Tuesday, 12 February 2013 00:00


The 150 Years of CICM (1862-2012)

By  Fr. Gilbert SALES, CICM
Chair, CICM 150th Anniversary Celebration Committee
President, Saint Louis College-San Fernando, La Union

“The group of believers was of one heart and soul.”
- Acts 4:32

This year marks the 150th foundation anniversary of the CICM. Founded in 1862 in Scheut, (Brussels), Belgium, by the diocesan priest Théophile Verbist, to preach the Gospel in China and to take care of the abandoned children, the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, better known as CICM (an acronym from the Latin Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) is an international religious and missionary society of priests and brothers.

“Cor unum et anima una” (One Heart and One Soul) is the motto of the CICM. Today, around 1,000 CICM priests and brothers are united by the following common heritage that has at the same time formed their identity and provided them with missionary zeal and inspiration for the past 150 years.


Homily for the SLU CICM Day
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 12:08

Homily delivered by Fr. Ramel O. Portula, CICM Provincial Superior
On the occasion of the CICM Sesquicentennial Launch and
SLU’s Centennial Closing, Bonifacio campus, 28 November 2011

Allow me to extend to all of you my warm greetings and congratulations on the occasion of the CICM day and the SLU Foundation Week. Last year’s CICM Foundation Day here in SLU was the opening of the Centennial Foundation Celebrations of this prestigious University. Today, we close those activities and we launch the CICM Sesquicentennial Celebrations with its theme “Mission Beyond Borders”.

The Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary since its birth in 1862 through the pioneering spirit of our founder, Fr. Theophile Verbist, has been at the service of God’s mission, dedicated to the proclamation of the good news to the poor and the marginalized. For the CICM pioneers in the Philippines, the school apostolate or the mission of education was seen as a concrete way to attain the vision of the CICM founder in the work of evangelization.


Pioneer CICM Lay Missionary and Benefactor
Monday, 12 December 2011 08:00
by Jeffrey M. Centeno, PhD

Paul Splingaerd (1842-1906)

“There are many kinds of gifts, but there is one Spirit.” - 1 Corinthians 12:4

The sesquicentennial foundation anniversary of the CICM in 2012 recalls to mind the crucial figure of layman Paul Splingaerd who accompanied the pioneer CICM missionaries to China in 1865. In the eyes of historians and missioners today, he is arguably larger than life for his contributions to the promotion of mutual Belgian-Sino relations in the early 19th century. He was born on April 12, 1842 in Brussels, Belgium.

Together with CICM founder Théophile Verbist and companions, the young Splingaerd embarked on the historic journey to China on August 25, 1865 “to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to China, especially to the abandoned children therein.”  Prior to this trip, Splingaerd has already been an assistant to Fr. Verbist in Belgium for two years. With thoughtful dedication to the cause of his superior, he joined the pioneer CICM missionaries to China.

ONE HEART, ONE SOUL: The 150 Years of CICM and the Mission of Education
Saturday, 26 November 2011 20:54
by Jeffrey M. Centeno, PhD

“The group of believers was of one heart and soul.”  (Acts 4:32)

“We have here a good and beautiful mission.” (Fr Théophile Verbist)

Remembering the origin of CICM

“Cor unum et anima una” (“One Heart and One Soul”) is the motto of the CICM and introduced into the coat of arms of the Congregation on 5 October 1933 during the Generalate of Fr Constant Daems (1930-1934). “With the oneness of heart and soul we can achieve.”

Fr Théophile Verbist was born on 12 June 1823 in Antwerp, Belgium and ordained priest on 18 September 1847. On 28 November 1862, Fr Verbist founded the CICM (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) or the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. His first companions were Frs Alois Van Segvelt, Francois Vranckx, and Remi Verlinden. On 25 August 1865,  Fr Verbist and his companions left Brussels for the historic journey to China.

On February 23, 1868, Fr Verbist died of typhoid fever at the age of 45 in Lao-Hu-Kou, Mongolia.

The CICM missionaries through the past 150 years have generously committed and offered their lives to the great missionary task assigned to them. For as long as there are men who are generous enough  and who truly love God  and willing to give themselves for  others,  the CICM and its mission will go on. Today, there are about 1,000 CICM priests and brothers around the world.

In Praise of CICM Missionaries: Personal Encounters with Bishop Brasseur, Fr. Desmedt, and other CICM Missionaries
Saturday, 26 November 2011 19:50
by: Danilo S. Alterado, PhD

The proactive tandem between Bishop William Brasseur and Fr. Raphael Desmedt led to the establishment of Saint Louis College in 1952. That is the information I gather from the SLU centennial book Light of the North. (Another significant result of their collaboration was the building of the Maryhurst Seminary where I spent my college years.)

Reading through the pages of Chapter 3 “ Spreading the light of Catholic education” brings back a sense of reminiscence of my personal encounters with these two giants (that is, as builders of Saint Louis as an HEI) in the history of Saint Louis University. Having spent quite a considerable time myself as a CICM seminarian, I had the privilege of meeting Bishop Brasseur and Fr. Desmedt up close and personal.