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Walter Hermanus Jacobus Steins SJ (1810-1881) was Vicar Apostolic of Bombay, India (1860-1867), Vicar Apostolic of West Bengal (1867-1877) and (under the personal title of "Archbishop), third Catholic Bishop of Auckland (1879-1881).


Early life

Walter Steins was born on 01 July 1810 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was educated there, at St Acheul, Amiens and at Fribourg, Switzerland. in 1832 he entered the Dutch province of the Society of Jesus, was ordained a priest on 08 September 1842, and made his final profession as a Jesuit in 1849.

Vicar Apostolic in India

Steins obtained permission from his superiors to proceed to Borneo (at that time part of a Dutch colony) but went instead to Bombay where he exercised his priestly ministry until 29 June 1861 when he was consecrated a Bishop and assumed the office of Vicar Apostolic. He founded the college of St Francis de Sales In 1867 he was translated to become Vicar Apostolic of West Bengal, based in Calcutta. There he built another college, which was affiliated to the University of Calcutta, established the French religious order of the Daughters of the Cross in West Bengal, founded the St Vincent's home refuge and many schools and orphanages. He began also the Bengali mission and missions to the Santals and other eastern tribes. Because of ill-health caused by a fall he was advised to return to Europe and he spent time recuperating at Conflans-sur-Seine, the novitiate of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Paris.[1]

Bishop of Auckland

Steins recovered sufficiently to request a further appointment and on 16 May 1879 he was appointed as Bishop of Auckland. He arrived on 03 December 1879 and was 15 months in the country. He died on 07 September 1881 in Sydney. Archbishop Steins " ... was a distinguished theologian and linguist; broadminded and tolerant".[2] He attended the First Vatican Council in 1870.


  1. ^ G H Scholefield (ed), A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, "Walter Steins", Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1940, Vol 2, p. 327.
  2. ^ Ibid.


  • G H Scholefield (ed), A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, "Walter Steins", Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1940, Vol 2.
  • E.R. Simmons, A Brief History of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, Catholic Publication Centre, Auckland, 1978.
  • E.R. Simmons, In Cruce Salus, A History of the Diocese of Auckland 1848 - 1980, Catholic Publication Centre, Auckland 1982.

External links

  • Catholic Hierarchy website [1]


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