Mill Hill Missionaries are found in almost every continent of the world but more specifically in Africa, Asia, North and South America and in the home regions of Europe. Traditionally, members originated from the West and were from countries which formed part of the home regions: Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and from the German speaking areas of Northern Italy and Austria. Members also came from the North American Region. After training in centres in Britain and the Netherlands, these Mill Hill missionaries were sent to countries in Africa: Cameroon, East Africa, Sudan, DR Congo, and in more recent years South Africa, and to countries in Asia: Pakistan, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia. Mill Hill missionaries are also found in New Zealand and China.
Europe is the home of the members who originally formed the bulk of the membership. These members came from the Home Regions and these include the North American Region, the Irish Region, the British Region, the Dutch Region and the German Speaking Region. Members in the Home Regions are either enjoying their retirement from active ministry in care homes or involved in pastoral work in parishes or actively promoting the work of Mill Hill Missionaries.
The first Mill Hill Missionaries went to North America to work among the African-American communities after they were freed from slavery. The very first mission was in Baltimore, Maryland. From there Mill Hill Missionaries have continued to make their presence felt in St Louis, Los Angeles and New York. Other than involvement in parish ministries, some members are actively engaged in pastoral activities on a full time basis.
In the 1970s, Mill Hill Missionaries were present in Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. The general thrust of these South American missions was the provision of teams to respond to specific local problems. Once these problems were under control, the Mill Hill teams withdrew and handed the missions over to local clergy. At present, Mill Hill Missionaries are active only in Brazil with one member in Bolivia and another in Ecuador. The Mill Hill Missionaries were also assigned responsibility for the Falkland Islands, St. Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. However, this responsibly has now been relinquished.
Mill Hill Missionaries were first assigned to Uganda in 1895. In 1905 they were sent to Congo. By 1922 they were working in Cameroon. In the later half of 1930s they began work in Sudan. These missionaries were sent to these countries under politically motivated circumstances. Despite this, these missionaries were able to concentrate on the training of catechists, catechumenate, care of the sick and the building of schools and churches. Up to this day, there are still Mill Hill Missionaries working in these countries. However, their numbers have declined significantly over the years. More recently, Mill Hill Missionaries were assigned to South Africa, this time in response to the request of a black township. In the 1980s, faced with a declining number of new members from the Home Regions, the mandate was given to recruit from those countries where Mill Hill Missionaries traditionally work. Recruitment began in Uganda, Kenya, DR Congo and Cameroon. In 2008, the African Region was formed comprising the countries where Mill Hill Missionaries are still actively present.
The presence of Mill Hill Missionaries in Asia began in the late 19th Century and has continued to this day in Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The mission to South Asia began with the arrival of the missionaries to Andra Pradesh in 1875. One of the first priorities was the training of local clergy. This expanded to the mission in Afganistan in 1879 and later on in 1884 to Kashmir and the North West Frontier Region of the Punjab which later on became part of Pakistan. Even though the missionaries there started as military chaplains, their attention was turned to the plight of the orphans. In the 1970s Mill Hill Missionaries began their mission to the tribal people in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. Much of the work in Pakistan consisted of establishing Christian agricultural colonies and technical intsitutions to provide skills to the local Christians. The Borneo mission began in 1881 and with the expulsion of missionaries from Sabah in the 1970s, many chose to continue to work in the Indonesian part of Borneo. With the completion of their mission there, they moved on to Irian Jaya.
n 1895, the Mill Hill Missionaries were invited to share with the Marist Missionaries the mission to the Maoris of New Zealand. The aim of the Mill Hill mission was to provide a pastoral care that was consistent with Maori customs and culture. It contributed to the nurturing of a self-reliant and self-respecting Maori Catholic community, proud of its heritage. Mill Hill Missionaries continue to be present in New Zealand and is considered to be one of the many succcess stories of her mission.