in Lyon, France, on 8 December 1856. Fr Francois Devoucoux came to Ireland in 1877 and established the SMA here the following year. The Irish SMA Province was founded in 1912.
Five members of the Irish Province of the SMA have been Superiors General of the Society. The fourth Irish Superior General, Fr Kieran O’Reilly SMA, is now Archbishop of Cashel and Emly. The present SMA Superior General, based in Rome, is Fr Fachtna O’Driscoll SMA, from Rathcormac, Co Cork. The Irish Province presently numbers 166 members, including bishops, priests and brothers, with Irish SMA priests serving in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.