Since their beginnings in 1918, Scarboro missionaries have been present in Canada and have also served overseas in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They set out to help build up the local church and lay leadership in the Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand, and Zambia.
In the September-October 2009 issue of Scarboro Missions magazine, Fr. Jack Lynch writes, “Innumerable are the parishes throughout the world that Scarboro priests have established, served, and now transferred to the care of local priests. Today, people from several of the countries and communities where Scarboro missioners worked have immigrated to Canada and are some of the most active and faithful members of many Canadian parishes.”
In serving the poor and disadvantaged, Scarboro priests promoted cooperatives, credit unions, and other community based initiatives, many which continue today, particularly in Japan, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines. Scarboro priests introduced the first credit unions in Japan. Fr. Harvey Steele and Fr. Jack McIver are considered to be two of the principal founders of the cooperative movement in the Dominican Republic. From there, Fr. Steele went on to found the Interamerican Cooperative Institute in Panama, and Fr. McIver taught courses on cooperatives at the university in Guyana, assisted in the consolidation of credit unions in the Philippines, and established a training centre in Swaziland, South Africa, that exists today.
Twenty-three Scarboro priests, having spent most of their lives in their place of mission, are buried in their overseas parish.