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Prefecture Apostolic of Kafiristan and Kashmir
Created (1887) by Leo XIII in the extreme North of India. As regards India proper, the district was, prior to 1887, part of the Capuchin Diocese of Lahore. In that year it was confided to the Fathers of the English Foreign Missions (Mill Hill). The Prefecture includes some of the most important British military stations of Northern India, Peshawur at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, Nowshera and Rawalpindi, the latter place being the army headquarters of lieutenant-general commanding the Northern Army in India. Rawalpindi is also the residence of the Prefect Apostolic, the Very Rev. Dominic Wagner, nominated 13 March, 1900. He was born in 1863 in Friesland and ordained in Salford Cathedral by Cardinal Vaughan in February, 1889. He was educated at the Jesuit College of Culemburg in Holland and at St. Joseph's Foreign Missionary College, Mill Hill, London. In the prefecture there are two important convents: the first is at Murree in the charge of the nuns of Congregation of Jesus and Mary. This institution comprises a boarding school for young ladies, a military orphanage, and a day school for outsiders. The other convent is situated at Rawalpindi, and is in charge of the Presentation nuns. They have recently received a number of new postulants from Ireland and hope to found a convent in Kashmir. They will also help Doctor Elizabeth Bielby, who under the quidance of the prefect Apostolic, is about to open (1909) a Catholic hospital for the native women and children of Northern India. At Baramulla, in Kashmir, Father Simon, assisted by a staff of twelve lay teachers, conducts an important school for native Kashmir boys. The pupils number three hundred. The prefecture comprises about fifteen million inhabitants. Twelve million five hundred thousand of these are Mohammedans, two million are Hindoos, five hundred thousand are Buddhists and about five thousand are Catholics.
J. A. Cunningham.