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Prefecture Apostolic of Rajpootana
Prefecture Apostolic in India, attached to the Province of Agra, comprises approximately the collection of Native States which form the Rajpootana Agency. To the north it is bounded by the Bahawalpur State and the Punjab; on the east it extends to Abahari, Pipli, Rania, Sirsa, Hissar, Rewari, the Native States of Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur, and as far as Sipri (which however belongs to Agra), then to Lallitpur and Bina; on the south it reaches to the limits of the Bhopal State and the River Nerbudda; on the west to the borders of the Bombay Presidency - excepting Mount Abu and Abu Road station, which belong to the Archdiocese of Bombay.
Out of a total population of 10,800,00 the Catholics number about 3846 (Europeans 656, Eurasians 609, natives 2581) who have 9 churches and 8 chapels served by 29 Capuchin Fathers of the Province of Paris, assisted by 10 lay brothers of the same order. The residence of the Prefect Apostolic is at Ajmere.
Originally a portion of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Great Mogul, and later on of the Thibet-Hindustan mission, Rajpootana had no ecclesiastical history down to the year 1891, when it was separated from the Archdiocese of Agra, and made into a prefecture apostolic. At this date the district had only one mission station, Jaipur. Besides this, a priest was residing at Ajmere in charge of a small community of Eurasians and Goanese, and there were also stations for troops at Nasirabad, Neemuch, and Mhow, served by three military chaplains. Since the coming of the French Capuchins other stations have been established at Ratlam, Thandla, Mariapur, Jhabua, Jhalrapatan, Parbatpura, and Bhawanikhera, besides sub-stations visited from time to time. There have been two prefects apostolic:- Father Bertram, 1892-1902, and Father Fortunatus, present prefect Apostolic from 1903.
The Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, with 35 members, besides various confraternities numbering 347 members. For education of boys: St. Anselm's School, Ajmere, with 37 boarders and 17 day scholars; St. Joseph's School, Jaipur, for training teachers and catechists, with 25 native orphans; School of the Sacred Heart, Mhow, with 35 boarders and 8 day scholars; besides 25 elementary schools attended by native boys from the villages. For education of girls: under the Franciscan Nuns of St. Mary of the Angels - Convent of the Assumption, Mhow, 15 nuns and 4 lay sisters, convent high school with 21 boarders and 47 day scholars, St. Joseph's School with 12 boarders, St. Anne's School with 37 native pupils, of whom 10 are orphans; Convent of St. Mary Magdalen, Ajmere, with 10 nuns and 4 lay sisters, convent high school with 34 boarders and 105 day scholars. Charitable institutions: besides those attached to the foregoing, there are agricultural orphanages at Mariapur with 72 inmates, and at Thandla with 29 Bhil orphans; St. Joseph's convent, Thandla, for Bhil girls; surgical home at Indore attended by 4 nuns;- also dispensaries in seven places.
Madras Catholic Directory, 1910; FORTUNAT, Au Pays des Rajas (Paris, 1906).
Ernest R. Hull.