About MicSem About MicSem

Catholic Missions in the Carolines and Marshall Islands

By Francis X. Hezel, SJ


Just about 20 years ago the Jesuits of the New York Province were entrusted with the care of a mission field that could claim as rich and varied a history as that of any other in the Pacific. That history has never been written, and this paper is not an attempt to do so. Rather, it is an attempt to present the first results of a still incomplete investigation into the source materials of the mission's history. This will be clone within a chronological framework as far as possible in order that the most significant events may be highlighted in their proper time sequence while references to the most important documents of each period are given. An evaluation of the materials cited here is beyond both the scope of this paper and the competence of its author. The more modest and realistic intent is simply to point further researchers towards the archival material, published letters, and secondary sources that have been uncovered in the writer's own investigations.

The impression is sometimes given that all early missionary enterprises in the Pacific have their genesis in the magnificent scheme to convert the unknown Southern Continent. Indeed, at the time that an anonymous Jesuit from Manila was drafting his `Memorial for establishing reducciones in the Austral Lands of Quiros'-a plan that never did materialize-the mission in the Marianas had already been in existence for several years and had by this time produced its first martyrs(1). While many religious were still stirred by the dreams of planting the cross in the great unknown Southern Lands, others recognized the need for dealing with areas that presented a less spectacular but more immediate challenge. As early as 1852 three priests who had stopped briefly at Guam on their journey to Manila were urging their superiors to provide spiritual and material care for the inhabitants of this archipelago, which was situated squarely on Spanish shipping lanes and only a relatively short distance from Manila(2). When the Jesuit Diego Luis de Sanvitores spent a short time in Guam en route to his new mission assignment in the Philippines he was so impressed with the opportunities for evangelization there that six years later, in 1668, he returned at the head of a band of eight Jesuits to setup the first mission in the Ladrones Islands(3). One of the very first achievements of this pioneer missionary was to bestow on these islands the less derogatory name of 'Marianas', a name which they have retained to the present day.

This period of the mission's foundation and early tribulations is well documented. Henry Bernard's 'Les Iles Mariannes, Carolines et Palau: Essai d'Inventaire chronologique des sources historiques avant le XIX siecle' is an indispensable guide to the source material, not only in relation to these first years, but to subsequent mission undertakings in the 18th century as well(4). The briefer study by Ernest Burrus, ',Jesuits and Terra Australis', is helpful for its summary of the events of the day and its listing of the key documents, both published and unpublished(5). A third research tool that must be mentioned is the gist volume of Streit-Dindinger's Bibliotheca Missionum, which gives a nearly exhaustive bibliography of Catholic mission literature on Australia and Oceania between 1525 and 1950(6). It is difficult to exaggerate the value of Streit's work in facilitating the task undertaken in this paper.

In 1673, one year after the martyrdom of Sanvitores, Francisco Garcia, S.J., published a biography of him that had the distinction of being the first book written about the Marianas(7). Later translated into English by Margaret Higgins and serialized for publication in the Guam Recorder,(8) Garcia's book remains one of our best sources of information on the initial stages in the colonization and evangelization of the Marianas. The most notable document from Sanvitores's own pen is a letter written in 1669 to his benefactors in Mexico petitioning their continued support and informing them of progress in the new apostolate(9). Other correspondence and annual reports describing conditions in the mission are to be found in the Archivum Romanum Societatis ,Jesu (A.R.S.J.) : Philippines, volumes X11, X111, XIV and XX; and also in the Archivo General de Indias at Seville (A.G.I.): Philippines, volumes LXVIII and LXXII(10). Additional important material that is not easily found in manuscript form may often be obtained from Joseph Stocklein's five volume collection of selected letters from obtained from Joseph Stocklein's five volume collection of selected letters from Jesuit missionaries overseas.(11)

From such sources we learn of the renegade Christian, Choco, and his instigation of the populace against the priests, the killings of the first two missionaries, and the outbreak of a later uprising in 1675 that led to the death of three more missionaries(12). Although a ship from Manila had arrived at Guam the year before with 10 new recruits, only six were actually able to disembark before contrary winds forced the ship back to Manila(13). Nonetheless, as a result of the widespread interest in the Marianas that was generated by the publication of Garcia's book, the mission began to receive personnel from non-Spanish nations for the first time.(14)

Meanwhile, Duchess Maria d'Aveiro, who had already more or less adopted the mission, saw to it that the necessary flow of ducats was continued from Madrid to the Marianas. She was repaid with abundant letters full of detailed information on the Church's progress in those regions. Her archives, which must have been a historian's goldmine, contained many manuscripts dealing with ecclesiastical and colonial affairs. In 1923, however, they were sold to the Maggs Brothers(15) and subsequently dispersed; items can be located even today by consulting their old catalogues.(16)

Under the enlightened rule of Captain Jose Losada a short period of relative peace was enjoyed throughout the Mariana Islands; but in 1683 while Losada was leading an expedition out to pacify the northern Marianas another rebellion broke out, this one directed against the wanton cruelty of the new governor, Damian Esplana. The outburst spread quickly from island to island, and before it was finally put down six more Jesuits had lost their lives. The mission never really recovered from this blow. The subsequent history of Jesuit work in the Marianas is a tale of decline that parallels the ebbing fortunes of the natives themselves. The Chamorro were corralled onto two islands at first, then onto Guam alone where many of them died of hunger. The correspondence of the missionaries during this period is laced with complaints at the miserable state to which the Chamorro people had been reduced(17). Despite the protests from this and other quarters, by the end of the century it could be said with a good deal of truth that `the conquest, begun in 1668, was practically completed, the original Chamorros having been destroyed or forced into slavery'.(18)

At just about the low-water mark of the Jesuit mission in the Marianas an event occurred which served to bolster the dying hopes of the mission by refocusing attention on an unexplored archipelago to the southwest of the Marianas. In 1696 a group of 29 natives were carried in two canoes to one of the islands in the Philippine group. Fr Paul Klein, in a letter to the Jesuit General, described his encounter with these natives and includes a map sketched from the arrangement of 87 pebbles to represent an approximation of the geographical layout of their home islands(19). Klein's letter turns up again and again in later published material, and is unquestionably one of the key documents in this early period. With this stimulus to the zeal of the Philippine Jesuits, the launching of the missionary endeavour in the Carolines proper began. The whole unfortunate story of these first missionary attempts is probably best summarized in an article that appeared in Die Katholischen Missionen in 1886(20). Hernandez (21) and Gumera (22) cover the same ground, but their treatment is not quite as thorough..

The misfortunes that were to plague this entire undertaking began in 1700 whenthe first ship outfitted for an expedition to the Carolines sank. In order to obtain the financial backing needed to equip a second ship, Fr Andrew .Serrano and another Jesuit were sent to Europe. There they received the full support of Pope Clement XI, who wrote letters of recommendation for their cause. The Jesuit Archives at Rome contain copies of the papal briefs sent to King Louis XIV of France, King Philip V of Spain, and the Prelates of Mexico and Manila on behalf of the Jesuits(23). Serrano himself took steps to bring his cause before the eyes of Europe through the publication of his Noticia de las Islas Palaos in 1705(24). This important document, the first printed treatise on the Palau Islands, is in fact little more than an elaboration oil the letter of Fr Klein mentioned above. The heart of Serrano's famed account play have been a third-hand description of islands not yet even visited by Europeans, but it did produce the desired effect. The necessary support for his project was enlisted and Serrano was able to sail.

Bad luck still dogged the Jesuit enterprise, however, and the next two attempts to find the Palaus, in 1708 and 1709, were unsuccessful. Still another ship was outfitted in Manila in the following year; and under the command of Don Francisco de Padilla Santa Trinidad at last reached the Palaus and put in at St Andrews Island, or Sonsorol Island, as it was later called. The discovery of the island and subsequent events are described in a journal account written by one of the crew members of the Trinidad(25). According to this account, Frs Jacques Du Beron and Joseph Cortyl went ashore in the skiff, intending to remain there until the next day. During the night, however, the ship was swept back to sea by a severe storm and was driven all the way to Mindanao.

Brother Stephen Baudin, who had been left aboard shill by his two fellow Jesuits and had returned with it to the Philippines, wrote to his superior, Fr.Serrano, of the discovery of the Palaus and of his own desire to learn the fate of the two Jesuits abandoned there(26). The rest of the tragic story is told in a letter of a certain Fr Du Halde to the Jesuits of France in December 1714(27). Br. Baudin, Fr. Serrano, and a third Jesuit, Fr. Ignacio Crespo, set sail from Guam late in 1711 in an effort to reach the Palaus and bring aid to their marooned colleagues, Du Beron and Cortyl. Only three days out of port the ship foundered in a storm and sank; all three Jesuits aboard were drowned. Only two of the 115 persons on board managed to survive by swimming to shore and from them were learnt the details of the shipwreck. The letter goes on to relate that on the basis of information received about the traitorous disposition of Moac, the native who had been guide and informant for the party, it was believed that Du Beronand Cortyl had long since been murdered.

This belief was further substantiated in a letter from a Jesuit missionary to China in 1720(28). While he was passing through the Philippines this priest was told of the arrival of a ship that had recently captured some Palauan natives after a brief skirmish that had broken out during its stay there. When they were interrogated about the fate of Du Beron and Cortyl the natives replied by signs that the priests had been killed and eaten by the islanders. A later report confirming the death of the two missionaries was included in correspondence between Fr Wibault and Fr Du Chambge in 1721.(29)

Two other sources should also be mentioned for the over-all picture they give of this period. Stocklein in the first volume of Neue Weltbott summarizes a series of reports on the Palau apostolate taken from the letters of missionaries; he gives a narrative of events from 1696 to 1711(30). Barras de Aragon, writing in Anuario de Estudios Americanos, produced several documents, most of them official reports to or from the Governor of the Philippines(31). These documents cover the years from 1711 to 1715 and offer some information that is not to be found elsewhere.

With this the history of the first missionary venture into the Palau Islands can be brought to a close. This short episode cost the lives of five missionaries and was so ill-starred that from this time on the islands earned the name 'Las Islas Encantadas'-'The Enchanted Islands'.

MEANWHILE the mission in the Marianas had been struggling along amid the hardships of disease, a dwindling population, and incompetent civil authority. From 1700 to 1720 our best and sometimes only source for the progress of the work there is Stocklein(32). The tedium of the yearly reports is at last broken in a letter of 20 March 1722, in which Fr Cantova relates another of those accidents that would come to figure so largely in the history of the mission. In the previous June two canoes of natives-this time from Ulithi-were blown off course and landed in Guam. Fr Cantova had cared for the people, learned their language, and instructed them in the faith. Like Klein in a similar encounter some years earlier, he was able to derive enough information to draw what later proved to be a surprisingly accurate map their islands. After recounting his experiences with the islanders Cantova goes into a lengthy description of the islands and the customs of the people. It is the observations that he makes in this section, more than anything else, that make the letter one of the most remarkable ethnohistorical records on Micronesia.(33)

Once again enthusiasm was enkindled for a missionary voyage to the unexplored islands towards the south. A month after he wrote his account Cantova departed with his new converts for their home islands. True to earlier precedent, however, high seas and gales carried the priest all the way back to the Philippines(34). It was not until nine years later that Cantova was able to obtain permission to make a second attempt to reach the Carolines. Superiors decided that Fr Victor `Walter, who had just arrived in the Mariana mission that same year, should accompany him; and together they left Agana in a small ship that was piloted by Cantova himself. Their successful landing at Mogamog, one of the islands of the Ulithi atoll, is reported in Fr Walter's letter of 10 May 1731(35). This is the first letter known to be written in the Carolines, and it provides us with an invaluable first impression of the geography, social organization, and general customs of the natives. Walter makes special mention of the desire of the people for iron tools.

Just two days after Walter's letter, Cantova wrote to his Provincial(36). His is less an ethnological account than a report on the progress of the mission during the month that they had lived there. The letter tells of the decision of the two Jesuits to move to the larger island of Falalep, the baptism of 127 children, and the work of catechizing the 600 proselytes. An apparently optimistic picture of early missionary success was amended by ant ominous postscript written two weeks later. Here Cantova noted the change in attitude of the chief towards the priests immediately after he began to receive reports of the treatment meted out to the natives in Guam by the Spanish. Partly out of fear for his companion's life in the event of all uprising and partly to obtain much-needed provisions for the mission, Cantova decided to send Walter back to Guam while he himself remained on Falalep with a small garrison of troops for protection. Cantova's report, together with letters of testimony and a request for financial aid from authorities on Guam, was later published by Francisco Carrasco in Boletin de la Sociedad Geografica de Madrid (1881) .(37)

As we might have come to suspect, Walter's return voyage was beset with the usual hazards. Later correspondence tells us that his ship encountered a severe storm and was swept back to the Philippines(38). The bad luck persisted when Walter's ship, which had just made the crossing from Manila to Guam, ran aground as it was entering the harbour at Apra. A new ship had to be fitted out and more provisions secured before Walter could come to the aid of Cantova, whom he had left behind a full two years before.

At last Fr Walter and a Jesuit brother departed from Guam and after nine days of sailing came upon the islands. As they drew nearer to shore they saw that Cantova's house had been burnt down, the cross removed, and all sign of Christianity destroyed. Shortly thereafter they learned from one of the natives that Fr Cantova had been speared in the back during a visit to Mogamog. The other Spaniards had been overwhelmed and massacred by the islanders soon afterwards. The details of Fr Walter's findings regarding the death of Cantova are supplied in a letter dated 2 February 1734 from a Bohemian Jesuit working in the Marianas(39). In 1740 Fr Fulcher Spilimberg, who was then the Jesuit Provincial of the Philippines, published a well-known biography of Cantova that included an account of his death(40). Another account is found in the correspondence of the Governor of the Philippines with Spain; the original is probably located in the Archivo General de Indias at Seville.(41)

After receiving the sad news of Cantova's death and the destruction of the mission Fr Walter returned to Guam to take up a position in that mission. The second attempt to evangelize the Carolines, like the first, had come to an unsuccessful close; no further attempts were to be made until the arrival of the Spanish Capuchins more than 150 years later.

THE Jesuit mission in the Marianas underwent a period of stagnation during the middle third of the 18th century, as Bernard points out(42). Information on this period is scant. Stocklein alone supplies us with a sampling of letters from Guam, but even these are few enough(43). Possibly the most significant publishing event of this period was the printing of Pedro Murillo Velarde's Historia de la provincia de la Compania de Jesus (Manila 1749) . Burrus says of this volume that 'it presents . . . the fullest and most accurate account of the Jesuit efforts in those distant islands and reproduces texts not readily found elsewhere'(44). Murillo Velarde's Historia is an indispensable aid for a thorough investigation of this epoch in Jesuit missionary history. Another book of a far different sort, yet worthy of mention just the same, is William Repetti's album of photographs depicting the remains of mission buildings in Guam. From the ruins of schools, parish houses, and even cathedrals one can mentally reconstruct a picture of the material achievements of the early missionaries(45). Whatever his feelings on the subject of missionary adaptation, the reader must he amazed at the feat of the Spanish priests-that such a monument to Spanish religious beliefs could be erected on an island half-way round the world from Spain.

On 25 August 1769 an edict from the Governor of the Philippines was brought to Guam banishing the Jesuits from all Spanish lands in accord with the decree of the Spanish sovereign, Charles III. The same ship that was to transport the exiled Jesuits back to Manila brought a group of Augustinian Recolletos to the Marianas. The mission was to be given over to their care.(46)

Strictly speaking the missionary efforts of the Augustinians do not fall within the scope of this paper. Lacking adequate documentation, we will only record a few impressions of visitors to these islands during the following years. When the French explorer Crozet stopped at Guam three years after the expulsion of the Jesuits, he reported the closing of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and the discontinuation of the old mission farms(47). In 1802 another visitor to Guam, William Haswell, mentioned plat there were only four friars in the entire mission(48). The burden that had fallen upon the Augustinians was staggering.. Not only was the Mariana mission of necessity undermanned, but the few who laboured there had inherited an already declining apostolate among a people who were believed to be dying out. Under these conditions it could hardly he expected that the Augustinian work in the Marianas be any more than the holding operation it was.

As was mentioned above, missionary activity in the Caroline Islands terminated with the death of Fr. Cantova on Ulithi. Occasionally one finds a cryptic reference to attempts made by the Augustinians to found missions in the western Carolines(49). Such hints of further activity remain unsubstantiated by the journal accounts of European visitors to the Carolines, none of which mention the presence of missionaries in these islands.

There is, however, one well attested visit of a priest to Ponape during the long cessation of activity in the Carohnes. In 1837 Fr. Desire Maigret and Fr.Louis Bachelot, two Picpus fathers who had been sent to Hawaii, set out in a small schooner to bring the faith to other parts of the Pacific. Yzendoorn relates that Bachelot took sick and died shortly before the party landed in Ponape(50). He was buried on the small island of Na the day after arrival. Maigret stayed on alone from 13 December 1837 until 29 July 1838 but upon the return of the schooner he left Ponape for Valparaiso A letter of Maigret's to the Archbishop of Caledonia, dated 26 January 1839 gives some information about his brief stay on Ponape;(51) but a richer source is Maigret's personal diary, which is now in the possession of the Diocese of Honolulu(52). This brief episode is worth mentioning, if for no other reason, at least to correct the erroneous statements that are often made in print about the circumstances and duration of Maigret's visit.

A new epoch began on 15 May 1886, when a decree of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith entrusted the long dormant Caroline mission into the hands of the Spanish Capuchin Fathers(53). In the previous year Pope Leo XIII had arbitrated the dispute between Spain and Germany over the possession of these islands. The Carolines, it was decided, were to remain under the control of Spain, while the Marshall Islands were awarded to Germany. Apparently the controversy promoted a good deal of curiosity about this area of the Pacific, for we find in. 1886 a sudden surge of published material about the Caroline Islands(54). For those who care to trace out the many jurisdictional alterations in the status of the mission both prior and subsequent to the arrival of the Capuchin missionaries, Fr Callistus Lopinot furnishes a concise record in his short history of the mission(55). This work contains a very helpful run-down of the most important events in the mission until the end of World War I.

In June 1886 the first six Capuchins reached Yap, which had been ordained as the seat of the western Carolines. March of the following year saw the arrival of five Capuchins on Ponape, the centre for the eastern Carolines. Meanwhile the Provincial of the Spanish Province of the Order, Fr Joachim Llevaneras, had come to take stock of the islands under his charge, and was recording the impressions of his first official visitation through the new mission(56). A companion of the Provincial, Fr Ambrosio de Valencina, gave his own version of their travels in a book entitled Mi Viaje a Oceania.(57) Residences were multiplying on Ponape and Yap, and in 1891 the first station on Palau was established. One of the five Capuchins to begin the Palauan undertaking was Fr Antonio de Valencia, who has left us an interesting ethnographical description of these islands as they existed shortly before the turn of this century(58). A further contribution of his was the compilation of what may be the first dictionary and grammar of the Yapese language.

Fr Llevaneras wrote another lengthy report on the progress of the mission in July 1893(59). When supplemented by the letters from tile field published in Analccta O.M. Cap. and EL Mensajero Serafico (60) it provides us with a fairly comprehensive view of Capuchin gains in the Carolines. 'The yearly volumes of the Analecta, furthermore, supply a tabulation of the numbers of priests, mission stations, converts, and children educated in tile mission schools.

1898, the final year of Spanish rule in the Carolines, was the high-water mark of Capuchin work there; at this time there were 11 mission stations and 16 priests in the field(61). On the island of Yap alone over 1,000 natives had been baptized and 542 children attended the mission schools(62). After this time the change in administration within the Carolines made it impossible for the Spanish padres to function effectively there. Government subsidy for the mission was halted, and the supply steamer from Manila that had formerly been depended upon for provisions was rerouted after the Spanish-American War(63). Although the Spanish priests were allowed to remain by the German authorities, a request was made for German priests to teach their language to the schoolchildren. In 1903 the first few German Capuchins arrived from the Rhine-Westplialian Provilice, and a year later the mission was officially transferred to the German Capuchins. (64)

Although it takes us a bit afield of the main concern of this paper it may be worth quoting the judgement of the German Capuchin Salesius regarding the methods of his predecessors. After stating that the Spanish priests were ignorant of their obligation with respect to the temporal culture of tire people, Salesius points to tile superficiality of past Christianity as the inevitable result of deficient missionary procedures.

Lasting success of the mission is to he achieved not through the brachium seculare and not merely through teaching the external rites of the Church and forms of worship, but through devoted, patient work in religious instruction and a simultaneous, intensive elevation and advancement of the material culture of the islanders. (65)

Regardless of how merited this criticism of the Spanish approach was, Salesius's statement does sound a decisive keynote for most of the future missionary activity in the Carolines.

In the last few years before the official transfer of the Carolines mission to the German Capuchins enrolment in the mission schools had dropped off to almost nothing, while church attendance was 'hardly enough to be mentioned'(66). With the arrival of German priests, who could count on the support of the civil administration, a new beginning was made in the mission. Schools that had been closed for lack of pupils were reopened when it was learned that German would be taught there. In 1906 nuns were brought to the mission for the first time in order to staff the church-run elementary schools. New mission stations were established on those islands that had already been the scene of Spanish Capuchin activity-Ponape, Yap and Palau-while further expansion took place through the founding of parishes on hitherto unevangelized islands. The first two Catholic missionaries were sent to the Mortlock (Nomoi) Islands in 1911 at the request of a few Mortlockese refugees who settled on Ponape after the great typhoon of 1907. Soon afterwards a group of Capuchins founded the first Catholic mission in the Truk atoll.

The Mariana mission, meanwhile, was given to the German Capuchins, who had staffed it since 1901(67). On 1 March 1911 the Marianas were joined once again to the Caroline mission in the creation of a new vicariate(68). Fr Salvator Walleser was named the Vicar Apostolic, with his residence on Ponape.

In addition to carrying out their pastoral activities, the Capuchins of this period were making a substantial contribution to the field of learning. Salesius's Die Karolinen-Insel Jap is one of the earliest genuine ethnological studies of this island(69). Laurentius Bollig's tract, Die Bewohner der Truck-Insel, deserves similar acclaim in its own area(70). Salvator Walleser produced a Palauan dictionary and grammar besides several catechetical books in the Palauan language,(71) and Paulinus Borocco drew up a Yapese grammar(72). Callistus Lopinot, who has provided a fine historical sketch of the period,(73) published a Chamorro dictionary and grammar, a catechism, and other works in the vernacular(74). These are only the most outstanding from among the many linguistic and anthropological works printed by the Capuchins, but they suffice as testimony that this period was indeed the golden age of scholarship in the mission.

All was not a sea of tranquillity, however. In 1905 a passing visitor to Ponape penned the anti-Roman polemic that gained notoriety under the title 'Diary of a Monk on Ponape'(75). Its publication served to exacerbate feelings between the Capuchins and the Congregationalists on Ponape. The great rebellion of 1910 on Ponape became the occasion of a new and even more bitter controversy. George Fritz, the governor of Ponape at the outset of the revolt, later charged that the ultimate cause of the disturbances on that island was the divisiveness and hostility produced by Catholic proselytism. His first pamphlet, caustically entitled Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: The Prehistory of the Insurrection of 1910-1911 in Ponape, was answered by Fr Kilian Muller's Ponape. Fine Erwiderung. Fritz responded with still another volley in a new critique of the Catholic missions, Die Kapuziner in Ponape(76). The controversy was dropped within a few years, but not before ecumenical relations, which had never been particularly good between Catholics and Protestants, sank to a new low.

Just as Spanish missionary activity had begun to languish some years earlier when the islands had changed hands, so too the German Capuchins found themselves in a trying situation when in 1914 the Japanese gained possession of Micronesia. By this tithe there were 34 Capuchins and 10 Franciscan nuns in the Caroline and Mariana Islands. They maintained 22 schools throughout the islands, and could boast of a Catholic population that was over 4,000(77). After the political changeover, however, the missionaries again found difficulty in procuring the supplies needed to carry on their apostolate. In time the Japanese took more positive steps towards the expulsion of foreign missionaries. Education was forbidden the priests, then religious instruction was also outlawed. Finally deportation of all missionaries was ordered, at first on Palau and later in the other districts. By 1918 all Catholic missionaries lead left the islands.

'Very little has been written on the history of Capuchin work in the mission as a whole. Kilian Muller's short history, Bericht uber die Missionen der Kapuziner, is one of the few exceptions;(78) another is Lopinot's history, which has been referred to frequently above. Issues of Die Katholischen Missionen have articles of interest on certain phases of the history of this period.79 The Analecta for the years 1905-18 have some letters from missionaries in the field, but the archives of the Rhine-Westphalian Province (now in Rome) would have to be consulted to obtain a fuller picture of the mission during German times. Mission statistics and a brief report on its progress are given in the annual reports of the German Colonial Office(79). Possibly the best published source of information is the Capuchin mission annual Jahresbericht, printed between the years l907 and 1921.(80)1 Each of its issues contains letters from the field as well as an account of the mission during the previous year.

Catholic missionary contact with the Marshall Islands can be traced back to 1891, in which year the superior of the Sacred heart mission in the Gilberts, Fr Edward Bontemps, visited the island of Jaluit and baptized tile children of some European settlers living there(81). Five years after this short visit Fr Bontemps returned once more, this time leaving a Sacred Heart brother to remain on Jaluit while he resumed his post in the Gilberts. In 1899 Fr Louis Couppe and Br Calixtus Bader arrived at Jaluit and founded a mission there under instructions from Rome. Before this the Marshall Islands had been considered the exclusive domain of the American Board missionaries who had been active there with great success since 1857. We learn from Linckens,(82) our best source on early Catholic mission activity in the Marshalls, that more Sacred Heart missionaries were sent to other atolls until it was felt in Rome that the Catholic Church there showed sufficient strength to warrant the creation of a new prefecture, with Fr August Erdland as their first Prefect Apostolic.(83)

Much as in the Caroline mission, the number of conversions grew each year and new schools were built to educate the young. Parishes flourished on Arno, Likiep, and Jaluit as the number of mission personnel increased to 22. In 1919, however, the Japanese policy of excluding aliens was fully implemented and all the Sacred Heart fathers were expelled from the Marshalls. The story of the final days of the mission is set forth in Johann Braam's series of articles in Die Katholischen Missionen.(84)

The state of our investigation into source materials on the Marshalls is far from complete. At the present we can only point to the Sacred Heart magazine, Monatshefte, as a promising source of published correspondence for the years 1901-20(85). The ethnological work of August Erdland that appears in the pages of Anthro pos should also be noted(86). His dictionary and grammar of the Marshallese language is still in use today,(87) as are his translations of the catechism into Marshallese.

Not long after the expulsion of the German Capuchins and Sacred Heart missionaries from Micronesia the Vatican began negotiations with the Japanese government over the possible dispatch of other missionaries from a neutral nation to these fields. On 2 May 1921 a band of 22 Spanish Jesuits, headed by Fr James de Rego, arrived in Saipan to rebuild a mission that had suffered badly from the neglect of the past few years(88). Work had hardly been resumed in the missions when another administrative change was announced: the Marshall Islands, which had formerly been a separate mission, were united with the Carolines and the Marianas to form a single vicariate(89). In Tokyo on 26 August 1923 James de Rego was consecrated bishop and placed in charge of the vicariate. This position he held until his resignation shortly before World War II. Rego's biography appeared in serialized form in the mission magazine El Angel de Carolinas during the years following his death in 1941(90). The materials from which a fuller account of the first few years of Jesuit endeavour may be pieced together are available in published collections of letters, principally Carlas de la Provincia de Leon (vols III-IV)(91) and Noticias de los Misioneros de las Islas Carolinas y Marianas (1921 and 1923 editions).(92)

Rather than attempt to chronicle the events of this 25-year period in the history of the mission we will simply enumerate the main sources of information. Almost everything listed by Streit (pp. 610-19) is a reference to either of the two Spanish mission magazines: El Angel de Carolinas or El Siglo de las Misiones(93). From 1940 until 1947Carolinas Anuario was published by the Andalusian Province of the Society of Jesus. Here we find a valuable counterpart to the Capuchin yearly reports noted in their place(94). The history of the mission during the years of World War 11 is described in EL Siglo by a Jesuit who lived through it(95). An unpublished manuscript by the same author, Fr Higinio Berganza, gives personal reflections on his experience of 40 years in the mission(96). Other material is undoubtedly kept in the archives of tire Jesuit Andalusian Province.The vicariate files, located in the episcopal residence at Truk, should also contain material in the form of journals, episcopal correspondence, and copies of annual report to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. This material has yet to be investigated. At present we c:an only speculate as to how much additional material is scattered in Tokyo, Saipan, and in the filing cabinets of various mission residences within the Carolines.

If little attention has been given to tire Spanish nuns, the Mercedarians of Berriz, who came to the mission in 1928, it is owing to the paucity of material on the history of their work in the islands. Fr Hernandez relates that in this same year the first native girl pronounced her first vows as a religious before the Archbishop of Tokyo(97). Another event of special importance occurred in 1940 when a Ponapean who had been sent abroad for studies at tire age of 13 was ordained to the priesthood.Although the significance of the fact was lost for a time, Fr. Paulino Cantero was later recognized as the first native priest from the Caroline Islands and sent back after the war to work among his people.(98)

The transfer of the islands of Micronesia to the United States at the end of the War once again necessitated a shuffling of mission sponsorship by the Church. By a decree of Pope Pius XII On 4 July 1946 the Mariana Islands were attached to the Vicariate of Guam, while the Caroline and Marshall Islands formed a separate vicariate(99). Shortly after this the mission was entrusted to the American Jesuits, and then to the New York Province Jesuits. Fr Vincent Kennally, who was appointed the first American superior of the mission, was later consecrated bishop. Of the Spanish Jesuits who had previously served in the mission, six lost their lives during the war, presumably at the hands of the Japanese(100). The whereabouts of their remains is still a mystery today. Others of the Spanish padres were sent home to their native country. A few continued on in the mission, but only after a protracted correspondence between Fr Kennally and Admiral Nimitz had produced the necessary permission for these non-U.S. nationals to remain in the Trust Territory(101). Five of these Spanish Jesuits are still at work today in the mission.

As was mentioned at the beginning of this paper, we have attempted to give not so much an outline of Catholic mission history in the Caroline and Marshall Islands as a guide to what appear to be the most valuable sources of its history. This brief paper, while it represents a summary of the investigations of its author, is even more importantly an indication of the vast amount of work still to be done in the area under discussion, a fact that is all too evident from the many lacunas here discernible. It is our hope that eventually this fascinating chapter in the story of the evangelization of the Pacific will receive the telling that it so greatly deserves.


Even 30 years ago an assiduous student could reasonably have been expected to compile his own bibliography of the published items which should be consulted on any island group which he was preparing to study. With the enormous growth of literature on the Pacific Islands during recent years, however, such a task is becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming, making the provision of an adequate regional bibliographic coverage a matter of urgency.

A feasibility study has shown that a single bibliography of the Pacific Islands is impracticable and unnecessary, particularly since the efforts of O'Reilly and his collaborators have produced local bibliographies covering French Polynesia, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, and Wallis and Futuna Islands, while there is a provisional published compilation on Fiji, Tonga and Rotuma and works in preparation on the Cook, Gilbert, Ellice, and Tokelau Groups, and Niue Island.

Apart from New Guinea, which is a special case, the main gaps are, therefore, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and American Micronesia, and anyone contemplating the production of a bibliography on any of these groups, or one of the smaller groups or individual islands, is invited to get in touch with the General Editor of the Pacific Monographs Series, c/o The Australian National University Press, P.O. Box 4, Canberra, A.C.T.2600, Australia.

1. This document is listed in Celsus Kelly, Calendar of Documents (Madrid 1965) , 334. The Memorial is dated after 1673 by Kelly.

2. Henry Bernard, 'Les Iles Mariannes, Carolines et Palau . . ', Monumenta Nipponica, V11 (1943), 11z-2oi, mentions the visits of a Dominican, a Jesuit and a Franciscan to the Marianas all of whom write about the need of a mission there.

3. The names of these missionaries are listed in Bernard, op. cit., 183.

4. Bernard, op. cit.

5. In Neue Zeitschrift fur Missionswissenschaft, XXII (1966) , 89-97

6. R, Streit and J. Dindinger, Bibliotheca Missionum XXI: Missionsliteratur von Australien und Ozeanien, 1525-1950 (Freiburg 1955). Hereinafter referred to as Streit; numbers indicate paragraphs unless otherwise stated.

7. Francisco Garcia, Relacion . . . en que se refiere el martirio del Venerable Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores (Seville1673), Garcia's work forms the substance of Charles LeGobien's Histoire des Isles Marianes, novellement converties a la Religion Chrestienne; et de la mort glorieuse des premiers Missionaires qui y ont preche la Foy (Paris 1700).

8. Guam Recorder, XIII-XIV (Oct.1936-July 1939). Garcia's biography is also found in Italian, French and German. See Streit (303,321, 386) for more complete information on these translations.

9. Memorial to the Congregation of St Francis Xavier in Mexico (n.d.). The Memorial was printed in Mexico by Lupercio in 1669 and an can be found in Kelly, Calendar of Documents, 334. The original is in AGI:Phil.,LXXXII.

10. Several of these letters have been translated into English and published in Guam Recorder.

11. J. Stocklein, Der Neue Weltbott mit allerhand Nachrichten dern Missionariorum Societatis Jesu (Augsburg 1726), 5 vols. For material pertinent to the Marianas see especially I, nos.1-9.IV contains a German translation by Josephus Kropff of the biography of Sanvitores that was referred to above.

12. The biographies of the three slain missionaries, Frs. Monroy, Strobach and Medina, are cited in Streit, 322,326, 264, 265.

13. Bernard,'Les Iles Mariannes. . .', 186-7.

14. Ibid., 186, no. 23; he mentions a letter from the Jesuit Superior General dated 29 Nov. 1664 in which the mission is internationalized. Reproduced in Anton Huonder, Deutsche Jesuiten-missionare des 17 und 18. Jahrhunderts, Stimmen aus Maria-Laach LXXIV (Freiburg 1899), 21, 211.

15. Bernard, op. tit., 189.

16. Maggs Bros, Catalogue 442, Bibliotheca Americana et Philippina, pt 3. Bernard also gives references to Bibliotheca Asiatica. (Most of the pertinent Maggs Bros catalogues are preserved in the Ayer Collection, Newberry Library Chicago.)

17. ARSJ, XIII, 293-4, 312-9, 320-5; XIV 83-5, 86-7.

18. 'Guam after the Spanish Conquest', Guam Recorder, XII (Feb. 1936) , 299ff.

19. Letter of Fr Paul Klein to Fr Tirso Gonzalez, to June 1697. The whereabouts of the original manuscript is not known, but translations appear in LeGobien, Histoire des Isles Marianes., 395-410; Stocklein, Der Neue Weltbott . . ., I, no. 37; and Travels of the Jesuits, I (London 1762) , 23-6.

20. 'Die ersten Missionsversuche auf den Karolinen', Die Katholischen Missionen, VIII (Aug 1886), 157-61 and XI (Nov. 1886), 22. 5-8 (translated into English and multilithed by the Micronesian Seminar,Truk, Caroline Islands). The anonymous author draws heavily on correspondence published in Stocklein, op. cit.

21. Faustino Hernandez, Mision de las Islas Carolinas y Marshalls (Madrid 1955), 52 pp.

22. V. Guimera, Dans l'archipel des Carolinas, Xavierana no.69 (Louvain, 1929).

23. See Loius Aime-Martin (ed.), Lettres edifiantes et curieues concernant l'Asie, l'Afrique, et l'Amerique, avec quelques relations nouvelles des missions et des notes geographiques et historiques, IV (Paris 1843), 676-84. Although the date of the letters is given as 1 Mar 1705 in Aime-Martin, as also in Streit and Burrus, the manuscripts in ARSJ, XIII, 330-40 bear an earlier date, 4 Apr. 1704. The same vol. contains second copies of the papal letters to Philip and Louis that are dated 1705 (XIII, 341-4). Whatever the explanation for the confusion it is unlikely that the letters were actually dispatched before 1705.

24. Reprinted in Wencesalao Emilio Retana y Gamboa, Archivo del bibliofilo filipino; recopilacion de documentos historicos, cientificos, literarios y politicos y estudios bibliograficos, 11 (Madrid 1896), 161-73.

25. 'Relation en forme de journal, de la decouverte des Iles de Palaos, ou Nouvelles Philippines-1710', Lettres edifiantes . . ., 1V, 701-4

26. Letter of Br Stephen Baudin to Fr Andrew Serrano, 18 Jan.1711. See Antonio Astrain, Historia de la Compania de Jesu en la Asistencia de Espana (Madrid 1912-25), VII, 766-8. Also in ARSJ, XIII, 345-8, XIV, 100-3.

27. In Lettres edifiantes...,XI (Paris 1707-49); p.no. not given.

28. Letter of P. Cazier, 5 Nov. 1720, Lettres edifiantes..., XIV (Paris 1724) 368-73.

29. Lettres edifiantes...., XXII (Paris 1738), 395-442. This letter, like the preceding, was later translated into French and German. See Burrus, 'Jesuits and Terra Australis', 96

30. Stocklein, Der Neue Weltbott..., I, no.1 27.

31. Francisco de las Barras y Arragon, 'Las Islas Palaos', Anuario de Estudios Americanos, III (n.d.), 1062-95.

32. See Bernard, 'Les Iles Mariannes . . .', 198-9, for full references.

33. Lettres edifiantes..., XVIII (Paris 1728), 188-246. Translated and multilithed by the Micronesian Seminar.

34. Letter of Fr. Joseph Bonani to Fr. Balthasar Miller,14 Nov. 1724, Stocklein, Der Neue Weltbott...,II, no.300.

35. Stocklein, op. tit., IV. no. 608.

36. 12 May 1731, AGI:Phil.,LXIX.2.2.

37. F.Carrasco, 'Descubrimiento y Descripcion de las Islas Garbanzos', Boletin de la Sociedad Geografica de Madrid, X (1881), 263-79. 'Garbanzos' or 'chickpeas', was the name given these islands due to their small size and great number.

38. Letter of Fr Bonani to Fr Bonbardi, 10 May 1733, Stocklein, Der Neue Weltbott . . , III, no. 541.

39. Stocklein, op. cit., IV, no. 610.

40. F. Spilimberg, Vida, Virtudes, y gloriosa Muerte del V.P. Juan Antonio Cantova (Mexico 1740) , 53 pp. According to Streit, 392, the author draws heavily upon a letter that he had written some years earlier. For Spilimberg's original letter see ARSJ, XX, 379-416.

41. James Burney, A Chronological History of Voyages and Discoveries in the South Seas (London 1817), V, 26ff, quotes extensively from this document and assigns the name of Don Fernando Valdez y Tamon Governor of the Philippines 1729-39, as its author.

42. Bernard, 'Les Iles Mariannes . . .', 200-1.

43. Stocklien, op. cit., IV, nos.609-19; V, no. 666.

44. Burrus, 'Jesuits and Terra Australis', 97. Burrus also consults Horatio de la Costa, Jesuits in the Philippines: 1581-1768 (Cambridge 1961), 549-51.

45. William Repetti, Pictorial Records and Traces of the Society of Jesus in the Philippine Islands and Guam Prior to 1768 (Manila 1938), 38-43.

46. Julius Sullivan, The Phoenix Rises (New York 1957), 86ff.

47. H. Ling Roth (trans.) , Crozet's Voyage to Tasmania, New Zealand, the Ladrone Islands, and the Philippines in the years 1771-1772 (London 1891), 80.

48. William Haswell, 'Remarks oil a Voyage in 1801 to the Island of Guam', Historical Collections. of the Essex Institute, LlII (1917) , 192-214.

49. In The new Pacific Missions', Woodstock Leiters, LXXV, (1946), 116-23, Bishop Vincent Kennally writes that repeated attempts to begin work in Palau and Yap took place during this period. Bishop Kennally's source here is Fr. Hygino Berganza, as we learn from a letter of the Bishop (21 Feb. 1946; New York, New York Province ,Jesuit Archives).

50. Reginald Yzendoorn, History of the Catholic Mission in Hawaii (Honolulu 1927) ,117-20.

51. In Annales de la Propagation de la For, XII (1840) , 262-6. A short notice on Ponape by Maigret is found in Congregation des Sacres Coeurs de Jesus et de Marie de 1'Adoration perpetuclle, Lettres des premiers Missionaires, Oceanie, Chili, Etats-Unis, Asie Mineure, lithographed, III (1848) ,95-101.

52. According to information received a year ago this valuable diary is being translated into English by a group of Hawaiian nuns.

53. The Latin text of this decree is given in Analecta Ordinis Minoris Cappuchinorum, II (1886) , 161. Although the Catholic missionaries had no contact with the Carolines between 1839 and 1886 the area had not been entirely overlooked. The Carolines were part of the Vicariate of Micronesia, established in 1844, which Marist missionaries intended entering as soon as they had settled themselves in the Vicariate of Melanesia, which included New Guinea and the Solomons. With the failure of the mission in Melanesia the Marists and their successors the Milan Foreign Mission Society did not put their plans into operation.

54. See Streit, pp. 284-6.

55. Callistus Lopinot, The Caroline Mission of the Spanish and German Capuchins, 1886-1919, mimeo. trans. Micronesian Seminar (Woodstock,MD 1966), 8-9, 20-4.

56. A short relation, dated 4 Oct. 1886, is given in Analecta . . ., II (1886) , 334-8. A much longer account of his visitation appears in Analecta . . ., III (1887) , 336-40, 363-77; IV (1888) , 25-9.

57. Seville, 1892; re-edited in 1898. See Streit, 999.

58. A. de Valencia, 'Las Islas I'alaos', Boletin (le Sociedad Geografica de Madrid, XXXIII (1892) 393-433. The same MS was annotated by a later Jesuit, Fr. Marino de la Hoz, and is currently being translated by the Micronesian Seminar.

59. Anacleta..., IX (18013), 242-56, 259-82.

60. Published in Madrid by the Spanish Province of the Capuchins; articles on the Caroline mission are listed in Streit, pp. 302ff. See also Anuario de las Misiones de los Capuchinos de Navarra (1934) , 27-76 for an inventory of Spanish accomplishments.

61. Lopinot, The Caroline Mission . . ., 19.

62. Kolonialamt. Jahresbericht uber die Entwickelung der Schutzgebiete in Afrika und der Sudsee [Berlin 1901), 1003.

63. Lopinot, op. cit., 16.

64. Decree of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, 7 Nov. 1904, Anacleta . .XX (1904), 356.

65. Johann Salesius, Die Karolinen-Insel Jap (Berlin 1906), 129.

66. Kolonialamt . . . (1901) , 1003.

67. Decree of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, 18 June 1907, Analecta . . , XXIII (1907), 236.

68. Decree of Pope Pius X, Analecta . . ., XXVII (191 1), 100-1.

69. Salesius, op. cit.

70. Published as one of a series of monographs in Anthropos Ethnologische Bibliothek (Internationale Sammlung Ethnologischer Monographien) , (Münster 1927), 302 pp.

71. See Streit, p.505, for a list of his linguistic works.

72. See Streit, pp. 620-1.

73. Lopinot, The Caroline Mission . . .

74. See Streit, pp. 623-4 for a complete list of these books.

75. Hildegard Daiber, Was ist Wahrheit? Tagbuchblätter eines Mönches auf Ponape (Stuttgart 1905).

76. Additional information on these writings is found in Streit, p.507.

77. Lopinot, op. cit, 43-4; he lists the names of priests, brothers, and sisters engaged in the mission in 1914.

78. Limburg 1908, 48 pp.

79. Kolonialamt ...

80. Jahresbericht. Tätigkeit der Kapuziner . . . Mission der Karolinen, Verlag des Missionssekretariates Ehrenbreitstein a. Rhein, Oberginingen.

81. Much of the information given in this brief outline of Catholic work in the Marshalls is found in Kennally, 'The New Pacific Missions', and in Hubert Lickens, Auf den Marshall Inseln (Hiltrup bie Münster 1911).

82. Op. cit.

83. Decree of Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, Sept. 1905; see Streit, 1173.

84. 'Das Ende der Mission auf den Marshallinseln', Die Katholischen Missionen, XLVIII (1919-20), 98-100, 113-4, 129-30.

85. Published monthly at Hiltrup bei Münster by the Sacred Heart Press.

86. For a list of the several articles Erdland has written for this journal (Anthropos) see Streit, p. 425. Also listed in Streit are Erdland's writings in Marshallese.

87. Grammatik and Worterbuch der Marshall-Sprache in Mikronesien, Microbibliotheca Anthropos XXII (Posieux 1955) , 456 pp.

88. Faustino Hernandez, Mision de Islas Carolinas y Marshalls (Madrid 1955), trans. Micronesian Seminar, 18-19.

89. Decree of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, 4 May 1923, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, XV (Rome 1923) , 336-7.

90. El Angel...nos.87-149 (Seville 1941-47).

91. Pertinent material is contained in pp.391-434. These are letters from the Carolines and Marshalls, 1921-22.

92. Noticias . .. (Madrid 1921),105 pp. and (Madrid 1923), 125 pp. Thus far I have found no reference at all to a 1922 edition.

93. El Siglo... VIII-XXXIV (Bilbao 1921-47); and El Angel . . .,II-XVI (Seville 1928-47).

94. Establecimientos Ceron y Libreria Cervantes, Cadiz. See Streit p.619.

95. H. Berganza, 'Cinco Anos do Guerra sobre la Mision de Marianas y Carolinas', El Siglo...no. 374 (1947), 94-101; no. 377 (1947), 189-96.

96. 'Micronesia : Islas Carolinas-Marshalls' (March 1962); TS, trans, but not multilithed by the Micronesian Seminar.

97. Hernandez. Mision de Islas Carolinas....,20.

98. Dates are given in Streit, p. 612.

99. Decrees of Pope Pius, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, XXXIX (1947), 95-6, 164-5.

100. A memorandum of Feb.1946 gives the names of those believed to have been killed by the Japanese. New York, New York Province Archives.

101. Correspondence between Mission Superior and Provincial, 1959 New York, New York Province Archives.

Journal of Pacific History, 5 (1970), 213-227.



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