Monday, August 29, 2016

Father William Joseph Mackey

Before his arrival in Bhutan Father Mackey worked in India for 17 years. Then he fell foul of some local authorities and was ordered to leave the country in 1963.

When His Majesty Drukgyal Sumpa heard of Father Mackey’s expulsion, he promptly invited him to come over to Bhutan and help develop modern education system in the Kingdom. Obviously he was elated to be able to come to Bhutan and readily accepted the King’s offer.

But before he proceeded on his journey to Bhutan - Father William Joseph Mackey performed one very important task: he pulled out all his natural teeth and ordered a full set of dentures. There were two reasons for this:

1.  Dentistry was unheard of in Bhutan; and
2.  He would not have been able to go back to India for dental treatment.

He was awarded the Druk Thuksey medal in 1973 and became a Bhutanese citizen in 1985.

He died in Bhutan in 1995. He had wished that he be buried in Bhutan – a country he loved dearly. Sadly, the Jesuits insisted that he be buried in their on cemetery in Darjeeling, India.

I was his student in Trashigang for just one year and yet, when I met him 25 years later in Thimphu where he worked as Inspector of Schools, he recognized me and remembered my name!

Either he had a darn good memory - or I was so naughty that he simply couldn't forget me!


  1. Either of two is correct! happy to hear from you that you are the student of one of the education backbone of Bhutan way back. I always wonder how and what if Father Mackey wasn't terminated from his soil or what if K3 of Bhutan didn't offer him the seat in Bhutanese soil? Education of Bhutan would have turn other way round. Thanks Aue for reminding once again for the lost memory.

  2. This is so interesting and I was shocked to read that he extracted all his teeth! So far sighted man.

  3. Very happy to read being a Bhutanese Jesuit