An International Community
About 21 Spiritans of 10 different nationalities support the Archdioceses of Durban and Johannesburg, and Dioceses of Bethlehem and Dundee.
In the years from 1945 to 1974, 29 churches, 8 chapels, 5 schools, 11 parish houses, 12 houses for catechists and 3 parish halls were built. The Superior-General of the Spiritans, Fr. Griffin, visited all mission stations in the Diocese in 1952. He recognized the opportunity given to the Spiritans by the establishment of the hierarchy. In addition, he encouraged the Spiritans to foster local vocations and continue the increase of Churches and schools as they had so very well achieved.
Spiritans in South Africa
Spiritans first set foot on South African soil in 1878. That year Fr. Duparquet took over the Prefecture of Cimbebasia which then comprised parts of Angola, Namibia and Botswana. Conflict and communication difficulties forbade further work, and in 1889, the few Spiritans returned to Germany.
It wasn't until 1923 that Spiritans returned to South Africa, to work with the 821 Catholics that had come there, largely from Europe. The missionaries faced a large scarcely populated territory, a virtually non-existent Catholic Church; a situation that needed courage, ingenuity and faith in order to be overcome. The first missionaries were pioneers whose work was characterized by intensive practical activity. They had to be jacks of all trades.