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MISSIONARIES


368


MISSIONARY


Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, Congre- gation OF, founded by John Baptist .Scaliiljrinf. Bishop of Piacenza, Italy (d. 1 June, li)0">) ; approved in principle by Leo XIII in a Brief dated 2.') Novemlier, 1S87 ; constitution definitively approved by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda, :? (Vtolier, l',)OS. The expediency of providing for the si>iritual — and also, in sonic degree, for the temporal — needs of Italian emigrants to America was forcibly bro\ight home to Bisliop -Scalabrini by the pathetic spectacle of a number of such emigrants waiting in the great rail- way station of Milan.' Acting upon this inspiration, and encouraged by Cardinal .^imeoni, tlien Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda, the bishop acquired at Piacenza a residence which he converted into "The Christo- pher Columbus Apostolic Institution", forming there a community of priests which was to be the nucleus of a new congregation.

This congregat ion, which was henceforth to be known as the " Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo", was to be governed by a superior-general, dependent upon the Congregation of Propaganda; its aim was to maintain Catholic faith and practice among Italian emigrants in the New World, and " to ensure as far as possible their moral, civil, and economical welfare"; it was to provide priests for the emigrants, as well as committees of persons who should give the good ad- vice and practical direction needed by poor Italians newly arrived in foreign ports; to establish churches, schools, and missionary homes in the various Italian colonies in North ami South America, and to train youths for the priesthood. The members of the con- gregation promise obedience to their superiors in the congregation and the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Seven priests and three lay brothers of Bishop Scalabrini's institute left Italy, on 12 July, 1888, of whom two priests and one lay brother were bound for New^ York, five priests and two lay brothers for vari- ous parts of Brazil. On this occasion, Cesare Cantii, the famous Italian historian, addressed to the Bishop of Piacenza some memorable words of congratulation, asking leave to add to the bishop's blessing on the departing missionaries, "the prayers of an old man who admires a courage and an abnegation so full of humility". A welcome had already been assured these first missionaries of the congregation by a com- mendatory letter (1 Jtme, 1888) of Leo XIII ad- dressed to the American bishops.

Immediately after their arrival in New York the new missionaries were enabled to secure a favourable site in Centre Street, where there was a colony of Italians, and in a .short time a chapel was opened; soon after this the church of the Resurrection was opened in Mulberry Street; lastly, a building in Roosevelt Street, which had been a Protestant place of worship, became the property of the mission fathers who transformed it into the church of St. Joachim, the first specially Italian church in the Diocese of New York. The Society of St. Raphael (see E^^GR.\NT Aid Societies) was organized at EULs Island. The good work thereafter spread rapidly through the continent. The United States and Can- ada now (1910) contain 21 parish churches, besides several chapels, served by the congregation ; in Brazil the fathers nave charge of 13 parish churches, mostly with schools attached, and 2 important orphanages. The two provinces (Eastern and Western) of the con- gregation in the United States number 45 priests and 3 lay brothers, while the single province of Brazil numbers 35 prieste and 5 lay brothers.

Victor Cangiano.

Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales of Annecy.

— Amid the many activities to which .St. Francis de- voted himself, he long had the desire to found a society of missionary priests. This wish, however, waa not to find its realization until nearly two cen-


turies after his death. .\t that time Monseigneur liiley, a successor of the Saint in the See of Annecy, brDaihed the subject of such a society to Father Merniier, who had been considering the same idea. .Vccordingly, Father Mermier put the design into execution. In 1830 the institute w'as fonned with La Feuillet te as the site for the mother-house. This was solemnly blessed by the bishop on S August, 1837, and t lie congregation canonically instituted Ijyhim on 8 October, 1838. The society was not to be a mere association of priests, but a new religious congregation, boimd by simple vows. Hence Father Mennier, the first superior-general, offered himself and his compan- ions to the pope for foreign missions. In 1845 his offer was accepted by the Propaganda, and the first mis- sionaries of St. Francis de Sales set out for India. The work has prospered and since that time more than 100 priests and seminarians have been sent out by the congregation, besides many lay brothers. More than 200 nuns of different orders have gone out at the call of the missionaries to help them. The dioceses of Nagpur and Vizagapatam have always been governed bj' prelates belonging to this institute. At Vizaga- patam the first vicar Apostolic was Mgr Neyret (1850); he was succeeded by Mgr Tissot, first bishop of the diocese. The present occupant of the see is Mgr C'lerc. The first Bishop of Nagpur was Mgr Riccaz; after him came Mgrs Pelvat, Crochet, Bona- venture, and Coppel. In England the fathers have three missions in the Diocese of Clifton. Since the persecution of 1903, the congregation has been obliged to leave Savoy for England, where the juvenate, the novitiate, and the house of studies are successfully carried on. The superiors-general since the founda- tion are: the Very Rev. Fathers Mermier, Oaiddon, Clavel, Tissot, Gojon, and Bouvard.

Echos Salesien!^. Reinte mensueUe (Fribourg, 1908-10); Almanack de St. Franfois dc Sales (Lyons. 1900).

Louis Valluet. Missionary Rector. See Rector. Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle,

otherwise known as the Paillst F.^thers, a com- munity of priests for giving missions and doing other Apostolic works, especially for making converts to the Catholic Faith. It was fotmded, in Rome and in New York, in 1858, by Father Isaac Thomas Hecker, with whom were associated Augustine F. Hewit, George Deshon, Francis A. Baker, and Clarence A. Walworth. All of these had been members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and owing to certain misun- derstandings had been suspected of disloyalty to their order and accused of disobedience.

In order to set matters right and to explain their case to the superior general, Father Hecker went to Rome, and on 29 August, 1857, three days after his arrival, was expelled from the Redemptorists. This action was appealed to the Holy See and was not ap- proved. Father Hecker and the above named priests were then at their own request dispensed from their vows, and proceeded to form the new community. Hecker received letters from Propaganda, strongly recommending liim and his associates to the bishops of the United States. This is the official origin of the Paulists.

But long before this, however, the Holy Spirit gave Father Hecker distinct and unmistakable intimations — to use his own words — that he was " set apart to undertake in some leading and conspicuous way the conversion of this country". He adds that he " made an explicit statement of these supernatural visitations to various persons, singly and in common, always un- der compulsion of obedience or necessity". These advisers included Cardinal Barnabo, the Prefect of Propaganda at this time, and several of the most ap- proved directors of souls in Rome. They unanimously decided that he acted wisely in following this interior supernatural guidance.