Missionaries in Bombay
It was largely the German and Spanish Jesuits who worked in the Bombay mission since 1854. The German province sent several young Jesuits to Bombay every year on a regular basis until 1914. During these 61 years, 366 Jesuits came to the Bombay-Poona missions. The First World War brought great difficulties to the mission – many German nationals were repatriated. The Swiss Jesuits assisted by other dioceses and missions continued the missionary work. After the war, it was a long time before the German Province was able to send more men. As a result, some part of the territory of the old Bombay mission was handed over to the Spanish Jesuits who came to Bombay and Gujarat in 1921. In May 1921 the first three Spanish fathers arrived in Bombay from Spain, and in November 1921, six more arrived from the Philippines. Many more Spaniards followed and that kicked off a great missionary enterprise that has left its mark on Catholicity and culture in Mumbai and coastal Maharashtra.
These missionaries though from distant lands had an eagerness and openness to embrace a new people; new languages, new foods, new customs, a whole new world. They set their hearts out on making India and Mumbai in particular their very own. ‘Thanks’ will never be enough.