Roman Catholic Mission in Aden: A Historical Overview Since 1840

Roman Catholic Mission

Founded in 1840 very soon after the British occupation in 1839, the Roman Catholic Mission was entrusted to the Order of St. Francis of Assisi in 1855. The Roman Catholic community was comprised of Europeans, Indians, Abyssinians, Shoas, Swahili and others. The Government would appoint one of the missionaries as chaplain to the troops of the garrison.

St. Joseph's Church

This church was built in 1850 and was located in Crater, on Queen Arwa Road.

Sisters of the Good Shepherd

The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, predominantly British-born, came to Aden in 1868, embarking on a mission to educate girls from various backgrounds and offer refuge to converts and reformed individuals. They operated two classes within the Roman Catholic Mission School. The first, for European girls, included 10 boarders, 6 of whom were orphans, and a number of day pupils, focusing on a comprehensive curriculum that encompassed English, arithmetic, geography, needlework, and music. The second class, designed for liberated slave girls, provided basic education in English, needlework, and domestic skills. The convent, under the supervision of a Mother Superior and a Roman Catholic clergyman, played a crucial role in the education and asylum efforts in Aden during this period.

St. Joseph's Church Mission, Crater, Aden
St. Joseph's Church Mission, Crater, Aden

Roman Catholic Church of The Holy Family, Crater.

Steamer Point Chapel

The Steamer Point chapel built in 1860 was located about 100 metres west of the patcheries at Steamer Point. (The term 'patchery' perhaps originated in India and refers to living quarters of two or three rooms used for married NCO's and soldiers. The term might have originated from the expression 'the married patch'. In India the general sanitary conditions of the married quarters were the same as that of the station, but the men living in patcheries with their families were found to be much healthier than men living in barracks.)

Divine Service was held every Sunday in both the Crater and Steamer Point chapels and at the barracks on the Isthmus. The two chapels, together with the convent and all the buildings and residences used by the mission were entirely funded by subscriptions and donations from the worldwide Catholic community.