World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Josephite Fathers

The Josephite Fathers and Brothers or, more properly, Saint Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart, Inc. (abbreviated post-nominally as S.S.J.) are a society of Catholic priests and brothers, based in the United States. It was formed in 1871 by a group of priests from the English Foreign Mission Society of Saint Joseph, also known as the Mill Hill Missionaries. They decided to establish a mission society in the United States dedicated to newly freed people after the American Civil War.[1]


  • Early beginnings 1
  • The Harvest 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Early beginnings

St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, D.C.

1865 ushered in the period of Southern Reconstruction, during which time, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, outlawing slavery, was passed.[2] Ten former confederate states were divided into five military districts. As a condition of readmission to the Union, the former confederate states were required to accept the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which granted citizenship to all people born in the U.S. regardless of race.

It was against this backdrop that the U.S. bishops met for their tenth provincial council in Baltimore in 1869. The fifth decree of this Council exhorted the Council Fathers to provide missions and schools for all black Americans in their dioceses, as education was seen as a critical need by the community.

Subsequently, the Council Fathers wrote a letter requesting clergy for that purpose to Father Herbert Vaughan superior general of the Saint Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions in Mill Hill, London. He had founded the society in 1866, and in 1869 opened St Joseph's Foreign Missionary College in that area of London. Later Vaughan was installed as Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.

Vaughan brought a group of priests to Sacred Heart.

Among the small founding group of Josephite priests in 1893 was Fr. Charles R. Uncles, the first African-American priest, who was both trained and ordained in the United States, with his initial studies at a seminary in Quebec, Canada. The commitment to the African-American apostolate by the new Society was the same as before; to teach the faith of the Catholic Church and to promote the Church’s teachings on social justice. The society is interracial, with resources and personnel being committed totally to serving the African-American community.

The society operates St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, an historically black high school, constructed by the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1951.

The Josephite Fathers also operate St. Joseph Manor in Baltimore and St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, DC.

In June 2011, the Josephite Fathers and Brothers, 140 years after their founding in 1871 to serve the African-American community, elected their first black superior general in the Right Reverend Father William Norvel. Currently pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Washington, D.C., Father Norvel, 76, will serve a four-year term at the religious institute's Baltimore headquarters.

Father Norvel had served as consultor general for the Josephites from 1983-1987, and as President of the National Black Clergy Caucus from 1985-1987. He is credited with starting the Gospel choir movement in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. He also established a Josephite house of spiritual formation in Nigeria, where he served for five years. The house has been the source of a number of Josephite vocations.[3]

The Harvest

The Josephite Harvestis the official magazine of the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart who have been ministering in the African American community since 1871.

The Harvest has been in publication for 125 years which makes it the longest running Catholic mission magazine still in existence in the US today.

The Harvest first began in 1888 published under The Colored Harvest. The name was changed in 1960 to The Josephite Harvest.

During the 20th century The Harvest chronicled the Josephites efforts to build parishes and schools that were exclusively for African Americans throughout the nation.


  1. ^ "Know Us", Josephite Fathers and Brothers
  2. ^ 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865)
  3. ^ Catholic News Service

External links

  • Josephite Fathers Official Website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.