Father Paul Jenkins, SJ

Born: 13 February 1924, Port Talbot, Denbigh, Wales
Entered: 07 September 1947, Roehampton London – Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows 02 February 1965
Died: 31 October 1989, Convent of Infant Jesus, Idris Shah, Ipoh

In 1959, Father Jenkins arrived in Kuala Lumpur and began the study of the Tamil language while living at the Catholic cathedral in Bukit Nanas. In 1961, he took over from Father McGovern as the army chaplain to the British Forces. He lived at the RC Garrison Church in Kuala Lumpur for some time before joining the new community at Petaling Jaya. Once a week he would visit the Military College of the Federation [of Malaya] Army and give instructions to the Catholic cadets. On Sundays, he would also say Mass at the Garrison Church and at the British Military Hospital.

When Father Murphy was installed as the first Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier in Petaling Jaya, he was assisted by Father McGovern and Father Jenkins. It was Father Murphy’s opinion that it was time for the Jesuits to withdraw from army chaplaincy. The principal reason was that their first duty was to develop the parish in Petaling Jaya. To do that properly, he now realised from experience that it was really necessary to have three priests. Even the work of visiting all the Catholic families alone, a very big undertaking, had not yet been completed.

In 1964, Father Jenkins ceased being chaplain and became instead a chaplain at the Universiti Malaya as well as operarius in St Francis Xavier’s Church.

In 1963-1964, Father Jenkins would have to return to England to have his spinal problem dealt with. After what seems to have been a botched operation, his condition got even worse. Because of his serious spinal problem it was difficult for him to live in an ordinary community house. However, he returned to Malaya but went to live with the Infant Jesus Sisters in Ipoh and they took care of him for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, he could get around, although he always used a stick, and could drive a car.

He was chaplain to the convent of the Holy Infant Sisters where he lived, gave a doctrine class daily, taught elocution and held Bible Vigils. Periodically he gave talks to the Catholic Doctors’ Guild and during the previous few months had given retreats to the Infant Jesus Sisters at Taiping, to the students of the Malaysian Teachers’ College in Penang, to Legionaries and to 90 Form 3 girls at the Infant Jesus convent in Ipoh.


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