Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Victoria Nyanza
Vicariate apostolic erected from the mission of Nyanza, 13 June, 1894, lies north of the Vicariate of Unyanyembe, and comprises the land surrounding the southern half of Lake Victoria Nyzanza from Lake Kivu in the west to Lake Natron in the east, on the Anglo-German frontier (36º E). The mission thus including the northern portion of German East Africa is entrusted to the White Fathers, who first settled in the district in 1883, when expelled from Uganda (see UPPER NILE, VICARIATE OF THE). They were well received by the Wasukuma and the Unyamwezi, but these people being engaged chiefly as porters for caravans, have all the vices natural to a roving life and but little inclination for religion; progress among them has been slow, but the fruit is permanent. About 1896 a mission was established on the island of Ukerewe, as a result of numerous conversions made there for some years previous by a native who had been baptized in 1889 at the first mission headquarters Notre-Dame de Kamoga and had returned to spread the light among his fellow-islanders. As polygamy and divorce are practically unknown in Ukerewe good progress has been made. In 1900 the Mission of the Sacred Heart, Isavi, near Lake Kivu, in Ruanda was established among the Bahutus, a simple laborious race, rarely indulging in polygamy. The Catholic natives of the vicariate are a source of great consolation to the missionaries, they recite the rosary daily, very many attend daily Mass, and most of them approach the sacraments weekly; they have a strong filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin and some, especially those of Baganda race, give proof of a very high degree of virtue and a wonderful delicacy of sentiment.
Mgr. John Joseph Hirth, titular bishop of Teveste, born at Niederspechbach, near Altkirch, 26 March, 1854, appointed vicar Apostolic, 13 July, 1894, resides at Rubia; there is also a coadjutor vicar, Mgr. Joseph Sweens, titular Bishop of Capsa, born at Boise-le-due, Holland, 22 May, 1855; ordained 1882; joined the White Fathers, 1889; was appointed director of the lay-brothers at Maison-Carrée, Algiers, in 1891, and later superior at Marienthal; in 1901 he went to Africa and established the mission of Marienheim; in 1909 he was named visitor of his congregation, was nominated coadjutor to Mgr. Hirth, 1 Jan., 1910, and consecrated at Bois-le-duc. The vicariate contains about 2,500,000 pagans, 7000 Catholics, 12,000 catechumens, 30 White Fathers; 23 lay brothers; 6 Missionary Sisters of Notre-Dame-d'Afrique; 20 churches or chapels; 15 stations; 85 schools with 3900 pupils; 190 catechists; 4 orphanages and 5 dispensaries; and a meteorological station belonging to the missionaries. Current details of the missions in German Africa are given in "Gott will es" (Maria-Gladbach), published by the "Afrikaverein deutscher katholiken".
LE ROY in PIOLET, Les missions cath. Franc. au xix siecle, V (Paris, 1902), 458-66.
A. A. MacErlean.