On September 7, 1918, four Maryknoll priets left for the Society’s first foray into the foreign missions. Co-Founder Father Thomas Frederick Price, Father Francis X. Ford, Father Bernard F. Meyer, and Father James Edward Walsh set out for Yeungkong (Yangjiang), China, traveling by car, train, steamship, sailboat, and foot. It was the most exicting time of their lives, and using their diaries and letters, we can follow their story over 100 years later. Please click on the photos to enlarge and view captions.
The first leg of the missioners’ journey, from Maryknoll to Yokohama, Japan
Maryknoll, my Maryknoll, goodbye! We shall probably never see you again, and as we parted that night we knew that we should never behold again in this life the faces of some at least of those through whose of love of God and one another you have been to us really ‘Mary’s knoll!’… But the same love that now calls us away brought us to know you and so we go, with grief for the parting but rejoicing in the unity and purpose that you have given us This parting, even, is only a physical one. United by love of Christ and souls we shall be ever one in heart and deed, depending on one another, bound together by an invisible but potent bond that even death cannot break, that will be only strengthened the other side the grave.
Highlights from Father Price and Father Ford’s Journey
Highlights from Father Meyer and Father Walsh’s Journey
Father Price and Father Ford
Day 42 – October 18, 1918, Nara, Japan
Day 52 – October 28, 1918, Seoul, Korea
All those I have met seem real missioners, rejoicing to suffer all things to bring the souls to God, and it is a great happiness to live in such an atmosphere.
Day 54 – October 30, 1918, Mukden (Shenyang), China
At last we are on Chinese soil and we are delighted. We visited the Seminary, College, Sisters’ orphanage and school with Bishop Choulet. The Chinese seem large and splendid and so modestly dressed and more like our good Catholics than ourselves.
Day 57 – November 2, 1918, Beijing, China
At 10 we attended in surplice and Chinese mirtre the High Mass (cantata) and joined the singing with the whole congregation – Kyrie etc. – and it seemed like heaven.
Father Meyer and Father Walsh
Day 42 – October 18, 1918, Shanghai, China
Day 52 – October 28, 1918, Just Outside Manila, The Philippines
At the entrance to the village presumably the whole congregation met us with a band and as we marched to the church the Te Deum Laudamus (We praise Thee, Lord) was sung. Then all repaired to the new school for exercises…
Day 66 – November 11, 1918, Canton (Guangzhou), China
It is all very interesting. The strange languages, instead of making us feel not at home, rather lend zest to our life here… We have begun the study of Chinese. We spend four hours a day with our teacher, a native, and are keeping very busy. The language is quite difficult – at least at first…
2021 marks 103 years of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers mission work in Asia and the Pacific islands. In addition to China, the Society has worked in Hong Kong (1920), Korea (1923), the Philippines (1926), Japan (1933), Taiwan (1950), Indonesia (1974), Bangladesh (1975), Western Samoa (1976), Nepal (1977), Thailand (1983), Cambodia (1990), Vietnam (1992), and Myanmar (2006).