Introduction to a religious vocation
God calls people to many ways of life. As Spiritans, we believe that God has called us to Religious Life. We commit ourselves to a life of service in the church as missionaries.
The Spiritan charism and beliefs and the Congregation’s two founders
The Congregation of the Holy Spirit began life in Paris in 1703 as the Seminary of the Holy Spirit whose purpose was to train young men to become priests at the service of the poorer sections of society. The founder was a young and brilliant law student, Claude Poullart des Places, who gave up his career to dedicate his life to the service of the poor. He died at the age of thirty during an outbreak of pleurisy. Faithful to his wishes, his brothers in community buried him in the paupers’ grave.
In 1848 a young missionary congregation dedicated to the Holy Heart of Mary joined with the Spiritans to become the religious missionary congregation generally known as The Spiritans today. This group was founded by a convert from Judaism, Francis Libermann, and their first works brought them to serve in Africa and with freed slaves. So, from the beginning our religious community has been marked by a strong multi-cultural dimension where mission has been understood, essentially, as leaving one’s home and country to discover the presence of Christ in peoples of other cultures and traditions.
Learn more about our founders…
Francis Libermann (1802-1852) – documentary
Videos of Spiritans who answered the call:
To a Missionary Who Died at Home
Why did you go and leave your bones
in that to us and you a foreign place?
For we would have taken you with love
and sung and prayed night-long songs
and prayers, and we would have carried
you in triumph to your resting place
and we would have mixed our tears
with the holy sprinkling water, and dropped
our red-brown dusty soil upon you, for we would
have your dust as ours. And we would have
planted, each one of us, a living flower on top
so that you might know that all is not ended
here, or there…Life is. Life lives.
Tell us again, then. Why did you go?
Did you not know? We loved you.
Fr Cothraí Gogan C.S.Sp.