Presenter Information

Stafford Poole C.M.


This article discusses the Vincentian mission in the United States from 1816 to the Civil War. The Vincentians came to America at the behest of the first bishop of Louisiana for the purpose of founding a seminary and giving local or parish missions. The history of Saint Mary’s Seminary is recounted. Until 1843, it was the Vincentians’ only canonical house in the United States and served many functions. After the mission became a province in 1835, the Vincentians were offered the direction of almost all the American diocesan seminaries, although this did not last. The Vincentians tried to give missions, but this was frequently impossible due to their workload in other apostolates and the geography they had to cover. They served in many parishes, particularly in Illinois and Texas and often categorized this as mission work. Obstacles that the missionaries faced are described, as are the adaptations they made to their apostolates to serve the American church.