The Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) was founded in 1862 by a Belgian diocesan priest, Fr. Theophile Verbist, for the evangelization of China. He and his companions were entrusted with the Northern part of China (Inner Mongolia). In 1946 the Congregation bought a manor in Arlington Virginia, which they called “Missionhurst” to serve as a base for the financial support of the China Mission and other growing missions around the world. Missionhurst would be the central house for the CICM Province in the United States.
The China mission ended after the Communist take-over of China. All CICM missionaries were expelled. But by then, Fr. Theophile’s religious mission congregation had grown into an army of missionaries in frontiers elsewhere around the world.
They trudged through roadless jungles to preach the gospel. They founded schools in deepest Africa. They improved people’s lives while founding Catholic communities on the vast steppes of Mongolia.
Inspired by our founder’s devotion, Missionhurst-CICM missionaries have now proclaimed the good news of the gospel in some of the most remote places on earth. Today, almost a thousand priests and brothers from the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia continue serving and caring for God’s poorest and most neglected people around the world.
Faithful to the legacy of the first missionaries martyred in the Boxer rebellion and elsewhere, many have died in the service of their missions; the CICM now includes 40 martyrs since its founding. Missionhurst-CICM missionaries give witness to the universal love of God by living among the people, sharing in their privations, and participating in the day-to-day effort needed to achieve lifelong spiritual and material changes.
Learn more about the history of our mission from this infographic