Divine Word Missionaries blog will share some of the latest mission updates from around the world. The more than 6,000 Divine Word Missionaries are serving in 84 countries with a variety of provinces/regions that are then grouped into four zones, namely, the European zone (EUROPA), the Pan-American zone (PANAM), the Asia-Pacific zone (ASPAC), and the Africa-Madagascar zone (AFRAM). The zones may work as geographical sub-zones wherever this seems suitable. Check back often for real-time stories from the missions.
Great Missionaries: St. Arnold Janssen
Jan 12, 2017
St. Arnold Janssen
Arnold Janssen was born in 1837 in a small German town near the Dutch border. His parents instilled in him a strong Catholic faith and a devotion to prayer. He entered the seminary and struggled with his studies during the first year. After majoring in science and mathematics, he entered the major seminary and was ordained a diocesan priest.
He soon felt a calling to promote support for the foreign missions. He looked for someone to begin an organization to send German diocesan priests to the missions. When no one responded, St. Arnold himself in 1875 began Divine Word Missionaries, a religious order of missionary priests and Brothers.
Within a very short period of time, many young men entered the seminary and St. Arnold sent the first group of missionaries to China in 1879, including Fr. Joseph Freinademetz SVD. St. Arnold encouraged all the missionaries to learn the language of their new countries and to respect local customs and cultures.
To support the missions and to spread the missionary message, St. Arnold began a printing press. The press was one of the most modern and technologically advanced presses of the time. Printing presses were also established in many of the mission countries where Divine Word Missionaries were serving.
When St. Arnold died in 1909, there were more than 1,000 Divine Word Missionaries priests and Brothers serving all over the world. St. Arnold also founded two religious orders of sisters: Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters and Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters.
"The Great Missionaries" of St. Arnold Janssen, father, leader, founder, Blessed Helena Stollenwerk co-founder of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters and St. Joseph Freinademetz was first featured in Divine Word Missionaries Magazine, Vol. XLVIII No. 3 Fall 2005, issued quarterly.