Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland – Congregation of the Holy Ghost and of the Sacred Heart of Mary


Active. Founded 1703-1841.

The Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Sacred Heart of Mary is two Congregations united in one. The Congregation of the Holy Ghost was founded in 1703 at Paris by an ecclesiastic of Rennes, M. Poullard Desplaces, for the evangelization of the working classes and of the poor, and for the conversion of infidels. The Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary was founded in 1841 by M. Libermann, a converted Jew, and it had for its object the conversion of the blacks. In 1848 these two Congregations were united, and the members are more often known as the Fathers of the Holy Ghost in America, where the Congregation has several houses.

The object of the Congregation is the conversion of infidels, especially blacks; the exercise of the ecclesiastical ministry in the colonies; the instruction of poor children and abandoned orphans; the direction of agricultural colonies and of reformatories; and the care of the sick, the infirm, and the aged in places where there are no hospitals.

This Congregation began the work of African missions in the last century. The members have established at Zanzibar, which is the point of departure for numerous caravans organized for the exploration of the interior, a hospital for sick Europeans. Many of the Fathers died while nursing the sick of yellow fever during an epidemic which raged in 1879 throughout the Senegal Colony. It was through two of these Fathers that France recovered the Senegal colony in 1799. They were shipwrecked off Cape Blanc, and sold as slaves at Saint Louis, and during their detention excited a desire among the inhabitants to be once more under French rule; on their release their representations to their Government achieved this result. The Congregation has about thirty houses in France or in French colonies; it also has establishments in Rome, Ireland, Portugal, Pennsylvania, Senegambia, Guinea, the Congo, and Zanquebar.

MLA Citation

  • Francesca M Steele. “Congregation of the Holy Ghost and of the Sacred Heart of Mary”. Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 December 2018. Web. 7 May 2021. <>