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The Scottish Catholic Mission Stations in Bauchi Province, Nigeria: 1957-1970

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In 1963 the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Gordon Joseph Gray, asked for volunteers to staff a mission station in the Bauchi province in the north of Nigeria. By the end of 1969 the Bauchi experiment was deemed a success; however, the process of establishing the mission was littered with complications. Not only had this station been abandoned by the Society of African Missions since 1957, it was also firmly located in an Islam-dominated area where Catholic priests had to compete not only with Muslims but also with American Protestant missionaries and indigenous religions. To make matters worse, the years between 1963 and 1970 included two coups and a civil war during which religion became the focus of much of the violence. This article looks at the correspondence between Archbishop Gray and the volunteers in Bauchi in order to provide insight into how the missionaries experienced their task of establishing a Scottish Catholic presence an area others considered too hostile.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Stellenbosch Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602 South Africa, Email:


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