100 Points of Light - 1989


The Columban Fathers have a long tradition of starting charitable, practical economic projects in their various mission countries. Columban Father Sean J. Connaughton had served for years in the poverty-stricken Philippines, when in 1989 he set up a chapter of the Grameen Bank in Manila.

100 Points of Light - 1987


Throughout history, changing times and technology have altered innumerable traditional cultures all over the world. By the 1980s, this process was accelerating, as the world became more globalized, technology surged forward, and peoples and nations became more economically connected.

100 Points of Light - 1986

In 1982, a Columban General Assembly of representatives from all countries where Columbans lived and ministered, discussed the need for new missions for the Society. Catholic dioceses in a number of countries had asked the Columbans for help. After much discussion, the Columban leadership made the decision to begin new missions in the English-speaking countries of Belize and Jamaica.

100 Points of Light - 1985

In the mid-1970s, the Columban Fathers were looking to expand their presence in Latin America, and had received invitations from Catholic dioceses in Bolivia and Panama. The 1982 Columban General Assembly decided to research Brazil, the largest Latin American nation. Several Columban research teams had investigated the possibility of a Columban mission in Brazil, and recommended the Dioceses of Barreiras and Salvador in the country. 

100 Points of Light - 1984

In the early 1980s, the Philippines was still in the grip of the corrupt regime of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.  The Columban mission on the island of Negros, Philippines had drawn the ire of the government authorities. The Columbans there had encouraged workers’ rights on Negros and called out abuses of the Marcos administration. 

100 Points of Light - 1983

Through the decades, more than 20 Columban Fathers have been martyred while on mission. However, not until 1983 did martyrdom touch the Columban Sisters, after police accidentally gunned down Columban Sister Joan Sawyer in Lima, Peru. 

A native of Northern Ireland, Sister Sawyer became a U.S. citizen, and served in Boston and Chicago before transferring to Lima in 1977. One of her duties there was to serve as a chaplain for the San Juan de Lurigancho Prison in Lima. 

On December 13th, a group of 10 armed prisoners took several women as hostages, including Sister Sawyer, who was at the prison for her routine weekly visit. 

100 Points of Light - 1982

In the March 1982 issue of the newsletter Columban Intercom, a groundbreaking article by Columban Father Sean J. Coyle appeared. This article, titled Accepting Society Members from Mission Regions, challenged the unwritten tradition of ordaining only seminarians from English-speaking nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. 

100 Points of Light - 1981

Edward A. Fischer was a 1937 graduate of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. He went on to a successful career in writing and journalism, eventually returning to his alma mater as a professor. 

Fischer taught courses in film, writing, and design there for about 30 years. In 1976, Professor Fischer published <em>Light in the Far East</em>, a profile of the Columban mission in Korea that focused on Columban Archbishop Harold W. Henry. 

100 Points of Light - 1980

In 1977, Marist Bishop Francis Lambert of the tiny Oceanic island country of Vanuatu, formerly known as the New Hebrides, invited the Columban Fathers to assist his diocese there. By this time, the Columbans were already very familiar with Oceania, having maintained a presence in Fiji for about 25 years. 


About us

Columban logoThe Columbans are a society of missionaries, including priests and lay people, who minister to people of various cultures as a way of witnessing to the universal love of God.

We go in the name of the Church to announce, by deed and word, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Quick Contact

Missionary Society of St. Columban
P.O. Box 10
St, Columbans, NE 68056
Phone: 877-299-1920
Fax: 402-291-4984
email: mission@columban.org