In 1994, in two separate mission countries, misfortune would cut down two members of the Columban family – one priest and one lay missionary.
Father Vincent J. Power was a native of County Tipperary, Ireland. He was ordained in 1955 at Dalgan in Navan. He had served nearly 30 years in Japan and several years in Ireland when he began his service in the Columban mission country of Jamaica in 1990.
In April of 1994, Father Power was serving as the pastor for Saint Joseph’s Parish in Falmouth, Jamaica. On the morning of April 21st, the parish staff found the dead body of Father Power on the altar of the church, with signs of bludgeoning and robbery.
Jamaican police later arrested Isaiah Morgan, a 32-year old man with a history of drug abuse, for Father Power’s killing. The motive for the murder remains unclear, but may have been simple robbery.
Father Power was buried in a plot next to the Saint Joseph’s Parish in Falmouth where he served.
A few months later and on the other side of the world, the Columbans suffered another tragic loss.
Columban lay missionary Yean Sin Elizabeth Lim was a native of Korea who was baptized as a teenager and was the first Catholic in her family.
In early 1994, she arrived in Fiji with two other young Korean women to serve as lay missionaries.
Yean Sin was still at language school in the Fijian capital of Suva, when a case of hepatitis that she apparently contracted in Korea, drastically worsened. She went to Suva Colonial War Memorial Hospital, but the disease was too far advanced.
Yean Sin died on November 4, 1994 at the tragically early age of 23.
Her parents flew out from Korea for the funeral, and when they saw how much the Fijians loved and honored her, they permitted their beloved daughter to be buried in Suva.
Since then, several publications have appeared that are dedicated to Yean Sin, including a commemorative article in the May 2010 issue of Columban Mission magazine.
The Columbans renamed their house for lay missionaries in Fiji in honor of the fallen Yean Sin.