Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) is an international catholic community of religious missionaries, brothers and priests , all with a common calling from Jesus to announce the Good News to all nations, preferably in those places where the Gospel is still unknown or where the local church is not yet viable.

Our Society was founded by Saint Arnold Janssen ,on Sept. 8th, 1875 in the small Dutch town of Steyl ,a short distance from the German border. Today we are 6,500 missionaries located in 70 different countries, distributed in four main mission zones: AFRAM (Africa), ASPAC (Asia-Pacific), EUROPE and PANAM (Americas and the Caribbean). The “Pan-American Zone” or “PANAM Zone” encompass all our missionaries and lay collaborators who live and work in the Americas. The images, articles and videos of this Website seek to portray the life and activities of the Divine Word Missionaries in the Americas. Our teacher is Jesus, the Incarnate Word, who pitched his tent among us and took our humanity. His Life is our life. His mission is our mission.

Following the example of Jesus, as Divine Word Missionaries, we make an option for the poor and the marginalized and commit ourselves to the Afro-Americans and the Indigenous. We establish dialogue with all who sincerely search for God, or who belong to different cultures, religions or ideologies. We wish to live our diverse socio-cultural realities in an attitude of 'Prophetic Dialogue', giving witness to the Word of God (Biblical Apostolate); working for Justice, Peace and the integrity of creation JPIC , stimulating the missionary vocation of all God’s People (Missionary awareness) and communicating the experience of encounter with the other person and with a God who is Father and Savior (Communication).

We give special emphasis to the Characteristic dimensions of the SVD Apostolate, that is: Missionary Awareness, Communications, Bible Apostolate, and the promotion of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. These dimensions are characteristic of our missionary work. We see dialogue as an act of solidarity, respect and love which should be present in all our activities (G.C. XV-2000 # 53). We respectfully appreciate the dignity of every person and of every people and culture. In solidarity with them, dialogue becomes prophetic when it is guided by listening to God's word which illuminates our everyday situations and highlights the injustices which exist in human society (In Dialogue with the Word Nº 2 - "Prophetic Dialogue" # 74).

 

As Divine Word Missionaries we are today 6,500 in the world, working in the missionary vanguard of the Church in 60 countries , mainly in places where they do not know the Gospel or among the neediest communities. But, in a particular way, we have been present in the American continent for the last 120 years, evangelizing in a way very close to the daily realities of men and women of this land. Here 1,300 Divine Word Missionaries live and work in international and multicultural communities, sharing with peoples our charism and mission in 15 different countries throughout the continent.

Our Society has grown into a huge tree in whose shade hundreds of thousands of people find refuge in Argentina, Brazil (BRC - BRN - BRABRA - BRS), Bolivia, Canadá, Centroamerica, Colombia, Ecuador , USA (USC - USS - USW), Paraguay, Chile y México. To all these people we propose to transform this continent into a more just, fraternal and sharing society, into the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. We make this Zonal committee with full knowledge that it challenges us to continue our dialogue in the midst of our own tensions and conflicts and in the midst of the tensions and conflicts of cultures in which we live, in order to give witness to the values of the Reign of God here and now.

By witnessing to the Kingdom of God in a world deeply divided by different beliefs, social classes, cultures and religions, we Divine Word Missionaries ,in the spirit of Prophetic Dialogue, wish to build bridges with others with a view to overcoming the divisions that separate us from one another as well as from God. We take on the multicultural diversity of the distinctive faces of our continent: indigenous peoples, African descendents, migrants, mixed-racial, the youth, peasants and refugees and following a simple life-style, we proclaim to them the Word made flesh, present in our humanity. We consider these peoples not as recipients of our missionary action but rather as partners in the dialogue (In Dialogue with the Word Nº 2 - # 13)

Those faces invite us to take up the challenge of evangelization in cooperation with the local Churches. We express a particular interest in our lay collaborators, in whom we see the future of the Church. We are committed to sharing our charism and mission with them. We are present in many schools and universities, accompanying the youth in their growth and development, by means of educational pastoral ministry and a truly Christian education. In youth apostolate, we emphasize missionary awareness and vocational promotion.

 

Divine Word Missionaries are consecrated religious with vows of evangelical poverty, consecrated chastity and apostolic obedience, inspired by the life and the person of Jesus. The SVD Spirituality which we have inherited from our Founder, St. Arnold Janssen, is Trinitarian and missionary because it is rooted in the communion of the Triune God and is a participation in Christ’s mission (G. C. XVI 2006 -1.1# 13).

During the last 18th General Chapter of our Congregation, there was an extraordinary experience of personal and community discernment, based on the Word of God. Reflecting on the Word of God made us aware that our name is our mission.   Now, the process of renewal and transformation continues. The spirit of discernment and openness experienced during the chapter will remain to encourage us in the coming years. As mentioned in the Chapter statement, the process of renewal and transformation could be a long, slow and painful. It is difficult, because this will lead us to question many of our basic attitudes on a personal and community level. We invite all of you to take seriously the challenge that the Chapter launched us to achieve a spiritual renewal and a transformation of our mission.

First evangelization is the main commitment of our missionary activity. Frontier missions, demanding because of climate, distance or socio-cultural conditions, which require an adequate grounding in the culture, languages and customs, are our priority. Moreover, our service does not end with the stage of initial evangelization, but rather we also feel called to accompany the communities in their growth until they can take care of themselves, producing their own lay evangelizers.

In the Parish pastoral ministry we give preference to working in rural areas and marginalized urban sectors, where we emphasize the formation of basic communities (CEBs) and creating missionary awareness among the Christians, in order to give to our parishes a characteristic SVD profile.

As a religious order, the Congregation of the Divine Word places a strong emphasis on community life as training for the cross-cultural way. Young candidates who aspire to become Divine Word Missionaries, live, study and pray in international and multi-cultural communities. Through the various stages of their formation: College, Novitiate, studies of Philosophy and Theology and the year of pastoral experience, they grow in the SVD spirituality and profess vows of consecrated chastity, evangelical poverty and apostolic obedience, choosing between being an SVD brother or priest. In the case of Brothers, after their spiritual and pastoral formation, they study specific careers related to the missionary tasks they will undertake. However, all SVD brothers and priests must be willing to learn new languages and cultures and remain open to leave their home country and serve in another part of the world where our Society requires their services. Making the best possible use of their particular talents, all are called to fulfill their ministry as priest, educator, administrator, etc. developing their talents and working side by side with the people they serve.

In our provinces and regions the Divine Word Missionaries support and strengthen existing projects of collaboration with lay missionaries. We also wish to promote such projects where they do not exist (G. C. XVI 2006 # 3.3.3.1) (In dialogue with the Word Nº 8 # Prologue).  We aim to promote lay men and women within their own particular vocation. We wish, therefore, to play an active role in this process, forming lay leaders, giving them active participation in the pastoral ministry and helping them discover their special mission in the secular world. The Characteristic Dimensions offer them specific fields of action, while at the same time they afford us an opportunity of sharing our charism and mission with them. (In dialogue with the Word Nº 8 # C-2)

 

An SVD Brother is a religious called to put the Gospel into action through his daily work. His specific vocation is to be a "testimony" of the Gospel being committed to the Mission through his profession and skills. Making a summary of their meaningful contribution of the SVD Brothers to the life and mission of the Society, we could point out the following:
• Brothers remind the church in general and the Society in particular of our complementarity in mission. We are Brothers and Priests.
• Brothers by their life and work play a prophetic role in the Society and in the church. They remind us all of the common dignity and fundamental Brotherhood of Christians: “you are all Brothers” (Matt 23, 8).
• They keep alive the sense of authentic communion in our communities and our unity in diversity, which is expressed by their being consecrated laymen (c. 104).
• We should keep in mind that Brothers make a great contribution to mission - through their professional work, social services and pastoral ministry. Being laymen, Brothers should be able to reach out to the laity and the contemporary world.
• In addition, due to their different services and professions, Brothers contribute also to the self-reliance of the Society and keep its members aware of this issue. Also, in many SVD communities Brothers stand out because of their sense of welcoming, their participation in community life, and their spirit of prayer.
These are some good reasons to promote Brotherhood in the life and mission of our Society.
The SVD Education is a mission of prophetic dialogue and we are called to commit ourselves to education, which is a matter of words given and received, taught and learned, accepted and lived and a shared commitment as an attitude of missionary service (XVI General Chapter of the Congregation of the Divine Word, year 2006). The Educational Lines, elaborated by our Educational Coordination teams, will determine the objectives, the charisma, the identity of our schools and the profile of the teachers and students who work and are trained in them. Throughout the teaching process, an approach of an integral cultural and Christian vision should be presented to the students, which guides them toward the synthesis of faith-culture, faith-science and faith-life with a Christian conception of the world, of humankind and life.
The pastoral and pedagogical motto for the animation of the SVD Education during the year 2019 in the Southern Cone of Latin America is: "Rooted in the Word, committed in its Mission". An expression, coined in the last XVIII General Chapter of the Congregation of the Divine Word, held in June 2018, which expresses the "spirituality" of our religious family. As a Congregation, we commit ourselves to the pedagogical, evangelizing and missionary action of our schools. We hope that all the members of our educational communities assume these lines as their own and that, with their commitment and testimony, make them life.