Missionaries of God's Love

We are called the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The initials MSC are taken from our name in Latin, Missionarii Sacratissimi Cordis, and it is by this abbreviation that we are perhaps best known.

Our Congregation was founded by a young French priest, Jules Chevalier, in the small French town of Issoudun. During his seminary training he had come to a profound and life-changing experience of God’s personal love for him. He saw this symbolised in the heart of Jesus pierced on Calvary. He immediately understood that this intimate love of God for him and for all humanity was the remedy to the ills of his age and indeed every age.

In 1854, at thirty years of age, he gathered a small group of like-minded priests together to form the first community of MSCs under the protection of Mary, to whom he gave the title “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart”.

Making God’s love real

The concern of that small, early group of MSC was global, but they began by reading the signs of the times locally, in an increasingly secularised, indifferent and egoistical France. Convinced that God’s love was the remedy to what he called “le mal modern” (the evils of his time), they set about restoring the vitality of the faith in the rural and religiously indifferent town of Issoudun, 250 Km south of Paris.

Due to growing hostility and religious persecution the young Congregation was officially forced to flee from France for a period of time, although Fr. Chevalier remained in Issoudun as Parish Priest, holding the centre of an increasingly dispersed group of men. These years of great difficulty became the opportunity to expand the mission further afield and establish a presence of MSC in other countries in Europe, in the USA, Canada and Australia and accept its first “mission” to the Pacific Islands of Micronesia and Melanesia in 1881.

Over 150 years after our foundation in Issoudun we are now present in 55 countries and number about 1,800 priests and brothers.

Since we were never founded for a specific work or apostolate, but simply to make God’s love known and experienced everywhere, our ministries are many and varied. Yet in every place we minister, we are still trying to respond to the signs of the times and lead people to a deeper experience of God’s love for them, rooted in the concrete circumstances of their lives.

Taken from Missionaries of the Sacred Heart