RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/50
TitleFr Michael Hannan SJ (1909-1977)
DescriptionPersonal letters, mostly to his brother; material relating to Fr Hannan's Shona translation work; newspaper cuttings; death notices and obituary; photographs of various mission stations in Rhodesia; a typescript memoir by Fr Hannan's sister, Colette Hannan, who spent time in Rhodesia in the 1940s or 1950s.
Admin_HistoryMichael Hannan was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, on 4 October 1909. The Hannan family emigrated to Canada in 1912. Hannan was educated at Hodder House, the preparatory school to Stonyhurst College, and at St Michael's College in Toronto. He followed his older brother, Francis 'Frank' Hannan SJ, in joining the English Province of the Society of Jesus. He joined the novitiate at Roehampton on 7 September 1925.

Hannan studied Philosophy at the German scholasticate in Valkenburg in the Netherlands and at Heythrop College. From an early stage of his formation, Hannan was determined to learn the Shona language and undertook to study anthropology and missiology. He served a three year regency at St Michael's College in Leeds before returning to Heythrop to study Theology. Hannan was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest on 6 September 1938. After ordination, Hannan joined the staff at the parish of the Sacred Heart in Leeds in 1939 for a year. He then served a brief tertianship at St Beuno's. After working a few months on the staff at the parish of St Aloysius, Glasgow, Fr Hannan was sent to what was then Rhodesia in May 1941 to undertake missionary work.

Between 1942 and 1949, Hannan was superior at St Paul's, Musami. In 1950 he founded and became superior of the Marymount Mission near Mount Darwin. He next taught at the Chishawasha Seminary. Between 1956 and 1957, Hannan was based at Campion House in Salisbury [Harare]. During this period he compiled the first official Shona dictionary. In 1959 Hannan founded the Musami teacher training college. Between 1961 and 1967, Hannan was based at Kutama Mission. Whilst at Kutama, Hannan published a translation of the New Testament in Shona in 1966 and a translation of the Missal in 1968. Hannan was based at Chishawasha in the 1970's and worked on a revised edition of the Shona dictionary. In 1974 he represented the Salisbury Mission at the 32nd General Congregation in Rome.

In 1976, Hannan took a period of rest in the United States and Canada. He also spent time in England receiving medical treatment. He returned to Rhodesia in July 1977 to head the Rhodesian Pastoral Centre. Hannan died at St Anne's Hospital, Salisbury, on 22 December 1977. His Requiem Mass was held at Salisbury Cathedral on 28 December 1977, followed by internment at the Chishawasha cemetery.

A full obituary can be found in Letters and Notices 83, pp. 69-89.
Related Material - 3 portraits of Fr Hannan, see SJ/PH/541
- Papers of Fr Francis Hannan SJ, see index card.
Printed document
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.
DS/UK/505Hannan; Michael (1909-1977); Jesuit Priest1909-1977

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