Thomas Spreiter, OSB
December 28, 1865
|Died||January 27, 1944 78) (aged|
|Resting place||Sacred Heart Abbey, Inkamana|
|Years active||1900 - 1943|
Thomas (Franz Xavier) Spreiter, OSB (28 December 1865 – 27 January 1944) was a German missionary, one of the first of the Missionary Benedictines, who worked in German East Africa and later South Africa. He was the ordinary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dar-es-Salaam in German East Africa, and bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Natal and of the Vicariate of Eshowe.
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dar-es-Salaam is a Latin Metropolitan archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania.
German East Africa (GEA) was a German colony in the African Great Lakes region, which included present-day Burundi, Rwanda, and the mainland part of Tanzania. GEA's area was 994,996 square kilometres (384,170 sq mi), which was nearly three times the area of present-day Germany, and double the area of metropolitan Germany then.
Thomas Spreiter was born to a deeply religious Catholic middle-class family. From an early age, he had shown an interest in missionary work, but during the Kulturkampf no orders could engage in missionary activities. However, Benedictine visionary Andreas Amrhein had just begun his Ottilien Congregation and had opened up an institute in Reichenbach am Regen, not far from Regensburg. Spreiter began his novitiate there on 29 September 1886. The institute was housed in a former Benedictine monastery, and the first years, poverty reigned and the work was hard; additionally, Spreiter had become Amrhein's personal secretary. In 1887, the order transferred its activities to St. Ottilien Archabbey.There, he professed on 2 February 1888, and was ordained on 28 July 1897.
Kulturkampf is a German term referring to the conflict between the German imperial government and the Roman Catholic Church from about 1872 to 1878, predominantly over the control of educational and ecclesiastical appointments. More rarely, the term is used by extension to refer to the power struggles between emerging constitutional democratic nation states and the Roman Catholic Church over the place and role of religion in modern polity, usually in connection with secularization campaigns.
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of laypeople and, in some orders, clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions.
Reichenbach is a municipality in the district of Cham in Bavaria in Germany.
In 1900, he left for the mission in Zanzibar,where the Benedictines of St. Ottilien Archabbey had been active after 1888. He headed the mission there in 1905, until the Maji Maji Rebellion, during which Bishop Cassian and four other bishops were killed, threatened his mission and his life; they fled, and Spreiter went to Europe to learn of his future as a missionary.
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja and Pemba Island. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic centre is Stone Town, which is a World Heritage Site.
St. Ottilien Archabbey is a Benedictine monastery in Emming near Eresing and the Ammersee in the district of Landsberg, Oberbayern, Germany. It is the motherhouse of the St. Ottilien Congregation, otherwise known as the Missionary Benedictines.
The Maji Maji Rebellion, sometimes called the Maji Maji War, was an armed rebellion against German colonial rule in German East Africa. The war was triggered by a German policy designed to force the indigenous population to grow cotton for export, and lasted from 1905 to 1907. The war resulted in 250,000–300,000 total dead, mostly civilians from famine.
Spreiter, on his return to Europe, learned that he was appointed as apostolic vicar on 13 March 1906,succeeding Bishop Spiss. He was ordained in St. Ottilien on 1 May, and returned to Africa in 1906, now overseeing all missionary and educational activities in his vicariate: "Every year he undertook a pastoral journey through his mission territory. That meant he was on the road for up to six months and covered a distance of around 1500 kilometers on foot."
An apostolic vicariate is a territorial jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church under a titular bishop centered in missionary regions and countries where dioceses or parishes have not yet been established. It is essentially provisional, though it may last for a century or more. The hope is that the region will generate sufficient numbers of Catholics for the Church to create a diocese. In turn, the status of apostolic vicariate is often a promotion for a former apostolic prefecture, while either may have started out as a mission sui iuris.
When World War I broke out, all German missionary activities were forcibly halted, and Spreiter was under house arrest in Dar es Salaam until 1920, when he was made to return to Germany,"resigning" his post in Zanzibar on 24 November 1920.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
On 27 August 1921 he was appointed as bishop (1st Apostolic Prefect) to the Apostolic Vicariate of Natal (Zululand). In 1922, with the help of other German missionaries, he founded the Inkamana Abbey, also known as Sacred Heart Abbey, Inkamana. Three years later, on 26 January 1924, he was nominated 1st Apostolic Vicar of the newly promoted Vicariate of Eshowe, which had split off from the Apostolic Vicariate of Natal in 1921. He was described as "rigid and uncompromising." He retired on 14 May 1943, and died in Sacred Heart Abbey, on 27 January 1944, where he is buried.
The Vicariate Apostolic of Natal was a Roman Catholic missionary, quasi-diocesan jurisdiction in South Africa.
The Kingdom of Zulu, sometimes referred to as the Zulu Empire or the Kingdom of Zululand, was a monarchy in Southern Africa that extended along the coast of the Indian Ocean from the Tugela River in the south to Pongola River in the north.
Inkamana Abbey, also called Sacred Heart Abbey, Inkamana, is a Benedictine abbey in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Eshowe. It belongs to the Ottilien Congregation.
During Spreiter's tenure in Zanzibar, Werner Janensch and Edwin Hennig were conducting their expedition to the Tendaguru Formation. On May 30, 1910, Spreiter visited their camp, where Hennig met him. Spreiter showed him a bone fragment he had picked up in a village near the Mbalawala Plateau, and another fragment he had found in a village called Makangaga, west of Kilwa Kivinje, which proved that dinosaur bones could be found hundreds of miles from Tendaguru, the initial aim of their expedition.
The Ottilien Congregation, often also known as the St. Ottilien Congregation and as the Missionary Benedictines, is a congregation of religious houses within the Benedictine Confederation, the aim of which is to combine the Benedictine way of life with activity in the mission field.
Inkamana High School is in Vryheid, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. It was started in 1923 and had 200 boarding students in 2009.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Eshowe is a diocese located in the city of Eshowe in the Ecclesiastical province of Durban in South Africa.
Prince Franz-Josef of Bavaria is a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and a member of the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict.
San José Abbey, Güigüe, Venezuela, is a Benedictine abbey of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Currently located to the south of Lago de Valencia, the monastic community was originally established as a mission procure in Caracas following World War I. Caracas' expansion restrained the development of the abbey, and in the late 1980s the monks relocated to Güigüe. The community's superior is Fr Abbot José María Martínez Barrera.
The Ngome Marian Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ngome, KwaZulu-Natal, where Sister Reinolda May, member of the Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, experienced ten visions between 22 August 1955 and 2 May 1971. In these apparitions, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and identified herself as "the Tabernacle of the Most High." Although veneration was not initially supported by the local bishop, the site became a popular destination for pilgrims, and in the 1990s was acknowledged by the diocese as a "place of prayer," with organized pilgrimage actively promoted. It is one of the most popular pilgrim's sites in southern Africa.
Tokwon Abbey was a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien, located near the town of Wonsan in what is now North Korea. Founded as a monastic mission in Seoul, the community transferred to Tokwon in the 1920s to take charge of the newly created Apostolic Vicariate of Wonsan. The persecution of Christians in North Korea since 1949 made any church activity in the abbacy impossible. However the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon is formally still kept as one of the few remaining territorial abbeys within the Catholic Church.
The Abbey of Our Lady Help of Christians, Ndanda, Tanzania, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1906 as a mission station in German East Africa, the monastery is currently home to 71 monks. On 4 July 2015 the community elected Fr. Placidus Mtunguja OSB its 5th Abbot.
St Paul's Abbey, Newton, New Jersey, is a Benedictine simple priory of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Originally established as a mission procure following World War I, over time the size of the community drastically decreased. In 2002, monks from Waegwan Abbey, South Korea, took charge of the monastery. On January 25, 2004, Newton II was elevated to the status of a simple priory. The community's superior is Fr Prior Samuel Kim.
St Otmar's Abbey, Uznach, Switzerland, is a monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. It was established in the wake of World War I to expand the Congregation's resources beyond Germany. To this day, the monastery continues to procure funds and send personnel to Benedictine missions in the Global South. The current superior of the monastic community is Fr Adelrich Staub, Prior Administrator.
Prince of Peace Conventual Priory, Tigoni, Nairobi Province, Kenya, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1978 at the request of Maurice Cardinal Otunga, the monastery is currently home to 35 monks. Conventual Prior Lawrence Mukuru Emukule is the community's superior.
Incarnation Conventual Priory, Agbang, Kara, Togo, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1985 by Frère Boniface Tiguila, the monastery is currently home to 28 monks. Conventual Prior Fr Bernard Anaté is the community's superior.
Christ the King Priory, Tororo, Eastern Region, Uganda, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in the 1980s by Fr John Neudegger, OSB, the monastery is currently home to 24 monks. Fr Prior Edward Etengu is the community's superior.
The Abbey of St. Maurus is a Tanzanian Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien in Hanga, Ruvuma Region. Established in 1956 by Abbot-Bishop Eberhard Spiess as a formation house for African monastic candidates, the monastery is currently home to 122 monks. The abbey operates schools and a dispensary for the people of the local village and a seminary for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Songea.
The Monastery of St Odile, Malandji (Kananga), Kasaï Occidental province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, was a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in Zaïre in 1990 by two members of St Ottilien Archabbey, the monastery was suppressed in 1996 during the First Congo War.
Holy Cross Abbey, Yenki (Yanji), Jilin, China, was a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1922 as a mission station, the monastery later became the seat of the Vicariate Apostolic of Yenki. After the withdrawal of Soviet forces following World War II, the monastery was suppressed by the People's Republic of China. While many of the monks were repatriated to Europe, others moved to South Korea and founded the Abbey of Waegwan.
Kipalapala is a community in Tanzania close to Tabora. It became the location of a White Fathers mission around 1891, and now contains various Catholic institutions including a senior seminary and a priory.