Steyl was a prosperous trading village well into the 19th century. The bend in the Maas and the steep slope were suitable for building a landing stage for ships. It was also not far from the Prussian backlands. Large trading houses and villas were built there. In 1875, the German priest Arnold Janssen bought an inn on the Maas with the ambition of starting a training programme for missionaries here. For several years, construction proceeded at a rapid pace and three convents were built with accompanying monumental buildings. The Mission House Saint Michael, with training for priests and brothers, the Sacred Heart Monastery, where girls were trained to work in the mission countries, and the Holy Ghost Monastery, where girls entered the convent. Here, they prayed 24 hours a day. A world centre came into being in Steyl because the missionaries were sent out all over the world.