Founder of the Divine Word Missionaries – (1837-1909)
+ Arnold was born in Goch, Germany, and felt called to the priesthood at an early age. Ordained in 1861, he taught science and served as a chaplain for more than a decade.
+ His interest in the missionary work of the Church began to evolve and he became editor of a journal about missionary life in 1873.
+ Two years later, he established the Society of the Divine Word (the “Divine Word Missionaries”) in 1875. The community soon had houses in a number of European countries and missions in Tonga, New Guinea, Japan, Paraguay, and throughout North America.
+ In 1889, Arnold founded the Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Ghost to help the priests and brothers in their missions. With Blessed Maria Virgo (Helena Stollenwerk), he also established a contemplative branch of this congregation—the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters—devoted to Eucharistic adoration and prayer for the missions.
+ Saint Arnold Janssen died on January 15, 1909, in Steyl, Netherlands, and was canonized in 2003.
Canonized in the same ceremony as Saint Arnold was one of the first members of the Society of the Divine Word: Saint Joseph Freinademetz. In 1879, he began service as a missionary in China and after nearly thirty years, he died in Taikia from typhus, which he had contracted while serving plague-victims.
“The Lord challenges our faith to do something new, precisely when so many things are collapsing in the Church.”—Saint Arnold Janssen
To learn more about the Society of the Divine Word, visit: www.svdmissions.org
To learn more about the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, visit: www.ssps-usa.org/
To learn more about the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration (the “Pink Sisters”), visit: https://adorationsisters.org/ (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and www.mountgraceconvent.org/ (St. Louis, Missouri)
O God, who through blessed Arnold brought peoples without faith from darkness to the light of truth, grant us, through his intercession, that we may stand firm in faith and remain constant in the hope of the Gospel he preached. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors—For a Missionary)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.