A mission station (also called “ mission ” for short ) is a settlement or a pastoral outpost for the purpose of Christian missionary activity abroad or in diaspora areas . The bases of the early medieval Germanic mission are sometimes referred to as mission stations.
The historical Christian mission sought to separate the indigenous population from the soil of their ancestral culture and at the same time to convey European culture and its values as a goal through Christianity . In contrast, modern missionaries seek to integrate into local communities.
In some colonies the mission stations became places of refuge for migrants or settlement areas of former nomadic ethnic groups. Missions were considered a useful tool of colonialism , the suppression of ancestral culture, as well as the guidance of workers. A significant number of Christian missionaries were involved in, or even promoted, this role. The missionary Alexander Merensky, for example, won a competition in 1886 on the subject: How best to educate negroes to work on plantations .
The colonial churches or settlements in Spanish colonial America are still called missions today , see Spanish missions .
Other mission stations sought to implement charitable and emancipative approaches. They saw medical and educational work as part of their missionary work. This earned them the enmity of the European settlers, especially in southern Africa. Schools and hospitals were often connected to them, for example in Peramiho , but also art workshops such as the Lumko Art Center of the Mariannhill missionary sister Josepha Selhorst .
Mission in the Diaspora
In the period after the Reformation , in the course of the Counter-Reformation, several Catholic religious orders such as Franciscans , Dominicans or Jesuits developed a system of outposts in the areas that had become Protestant, which they called “mission stations”. No convents were founded, but two or three priests settled in different places and began to give pastoral care to the few Catholics who remained in the diaspora or to the Catholic soldiers of a garrison , initially in secret in some places. A mission station usually had a chapel, a classroom and an apartment. The religious proceeded according to plan and took on such pastoral care posts that could be reached within a day's journey, so that mutual contact was possible. In the 17th and 18th centuries, for example, the Saxon Franciscan Province oversaw around 50 such mission stations in Saxony, Anhalt and also in Braunschweig, East Frisia and the Emsland, but never in this number at the same time. According to canon law, the religious belonged to a canonical monastery, from where they carried out their activities in the outposts. From numerous mission stations in the legal form of a missio cum cura animarum , parishes or permanent monasteries later emerged when the number of Catholics in the region had increased again.
Under Archduchess Maria Theresa , mission stations were founded in Austria in the 18th century for the re-Catholicization of the Protestant-minded population, but they were abandoned a few decades later.
- Brief history of the Ebenezer mission station in northwest Victoria ( Memento from March 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
Lothar Hardick: East Westphalia in the plan structure of the Saxon Franciscan Province. In: Westfälische Zeitschrift 110 (1960), pp. 305–328.
Lothar Hardick: Spatial planning of Saxonia before secularization. In: Vita Seraphica 40/41 (1959/60), pp. 85-92.