History of the U.S.A. – Canada Province

In 1884, our first mission began in North America in Mexico. Like Saint Anthony Mary Claret, we entered a nation fractured by liberal and conservative beliefs. Preaching the Gospel message, our predecessors brought Christ’s healing presence to society. Once established in Mexico, missionaries looked North and journeyed to the United States.

The impact of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was significant, as the United States gained 500,000 square miles of land. Territorial expansion created a quandary for the U.S. Catholic Bishops. Immediately, new administrative structures had to be created to care for the Catholic population, which was overwhelmingly Mexican-American. With few Spanish-speaking clergy and religious, the Church was unprepared to resolve this ministerial challenge. Realizing the situation, Bishop John Anthony Forest of San Antonio invited us in 1902 to take charge of the city’s mother church, San Fernando Cathedral. Once established in Texas, the Missionaries preached the Gospel throughout the West. Within fifteen years, Claretian communities were also established in California and Arizona.

The United States offered Spanish-speaking Catholics mobility where they could provide for their families. Applying missionary fervor, we followed these new pioneers, responding quickly to the needs of the local community. In 1924, Cardinal George Mundelein, invited us to accept Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Chicago as the first Spanish-speaking mission in the Upper Midwest.

With the increase of American-born vocations, the Congregation broadened their missionary reach. Following Saint Anthony Mary Claret’s innovative approach, Father James Tort, C.M.F. formally introduced the Saint Jude devotion to the United States and subsequently published The Voice of St. Jude to promote the devotion and introduce the Claretians to a new audience. Now known by the title U.S. Catholic, the monthly magazine reflects Saint Anthony Mary Claret’s commitment to religious publishing on a variety of current issues.

Embracing a national presence, we expanded our work in campus ministry, media, and local parish communities. Soon, new houses were established throughout the United States and in the Province of Quebec in Canada. The Canadian mission, established in 1952, initially served a French-speaking population and currently ministers to a Canadian Catholic Spanish-speaking community. Conscious of a Catholic global commitment, our U.S. missionaries established foreign missions in Panama, England, Philippines, Japan, Guatemala, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Jamaica.

Always responding to the needs of the community, we witness to the Word of God in a variety of ministries that emulate our Founder’s model, whose tireless work reached out to those marginalized or in want of the Gospel message.