Arnold Jannsen

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My Perception of Saint Arnold Janssen

Saint Arnold Janssen, S.V.D. (November 5, 1837 – January 15, 1909) was a Roman Catholic priest and missionary, and is venerated as a saint. He is best known for founding the Society of the Divine Word, a Roman Catholic missionary religious congregation, also known as the Divine Word Missionaries, as well as two congregations for women.

Janssen was born in Goch, in the Rhineland, Germany, not far from the Dutch border, one of eleven siblings. He developed a deep, simple faith. His first school was the Catholic Augustinianum High School in Gaesdonck, which is near his birthplace. He did his college degree, then studied theology and was ordained to the priesthood on 15 August 1861.

For a while worked as a high school teacher in Bocholt, Germany, teaching physics and catechism. His real passion, however, was the mission. In 1867 he became the director of the Apostolaat des Gebeds for Germany and Austria and founded a scientific institute in Mödling, near Vienna. He also founded a journal, Bode van het Heilig Hart van Jezus, which looked to enlist the faithful in prayer and support for the mission.[1]

The Kulturkampf, however, hampered his efforts, and Janssen purchased land in Steyl, the Netherlands to begin his seminary, dedicated in 1875 as the "St. Michael the Archangel Mission House". Within a few years, many seminarians, priests and brothers were preparing for missionary service there, and the first two missionaries, Joseph Freinademetz and John Anzer, were sent to China. Janssen also founded two congregations of Religious Sisters: The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters (members known as "Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit") on December 8, 1889, and the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters ("Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration") on September 8, 1896.

He and Joseph Freinademetz were canonized on October 5, 2003, by Pope John Paul II, as was Daniele...
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