This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "CICM Missionaries" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. (July 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (Latin)[1]
AbbreviationPost_nominal letters: C.I.C.M[2]
Formation1862; 161 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 named as the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Latin: Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) abbreviated 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.

The order's origins lie in Scheut, Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels, due to which it is widely known as the Scheut Missionaries. The congregation is most notable for their international missionary works in China, Mongolia, the Philippines and in 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]


Verbist 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. A compassionate man of God, he led a group of other Belgian diocesan priests who became deeply concerned with the abandoned children in China and with millions of Chinese who lived at that time in ignorance and 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]


Verbist's desire to consecrate himself to the life of a missionary seemed on the point of fulfillment when the Treaty of Peking of 1861 opened imperial China to his zeal and that of the little band who desired to accompany him. In 1862 he founded the Belgian Mission in China. On seeking ecclesiastical permission, however, they were commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Barnabò, Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, to begin their work by founding a seminary in Belgium to supply priests for the beginning mission, and laid the foundations of the Scheutveld College, 28 April 1863, in the Field of Scheut, a short distance from Brussels, so the C.I.C.M. missionaries were also known as Scheutists or Scheut missionaries.

The congregation was born not knowing exactly what lay ahead. In September 1863, the first group of missionaries set forth for Inner Mongolia. In the winter of 1865, Verbist and his four companions arrived in inner Mongolia, which was entrusted to the fledgling congregation by Rome, and where they immediately began organizing small Christian communities. The founding Fathers never imagined that many would follow their footsteps notwithstanding the cost of traveling by sea and in the hinterlands of China. Three years later on February 23, 1868, Verbist died of typhoid fever at the age of 44 in Lao-Hu-Kou.

After World War I Belgium lay devastated and the Missionary Fathers of Scheut decided to establish a centre in a safe location from which they could send out their missionaries. 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, ordained in the congregation in 1910, and a missionary to Inner Mongolia in 1920-1934, was made a chaplain in the Belgium army and was a personal advisor to King Leopold III. While he was operating under the code name Leopold Vindictive 200 for the Dutch resistance in 1942, he was captured by the Gestapo, tried, convicted, then sentenced to death and beheaded on October 18, 1943.


A gallery of all CICM missionaries at the Scheut House
A gallery of all CICM missionaries at the Scheut House

The congregation, however, grew and has a worldwide presence today. Originally a Belgian Foundation, CICM has grown into an international religious missionary congregation of men from different races, colors and nationalities who are dedicated to universal brotherhood.

The Scheutveld priests and brothers have faced severe perils, e.g. the Boxer Rebellion in China, involving the massacre of Bishop Hamer, Vicar Apostolic of South-Western Mongolia, seven missionaries and 3000 Christians; the even greater decimation of their numbers by the Congo climate, not to mention the persecution of the missionaries and their local congregations.

In connection with their missions the Fathers opened a number of benevolent institutions, for example the hospital at St-Trudon, Upper Kassai, for those afflicted with sleeping sickness.

Today, 780 CICM priests and lay brothers are present in Asia: in Taiwan, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Japan; in the vast continent of Africa: in Congo, Cameroon, Zambia, Senegal, Central Africa, and Malawi; in the Americas: Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico and the United States; and in Europe: Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy.

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

CICM Schools in Philippines




  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. 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