Fr Ted Rogers SJ RIP
Fr. Edward (“Ted”) Rogers died quite suddenly but peacefully on 30 December 2017 in the Jesuit community house at Corpus Christi Boscombe, at the age of ninety-three.
Ted was born in Liverpool on 9 November 1924, the son of Edward and Ellen. He was baptised on 16 November 1924 at St Oswald’s and educated at St Edwards, Liverpool.
During the Second World War as a merchant seaman he was torpedoed off the West African Coast. He and his shipmates set sail in two lifeboats and reached the port of Freetown in Sierra Leone. He says this action changed his life: not only was this his introduction to Africa, where he was later destined to spend most of his life, it also prompted him to consider the priesthood and apply to join the Society of Jesus. He entered the novitiate at Roehampton on 7 September 1948.
After Philosophy at Heythrop and Pedagogy at Manresa he taught for a year at Barlborough Hall before returning to Heythrop in 1955 for Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood at Heythrop on 31 July 1958. He did his tertianship at St Beuno’s before sailing for Africa in 1960, where he was to spend the next 51 years. He spent one term at St George’s College and then went to Musami. After a year there he was sent to St Peter’s, Mbare where he soon started the community school that was eventually to become St Peter’s Kubatana. Shortly after that he opened the School of Social Work. He remained there, as director for many years.
He obtained a M.Sc. from Cardiff University during a sabbatical in 1971. On retiring from the School of Social Work he was appointed Secretary General of IMBISA (The Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa).
He was among the early pioneers who noticed the ravaging effects of HIV/Aids on communities and he went on to pioneer a successful peer education programme to combat AIDS among high school youth.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe in recognition of his contribution to social work.
Ill health necessitated a return to England where he spent his last years at Boscombe. During this time, he completed work on two books, an autobiography (published in 2012) and ‘Missionary Martyrs of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe 1976-88’ (published 2017). In 2014, the 70th anniversary of D Day, he attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace, as a veteran of the merchant navy.
Ted’s Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 1.00pm on Saturday 13th January at Corpus Christi, Boscombe.
May he rest in peace!