Founding Father

founding father of Aquinas College Akure

Founding Father

Bishop Thomas P. Hughes S.M.A., (1891 - 1957)

Bishop Thomas P. Hughes was an Irish-born Roman Catholic priest who served as the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ondo in Nigeria. Born in Hollymount, Co. Mayo, Ireland in 1891.

Bishop Thomas P. Hughes S.M.A., (1891 - 1957)
Bishop Thomas P. Hughes S.M.A., (1891 – 1957)

Thomas studied at Ballinrobe C.B.S., after school he became a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. During the Irish War of Independence, Constable Hughes was involved in Listowel mutiny, when he refused orders to kill suspects who refused to surrender, which ended his position in the RIC and after this, he decided to become a priest. Thomas was described in a later witness statement as ‘a gentle and brilliant six-foot athlete’.

He studied Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, then studying philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway and joined the Society of African Missions, studying for three years at St. Joseph’s theological seminary, Blackrock Road, Cork, before completed his theological formation at Dromantine House, Co Down, when the seminary moved in September 1926. Thomas was ordained a priest in June 1927, at St. Colman’s cathedral, Newry by Bishop Mulhern.

He joined the staff of St Gregory’s College, Lagos, Nigeria, and went on to serve as in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna in Northern Nigeria. The Prefecture of Northern Nigeria into two in 1934, one part being the Prefecture of Kaduna under Monsignor Thomas Hughes (and the other Prefecture of Jos under Monsignor William Lumley).

In 1943 Fr Hughes became Vicar Apostolic of Ondo-Ilorin, and when Ondo became a Bishopric in 1950 he became the first Bishop of Ondo.

Bishop Hughes brother, Patrick(Paddy) was also a missionary for the Society of African Missions, and their Sister became a nun, their niece Sr. Thomasina Hughes OLA also became a nun.

Suffering from heart problems, he resigned as Bishop, Hughes died in Cork in 1957, and is buried in St. Joseph’s Wilton Cemetery, Co. Cork.


(Culled from Society of African Mission)