Profile Don Burke

Fr Don (Daniel) Burke SMA



Don comes from Waterford City but his subsequent career would make him a citizen of the world. After his schooling there he started his career as a clerk working in Cork City where he also took up studies at the School of Commerce and qulaified as a Chartered Secretary. A chance riverine outing with the Legion of Mary brought him into contact with Fr Moran OP a Dominican priest who invited him to consider being a priest. Later he came in contact with Fr Tom Hurst SMA, a jovial retired missionary who impressed Don considerably. These contacts were instrumental in his decision to come to SMA to test his vocation. “The homefront did not appeal to me, I wanted the experience of mission that Fr Hurst had”. In joining the Society Don followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Maurice who was already a member of SMA.

Assigned to Lagos he quickly got involved in the slums of the city working with street children. This led him to set up the Boys Town in Lagos to cater for the youngsters he constantly met on the streets.

Subsequently he was sent to Poland where he was instrumental in setting up the Polish Foundation of SMA. He experienced Poland at first as behind the “Iron Curtain” of the communist regime and saw it emerge as a capitalist country.

He is now back in Africa, in Zambia, where he provides much-needed chaplaincy work in four institutions.

Don has always had a keen interest in the local culture and wherever he has been assigned he has spent time studying the local language.

Interested in giving a hand?
Interested in getting involved in the work being done by Fr Don?

Contact the SMA Vocations Director.




1933: Born in Waterford, Ireland

1955-1962: Studies with SMA at Coughballymore, Co Galway and Dromantine

1961: Permanent member of SMA.

1961: Ordination

1962-1984: Archdiocese of Lagos, Nigeria

1984-1993: Formation work in Poland

1994-date: Ndola Diocese, Zambia

Fr Daniel P Burke SMA
SMA House
P O Box 70356

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