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Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (Latin)[1]
Formation1862; 162 years ago (1862)[1]
FounderFr. Théophile Verbist, CICM[1]
Founded atScheut, Anderlecht, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
TypeClerical Religious Congregation of Pontifical Right for men[3]
HeadquartersGeneral Motherhouse
Via S. Giovanni Eudes 95, 00163 Rome, Italy[4]
780 members (585 priests) as of 2021
Cor Unum et Anima Una
One Heart and one Soul
Superior General
Fr. Charles Phukuta Khonde, CICM[1]
Home and foreign mission work
AffiliationsRoman Catholic Church

The CICM Missionaries, officially known as the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Latin: Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) and often abbreviated as C.I.C.M, is a Catholic clerical religious congregation of Pontifical Right for men established in 1862 by the Belgian Catholic priest Theophile Verbist (1823–1868).[5] Its members add the post-nominal letters C.I.C.M. to their names to indicate membership in the congregation.[citation needed]

The order's origins lie in Scheut, a suburb of Brussels, due to which it is widely known as the Scheut Missionaries.[citation needed] The congregation is most notable for their international missionary works in China, Mongolia, the Philippines, and in the Congo Free State/Belgian Congo (modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Presently, their international name "CICM Missionaries" is preferred, although, in the United States, the congregation is mostly known as Missionhurst.[6]



The congregation was founded by Théophile Verbist, who was a diocesan priest in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels in the mid-19th century. He served as chaplain to the military academy in Brussels and at the same time as a national director of the Pontifical Association of the Holy Childhood. He would lead a group of other Belgian diocesan priests, who became deeply concerned with the abandoned children in China and with the millions in China which, at the time, suffered from widespread poverty. The congregation is named after a religious Marian devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and has sought to expand its missionary work in various countries abroad.[6]

Early Activities

With the Convention of Peking occurring, the CICM would begin establishing operations in the country in the early 1860s.[citation needed] In 1862, Verbist founded the Belgian Mission in China. Upon seeking ecclesiastical permission, however, they were commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Barnabò to begin their work by founding a seminary in Belgium to supply priests for the beginning mission, laying the foundations of the Scheutveld College, 28 April 1863, in the Field of Scheut near Brussels. As a result, the C.I.C.M. missionaries were also known as Scheutists or Scheut missionaries.[citation needed]

In September 1863, the first group of missionaries set forth for Inner Mongolia.[citation needed] In the winter of 1865, Verbist and his four companions arrived in inner Mongolia, which was entrusted to the fledgling congregation by Rome, and immediately began organizing small Christian communities. Three years later, on 23 February 1868, Verbist died of typhoid fever at the age of 44 in Lao-Hu-Kou.

The Scheutveld priests and brothers would face dangers such as the Boxer Rebellion in China, the climate of the nations in which missions were conducted, and persecution of the missionaries and their local congregations.[citation needed]

After World War I, Belgium lay devastated, leading the Missionary Fathers of Scheut to establish a center in a safe location from which they could send out their missionaries.[citation needed] As many Belgian refugees at that time were living in London, it was thought that a church in that city would serve the spiritual needs of the Belgian community of London and also become a base for the Order's missionary activities. In 1922, the Church of Our Lady of Hal was established in a hut on Arlington Road in Camden Town while a permanent church was built opposite this site in 1933.[7][8]

World War II

During World War II, Father Jozef Raskin,who was a missionary to Inner Mongolia from 1920 to 1934, was made a chaplain in the Belgian army and was a personal advisor to King Leopold III.[citation needed] While he was operating under the code name Leopold Vindictive 200 for the Dutch resistance in 1942, he was captured by the Gestapo and sentenced to death by beheading on 18 October 1943.[citation needed]

Later years

A gallery of all CICM missionaries at the Scheut House

The congregation would grow in the following years, eventually growing to have a worldwide presence.[citation needed] Originally a Belgian Foundation, CICM has grown into an international religious missionary congregation of men from different races, colors and nationalities.

In connection with their missions, the Fathers opened a number of institutions, such the hospital at St-Trudon, Upper Kassai, for those afflicted with sleeping sickness.[citation needed]

Today, 780 CICM priests and lay brothers are present in Asian countries (e.g. Mongolia, Indonesia, and Japan), Africa, the Americas, and in Europe.[citation needed]

Picture gallery

Historical table

Chapter year Superior General country members
1862 VERBIST Théophile Belgium
1865 China
1869 VRANCKX Frans 11
Gen. Conf. 1887
1888 VAN AERTSELAER Jeroom Congo 112
I 1898 VAN HECKE Adolf 309
1899 Nederland
1904 Roma
1907 Philippines
II 1908 BOTTY Albert 507
1909 MORTIER Florent
III 1920 RUTTEN Joseph 649
IV 1930 DAEMS Constant 928
1931 Singapore
1935 VANDEPUTTE Jozef (Vic.g.) 1202
1937 Indonesia
1946 U.S.A.
V 1947 VANDEPUTTE Jozef Japan 1479
1953 Haïti - Chili (+1957)
1954 Hong Kong - Taiwan
1954 Guatemala
VI 1957 SERCU Frans 1902
1958 Rep. Dominicana
1961 DEGRIJSE Omer 1943
1963 Brazil
1966 Cameroun
VII 1967 GOOSSENS Wim 1986
VIII 1974 VAN DAELEN Paul 1683
1976 Zambia - Sénégal
1977 Nigeria (+2003)
1979 México
IX 1981 VAN DAELEN Paul (2a) 1556
X 1987 DECRAENE Michel 1441
1989 France(+2019)
1990 Tchad (+2008)
1992 Mongolia
XI 1993 THOMAS Jacques 1380
1995 Angola (+2007) 1359
XII 1999 LAPAUW Jozef Mozambique (+2002) 1247
XIII 2005 TSIMBA Edouard 999
2006 South Africa (+2016) 990
XIV 2011 ATKIN Timothy 881
2016 Rép. Centrafricaine
XV 2017 PHUKUTA K. Charles 797
2020 Malawi 780

Current CICM Schools

The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the Philippines and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this section, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new section, as appropriate. (September 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)



  1. ^ a b c d "Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (C.I.C.M.)".
  2. ^ "Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (C.I.C.M.)".
  3. ^ http://www.gcatholic[permanent dead link]. org/orders/025.htm
  4. ^ http://www.
  5. ^ aspx "Missionhurst-CICM celebrates 150 years". Today's Catholic. November 16, 2012. ((cite web)): Check |url= value (help)
  6. ^ a b "Who We Are". Missionhurst. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  7. ^ About the parish - Website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
  8. ^ Plaque to the Scheut Fathers - London Remembers website