Geyer, Francis Xavier

Alternate Names: Geyer, Francisco Saverio
Catholic Church

Francis Xavier Geyer was a Catholic missionary bishop, educator, and mission strategist in the Sudan. Born in Regen, Germany, Geyer studied at Munich University and in 1881 entered the Institute for African Mission founded by Daniel Comboni at Verona, Italy. Ordained two years later, he promptly departed for Sudan under an expedition of the institute. With Christian missionaries forced into exile during the Mahdiyah, Geyer retreated to Suakin, on the Red Sea, where he supervised the care of African children and became vicar general of the mission. In 1897 he returned to Europe as superior of a community in Bressanone and began a seminary to train future missionaries. In 1903 he returned to Sudan as vicar apostolic of Central Africa, undertook a series of expeditions by land and river, and founded eight stations across a vast territory. The academic and trade schools he established won the esteem of British authorities and opened a new era of Catholic mission in Sudan. From 1913 he served as vicar apostolic of Khartoum until his resignation from the mission in 1922. Returning to Europe, he began a seminary for immigrants where he invested his remaining years.

Marc R. Nikkel


F. X. Geyer, Durch Sand, Sumpf und Wald: Missionreisen in Zentral-Afrika (1914) and Ein Zentrum der Kultur in Inner-Afrika (1907). Lilian M. Passmore Sanderson and Neville Sanderson, Education, Religion, and Politics in Southern Sudan, 1899-1964 (1981); and articles in Nigrizia, 1895, pp. 170-176, 184-187, in Bericht Negerkinder, 1898, pp. 23-75, and in Stern der Neger, 1904-1914.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.