We invite you to engage with us in this section as you meet many Spiritans, including our Vocation Director, Brother Michael Suazo, C.S.Sp.
Could I be a Spiritan?
Perhaps as you discover more about the Spiritans, their life in community and their ministry with the poor and abandoned, you may wonder, "Could I make the commitment? Could I be a professed member of the Spiritan community?"
Take some time to read and reflect on the information gathered here. You can meet Spiritans, learn more about how we live and the process of becoming a Spiritan, and gain a better understanding of what we believe and how we put these beliefs into action every day.
Enter the lives of the people who need you
The Spiritan way is to go beyond traditional ministry and missionary work. Should you become one of us, you will not only work with poor and forgotten people, but you will live with them, offering them the love, attention, and respect others deny them.
You'll be continuing the work that Father Claude des Places and his brothers started with the chimney sweeps of Paris and the rural poor, continuing with the work of the Spiritans in Africa from the 1800s to today. You will enter into the community efforts in mission and education, nationally and internationally, serving in over 72 countries, continuing to build faith in adversity.
The people form the faith
Since the Spiritans' beginnings we have been committed to crossing cultural, national, and social boundaries to spread the Good News of the Gospel around the world.
In our early days, Father Francis Libermann, our second founder, struggled to bring the Gospel to Africa. He felt that rather than impose the Western Catholic Church on Africa, the African people should bring their culture to bear on the Gospel, aware that God was already there, that the Spirit was already at work. It would be a church formed by their culture and informed by the Gospel.
Understanding the call to help
Today we continue our work in the United States and also continue to provide a strong international presence. In Puerto Rico, Spiritan fathers and students give young people the chance to experience mission work in the Dominican Republic. That hands-on experience is combined with theological reflection to help these people gain a deeper understanding of the Gospel call.
A life in quiet service to the poor
On the island of Mauritius in 1850s, the Spiritan call was lived by Fr. Jacques Laval. A doctor and priest, he took seriously the call of the Gospel to help free the oppressed. He lived and worked with the island's freed slaves, the most despised and poorest people in the society. He took on the wealthy former slave owners and the power structure of the country to advocate for the rights and dignity of the poor. Today, he is remembered as a man who loved the former slaves as he found them, who fought for their rights, and taught them to believe in themselves and their inherent human dignity. Such was his impact, that upon hearing of his death the people of Mauritius, Christian and non-Christian alike, declared the anniversary of his death a national holiday.
The children no one wanted
The Spiritan commitment to caring for the poor and most lost can also be found in the 1920s and 30s in France in the work of Father Daniel Brottier. He dedicated his life to transforming a rundown orphanage where boys were underfed and harshly treated, into the now famous Auteuil Institute, which by the 1960s was a network that cared for the boys no one would adopt and gave them dignity, confidence, and the skills they needed to make it in the world. Over the years, tens of thousands of street kids came to the Institute frightened and unloved, but left knowing that they were cared for and loved by God. Today, orphans and refugees continue to be sheltered there, receiving training to assume their rightful place in society.
At Duquesne University (a Spiritan institution) in Pittsburgh PA, students and Spiritans travel each year to Appalachia to help rebuild houses, and to Florida to work in the fields with migrant laborers. They also work with AIDs patients, the homeless, those in jail, and others in great need.