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NATAL


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NATAL


betwepn the tenth and fortieth degrees of east longi- tude, wius too nuieh for one bishop. On 30 July, 1847, Pius IX establisned a new vicariate in the eastern por- tion of Cape Colony. This new vicariate included first the eiistern district of Cape Colony, Natal, and the Orange Free State (Orange River Colony since the late South African war). The same pontiff on 15 November, 18:50 separated Natal and the Orange Free State from the K:istcrn Vicariate. The first bishop appointed by Home to take charge of the Eastern Vicariate was the Rt. Rev. .Vidim Devereaux, D.D. He was consecrated bishop at Cape Town, 27 Decem- ber, 1847 by the Right Rev. Ur. Griffith. When Pius IX erected the Vicariate of Natal, on 15 Novem- ber, 1830, the area of the new vicariate comprised all the portion of South Africa extending outside the then existing boundaries of Cape Colony. The first vicar Apostolic was the Right Rev. Dr. Allard, O.M.I. He landed at Port Natal with five missionaries of the same French order. The name of this colony dates from Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese voj'ager, who sighted its headlands on Christmas Day, 1497, which suggested the name of Terra Natalis. In 1760 the Dutch had a trading settlement at the site of the present harbour of Durban, speedily abandoned; and more than a hundred years passed before Natal was again visited by Europeans.

After several wars between Dutch, British, and natives. Natal was declared a Briti.sh colony in 1843. Nine years later. Dr. Allard and his five companions landed on the African shores. Till that time, no

Criest had been residing in Natal. The country had een occasionally visited by a priest from Cape Colony. The first missionary who ministered to the Catholics of Natal was Rev. Father Murphy, sent by Bishop Devereaux. Its area is about 35,371 square miles, and it is bounded on the north by Transvaal Colony and Portuguese East Africa; on the east by the Indian Ocean; on the south by Cape Colony (Pondoland) ; and on the west by Cape Colony (Gri- qualand East), Basutoland, and Orange River Colony from which it is separated by the Drakensberg Moun- tains. At the time of the advent of the first mis- sionaries, the white element of the population was almost insignificant. Agriculture was practically unknown. Industry, at present a source of wealth, was altogether ignored.

The Catholic population was then composed of about two hundred in Durban and three hundred in Pietermaritzburg; it comprised only the white element, immigrants from England and especially from Ireland. The native population, scattered all over Natal, Zululand, and the Tran.skei, which districts formed also a portion of the Vicariate of Natal, was alto- gether uncivilized. The agents of the London Mis- sionary Society had organized some missionary work for the civilization of natives. But they came out rather as officials of the Government, and there- fore were not altogether ready to go through the hard- ships of missionary life. Besides the Europeans and natives, there was the scattered Dutch population. Natives and Dutch were not prepared to receive the Catholic faith. Among the former, superstitions, a sickening immorality, and polygamy, and among the latter, prejudices, and hatred against the Church of Rome, rendered for many years all the efforts of the missionaries apparently fruitless. However disheart- ening was the result of their work, the pioneers re- mained at their post. For seven years they had not the consolation of registering one soul for the Catholic Church, yet the intrepid and courageous Dr. Allard wanted to push further his expeditions against pagan- ism. He founded a new mission exclusively for the natives, to whom the missionaries wished to devote themselves altogether, and he called the new mission St. Michael. Here they were destined to battle against many obstacles, privation of the necessaries of life,


difficulty of communication, and poverty, which drove the missionaries to the verge of slarvatiim.

The advent of new missionaries enabled Dr. Allard to found missions as far as Basutoland. Re- ligious increase was slow, owing to the small number of missionaries and the degradation of the popu- lation. Communication was extremely slow and diffi- cult, and was generally either by wagons drawn by oxen, or on horseback; during the rainy season travel was very dangerous, owing to the swollen rivers. Amid such hardships and privations Dr. Allard felt that his life was drawing to a close. He retired to Rome, where he died soon after. Under his successor, Rt. Rev. Dr. Charles Jolivet, O.M.I, appointed 30 Nov., 1874, the Vicariate of Natal has made rapid prog- ress in the way of Christianity and civilization. New missions were founded all over this immen.se vicariate, and new chapels antl schools for Europeans and na- tives were opened. Many obstacles which in the be- ginning had rendered the missionary work very diffi- cult were removed. Communication became easier, owing to the new railways and roads laid out across the country by the Government of Natal. Mission- ary work has been of late years carried on amongst the natives on a very large scale, owing to the advent of some Trappists into the Colony of Natal, who after- wards were organized into the "Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill". They have devoted themselves entirely to the evangelization of the na- tives, and as statistics show, their efforts and labours have been fully rewarded. The late Anglo-Boer war hamijered much the missionary work in this vicariate, but the consequences of this war have practically disappeared. Through the treaty agreed to by the British and the Boers, the Districts of Utrecht, Vry- heid, and Wnkkerstroom were ceded to Natal and have been added to this vicariate, which now com- prises the three above-mentioned districts, Natal proper, Transkei, Swaziland, and Zululand.

The present bishop (1910) is Rt . Rev. Henri Delalle, O.M.I., appointed in 1904. The white population of the vicariate is estimated to be about 100,000; natives, Indians, and Malays, 1,000,000; the Catho- lic population is 25,737 (whites, 7458; natives, 15,227; coloured, 30.52). Priests: Oblates of Mary Immacu- late, 38; Missionaries of Mariannhill, 46; secular priests: Europeans, 4, natives, 3. There is a seminary, with eleven theological students. Lay brothers: Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Europeans, 4, native, 1; Missionaries of Mariannhill, 305; Marist Brothers, 7. Number of churches, 59; missions, 49. Number of schools: for whites, 24, piipils, 653; for natives, 62, pupils, 1864; for coloured, 10, pupils, 472; most of the schools are conducted by nuns. Orders of women: Sisters of the Precious Blood, 324; Sisters of the Holy Cross, 55; Sisters of Nazareth, 12; Sisters of the Holy Family, 92; Dominicans, 138; Augustinians, 67; Franciscans, 12; Sisters of Kermaria, 18. Two schools for whites, 4 sanatoria for whites and natives, and 1 orphanage for coloured children are under the manage- ment of the Augustinian Sisters; and a house for or- phans and aged is under the care of the Sisters of Nazareth House, with about 260 inmates. At the Bluff the Sisters of the Holy Family have an orphan- age for European children; they have a novitiate at Bellair, with 10 novices. The Dominican Sisters have their mother-house at Oakford, and have also schools at Noodsberg, Genezzano, Dundee, and Newcastle. At Ladysmith and Pietermaritzburg, there are 2 hos- pitals, and 2 sanatoria of the Augustinian Sisters.

Besides the numerous boarding-schools established in different parts of the vicariate, there are many parochial schools, some of which are under the control of the Government, and receive a subsidy propor- tioned to the number of pupils. Annates des Oblats de Marie ImmacuUe.

A. Lanoouet.