About Divine Word

Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers are members of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), the largest missionary order in the Catholic Church.


The order was founded in 1875 by a German priest, Saint Arnold Janssen, to preach the Gospel and live its message with people in other lands. Today Divine Word Missionaries come from all over the world, working together to help the most disadvantaged of God’s children in 75 countries on five continents.

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Based on their education and formation, Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers live interculturally with other members of the SVD as well as the poor and neglected. You will find them working with orphaned children in India, victims of HIV-AIDS in Thailand as well as youth groups in inner city Chicago.

You will also find Divine Word Missionaries holding leadership positions within the congregation, teaching in institutions of higher learning and collaborating with lay people to advance the cause of peace and justice.


By choosing this religious vocation, they continue St. Arnold’s belief that, “…to proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbor."

What Divine Word Missionaries Do

Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers are men of prayer and faith. Each has been called to a unique vocation, spreading the Word of God where the Gospel has not yet been preached, or where the local church is not yet viable. Their emphasis on interculturalism, education and professional skills enables them to minister throughout the world in a variety of ways:

  • pastoral and sacramental ministries
  • educational and religious training
  • evangelization
  • youth, adult and family services
  • healthcare
  • seminary formation
  • counseling and chaplaincy
  • peace and justice

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