An Endangered Species is the memoir of Fr Jerry Daly, a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart order who was a priest and missionary for over fifty years. The book charts Fr Daly’s childhood and upbringing in Cork in the thirties and forties, his early vocation to be a priest and the challenges of his education and training. Following his ordination, Fr Daly embarks on his profession as a missionary, work that places him in a variety of unique and privileged situations in diverse parts of the world. However, it is not without its trials, from battling illness in Indonesia to dealing with political tensions in the UK during the Troubles, to witnessing the atrocities of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Alongside reminiscences about Fr Daly’s life are his views on a range of topics, including marriage, alcoholism and, most importantly, the state of the contemporary Catholic Church. In his frank discussion of the Church’s decline, which he claims is due in no small part to the intransigence of its leaders, Fr Daly speaks with the passion and authority of someone who has dedicated his life to religion; nevertheless, he remains upbeat in his suggestions for its renewal.
Fr Jerry Daly was born in Cork in 1932, the second youngest of ten children. Having been educated at Sacred Heart College, Myross Wood and Moyne Park, Co. Galway, Fr Daly served as a missionary in Indonesia and South Africa and as a parish priest in the UK. He is now retired and lives in the MSC retirement community in Western Road, Cork.