In 1916, a young Irish priest named Edward J. Galvin had an idea to start a new mission for the huge nation of China, where he had worked previously. In that year, Father Galvin traveled to Ireland to try to gain support for this idea, and there he met Father John Blowick, a professor at the Maynooth seminary.
The mission group that Galvin and Blowick founded grew into the Missionary Society of Saint Columban. Flash forward 80 years to 1996, when Columban Mission, the official magazine of the Society, commemorated and described the extraordinary work of the Columbans all over the globe.
Most of the Columban Mission issues of 1996 focused on a specific Columban mission country, such as Brazil, Pakistan, the Philippines, and others. The April 1996 issue commemorated Columban history, the start of new Columban missions around the world, and the increasing participation of lay people and vocations from the mission nations in the Society’s work.
Tragedy would also strike the Columbans in 1996 with the unexpected death in January of Filipina lay missionary Pilar Tilos in Pakistan. The May/June 1996 issue of Columban Mission featured a tribute to her life and work.
Nevertheless, as the Society approached the new millennium, it had grown and changed for the better in ways that its two founders may not have imagined.