Méndez and Gualaquiza
Vicariate Apostolic established by Leo XIII on 3 February, 1893, in the southern part of the province of Oriente, Ecuador. It depends directly on the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. The vicar-Apostolic is Mgr Giacomo Costamagna, Salesian, titular Bishop of Colonia, elected, 18 March, 1895. The mission was entrusted to the Salesians, who sent thither three fathers, two scholastics, and one catechist. They were all expelled under the anti-clerical regime in 1895. The province of Oriente is populated almost exclusively by Indians of the Jíbaro stock. In the eighteenth century many of the tribes had been converted by the Jesuits, but on the expulsion of the latter in 1767 the missionaries who replaced them failed in the work of evangelization and the natives relapsed into paganism. Oriente is estimated to contain 150,000 Indians.
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