Between 1922 and 1953, the German-Dutch Catholic Congregation Societas Verbi Divini, SVD, also known as the Divine Word Missionaries or Steyl Missionaries, sent approximately 90 missionaries to Northwest China. During these three decades, the Divine Word Missionaries established some 30 missionary stations (plus about 100 out-stations) in Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang.
* The author would like to thank P. Bosold SVD of the Archivum Generale in Rome and the staff of the Missionswissenschaftliche Bibliothek of the Steyl Congregation in St Augustin/Germany for their valuable assistance and the Gerda Henkel Foundation for providing a generous grant to enable this research.
In this text Chinese words are usually transcribed using the modern Chinese pinyin system, e.g. Gansu instead of Kansu. However, in such terms as ‘Vicariate Apostolic of Kansu Occidentale’, the transcription system used by the missionaries and/or by the Vatican is retained.