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Stanley Falls

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Vicariate Apostolic in the Belgian Congo. It is bounded on the east by the meridian 30° E. long.; on the south by a line running from the extreme point of Lake Albert Edward to the confluence of the Elila and the Congo, and thence to Bena-Kamba on the Lomani; on the west, by the right bank of the Lomani to its junction with the Congo, and the Congo to the watershed of the Ilimbiri; on the north by this same watershed of the Ilimbiri and the Congo and then the watershed of the Welle and the Arwimi as far as the meridian 30° E. long. The vicariate has an area of about 90,000 square miles.

The mission of Stanley Falls was established by the Fathers of the Sacred Heart in 1897. The pioneer missionaries, setting out from Antwerp on 6 July, 1897, settled definitively on Christmas Day following at a spot on the right bank of the River Congo four miles below Stanleyville, and gave to their first foundation, an orphanage, the name of St. Gabriel. The mission at that time formed part of the Vicariate of Belgian Congo. Their work was rapidly crowned with success and the mission on 3 August, 1904 was erected into a prefecture Apostolic, and on 10 March, 1908, was made a vicariate Apostolic. In 1901 the Franciscan Missionary sisters of Mary came to assist the Fathers of the Sacred Heart and settled at St. Gabriel, taking charge of a girls' orphanage, a school, and a dispensary; since then they have given their services to the victims of sleeping-sickness in the quarantine station between the mission and Stanleyville. Four years later another band of the same Sisters arrived to take care of the hospital founded by the "Compagnie du Chemin de Fer des Grands Lacs", at Stanleyville, on the left bank of the river; they are about to establish (October, 1911) a house at Basoko at the moth of the Arwimi. This year (1911) the Little Brothers of Mary are coming to Stanleyville to take care of the State school.

The mission has ten centres: St. Gabriel, Stanleyville, right bank; Stanleyville, left bank and railway; Lokandu; Lileke; Basoko; Banalya; Avakubi; Beni. Each centre spreads out and establishes secondary posts, with a chapel, dwelling-house for the missionary on his rounds, and house for the catechist; and posts of third rank, which have a catechist, but no chapel or house for the missionary. Each centre has its primary school, and St. Gabriel has a school for catechists. Most of the natives are fetishists or Mohammedans: the chief language spoken is Kishwali, but there are twenty-five others. The present superior is Mgr. Gabrielle-Emile Grison, titular Bishop of Sagalassus, who resides at St-Gabriel-les-Falls, near Stanleyville. The latest annual religious statistics (1910-11) are: baptisms, 1839; confirmations, 1104; paschal communions, 5191; Christians, 7171; catechumens, 10,754; there are approximately 150 posts or second or third rank. The statistics of 1909 as given in Battandier, "Annuaire pontificale", are: Christians, 5969; catechumens, 7113; religious (men) 29, of whom 23 are priests and 6 lay brothers; churches, 9; chapels, 25; schools, 9; orphanages, 4; hospitals, 3; nuns, 11.


STANLEY, The Congo (London, 1895); IDEM, In Darkest Africa (London, 1890); JOHNSTON, George Grenfree and the Congo (London, 1908).

About this page

APA citation. Grison, G. (1912). Stanley Falls. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Grison, Gabriel. "Stanley Falls." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett and Susan Clarke. Dedicated to the Christian Community of Stanley Falls.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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