Br. Chris Mannion

Chris Mannion’s life began in Thornaby, Yorkshire on May 15, 1951. Looking back on his forty-three years of life, what was striking about him was his love of sport and history, his pride in his family, his great affection for his Brothers, Cameroon, and the Awas – his adopted family in Bamenda – and his countless friends — yes, he fell in love easily and often.

This son of Harry and Terry Mannion decided in 1962 that he wanted to be a Marist Brother and missionary. Seven years later he entered the postulancy in Habay, Belgium. After three weeks of French lessons, English was put aside and at eighteen he began to speak French — a skill that stood him in good stead when he was elected to the General Council in October 1993.

Novitiate followed in Dublin and in 1971 Chris made his first vows as a Marist Brother. A year at Maynooth gave him a Diploma in Religious Studies; he received his BA in history with honours from London University in 1975.

Chris’ ten years in Bamenda, Cameroon, interrupted by a year’s teacher training in Glasgow, helped him realize that early dream he had in 1962. He talked often about his years in Africa; whenever he did so, it was always with enthusiasm and affection.

In 1985 the Province called him back to Great Britain to prepare himself to be Novice Master. Chris participated in the formators’ course at the Institute of St. Anselm for a year and then moved to Dublin to take up his new work.

March 1991 saw another change in his life: he was elected Provincial of the Province of Great Britain and Cameroon. Chris served in that capacity until his election to the General Council.

Chris Mannion’s life came to an end in the early evening of July 1, 1994; in Rwanda; on a mission of mercy. He was killed by warring factions in Save during a battle to control that city.