St Josephs Missionary College Mill Hill London

St Josephs Missionary College Mill Hill London


 St Josephs Missionary College Mill Hill London

The St Joseph’s Foreign Missionary Society (Mill Hill Missionaries) was founded at Mill Hill in 1866 by Father Herbert Vaughan (1832-1903). It was the first catholic missionary society to be founded in England.

Ordained at the age of 22, Vaughan determined to devote himself to missionary work. Not strong enough himself for the vigours of overseas work, he aimed to achieve this via the establishment of a missionary training college; he was encouraged in his plans by his friend Father (later Cardinal) Manning (1808-1892) and by Cardinal Wiseman (1802-1865).

In 1863 Vaughan embarked on a tour of Central and South America and of California to raise funds for the new College. A year after his return to England in 1865, he was able to rent a house in Mill Hill about ten miles north of London. Under conditions of some poverty, the house operated as the new missionary training school, that of St Joseph’s Society for Foreign Missions. Following further fund raising initiated by Archbishop Manning in 1868, the building of a new college on a freehold site nearby was completed in 1871; at the time it served a community of 34 students.

Later that year, the first missionary endeavour of St Joseph’s was realised. Rome assigned the evangelization of the recently freed black population of the southern states of the USA. To this end, Vaughan himself travelled to America with his first four missionary priests. This led to the successful establishment of a mission in Baltimore, out of which developed, by 1892, a separate society, that of the Josephite Fathers. In 1872 Vaughan became Bishop of Salford and left Mill Hill though he remained Superior General of the Missionary Society, a cause that was always to be close to his heart.