Who are the Vincentians and what do you
We are a worldwide Roman Catholic religious community of men who
serve the Church as priests and brothers, founded by St. Vincent de
Paul in France in 1625. We are more formally known as the
‘Congregation of the Mission’. We engage in a variety of
ministries, but our works mirror the motto St. Vincent chose for
our congregation: “He has sent me to preach the Good News to the
poor.” (Luke 4:10)
Where are you located?
Vincentians are located in five provinces (specific geographic
areas) in the USA. The provinces and states they are located in
are: New England (CT, NY, NH), Eastern: (NY, NJ, PA, MI, MD, NC,
SC, AL) Midwest: (MS, IL, CO,) Southern: (LA, TX, AK), and the
West: (CA, AZ). Vincentians in the USA do a variety of ministries:
parishes, mission/evangelization teams, retreats, youth ministry,
higher education, and seminary formation. In addition, two
provinces engage in missions abroad; the East in the Republic of
Panama, and the Midwest serves in Kenya.
What makes Vincentians different from
diocesan priests, or other religious men?
Vincentians were founded by St. Vincent, himself a diocesan priest,
who gathered a community of men around him for a mission: to serve
the poor in Jesus Christ. Unlike diocesan priests serving primarily
in parishes, Vincentians do a variety of works, including parishes.
The diocesan priest’s ministry is connected to his local bishop,
and he may live alone or with others. Vincentians commit to pray,
work, and live together communally as brothers. Finally, what
distinguish Vincentians and other religious communities is their
charism; the spirit of the founder, and how members live it out in
ministry and community life. Religious communities reflect their
founder’s charism; that impacts their ministries and a community
Do Vincentians take ‘vows’ and if so, what
Yes, Vincentians take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and
stability. They are first taken at the end of the novitiate year,
and then finalized after a three-year period of formation. The vows
help focus our lives individually and communally so we may use our
time, talent, and energy for the spread of the Gospel.
Are there any ‘specific’ requirements to
become a Vincentian?
We encourage men to enter into discernment and eventually apply for
entrance who are between the ages of 19- 40, in good health,
practicing Catholics, have developed a habit of prayer, are active
in their local parish, partake regularly in spiritual direction,
and have a desire to serve Christ in the poor.
How long does it take to become a
The time of what we call ‘initial formation’ varies according to
one’s life experience and educational background. At minimum, it is
a five to six year process: usually, a year of discernment,
following by two years of theology, a year of novitiate, and two
more years of theology. For those needing to finish their college
studies, (a prerequisite for studying theology), their time in
initial formation would obviously be longer.