Congregation of the Mission

The Congregation of the Mission (CM) was founded in France by Saint Vincent de Paul on January 25, 1625. Also known as the Vincentians, the order continued to live Saint Vincent de Paul’s advocacy on the evangelization of the disadvantaged, and cleric education.

Vincentian Philippine mission began when two Vincentian priests: Fr. Ildefonso Moral and Fr. Gregorio Velasco, two brothers and 15 Daughters of Charity left Cadiz, Spain and sailed for Manila on April 15, 1862, and arrived July 22, 1862.

The Spanish Vincentian missionaries were sent to the Philippines to take charge of the formation of the native clergy and education of the youth in the Conciliar and College-Seminaries, and the spiritual direction of the Daughters of Charity, an order that was co-founded by Saint Vincent de Paul with Saint Louisse de Marillac. The Conciliar Seminary of San Carlos in Manila was their first assignment.

More seminaries, namely the Colegios-Seminarios of San Carlos in Cebu, Jaro in Iloilo, and Naga in Camarines Sur were also established. These institutions produced notable personalities in the Philippines, namely former president Sergio Osmeña, Dionisio Jakosalem, Manuel Ravago, Miguel Cuenco, Jose Ma. Panganiban, Graciano Lopez Jaena, and Lopez Vito.

In 1874, the Vincentians purchased a lot along San Marcelino Street which later became the location of its Central House. The Saint Vincent de Paul Parish Church was erected in the same spot during the Congregation’s 50th year of their arrival in the country on 1912. The order eventually opened the Colegio de San Vicente de Paul on the site but was shut down in 1921.

The Vincentians then constructed a new building in San Marcelino Street to better accommodate the Archdiocesan Major Seminary (San Carlos Seminary) and the Central House community. It was only around 1937 that the first Filipino Vincentian candidates were admitted to the Congregation. The St. Vincent Seminary in Valenzuela, Bulacan, opened in 1950, further advanced the training of future Vincentian priests and brothers before it was transferred to its current location in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

Steadily thriving in spiritual formation, the Vincentians began extending into civil education, purchasing Adamson University from Greek Chemist George Lucas Adamson in 1964. It further expanded when the St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST) opened in 1985 to address the need for a theology that is grounded in the lives and realities of the poor and those in the margins of society.

Internationally, the Vincentians also manage notable educational institutions including De Paul University in Chicago, Illinois, Saint John’s University in New York, and Niagara University in New York.

The Vincentian Philippine Province also continued their missionary duties, holding nine (9) Filipino parishes, and being a constant source of missionaries in far-flung rural regions seldom reached by priests in Thailand, Japan, Lebanon, Mozambique, Rome, Spain, Papua New Guinea, and China.

Fr. Jesus Ma. Cavanna, CM of the Congregation further stretched the Vincentian charism by establishing the Miraculous Medal Apostolate in 1957 to spread devotion to the Medal of Mary. In 1982, the apostolate had two million affiliates nationwide and 50,000 perpetual family members. This apostolate is one of the most popular Marian devotions in the Philippines.

Today, the Philippine Province of the Congregation of the Mission has been fully Filipino since 1979, and continues to grow in God’s grace through the intercession of St. Vincent de Paul. The Provincial House located at the seminary complex in Tandang Sora orchestrates the direction and activities of houses, parishes, schools and foreign missions. Filipino Vincentians currently serve in seminaries, parishes, schools, hospitas, CARITAS- Manila, and in foreign missions.