Vincentians – The Congregation of the Mission (CM)


The Vincentians were founded by St Vincent de Paul in France in 1625. In that year, Vincent set up the 'Congregation of the Mission' (CM), a group of Priests and Brothers who would live together in community and give Missions to the poor people in the country. Vincent soon realised that the religious and spiritual needs of the poor in the country, and elsewhere, required the presence of priests who had themselves received sound spiritual, theological and pastoral formation. So he became involved in work in Seminaries.
Gradually the Congregation of the Mission spread to many countries. Today it numbers about 4000 members and is known in Australia as the 'Vincentian Priests and Brothers'.

Vincent's driving force came from the Gospel text "He sent me to preach the Good News to the Poor" (Lk 4:18). This text, rendered in Latin as "Evangelizare pauperibus misit me", is the official motto of Vincentians around the world today.

In 1633 Vincent assisted Louise de Marillac in the founding of the 'Daughters of Charity', a community of women who would live in community without religious dress and who would look after the sick poor. This community is very active in Australia and many other parts of the world.

Vincent's name is also remembered as patron of the Vincent de Paul Society, founded by Frederic Ozanam.

The Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity, and the Vincent de Paul Society are some of the many groups who form the 'Vincentian Family', a collection of some 270 institutes, congregations and societies of men and women in more than 40 countries around the world that formally share the spirit of Vincent de Paul.

Sharing the spirit of Vincent de Paul, and following his 'Way', the Vincentian Priests and Brothers continue his work through a variety of ministries. Their spirituality is the spirituality of the Church, a spirituality available to all who follow Jesus Christ. It has its focus in active ministry.
The Vincentians came to Australia in 1885, and to Fiji in 1959. The Australian Province of the Vincentians has about 60 members in Australia and in Fiji. Ministries currently carried out in Australia and Fiji include: Schools, Seminaries, Parishes (Urban and Rural), Retreats, Missions, Spiritual Direction, Chaplaincies, and Diocesan Tribunals. Vincentians also work with the Daughters of Charity, and assist the St Vincent de Paul Society

Formation for life as a Vincentian incorporates a strong emphasis on practical, pastoral formation as well as a sound academic, human and spiritual formation. It is an integrated formation, preparing the student for work in various apostolates and cultures where the community is engaged in the work of the church. Prior to admission to the formation community, candidates are invited to 'come and see' who the Vincentians are and what they do. They are invited to live with one or two communities over a period of time. Formation commences with admission to De Paul House, which is situated in Adelaide. While living at De Paul, they will engage in formational activities associated with the Diocesan Seminary and undertake studies at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. A special year of formation takes place within the first three years. This 'Spiritual Year' is a year set aside for deepening the appreciation of the Vincentian spirit and lifestyle and developing the spiritual and human qualities of the student.
Formation continues for another three or more years. There are two semester length periods in which students are invited to spend an extended time in parishes or in a work of the Vincentians. This time further prepares them for their future life and work. Other opportunities for 'pastoral' or work experience are offered each year over a five or six week period. Life Commitment (Vows) may be made a year after the intensive Spiritual Year. This Life Commitment is usually made sometime in the sixth year.

Those preparing to be Brothers would ordinarily complete their academic formation in theology before undertaking specialised study or formation for their future work. Those preparing for Priesthood are ordained, first as a Deacon and later as a Priest, at the conclusion of their studies.

Fr Kevin Canty CM
Vincentian Vocations Co-ordinator
PO Box 1114

Telephone: 02 9716 4166
Fax: 02 9716 4166