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The Missionaries of Christ Jesus are a Catholic religious institute founded in Javier, Spain in 1944.[1] Members use the post-nominal letters MCJ.[2][1]


The congregation was founded in Javier, Spain on 14 March 1944 by María Camino Sanz Orrio[1] and was canonically formalized by Marcelino Olaechea Loizaga, bishop of Pamplona, in a decree on 5 June 1946.[3] Orrio was President of Catholic Action during the Spanish Civil War.[1]

Orrio[a] sought total renunciation and sacrifice for herself, and imagined that the new order would be a difficult way of life in mission to serve to the poorest, the abandoned, and the sick.[4]

The sisters follow the Ignatian spirituality.[3] The congregation sought to be a more agile and effective style of missionaries. They sought to be women of faith and prayer, anchored in the essentials: the love of Jesus Christ and the consecration to the Mission. In order preserve this consecration, members of the order take a fourth vow to "march and serve the missions".[citation needed] However, this vow was suppressed in 1969.[3] Everything they do as an order is expected to be in service to this ideal. The order sought to have minimal structures, schedules, and standards in order to maximize availability for service and prompt response to the most urgent needs.[citation needed]

The first sisters were the founder Maria Camino Sanz Orrio, Maria Concepción Arraiza Jáuregui and Maria Teresa Unzu Lapeira. Eugenia Nagore Nuin joined them just a few months later.[4] On 30 March 1944, the Institute was constituted in Pia Unión,[clarification needed] with the name of Missionaries of Christ Jesus. On 5 June 1946, it became a religious Congregation of Diocesan Law. On 3 October 1946, the first four Missionaries of Christ Jesus pronounced their vows.[4] The first members had initially planned to go to Japan, but instead the first group departed to India on 18 November 1948. This group consisted of Maria Camino Sanz Orrio, Guadalupe Velasco, Pilar Gonzalez, Maria del Villar and Margarita.[4] Five sisters went to two mission posts at Kohima and Tura. At that time there were already 50 missionaries. In November 1951, two other sisters began a mission in Japan. In 1954 the first two Japanese members of the order began their formation.[citation needed]

On 27 June 1954 the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith elevated the Missionaries of Christ Jesus to the status of an Institute of Pontifical Law.[4] In 1956, missions began in the Congo and Venezuela. In 1969 they began in Bolivia and soon after in Chile. Years later they go to the Philippines , the Dominican Republic, Cameroon, Chad and China. Currently there are 312 missionaries from Spain, Japan, India, Belgium, Slovenia, Congo, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, Guatemala, the Philippines and Vietnam.[citation needed]

The congregation received the Papal Decree of Praise on 27 June 1954 and final approval on 9 April 1962.[3]

As of 2013, they are present in Spain, Asia (China , Philippines , Japan , India), in the Americas (Bolivia , Chile , Dominican Republic , Venezuela) and in Africa (Congo , Cameroon , Chad);[5] the general office is in Madrid.[2]

The order runs the San Pedro Parish School in Los Chaguaramos, Venezuela[6] and continues to maintain a presence in Javier, Spain.[7]

In 1974, the order had 260 members.[8] In 2008, they had 304 members in 54 houses.[2] In 2013, they had 302 members.[8]

The liturgical feast day of the congregation is on 3 December.[1]


  1. ^ "María Camino was born in Pamplona on May 3, 1896 in the family formed by Fermín Sanz and Eustasia Orrio. They had 9 children, Maria Camino was the second one but before her birth the firstborn died so she was practically the oldest of 8 siblings. The family ... was economically well-off and occupied a prominent place in that Pamplona society of the early twentieth century. María Camino studied at the San José de Cluny school until she was 19 years old and in addition to "general culture" she learned to speak English and French perfectly, which would be of great help later on. She was intelligent, determined, with clear judgment and a straightforward criterion; she had a strong personality and a strong character. ... María Camino died in Pamplona on June 6, 1991." -Leoz 2015


  1. ^ a b c d e Catholic Directory of India 2005.
  2. ^ a b c Ann. Pont. 2010, p. 1573.
  3. ^ a b c d Pettinati 1978, col. 1529.
  4. ^ a b c d e Leoz 2015.
  5. ^ "Donde estamos". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  6. ^ Fermín 2017.
  7. ^ Javier 2014.
  8. ^ a b de la Cigoña 2014.


Further reading

Official website