Anne Casey writes:

In ‘Goodbye Kit, it may be for years and it may be forever’ the difficulties facing a priest who wanted to leave the priesthood are well illustrated as is the shame that would attach to them and their families. Michael Kickham’s internal torment as he considers leaving the priesthood is graphically portrayed. He is all too aware of the consequences.

In 1884, Michael was ordained and sent to New Zealand as a missionary priest, where he discovered an unhappy environment: the diocese was run by Marists who looked down on Secular priests and treated them as ‘only there to assist the Marists’. This attitude led to Michael and other Secular priests sending a petition to Pope Leo XIII.

Did the powers that be in All Hallows know this when they sent out young priests as missionaries? And if they did, did they conveniently ignore it? Unfortunately, despite meticulous research by the author, this question remains unanswered.

He returned to Ireland in 1899 and two years later departed for a destination undisclosed to his family. He was eventually found to be in Buenos Aires, no longer a priest. He died there in 1909, just 48 years old. 

An interesting and enigmatic life, well told by author Vincent Murphy and a joy to read.

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