Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Founded by Ven. Vincent Mary Pallotti in 1835. The members of the society are generally called Pallottini Fathers. Its object is to preserve the Faith among Catholics, especially among emigrants, who are exposed to many grave dangers, and to propagate the Faith among non-Catholics and infidels.

The Society of Missions embraces three classes: (1) priests, clerics, and lay-brothers; (2) sisters, who help the priests in their missionary works as teachers and catechists, and who care for the temporal necessities of their churches and houses; (3) affiliated ecclesiastics and lay people. The sisters live a community life, and follow the Rule of St. Francis. They dedicate themselves to the spiritual and temporal welfare of their sex. They are especially engaged in missionary work among the emigrants in America, and the infidels in Africa and Australia. The third class consists of both the secular and regular clergy and the laity who are affiliated with the Society of Missions and help by their prayers, works, and financial aid the propagation of the Faith.

The founder prescribed that his society should be a medium between the secular and the regular clergy. He desired to foster the work of the Catholic Apostolate. This desire of his was strikingly symbolized by the annual celebration of the octave (which he inaugurated in 1836) and the feast of Epiphany in Rome (see PALLOTTI, VINCENT MARY, VENERABLE). He gave to his society the name of "Catholic Apostolate", afterwards changed by Pius IX to the "Pious Society of Missions". The word Pious is to be taken in the sense of the Latin pia , i.e., devoted or dedicated to God. On 9 Jan., 1835, Pallotti conceived the plan of his institute and submitted it to the Apostolic See, and received the required approbation through the cardinal vicar, Odescalchi, on 4 April, 1835, as again by another rescript on 29 May, and finally by Pope Gregory XVI on 14 July of the same year. Nearly all religious orders and communities favoured the newly-created institute with a share in all their spiritual works and indulgences. In the first years of its existence the Pious Society of Missions had among its affiliated members, twenty-five cardinals, many bishops, Roman princes, and religious communities and societies, as also men known in that time as great apostles, Blessed Caspar del Buffalo, the founder of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood and Maria Clausi of the Order of St. Francis of Paula. For a time the Society of the Propagation of Faith in Lyons feared that the new society would interfere with its special work. Pallotti satisfied the Holy See that the purpose of his society was different from that of the Propagation. As the name, "Catholic Apostolate", occasioned objections in some quarters, it was changed to the "Pious Society of Missions".

At the Camaldolese convent near Frascati, he wrote the constitution and rules for the society, which Pius IX approved ad tempus , 1846. According to them, the members of the society should, after two years' novitiate, promise four things, poverty, chastity, obedience, and refusal of any ecclesiastical dignity, except by obedience to the Holy See. Pope Pius X approved ad experiendum the newly-revised rules and constitutions, December, 1903, for six years, and gave the final approbation on 5 Nov., 1909. The mother-house is in the Via Pettinari 57, Rome, attached to the church of San Salvatore. Pallotti sent his first missionary fathers to London in 1844, to take care of Italian emigrants in the Sardinian Oratory. Rev. D. Marquese Joseph Faˆ di Bruno built the church of St. Peter in Hatton Garden which is the principal church of the Italians in London. He was one of the generals of the society, and wrote "Catholic Belief ", a clear and concise exposition of Catholic doctrine , especially intended for non-Catholics. Over one million copies of this book were sold, and it was translated into Italian by the author. Under his generalate, the society extended its activities beyond Rome, Rocca Priora, and London to other countries. He received from Leo XIII the church of S. Silvestre in Capite in Rome for the use of the English-speaking colony there. In Masio in northern Italy, he established an international college, a mission at Hastings, England, and in London (St. Boniface's) for the German colony; in Limburg, Ehrenbreitstein, and Vallemdar there are flourishing colleges for the missions in Kamerun, West Africa. These missions have now a vicar Apostolic and 12 houses, with 70 schools belonging to it. In South America there are establishments at Montevideo, Mercedes, Saladas, and Suipacha; 14 missions of the society in Brazil embrace a territory three times the size of the State of New York. Rev. Dr. E. Kirner started the first Italian Mission in New York City in 1883, afterwards one in Brooklyn, N.Y., Newark, N.J., Hammondton, N.J., and Baltimore, Md. In North America the Pallottini Fathers have at present over 100,000 Italian emigrants under their spiritual care. The society, in the year 1909, was divided into four provinces, the Italian, American, English, and German.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:19-22
19 So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:12-16
12 Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 28th, 2016 Image

St. Jude Thaddaeus
October 28: St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of ... Read More