BEGINNINGS – The Birth of the SMA Irish Province – a New Documentary Film





The 19th of July 2023 is the one hundred and second anniversary of the death of Fr Joseph Zimmerman SMA, a Swiss national, who is acknowledged as the founder of the Irish Province of the Society of African Missions.  To mark this occasion a new documentary film about the birth of the SMA Irish Province is being released.

The idea of doing a film on the life of Fr Zimmerman was discussed over two years ago and shortly after the work of gathering the historical information that, in the following months, was used to write a film script began.  At this stage, in order to set the foundation of the Irish Province in the a wider context, is was also decided to broaden the storyline to cover the period before Fr Zimmerman came to Ireland, i.e. when the young Society of African Missions, then a French missionary group, recognised the need to seek English speaking recruits in Ireland to serve as missionaries in British colonies in Africa. 

This eventually led, largely through the efforts, dedication and persistence of Fr Joseph Zimmerman, to the emergence of an independent Irish Province of the Society of African Missions.  

The film is 43 minutes long and features images from the SMA archives in Cork and Lyon and also rare photos of Cork from more than a century ago.  Thanks to all who gave their time and efforts to making the film possible.  We hope you enjoy it and find it informative. Click on the red play icon below to view. 


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