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Divine Word Missionaries in North America
Our founder, Blessed Arnold Janssen, realized very early on that one of the best ways to proclaim the Word of God was through magazines. Successful at this in Europe, he sent the resourceful Brother Wendelin to the United States to peddle the SVD's magazines to Catholics in the USA. And the rest is history...
Bro. Wendelin Meyer, SVD Twenty years after founding the Society, Fr. Janssen dispatched Brother Wendelin Meyer, SVD to the United States. He arrived in Hoboken, NJ in 1895. Also, he was given the task of looking for a suitable site for a possible SVD foundation. Within a year, more Divine Word Missionaries were sent to the US.
In 1909, encouraged by successful recruiting efforts, the Society opened St. Mary’s Mission Seminary at Techny, Illinois, 35 miles north of Chicago, the first seminary established in the US primarily to train men for the foreign missions. Mission House in Techny, IL
History The beginnings, of course were not easy. The missionary training included farming, construction building, and eventually, spiritual formation. The spirits were eager, however, and soon many more came to become missionaries.
In 1923, the Society opened St. Augustine Seminary in Bay St. Louis, MS, to provide African-American men with the opportunity to become Priests and Brothers. In 1934 first African-American Priests were ordained: Fr. A. Bourges, Fr. M. Rousseve, Fr. F. Wade, and Fr. Vincent Smith. First African-American Priests
Bro. Gery Burr, SVD Committed to ministering to the African-American community, Bro. Gerald Burr, SVD serves as counselor at St. Elizabeth School in Chicago, located in the Robert Taylor Housing Project area. He also, coaches basket-ball in his free time.
Working for social justice: Bro. Bernie Spitzley, SVD lobbying with Senator Paul Simon in Washington DC. Bro. Spitzley is in charge of Brother formation at "Wendelin House," which is also located in Washington, DC. Bro. Bernie Spitzley, SVD
Fr. Luis Luzbetak, SVD There are many fields in which our missionaries make their presence known. Education is one of them. We have scholars that represent almost every level of teaching. We have theologians, philosophers, sociologists and more. Anthropologist Fr. Luis Luzbetak, SVD presents a copy of his classic "The Church and Cultures" to the Pope.
Our college in Epworth, Iowa, gives students an opportunity to study philosophy and do cross-cultural studies; fields which are essential for those who want to pursue missionary vocation. Divine Word College
Fr. Melvin James, SVD Our primary focus in the United States is on serving the poor and minority groups. Therefore, especially in California, we minister to the Spanish speaking communities and African-Americans. We are present throughout the state. Fr. Melvin James, SVD who spent some years working in Mexico serves now multicultural communities in Los Angeles, CA.
Also in California, we try to use all available means of communication to preach the values of the Gospel. Fr. Michael Manning, SVD, brings the Bible closer to people through his TV production. He founded "Wordnet", a communication network which communicates the Word of God to all. Fr. Michael Manning, SVD
Divine Word Theologate Our mission would not be complete without training new missionaries. Our house of formation is located in Chicago where the seminarians deepen their knowledge and spirituality. They live in a community and study at Catholic Theological Union. They are our hope for the future.
We have been blessed that every year a group of our young men is ordained to the Priesthood or takes perpetual vows as Brothers. We hope this blessing will continue so that the Word of God can reach places where it is so much needed Ordination 1999
Support our Mission and our Missionaries
Mission Mass League Mission Rosary Prayer eCandles
Mission Mass League Mission Rosary Light a Prayer Candle
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©2002 Society of the Divine Word, USA Western Province - All Rights Reserved


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