Shanghai, China

After Father Murphy’s first year at St. Columban’s in Shanghai, my sister Maria and I began calling him the Murph behind his back. Malachy Murphy was a large, freckled redhead from County Mayo who told us his family was so big that whenever they had chicken for dinner, he only got the neck. He never did get a workable grip on the Shanghai dialect or on any other Chinese language, but it was his gutsy laugh and courage I remember more than his poor Chinese.

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