Divine Word Missionaries: Who we are!



God’s loving grace has gathered us from various peoples and continents into a religious missionary community dedicated to the Divine Word and named after him the Society of the Divine Word.

God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. The Word became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth to reveal the Father’s name and to proclaim the kingdom of his love. He made this love, which is limitless, visible in a sinful world by his unconditional devotion to all, especially those in need. Through his death and resurrection he opened the way to the Father for all who believe in him. By the outpouring of his Spirit the glorified Lord formed the new people of God as a sign of salvation for all. Christ continues his mission in his people: to bring the good news to all nations and proclaim the Father’s liberating and unifying love. The Holy Spirit repeatedly raises up communities which place themselves at the disposal of the church to help accomplish its missionary task.


In response to the call of the Holy Spirit and the needs of peoples, Saint Arnold Janssen founded our Society as a missionary community. We see our special dedication to the Divine Word and his mission expressed in our name. His life is our life, his mission our mission. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we follow him, glorifying the Father and bringing the fullness of life to others. Wherever the church sends us, we are to proclaim the gospel so that all peoples may walk in the way of salvation, freed from the darkness of sin by the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. Missionary work is, therefore, the end and aim of our Society. All our activities, diverse though they be, are ultimately intended to help the church fulfill its missionary task.


St. Arnold Janssen – Founder and St. Joseph Freinademetz – First missionary to China

We perform our missionary service one in mind and heart with the Divine Word who offers us a living example of loving dedication to the Father and selfless service of others. We follow the Lord on the path of the evangelical counsels and bind ourselves to his person and his service by the vows of consecrated chastity, evangelical poverty and apostolic obedience. In this way we join together to form a missionary religious community. We propose to make the goodness and kindness of God visible in our life and service. As a community of brothers from different nations and languages, we become a living symbol of the unity and diversity of the church. Our communion with the Lord and with one another is strengthened and deepened by celebrating the Eucharist, by attentively listening to the word of God and by praying together in the joy of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of formation and government in our Society is the growth and  strengthening of our vocation and the focusing of all our efforts on our one missionary goal.



Since God wills that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Tm 2:4-5), he sent his Son as redeemer to form the one people of God from all nations through the power of the Spirit. Our missionary service helps gather the scattered children of the Lord (see Jn 11:52) and hasten the hour when all will worship the Father in spirit and truth (see Jn 4:23). In this way we promote true human progress, go to meet the Lord as he comes and prepare for his glorious second coming and the final fulfillment of all creation in Christ.


As members of the Society of the Divine Word, we consider it our duty to proclaim the word of God to all, to bring new communities into being within the people of God, to foster their growth and to promote communion among them as well as with the whole church. We work first and foremost where the gospel has not been preached at all or only insufficiently and where the local church is not viable on its own. Other tasks must be oriented towards these primary aims. Whoever joins our Society must be ready to go wherever the superior sends him in order to fulfill our missionary mandate even if this entails leaving his own country, mother tongue and cultural milieu. Such readiness is an essential characteristic of our missionary vocation. Confreres always have the right to volunteer for missionary service in another country or culture.


In the choice of our missionary activity priority will be given to those situations where the need is perceived to be particularly acute, where others are not available for the task of evangelization and where people show greater openness to the word of God.

Wherever we work, we always keep in mind that we are missionaries: we seek to keep alive the universal church’s awareness of its missionary responsibility, promote and prepare vocations for missionary service and support the missionary cause of the church both spiritually and materially.


The Divine Word became incarnate in a particular historical situation. Jesus announced peace and salvation to all those of good will, showing special predilection for the poor. This example of Jesus determines the way in which we participate in his mission. Therefore we try to insert ourselves into the actual situation of those among whom we work. With open mind and deep respect for the religious traditions of peoples, we seek dialogue with all and present the good news of God’s love to them. We show a special preference for the poor and oppressed.

The charism of our Society is further characterized as follows: 14- we accomplish our missionary service in a fraternal community of laymen and clerics; – we give witness to the universality of the church and the unity of all people through the international character of our Society; – we have the openness of our founder, Arnold Janssen, always to discern anew the will of God, and be available, flexible and ready to venture into new situations. According to universal law (see can 588.2) we are considered a clerical society of papal right.

Since missionary activity is by its very nature the work and  revelation of the Holy Spirit, we place ourselves and our Society entirely under his guidance and direction. His light enables us to understand the gospel, to interpret the signs of the times and thus discern the will of God. His strength empowers us to become faithful co-workers and missionaries of the Divine Word.

If you feel that our mission is what resonates with your deepest desire to serve God in His people, please write to us.

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