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Last foreign missionary priest dies

Father Joseph Dapoz, 91, was a native of Austria who came to Sabah in 1948

Father Joseph Dapoz Father Joseph Dapoz
  • ucanews.com reporter, Kota Kinabalu
  • Malaysia
  • February 24, 2011
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The last foreign missionary priest in Sabah, Malaysia’s easternmost territory, has died.

Mill Hill Father Joseph Dapoz, 91, passed away around 7am on February 22 at the Holy Family senior citizens' residence in Papar, near the state capital of Kota Kinabalu.

A nun working at the residence, Sister Clara Orou, heard his last words. She said: “He told me that he won’t be able to say Mass tomorrow (Tuesday).”

Father Dapoz, well known by many for his ability to remember names and faces of people even over long periods of time, was born in 1920 in the mountain village of Wengen in Tyrol, Austria.

He came to Sabah, then known as British North Borneo, in 1948 to serve the growing Catholic population. He was fluent in the local Kadazandusun language and was posted to various parishes and immersed himself completely into life of the people.

Fr Dapoz was the last in a long line of Catholic foreign missionary priests who had served in Sabah since more than 100 years ago. One Mill Hill missioner still remains in Sabah, but he is a brother, not a priest.

MK13414.1642
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