Hanlon, Henry

Catholic Church

Henry Hanlon was an English Mill Hill bishop in Uganda. Hanlon joined the Mill Hill Missionaries and after ordination was sent to India (1890-1894). In Buganda, meanwhile, after the establishment of British rule, tensions and civil war between the Catholics (evangelized by the French White Fathers) and Protestants (evangelized by the British Church Missionary Society) had led to recognition of the need to make the difference between church and nationality completely clear. Léon Livinhac, general of the White Fathers, suggested to Cardinal Vaughan that the Mill Hill Fathers, as British Catholics, should take over part of the Nyanza Vicariate. Consequently in 1894 its eastern section was detached to form the Vicariate Apostolic of the Upper Nile and assigned to Mill Hill. Hanlon was recalled from India and placed in charge of it. His task was to ensure harmonious relations between the Catholic Church and the British authorities while developing the evangelization of eastern Uganda. In both tasks he succeeded well. He founded a new missionary headquarters at Nsambya, near Kampala, on land granted him by King Mwanga, while his missionaries began to work in Buganda and Busoga before advancing into Bukedi, Bugisu, Teso, and Kavirondo. He introduced the Franciscan Sisters in 1902. When he retired on account of ill health in 1911, there were some 25,000 Catholics in his vicariate and 12,000 children in his schools.

Adrian Hastings


H. P. Gale, Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers (1959).

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.