In follow-up to the study of Brendan Mulhall in 2014, Jimmy Lindero and Nico Schipper visited Cambodia from 5th to 14th December 2016. In the conclusion of the report of their visit, Nico and Jimmy proposed to the General Council the implementation of the recommendation of the General Chapter 2015 to open a new mission in Cambodia particularly in the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang. The bishop and the vicar general, both Jesuits, stressed the need for priests and would be very happy to welcome Mill Hill to the Prefecture. Battambang Prefecture covers almost 2/3 of the geographical area of the whole country and presently has only three local priests ordained. The General Council approved this proposal.
It is envisaged to open the new mission in 2018 – 2019. The General Council is now in the process of forming a pioneering team. It understands the importance of team Members undergoing at least one year of formal study of Khmer language in Phnom Phen followed by two years of immersion in Battambang before being assigned to a particular mission area within the Prefecture.
For more than a quarter of a century an Irish Mill Hiller lived a missionary life in Guizhou, China’s poorest province. After years of teaching English and Western culture to scientific researchers and to university and college students in subarctic Manchuria under the auspices of the China-British Friendship Society, the lone Mill Hiller founded the Asia-Bridge Development Association, an agency that continues to engage Chinese speakers from Malaysia and Singapore in the work of integral human development among the rural poor of the Yunnan-Guizhou high plateau.
Mill Hill missionaries were sent by the Founder to the north of British India to serve as army chaplains during an invasion of Afghanistan. Soon after the end of that conflict the Society was entrusted by Rome with the pastoral care of Catholic troops in the Punjab and North West Frontier regions, and with the evangelization of the territory known as Kashmir & Kafiristan.
When an early attempt to establish a missionary foothold high in Ladakh was thwarted by the rigours of the mountain climate, a settlement was made in Kashmir on land granted by the maharajah. The school founded there by the Mill Hillers would later be counted among the best in north India.
In the Punjab sector of their territory, efforts to bring a Christian community to birth were hampered by catastrophes beyond the missionaries’ control: an outbreak of famine, a reduction in their manpower caused by the First World War, and the death toll of a flu pandemic. In the post-war years, however, new mission-stations were opened and schools were set up both in the Punjab and in the frontier region.
A fruitful collaboration began between the Mill Hillers and the Medical Mission Sisters that provided an invaluable service to women and children. The expansion of the mission was interrupted once again by the Second World War, and after the war came the Partition of British India.
At the end of 1875, a group of Mill Hillers set out for India in answer to an appeal from the bishop in
Madras for missionaries to work in the Telugu-speaking sector of his diocese. An immediate need to minister to the victims of epidemics and famine brought them into contact with relatively prosperous landowners and farmers many of whom were already Catholics, as well as with the unevangelized, socially segregated and most destitute members of Indian society. it was to the latter above all that the Mill Hillers felt called, but for the time being they had to serve the various needs of the diocese of Madras.
Eventually a new Telugu diocese was created with a Mill Hill man as bishop. The time had finally come for a new missionary outreach to the poorest of the poor. Thousands of the region’s most disadvantaged people were taught the Christian faith and received baptism. A seminary was opened to prepare the Telugu priests of the future. Throughout the diocese Mill Hillers strove, with the help of local catechists, to preach the gospel, to promote literacy and to alleviate the poverty of their people. In time their apostolic work bore fruit in three new dioceses manned by Telugu bishops and priests. The loyalty of the Mill Hill society to the Telugu mission was acknowledged when its priests and Brothers were entrusted with the building, staffing and maintenance of a great seminary for the entire Telugu-speaking state of Andhra Pradesh.
The violent dispute over the Kashmir region that erupted at the time of Partition left the Mill Hill mission there in a state of disarray. Within a few years of the creation of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, however, the Mill Hill school had been reopened and the Sisters had resumed their medical apostolate. In Jammu, the winter capital of the former maharajah, a new Catholic colony came into being among the socially and economically deprived Punjabi population.
Further development of the Jammu & Kashmir mission required an increase of manpower, and since foreign missionaries could no longer hope for residential permits, Indian-born clergy had to be found. Capuchin priests from southern India began to arrive and became sufficiently numerous for the Mill Hill territory to be transferred to their care. The Mill Hillers who had spent almost the whole of their missionary lives in Kashmir remained in India to give further years of service to the Church as hospital chaplains and in the ministry of charismatic renewal.
Indian Mill Hillers
Following the decision of the 1988 General Chapter to accept and recruit candidates for the missionary apostolate in India formation centres were set up in various locations. A growing number of Indian Mill Hiller is now active in India and on mission elsewhere.
In 2013, the Society ventured across the border of its historic mission field in Andhra Pradesh into the recently created state of Chhatisgarh. Young Indian Mill Hillers rose to the challenge of the primary evangelization of poor marginalised aboriginal tribes settled among hills and forests. They have become responsible for the spread of the Gospel message in a large district assigned to them by the diocese of Ambikapur. From their simple mission-centres they reach out to villages within a hundred kilometre radius.
The building of good relations with the general population through attentiveness to people’s needs plays a vital role in overcoming suspicion and misunderstanding. The priority in most mission stations and out-stations is the provision of informal education, and eventually schools, in order to lay a foundation for the future of disadvantaged tribal children. A second major challenge is the need of primary healthcare in the face of high infant mortality and endemic diseases such as malaria. In these areas of missionary service the Mill Hillers are blessed with the collaboration of local Sisters who are no less indispensable in the apostolate among tribal women. The commitment of the missionaries to the people’s welfare slowly but surely opens their minds to the values of the Gospel and to the fullness of its message. The much-needed patience of the young Mill Hillers does not go unrewarded; men and women do begin to seek baptism for themselves and their children. A committed community of new Christians, nevertheless, grows slowly and the Mill Hill pioneers in Chhatisgarh remind themselves always of the truth that what they have sown others will reap.
Over the state border in Andhra Pradesh, the project inaugurated in 1989 to train young Indians as Mill Hill Missionaries has flourished. Indian Mill Hillers are now serving abroad. In India itself they have become responsible for the recruitment and formation of their own countrymen as well as for new missionary outreaches, for example among the tribal Lambada people. Veteran Mill Hillers from Europe collaborate with their younger colleagues in training the Society’s new recruits and in the promotion of a lay support organisation, the Friends of the Society, in the dioceses and parishes from which they hail. Lay people also collaborate with veteran missionaries as ‘faith animators’ in small towns and rural villages. The ministry of physical and psychological healing offered to people of all religions gives rise to small groups of ‘sympathisers’ some of whom will later be enrolled in the process of adult Christian initiation.
Mark Connolly mhm
Joseph Thangaraj mhm
Suresh Kocherla mhm
Mill Hill House
Fr Joseph Thangaraj Balaswamy mhm
+91 40 – 27207802
Fr Patras Kerketta mhm
Yesu Sneha Niyalam
Ranga Reddy District 501 501, TS
+91 84 1222 3677
Fr Dilip Kumar Tirkey mhm
Bhakhta Yospu Nilayam
Mill Hill Formation House
Karunapuram, Peddapendial (P.O)
Warangal District 506 151, TS
+91 87 1122 3122(fax)
+91 9966 752011
Fr Thomas Yellavula mhm
Vinsel Heights, SR 52/2
Maruti Nagar, NR Bollywood
Theatre, Wadgaon Sheri
+91 869 817 7479
+91 823 759 1540
Fr Joseph Thangaraj mhm
In 1881 Herbert Vaughan assigned missionaries to the tropical island of Borneo. In spite of the challenging climate and the hazards of travel through rain forests and fast-slowing rivers, mission-stations and schools were established one by one among the indigenous population.
At the beginning of the 20th century an important new missionary prospect opened up with an influx of Chinese labourers for the exploitation of the island’s natural resources. The evangelization of Chinese immigrants, and the education provided for their children in Mill Hill schools, was of the greatest significance for the future growth of the Church in Borneo. The trauma of the occupation of the island by Japanese forces during the Second World War – in the course of which a number of Mill Hill Missionaries lost their lives – gave way to a period of remarkable progress at every level of Catholic life. Within a short time the Church was in the care of no less than three Mill Hill bishops.
The post-independence expulsion of the missionaries from the north of the island was a crisis that revealed the maturity of the laity and marked the beginning of a change in the relationship between the Society and the Church in Borneo. Before long the Mill Hill bishops gave way to Borneo-born Chinese successors, and the Mill Hill Missionaries remained as partners in a fully-fledged local Church.
The Society maintains a modest but increasingly young, energetic and international missionary presence in Malaysian Borneo.
In a country developed beyond recognition since the first arrival of Mill Hillers in the 19th century, the work of evangelisation and pastoral service still goes on in collaboration with the bishops and clergy of local dioceses. The attention of the missionaries is directed towards the Iban population, those who maintain a traditional lifestyle in remote longhouses and those who have chosen to carve out a different future in a more urban environment. In larger towns and cities the task consists in forming community among Christians of different tribal as well as Chinese origin. Mill Hillers are also involved in the apostolate of charismatic renewal.
A recent initiative has been the foundation by a Mill Hiller from Brunei of the Missionary Community of Corpus Christi. The work of the foundation, which has its centre in the diocese of Sibu in Sarawak, is to promote awareness in local churches of the universal call to mission and to train lay missionaries to be sent abroad. The project is funded by local contributions and supported by Mill Hill animators from abroad.
In Borneo, the Society has also begun to invite young men, whose forebears were evangelised by Mill Hill Missionaries, to represent the missionary dimension of their local church by joining in its international formation programme and in its apostolate around the world. At the same time, the Society continues to make a contribution to the formation of local clergy.
Fr Mathews Clement Otieno Olili mhm
Church of Mary Immaculate Conception
PO Box 43, 96807 Kapit,
+60 19 806 4395
Philip Odhiambo mhm
John McAuley mhm
Fr Philip Odhiambo Obaso mhm
Christ the King Church
P.O. Box 13,
96507 Bintangor, Sarawak
+60 10 598 6486
Fr Philip Odhiambo Obaso mhm
Fr Mathews Olili
In 1947 British rule in the Indian subcontinent came to an end, British India was divided and the Mill Hill missionaries in the north, except those in the disputed region of Kashmir, found themselves
in the new country of Pakistan. While the work of evangelization and pastoral care continued among the country’s Punjabi inhabitants, among the Muslim majority the Mill Hill mission became increasingly one of witness, centred on education and the medical apostolate. In both fields the Society relied to a great degree on the dedication and professionalism of religious Sisters and lay collaborators.
Mill Hill men in Pakistan became involved in inter-religious dialogue, while others were inspired to minister to the terminally ill and to men suffering from drug addiction. In the crises caused by periodic floods and conflicts with India, the missionaries were on hand as dependable channels of aid from charitable organisations. In the rural districts credit unions were promoted as a means of extricating the poor from lifelong bondage to money-lenders.
In 1977 the Society’s long history in the territory of present-day Pakistan entered a new phase with an outreach to the nonMuslim tribal population of Sindh Province. An international team of Mill Hillers is at work in the diocese of Hyderabad among the Kohli people, mostly landless families bonded to feudal landlords. The parish teams are responsible for the evangelization and pastoral care of desperately poor tribal families in hundred of villages where the dominant culture puts pressure on their fragile faith. A main pillar of the Kohli apostolate is the provision of primary and secondary education and of boarding schools for both boys and girls. In education, as well as in the medical ministry and the uplift of tribal women, the Mill Hillers benefit from the dedicated collaboration of the Presentation Sisters and others. A central aspect of the mission in Sindh is to deepen the faith of the people, to encourage the emergence among them of Christian leaders and to foster local vocations to the priesthood.
Towards the end of the 1980s, a Mill Hiller was inspired to found a new missionary community, the Missionary Sisters of St. Thomas, for ministry among the Punjabi people of Pakistan’s Northern Areas. From their mission-centre at Nowshera, they offer support to Christian communities in surrounding districts and, when possible, in the Swat Valley. In a territory familiar with unrest and violence, the missionaries and their people strive to witness to the gospel of love and reconciliation.
In another part of the former North West Frontier Province, near Peshawar at the end of the Khyber Pass, the Society remains committed to the challenging ministry of drug rehabilitation among the male population of the frontier. The Peshawar centre is sometimes also pressed into service as a refuge for victims of violence and flood.
In Mill Hill’s traditional Pakistani mission-field work goes on among the Punjabi population in the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi. The land the Society provided for refugees during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war has become Rawalpindi’s Satellite Town. There, as well as in some of the capital’s slum districts, Mill Hillers continue to devote themselves to the pastoral care and social uplift of the people. In the same diocese, the parish of Sargodha, an old Mill Hill centre, is now home to several thousand Catholic families. The Islamic character of religious instruction in public schools means that here a great share of missionary energy is devoted to the provision of Sunday Schools and instructors, and to ministry among Punjabi youth.
Group Leader: Islamabad/Rwalpindi
Fr Roy Pierce mhm
PO Box 1311
Peshawar Cantonment 25000
+92 91 226 1181
+92 345 914 0095
Hillary Awiti mhm
Group Leader: Sindh
Fr Nico Schipper mhm
District Badin 72010, Sindh
+92 297 840 798
+92 301 359 7035
Bernie Luna mhm
In 1905, the Mill Hill society was asked to send priests to the diocese of Jaro in the Philippine Islands, which were then under American control. The Church in this Catholic country had been torn apart by the activities of the schismatic priest Fr. Gregorio Aglipay and his followers. The Mill Hillers were destined for the poverty-stricken province of Antique, an Aglipayan stronghold on the Western Visayan island of Panay.
Having learned the basics of the Visayan language, the missionaries won the hearts of the islanders by their dedication to the pastoral ministry, above all their ministry to the sick and dying. As parishes were recovered from schismatic control, they set about providing parochial schools and promoting Catholic life through instructional pamphlets and devotional literature. In due course, they published dictionaries, grammars, and even a New Testament in the Visayan language. In the first years of the Second World War, the islands were invaded by Japan. In the course of the occupation, churches and houses were destroyed and six missionaries were killed, some by the Japanese, others by Filipino guerrillas. Undaunted, the Mill Hillers continued through the post-war years to facilitate the growth of a vibrant local church. The fruitfulness of their work was acknowledged when the province of Antique was given into the independent care of a Mill Hill bishop.
The European veterans of the Philippines missionare happily being succeeded by men from India and Africa, and by locally-born Mill Hillers. The mission’s centenary in 2006 was marked by a new outreach to the Tagbanua people of Busuanga Island. The apostolate of the new mission at Turda and its out-stations is focused on the needs of disadvantaged families who struggle to gain a livelihood from fishing. The replacement of boats and the provision of relief in the wake of typhoons add another dimension to the missionary task. Efforts are also made to encourage the islanders to keep their traditional culture alive and well in an increasingly globalised world, and at the same time to live in harmony with settlers from neighbouring islands in the archipelago.
While the new missionary thrust goes on gaining strength, Mill Hillers in the Society’s historic parishes on the island of Panay go on reaching out in service to the poor in the most remote districts. At Iloilo, young men aspiring to the missionary priesthood in the Mill Hill society gather for a period of introductory formation after which they progress to philosophical studies at the city’s San Augustin University. For their theological studies and final stage of formation they join one of the Society’s international student communities in East Africa or India. The work of vocations promotion and formation, as well as the work of Filipino Mill Hill priests around the world, is supported by the Friends of Mill Hill in the Philippines.
Fr Domingo Arnaiz mhm
Mill Hill Formation House
PO Box 29
5000 Iloilo City
+63 33 321 0309
+63 905 2243 152
Abner Dimo mhm
Gopal Sleevaraj Manchanapally mhm
Mario Dimapilis mhm
Mill Hill House
Central House Iloilo: Rector
Fr Abner Dimo mhm
Mill Hill Missionaries
Central House Molo
PO Box 29, 5000 Iloilo City
+63 33 337 5988
+63 928 741 7673
Fr Domingo Arnaiz mhm
Mill Hill Formation House
PO Box 29, 5000 Iloilo City
+63 33 321 0309
+63 905 2243 152
Fr Abner Dimo mhm
Fr Bernard van Spaandonk mhm
+63 918 324 2566
In 1883 the bishop of Auckland appealed to Cardinal Vaughan for help in revitalising the mission among the aboriginal Maori population. Three years later the first Mill Hillers arrived on New Zealand’s North Island and prepared for their ministry by learning the Maori language, their customs and etiquette. The pioneer missionaries travelled alone on foot and horseback, through bush and forest, making friends with long-neglected Maori Catholics and providing them with simple churches. Their obvious dedication won the hearts of the people and the number of mission-stations multiplied.
In later years, various factors encouraged the drift of the rural population into towns and cities. Away from home, the people’s sense of Maori identity and community were in danger of being lost, and the dullness of Europeanstyle church services did little to attract them. The Mill Hillers adapted to the changed circumstances by appointing some of their number as ‘city missioners’. These men gathered the Maoris together for mass, visited them in their homes, organised retreats for men and women as well as camps for children, and promoted Catholic sodalities. The Mill Hill city mission finally took on a more stable and permanent form with the creation of urban versions of traditional meeting-houses, places where Maori Catholics could celebrate in a harmonious way both their faith and their ancestral culture.
The last of the hundred or so members of the Mill Hill society who served the Society’s mission in New Zealand’s north island are few in number. The original commitment to the building of Maori Christian communities and the preservation and promotion of Maori culture nevertheless remains strong. Veteran Mill Hillers are still serving in the pastoral ministry, as well as working with clergy and laity in the dioceses of Auckland and Hamilton towards the development of Maori liturgy, the training of catechists and the promotion of lay involvement in parish and diocesan life.
Fr Emile Frische mhm
St. Mark’s Catholic Church,
334 Pakuranga Road,
PO Box 51184,
Pakuranga, Auckland 2140
+64 9-576 7959 (parish office)
Fr Peter Ryan mhm
In 1985 the bishop of Geraldton in Western Australia petitioned the Society for priests to undertake a dedicated apostolate among the Aborigine population in his diocese, describing it as “a work of primary evangelisation of considerable difficulty”. And so it proved. The best efforts of the few Mill Hillers who volunteered for this ‘outback’ mission had little impact. Men who were used to getting results saw their well-meaning projects fail, became discouraged and moved on. The energy of others was absorbed in more general pastoral activities. In less than twenty years the Society’s effort to make missionary inroads among Australia’s oldest inhabitants came to an end.