Spiritan History 1848 – 1965

Expanding Internationally: The Missionary Work of the Congregation, especially in Africa. 

The Congregation of the Holy Spirit became a flourishing missionary family during the course of the 19th century, reinvigorated by the entry of the former members of Libermann’s society. It numbered 1,400 members in 1908. Several new Provinces were founded in Europe and North America while new areas of apostolate were opened up in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Asia and Australia.


Libermann died on February 2nd at the age of 50. Fr. Schwindenhammer was appointed Vicar General of the Congregation then formally elected Superior General the following year.


First general   assembly in the form of a Chapter at Notre Dame du Gard with 28 members. The   Rules of 1849 were approved and a decision was taken to produce new rules   which would reflect the practices of religious life, community life, a   distinctive habit and further details of interior organisation.


The first  Spiritan presence in Ireland: the Congregation opened a junior scholasticate   at Blanchardstown. The following year, the community was transferred to   Blackrock where a school was started. The ordination of the first two Irish   Spiritans took place in 1866.


The spiritan   penetration of East Africa began. They arrived on the island of Zanzibar and   six years later moved to the town of Bagamoyo on the African continent.


The creation of   the Province of Germany. Ten years later, the Spiritans were expelled from   the country and were readmitted in 1895.


Rome confided   the Prefecture of Portuguese Congo (Angola) to the Spiritans, which had been   abandoned by the Capuchins in 1836. Fr. Schwindenhammer retained the title of   Prefect Apostolic and appointed Fr. Poussot as Vice-Prefect. But it was Fr.   Duparquet who became the great builder of the spiritan presence, not just in   this region of Africa, but also in Portugal from 1867 onwards.


The first   Dutchman to enter the Congregation was Brother Pius Orbons. With the German   Spiritans, he later left for the United States to start a new Province, but   shortly afterwards, he returned to his own country to set up the Congregation   there.


From this date,   the Spiritans returned to North America, Canada and the United States, to   care for minorities, immigrants and different ethnic groups.


The first   mission in Guinea (Boffa).


Fr. Le Vavasseur   was elected Superior General.


Fr. Emonet was   elected Superior General.


Mgr Carrie, the   Vicar Apostolic of Congo (Loango) sent Fr. Augouard to set up the first   mission in the interior (Linzolo).


The first   Spiritans arrived in Nigeria (Fr. Lutz). They proceeded up the Niger and   settled at Onitsha.


Mgr. Carrie   created the mission of Brazzaville. In 1890, it became the seat of the   Apostolic Vicariate of Oubanghi, confided to Mgr. Augouard.


Because of the   great need of personnel for the evangelisation of Africa, the Congregation   withdrew definitively from India, where it had worked since 1828   (Chandernagor, Mahé), beginning prior to the union between the Congregation   of the Holy Spirit and the Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of   Libermann. It was not until 1977 that the Congregation returned to Asia again   (Pakistan).


Mgr Le Roy was   elected Superior General.


On February 14th,   the Council of State of France declared that “The Association of the Holy Spirit had ceased to exist and the   Missionaries of the Holy Heart of Mary, which took its name, are not a   religious Congregation that has received legal authorisation”. Mgr. Alexandre   Le Roy, the 15th Superior General, had presented a dossier proving   that the Congregation of the Holy Spirit still existed, so the Council of   State issued another decree stating that “The   Association of the Holy Spirit could be regarded as a legally authorised   religious Congregation”.


From this date   onwards, the Congregation once again exercised its mission in Europe, Africa   and Latin America. It now spread into Holland, Belgium, Great Britain,   Poland, Switzerland, Spain and Canada.


136 Spiritans   were killed during the First World War.


The shipwreck of   the Afrique: 16 Spiritans perished,   amongst whom was the Vicar Apostolic of Senegambia, Mgr. Hyacinthe Jalabert.


Eugénie Caps, assisted   by Mgr. Le Roy, founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the   Holy Spirit.


Southern   Cameroon was confided to the Spiritans.


Mgr. Le Hunsec   was elected Superior General.


Since 1862,   Puerto Rico had been asking the Congregation to help them, but it was only in   1931 that the first Spiritans, led by Fr. Christopher Plunkett, were able to   establish a residence on the island of Arecibo.


In 1927, the   German Spiritans were asked to go to the aid of the immense mission of Téfé   (Amazon). It was in 1935 that the region of Haut-Jurua was given to them as a   separate mission.


101 Spiritans died in combat during the Second World War.


Fr. Francis   Griffin from Ireland was the first non-Frenchman to be elected Superior   General.


The Congregation   of the Holy Spirit became one of the largest religious congregations, with   more than 5,000 members.


On January 1st,   20 Spiritans were massacred at Kongolo, Katanga, in the Democratic Republic   of Congo.


The start of the   Second Vatican Council. 49 Spiritan bishops were present, including Mgr.   Marcel Lefebvre, who had recently been elected Superior General.



End of Vatican II