Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/221

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
AFRICA
AFRICA
189

for the evangelization of Africa. This work, which was to mark the close of the nineteenth century, had very lowly beginnings, and originated in America. A philanthropic association had existed in the United States since 1817, whose object was to provide a neutral territory in Africa for liberated negro slaves, where, under the direction of the missionaries, they might build up an independent country for themselves. The first experiment was made on Sherbro Island, to the south of Sierra Leone; this, however, proved a failure. The undertaking was renewed in 1823 with better success, on a point of Cape Mesurado, which was called Monrovia, in honour of President Monroe, and which became the capital of Liberia. In 1829, Bishop England, of Charleston, S.C., called the attention of Propaganda to the undertaking, and the Second Provincial Synod of Baltimore, which was to meet shortly afterwards (1833), received authority to deal with the matter. The Synod decided to apply to the Jesuits, but the negotiations were not carried through. The matter was finally taken in hand by Bishop Kenrick of Philadelphia, and at his request his vicar-general, the Rev. Edward Barron, was sent out, December, 1841, with the title of Prefect Apostolic of Upper Guinea, accompanied by the Rev. John Kelly and Denis Pindar, a catechist, all of Irish origin. These missionaries arrived at Monrovia after a voyage of thirty-four days, but, finding only a few Catholics among the emigrants, proceeded thence to Cape Palmas, where another town was being built. Its inhabitants numbered about 3,000, among whom there were eighteen Catholics. The Prefect Apostolic accordingly began his missionary labours, and having visited Cape Palmas, Elmina, and Accra, where he found hopeful traces of the ancient Spanish and Portuguese missions, went to Europe in search of missionaries, and to ask help of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which had recently been founded at Lyons. Rome nominated him Vicar Apostolic of the Two Guineas and Sierra Leone (22 January, 1842); the Society for the Propagation of the Faith gave him assistance, and the Minister General of the Capuchins promised him the help of religious from the Spanish Province, one of whom was even named prefect apostolic. Unforeseen delays, however, occurred, and this last arrangement was not carried out. Barron, finding himself at the head of a mission without missionaries, went to the shrine of Our Lady of Victories, in Paris, to pray for them. At that very time, the venerable Father M. F. Libermann, superior of a congregation recently founded for the evangelization of the negroes, had several missionaries at his disposal, and had come to ask Our Lady of Victories to open to him a field of missionary labour. An agreement was quickly made, and it was thus that, under the leadership of a prelate from America, the Fathers of the Holy Ghost were led to take up the missions of the Dark Continent. Not long afterwards, Mgr. Barron, disheartened by illness and disappointment, resigned, and the Vicariate Apostolic of the Two Guineas was entrusted to the Society of the Sacred Heart of Mary, which was soon (1848) to amalgamate with the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. This vicariate extended from Senegal to the Orange river, with the exception of the region, then hardly occupied, included in the Portuguese Diocese of St. Paul de Loanda. This vast country was gradually partitioned out, and there arose the present system of missions, prefectures, and vicariates apostolic, through which the Catholic missions of western Africa are conducted. The Portuguese Bishopric of Angola and Congo had been maintained at Loanda, but the Portuguese missions, properly so called, had entirely disappeared, when the daring initiative of Father Duparquet, another of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost, undertook their revival. In 1872 he founded a permanent post at Landana, which has become the headquarters of the Lower Congo, or Portuguese Congo, Mission. In 1881, the mission of the Huilla Plateau was started, which was to extend its sphere of action beyond the Cunene; in 1884, the Prefecture Apostolic of Cimbebasie included Cassinga, then Caconda, Bihe, Massaca, and Cuanyama, and reached almost as far as the basin of the Upper Zambesi. Finally, in 1887, a post was founded in Loanda itself, whence the mission passed to Malanga in 1890, and, recently, along the Congo, in the very heart of the Lunda country. A vicariate which was established, in 1837, in the Cape region to the south, to serve the needs of the European colony, has also been divided, and we now find there: the Vicariates Apostolic of Western Cape Colony (1837); of Central Cape Colony (1874), and of Eastern Cape Colony (1847), served by English priests; the Orange River Prefecture, established by the Fathers of the Holy Ghost, and then made over to the Oblates of St. Francis of Sales at Troyes, and recently raised to a Vicariate (1898); and lastly, the Prefectures of Basutoland (1894) and the Transvaal (1886); the Vicariates of the Orange Free State, now Orange River Colony (1886) and Natal (1850), served by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. On the East Coast the missionary movement had its beginning in the Island of Bourbon (Réunion). Two Fathers of the Holy Ghost, Father Dalmond in 1848, and Father Monnet in 1849, who had evangelized the Saint Mary Islands and the Island of Nossi-Bé, were named, one after the other, Vicar Apostolic of Madagascar. Death, however, prevented both from settling on the mainland. The mission was, therefore, entrusted, in 1850, to the Society of Jesus. In 1852, the Capuchin Fathers of the Savoy Province were placed in charge of the Seychelles mission, which was made a vicariate in 1880. It was from Bourbon that Father Fava, one of the local clergy, who died, later, as Bishop of Grenoble, set out for Zanzibar in 1860. Shortly afterwards, the Fathers of the Holy Ghost took possession of this East Coast and extended their jurisdiction from the Portuguese prelature of Mozambique to Cape Gardafui, coming in touch in the mysterious interior of the continent with the vaguely defined boundaries which separated them from their brethren of the West Coast. The work had been begun, but more missionaries were needed to prosecute it. These came, indeed, in greater numbers than men had dared to hope. In addition to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded at Marseilles by Mgr. de Mazenod, the following should be named: The Priests of the African Missions at Lyons, founded in 1859 by Mgr. Marion de Brésilhac, on the lines of the Missions Etrangères at Paris; the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa in Algeria, or White Fathers, founded by the illustrious Cardinal Lavigerie in 1868, and destined to take an early and brilliant share in evangelization of the continent; the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, at Troyes, already mentioned; the Priests of the Sacred Heart, at St. Quentin, who have recently settled in the Congo Free State. The Society of Jesus, moreover, never vanquished, was resuming its old place on the Dark Continent, in that same colony, as also in the Zambesi basin, and in Egypt. The Spanish Fathers of the Holy Heart of Mary had long (since 1855) been labouring in Fernando Po and its dependencies; the Belgian missionaries of Scheut-lez-Bruxelles had succeeded the Fathers of the Holy Ghost in the missions opened on the left bank of the Congo; German missionaries had followed their countrymen to Togoland, the Kameruns, and Damaraland, in East Africa; the Italian Capuchins, side by side with their French brethren among the Gallas, and the Lazarists in Abyssinia, wished to take their share of missionary labour in the conquered posses-