The Spiritan mission to Nigeria developed in modern time from the tremendous sacrifices of Spiritan missionaries that came from Europe, first from the area of Alsace in France in 1885 led by Fr. Joseph Lutz, and them moved over to the Irish from the early 1900’s under the direction of Bishop Shanahan. The foundation of what became the Province of Nigeria was laid in 1952 with the establishment of Holy Ghost Juniorate Ihiala in 1952. The Holy Ghost Novitiate Awomama was erected in 1958. With the departure of the Irish confreres at the end of the civil war in 1970 the Nigerian Spiritans continued as members of the District of Nigeria-East which became the “Province of Nigeria-East” in 1976. This became the Province of Nigeria in 1983 embracing the entire country with the Districts of Makurdi and Kogi as autonomous circumscriptions within the boundaries of the Province.
In October 2010, the Nigerian Province was reorganized into a Union of Circumscriptions made up of two Provinces and two Foundations. The Provinces are Nigeria South East which covers the former Nigeria East and Nigeria North East which covers the former District of Murkurdi while the two Foundations are Nigeria North West which covers the former district of Kogi and Nigeria South West which covers all of Western Nigeria. All four circumscriptions have a common novitiate, first and second cycle formation together and other common projects are planned.
Nigeria is the largest country in Africa with a population of more than 150 million people with almost half identifying themselves as Christian. Educational institutions and access to education through to the third levels is highly valued. Today there is clearly a vocations boom in the Catholic Church in terms of your people presenting themselves seriously with a keen desire for a religious and missionary life. The Catholic population is about 30 million with the majority of that being located in the south of the country.