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The 'farthest' call of faith from the Edinburgh of the Seven Seas

The 'farthest' call of faith from the Edinburgh of the Seven Seas

St. Joseph's Church, located in the Edinburgh of the Seven Seas in Tristan da Cunha, the most segregated of all the islands, challenges the faithful to take up a two-week long faith journey by sea from Africa.

The advent of Catholic faith in Tristan da Cunha began with the arrival of Agnes Rogers from Mullingar, known popularly as Granny Aggie, who came to Tristan as a housekeeper to the administrator of the island. Her "stubborn love" for her faith and unwillingness to adhere to the religious practices of the land, paved way for the establishment of a chapel, which evolved into the St. Joseph's parish we see today.

The first priest to visit Tristan, which has a population of just 263, was Fr. LH Barry, the Catholic chaplain on HMS Carlisle. The account of the priest who subsequently visited Tristan in 1955, stated that on the island, he "heard the first Confession of children too young to remember what a priest looks like. They were better prepared than many of the children who live within sight of city churches."

“Our faith is our strength” remains the motto of the island, whose people dwell in kindness, caring greatly for the "elderly, who are loved, respected and looked after".

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