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Congregation of the Mission

Congregation of the Mission
Congregatio Missionis
NicknameVincentians, Paules, Lazarites, Lazarists, Lazarians
EstablishedApril 17, 1625; 399 years ago (April 17, 1625)
FounderVincent de Paul
Founded atParis, France
TypeSociety of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right (for Men)[1]
HeadquartersGeneral Motherhouse
Via dei Capasso 30, 00164 Rome, Italy[2]
  • Rome, Italy
3,100 as of 2021
Evangelizare pauperibus misit me

He sent me to bring Good News to the poor
Superior General
Tomaž Mavrič, CM[2]
Saint Vincent de Paul, CM
Main organ
Nuntia and Vincentiana
Father Franssen, head of the French Vincentian Mission in Urumiah, Iran (c. 1934)

The Congregation of the Mission (Latin: Congregatio Missionis), abbreviated CM and commonly called the Vincentians or Lazarists, is a Catholic society of apostolic life of pontifical right for men founded by Vincent de Paul. It is associated with the Vincentian Family, a loose federation of organizations that look to Vincent de Paul as their founder or patron.


Inspired by the "first mission" of Chátillon-les-Dombes and Folleville,[3] where he delivered his first mission sermon, St. Vincent de Paul discovered the need and importance of popular missions and general confessions. His concern to form a group of missionaries for the most abandoned areas of France was born in him, and in 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Mission[4] as an apostolic society together with other priests, Anthony Portail, M. Belin, Francis de Coudray and John de la Salle. Years later, this mission found its motto in the passage Luke 4:18, "Evangelizare pauperibus misit me" (The Holy Spirit sent me to bring the Good News to the poor).

In 1633, motivated by that same Spirit, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac founded the Company of the Daughters of Charity, a group of women dedicated to serving the "poorest of the poor." Prayer and community life were essential elements of their vocation of service, with a characteristic spirit of humility, simplicity and charity.[5]


The Congregation has its origin in the successful mission to the common people conducted by Vincent de Paul and five other priests on the estates of the Gondi family. More immediately it dates from 1624, when the little community acquired a permanent settlement in the Collège des Bons Enfants in Paris, which later became a seminary under the name of St. Firmin. The first missions of the Vincentians were in the suburbs of Paris and in Picardy and Champagne.[6] Archiepiscopal recognition was obtained in 1626. By a papal bull on January 12, 1633, the society was constituted a congregation, with Vincent de Paul as its head. About the same time the canons regular of St. Victor handed over to the congregation their priory of Saint Lazare (formerly a lazar-house or leper hospital) in Paris, which led to its members being popularly known as 'Lazarists.[7]

Within a few years the Vincentians had acquired another house in Paris and set up other establishments throughout France; missions were also sent to Italy (1638), Tunis (1643), Algiers and Ireland (1646), Madagascar (1648), Poland (1651), and Turkey (1783). A bull of Alexander VII in April 1655 further confirmed the society; this was followed by a brief in September of the same year, regulating its constitution. The rules then adopted, which were framed on the model of those of the Jesuits, were published at Paris in 1668 under the title Regulae seu constitutiones communes congregationis missionis. Its special aims were the religious instruction of the poor, the training of the clergy, and foreign missions.[7]

On the eve of the French Revolution, Saint Lazare was plundered by the mob and the congregation was later suppressed; it was restored by Napoleon in 1804 at the desire of Pius VII, abolished by him in 1809 in consequence of a quarrel with the pope, and again restored in 1816. The Vincentians were expelled from Italy in 1871 and from Germany in 1873.[7]

The Vincentian province of Poland was singularly prosperous; at the date of its suppression in 1796 it possessed thirty-five establishments. The Congregation of the Mission was permitted to return in 1816, where it is very active. In Madagascar it had a mission from 1648 until 1674. In 1783 Vincentians were appointed to take the place of the Jesuits in the Levantine and Chinese missions; and in 1874 their establishments throughout the Ottoman Empire numbered sixteen. In addition, they established missions in Persia, Abyssinia, Mexico, the South American republics, Portugal, Spain, and Russia, some of which were later suppressed. In the same year they had fourteen establishments in the United States of America.[7]

Mother House

The Mother House (Maison Mère) is the successor of the first Mother House which was the former priory of Saint Lazare. This house, located at 95 rue de Sèvres, was the former residence of the Duke of Lorges, and was made available to the Congregation of the Mission by the French government in 1817. Finally, in 2006, the French State made the Congregation of the Mission the owner of the house and its grounds.[8]

The Mother House consists of a series of buildings around a paved courtyard. The entrance is in the central neo-Renaissance style pavilion at the back of the courtyard. In a niche on the façade is a statue of Saint Vincent de Paul.[9]

Currently, for the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Congregation of the Mission, the Vincentians are renovating the Mother House, with the aim of accommodating those seeking spiritual enrichment, especially members of all branches of the Vincentian Family, pilgrims and people of faith.[10]

Vincentian Family

There are people who do not belong to groups or congregations of consecrated life, but who live the spirit of St. Vincent, his spirituality and charism; they are volunteers, they are in parishes, schools, hospitals and so many other places.[11]

The spirituality of Vincent de Paul has influenced the foundation of other societies of apostolic life and even of some institutes of consecrated life which, in communion, form today what is called the Vincentian family.8 There are 170 congregations, with 2 million people involved, and groups of lay people, which have grown from a "family" to a "movement", reaching almost 4 million people:[11]

  • the Daughters of Charity, founded by Vincent de Paul himself, with the help of Louise de Marillac in 1633,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Novara, a religious congregation founded in 1773 in Italy,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Majorca, founded in Spain in 1798,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, founded by Jeanne Antide Touret in Canada in 1799,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Gijzegem, founded in Belgium in 1818,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Fulda, founded in Germany in 1835,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Innsbruck, founded in Austria in 1835,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Paderborn, founded in Germany in 1840,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Hildesheim, founded in Germany in 1852,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Freiburg, also foiunded in Germany in 1853,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Halifax, founded in Canada,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Zagreb, founded in the former Yugoslavia,
  • the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of the Prince of Palagonia, founded in Parmelo, Italy, in 1835,
  • the Sisters of Providence of Kingston, founded in Canada,
  • the Malabar Vincentians of the Syro-Malabar rite, founded in India in 1927,
  • and the Vincentian laity, who share the work and spirituality of the Congregation of the Mission and of the various Vincentian congregations or societies. There are many Vincentian lay groups, among them the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Vincentian Marian Youth, the Miraculous Medal Association, the Volunteers of Charity and the members of the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul.

Present day

In 2022, the Congregation of the Mission had 3,099 incorporated members, of whom 2,781 were priests. They have 476 houses,[12] spread over five vice-provinces: Mozambique, Nigeria, Costa Rica and St. Cyril and Methodius (Ukraine), and thirty-seven provinces on five continents.

  • Africa: Madagascar, St. Justin de Jacobis (Eritrea), Ethiopia, and Congo.
  • America: Central America (comprising Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama), Argentina (comprising Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina), Brazil (with three provinces, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, and Fortaleza), Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, United States (with five provinces, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New England, and St. Louis), Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
  • Asia: China, India (North and South), Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Orient (including Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, and Syria).
  • Europe: Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (with two provinces, St. Vincent de Paul - Spain and Saragossa), France (with two provinces, Paris and Toulouse), Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy (with three provinces, Naples, Rome and Turin), Poland, and Portugal.
  • Oceania: Australia.

As of 2021, the Vincentians number about 3,100 worldwide, with a presence in 95 different countries.[1] Its specific apostolate remains the evangelization of the poor and the formation of the clergy. As of 2017, Tomaž Mavrič is the incumbent worldwide superior general of the Congregation of the Mission, elected during its general assembly on July 5, 2016.[13]

Opus Prize Finalist

On August 30, 2007, The Catholic University of America, (with the Opus Prize 2004 Foundation, affiliated with The Opus Group), announced that it would award on November 8 a $1-million and two $100,000 Humanity prizes to finalist organizations which contributed to solve most persistent social problems: John Adams (of So Others Might Eat which serves the poor and homeless in Washington, DC); Stan Goetschalckx (founder and director of AHADI International Institute in Tanzania which educates refugees from Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi);[14] and Bebot Carcellar of the Vincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation. On November 8, 2007, David M. O'Connell, president of Catholic University, personally bestowed these Opus Prizes at the university's Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.[15]


In 2008 the Vincentian family marked 150 years in the Philippines, led by the provincial Bienvenido M. Disu, Gregorio L. Bañaga, President of Adamson University, and Archbishop Jesus Dosado of the Archdiocese of Ozamiz. The Philippine province has a deacon, 5 incorporated brothers, and 97 priests. A major work is the housing program for hundreds of families, especially those affected by demolitions and relocations along the Philippine North and South Railways tracks.

The CBCP[clarification needed] Newsletter announced on July 10, 2008, the appointment of the Philippine Marcelo Manimtim as director of Paris-based Centre International de Formation. Manimtim is the first Asian to hold the office.[16]

Housing programs

In 1991, Carcellar was assigned to Payatas. With his "Planning for a new home, Systemic Change Strategy," he organized Philippine massive home constructions, which he began by a savings program at Payatas dumpsite. Carcellar's "The Homeless Peoples Federation Philippines" provided slum dwellers of Iloilo City and Mandaue City with initiatives to survive poverty. In 2008 it promoted savings in Southeast Asia, since the Philippine Federation affiliated with an international network called "Slum/Shack Dwellers International".[17]

Another, younger Vincentian was also assigned by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales as the Coordinator of the Housing Ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila.

Vincentian Center for Social Responsibility

On September 28, 2007, Philippine Vice President Noli De Castro welcomed the launching of the Vincentian Center for Social Responsibility[18] by the Adamson University. The center intends to engage the Adamson's academic community more deeply and directly in nation-building and to directly respond to Millennium Development Goals' poverty alleviation initiatives in the country.[19] De Castro also cited the Adamson University and a Vincentian priest named Atilano "Nonong" Fajardo for their efforts in putting up the Vincentian Center.[18]

The Vincentian Center for Social Responsibility is also responsible for the creation of the Vincentian Facilitators, the Academic Social Responsibility, the Academic Social Entrepreneurship, and the Academic Social Journalism at the Vincentian-owned Adamson University. Through the Vincentian Center, the movement towards academic social networking has become a reality in the university. It is also responsible for organizing the First Northville and Southville People's Congress,[20] consisting of around 750,000 relocatees from Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Laguna.

United States of America

The Vincentians travelled to the United States in 1816 and two years later established St. Mary's of the Barrens seminary.[21] They founded Niagara University (1856), St. John's University (1870), and DePaul University (1898).[22]

The Eastern Province's headquarters is located in Germantown, PA located next to the Basilica Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. The priests of this province serve in several parishes along the eastern sea board. The also founded and still run Niagara University along with St. John's University (New York City). They also has a sub-province in Panama.

The Western Province of the USA has a mission in Kenya, where in conjunction with parish ministry water projects have been initiated to provide clean water to the people.[22]

The New England Province was founded in 1904 by Vincentians from Poland. They staff parishes in New York and Connecticut. The provincial headquarters is in Manchester, Connecticut.[23]

Prominent members of the congregation

Members of the congregation include:


The religious congregation runs the following institutions of higher education:

Institutions formerly run by the Congregation:

Secondary schools

The Vincentian fathers also run a number of secondary schools, most notably in Dublin, Ireland, where the order is in charge of two such institutions.

See also


  1. ^ a b Congregation of the Mission (Global)
  2. ^ a b "Congregation of the Mission (C.M.)", GCatholic
  3. ^ Olabuénaga, Mitxel (2021-12-02). "VICENTE DE PAUL EN GANNES-FOLLEVILLE (IV)". Somos Vicencianos (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2024-05-27.
  4. ^ "Hoy se celebra a San Vicente de Paúl, patrono de las obras de caridad". ACI Prensa (in Spanish). Retrieved 2024-05-27.
  5. ^ "Category:Daughters of Charity - VincentWiki". Retrieved 2024-05-27.
  6. ^ Randolph, Bartholomew. "Congregation of Priests of the Mission", The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 11 September 2021Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lazarites". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 313.
  8. ^ Redacción, Exaudi (2024-02-28). "Renovación de la Casa Madre de la Congregación de la Misión de San Vicente de Paul en París en su 400 aniversario". Exaudi (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  9. ^ "La congrégation des missions lazaristes" (in French). 2018-05-14. Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  10. ^ "Los vicentinos renuevan su Casa Madre en París de cara a su cuarto centenario". Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  11. ^ a b Atienza, Maria José (2024-03-23). "Tomaž Mavrič: "We want to return to our roots."". Omnes. Retrieved 2024-05-30.
  12. ^ "Congregation of the Mission (Society of Apostolic Life - Men) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2024-05-30.
  13. ^ "Rev. Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM – new Superior General". 2016 General Assembly. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  14. ^ Salmon, Jacqueline L. "Catholic Activist Wins $1 Million For Helping Educate African Exiles". Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  15. ^ com/multihousing/content_display/industry-news/e3ib3ddb8f568344814727b8da007499fc6 Multi-Housing News, Opus Group Announces Finalists of $1M Humanity Prize Archived 2007-09-20 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Filipino priest appointed new director of Paris-based institution". GMA News Online. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  17. ^ "Systemic Change: Involve the poor at all stages". FAMVIN NewsEN. 2008-05-25. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  18. ^ a b "Manila Bulletin Online". 2007-12-20. Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2017-07-10.((cite news)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "The Philippines Fifth Progress Report - Millennium Development Goals". The National Economic and Development Authority. 2014-08-19. Archived from the original on 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  20. ^ "Adamson University - News - September 2008". Archived from the original on 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  21. ^ "History", Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
  22. ^ a b Congregation of the Mission, Western Province
  23. ^ Congregation of the Mission, New England Province

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Congregation of Priests of the Mission". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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Congregation of the Mission
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