Fr Donald Oswin Hughes OMI

Fr Donald Oswin Hughes OMI

It is with great sadness that the Australian Province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate received the news of the passing of Fr Don Hughes OMI.  Fr Don lived a full and active life as a faithful Oblate and generous Priest and up until recent months, even at the age of 87, had been present in the Mazenod College Western Australia Community supporting students and staff.   Earlier this year he refused further aggressive treatment for his cancer, which he had battled with for many years.

In his ministry as an Oblate, he was involved in Education, Formation and Parish ministry.  Fr Don was an Oblate who generously responded to the needs of the Province.

Born in Fremantle, WA on 23rd August 1932, and educated at CBC Fremantle. Intending to be a diocesan priest he studied philosophy at St Charles Seminary in Guilford WA, then joined the Oblates in 1953 at Sorrento. In 1954 he went to study theology at Piltown, Ireland where he was ordained on the 15th September 1957.

His first obedience was 3 months at Holy Cross, Liverpool, UK before he returned to Australia, to Sorrento.  In his first 2 years he was also at Penshurst NSW, Beaconsfield WA and Camberwell Vic. He taught at Iona College 1961-65, then went to Mazenod WA 1966-72 as first rector.

Fr Don was then rector of St Mary’s Seminary until January 1976, when he moved to Massey New Zealand as parish priest until 1982, then Rosebud Vic for 14 months followed by Tea Tree Gully SA until the end of 1989.

From 1990 to 1995 he was novice master then rector of St Mary’s Seminary for a second term, followed by 10 years of parish ministry in WA, at Fremantle then Lesmurdie. He was then Rector of St Charles Seminary (archdiocesan), Guildford WA for two and a half years, then had a year back as novice master at St Mary’s Seminary, Mulgrave.

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Fr Donald Hughes OMI

He joined the Mazenod College Community in Lesmurdie in 2011, where he has been since. There he loved watching sporting matches, was involved with the boys, and was seen as a witness of faith and reassuring presence and pastoral support to both students and staff.

Fr Don was a generous Oblate, serving a number of terms on the Provincial Council, and was willing to go wherever he was asked, to do whatever was needed. He has been in all the Oblate ministries – he has been missioner, parish priest, teacher, college and seminary rector, formator. He was passionately interested in the congregation: he has been the historian of the province and the keeper of the stories.

Fr Don Hughes will be greatly missed.

(The header image shows Fr Hughes OMI, Fr Hannah OMI and Fr FitzPatrick OMI at Iona College in 1965.)