This organization began its labours in 1871, when four young priests from Mill Hill were put in charge of St. Francis Xavier's church, with a large congregation of black Catholics, in Baltimore. Other black missions were soon begun at Louisville, Charleston, Washington, Richmond, Norfolk, and other places in the South. The society in the United States increased so rapidly and its missions were so successful that in 1892 it was made independent of Mill Hill and established its headquarters at Baltimore. It soon grew to almost 50 priests, who ran 35 missions throughout the South. The society opened numerous educational institutions, including: St. Joseph's Seminary in Baltimore, to train missionaries for the black missions; Epiphany Apostolic College, Walbrook, Baltimore, a preparatory school for St. Joseph's Seminary ; St. Joseph's Catechetical College near Montgomery, Alabama, to train young black men as catechists and teachers; and St. Joseph's Industrial School at Clayton, Delaware, an agricultural and trade school for black youth.
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