Spiritan History 1965 – Present

Implementation of the Spirit of Vatican II and the “Foundations” 


The Generalate was moved from Paris to Rome.


The start of the civil war in Nigeria. Almost 300 Irish confreres were expelled from the country and went to work in other circumscriptions. Some of them did remarkable work with international organisations to help refugees, the sick, the prisoners and the wounded.


President Sékou Touré of Guinea expelled all non-African priests and religious, including 31   Spiritans.


An Extraordinary General Chapter was held in Rome. Mgr. Marcel Lefebvre resigned as Superior General and his ties with the Congregation were severed in 1974.Fr. Joseph Lécuyer was elected Superior General. The General Chapter introduced changes into the Congregation in conformity with the spirit of Vatican II.


Five Spiritans who were teaching in the College of Saint-Martial were expelled from Haiti and the college itself was confiscated by the Government. It was only restored in 1996.


Mgr. Tchidimbo, the Spiritan Archbishop of Conakry, was arrested by the regime of Sékou Touré, tortured and given a life sentence of hard labour. He was imprisoned in Camp Boiro and was only released in August, 1979.


Fr. Francis Timmermans from Holland was elected Superior General.
In this period, many new Spiritan Foundations were developed in the southern hemisphere. While still working for the formation of a local diocesan clergy, the Congregation started to set up structures for the training of young Spiritans; amongst other places, they were to be found   in Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, East Africa, Francophone Africa, Southern Africa, the Indian Ocean and Latin America. These Churches were now becoming missionary themselves and they were soon sending out their own members to announce the Good News in the four corners of the world.




Beatification by   Pope John Paul II of Jacques Désiré Laval, a Spiritan and the great apostle   of the island of Mauritius.


General Chapter   at Chevilly, Paris. Fr Vincent Ezeonyia of Nigeria was the first African   confrere to be elected to the General Council.


Beatification by   Pope John Paul II of Fr. Daniel Brottier, a Spiritan, who was the “apostle”   of the Orphelins d’Auteuil.


The General   Chapter at Chevilly elected Fr. Pierre Haas as Superior General. Approval was   given to the new Spiritan Rule of Life which was then promulgated in 1987.


General Chapter   at Itaici, Brazil. Fr. Pierre Schouver was elected Superior General.


New   Circumscriptions set up in Taiwan, Philippines and, later on, Vietnam.


General Chapter   at Maynooth in Ireland. Fr. Pierre Schouver was re-elected Superior General.


Celebrations for   the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation, the   200th of the birth of Francis Libermann and the 150th  of Libermann’s death.For many   reasons, vocations diminished in the northern hemisphere and grew progressively   in the south. By 2003, the overall number of professed members of the   Congregation had fallen to 3,010.


General Chapter   at Torre d’Aguilha, Portugal. Fr. Jean-Paul Hoch was elected Superior   General.


The 300th  anniversary of the death of Claude Poullart des Places.Because of the fall   in the number of vocations, the Provinces of USA East and West were re-united   into the one Province of the United States.


A new attempt   was begun to set up the Congregation in Southern India.


The Congregation   prepared to celebrate its XX General Chapter on the continent of Africa which will be held in 2012 at Bagamoyo, Tanzania, the place where the Spiritans   began their work for the liberation of slaves and the evangelisation of East Africa in the mid-19th century.