At the Heart of the World

Wherever our work takes us, we continuously discover a world troubled with evil yet ever seeking the fulfillment of its deepest aspirations: truth, justice, love, freedom (See Rule of Life, n. 36).

We recognize that our vocation is, as Pope John Paul II reminds us, "always compelling because more than ever, today's society needs to be prodded into contact with the Heart of Christ where peace, serenity, comfort and pardon can be found" (06-14-1989).

In living out our vocation, it is our desire to give witness to the primacy of love in the world and to bind ourselves without reserve to achieving a new humanity in the Heart of Christ (see Rule of Life, n. 3). We, the Priests of the Sacred Heart, often introduce ourselves as "Dehonians" in affectionate reference to our Founder, the Venerable, Fr. Leo Dehon, a genuine apostle of love and reparation to the Heart of Christ. We are committed to living out and sharing Fr. Dehon's charism, spirituality, and works in the church and in the world.

Our Congregation appeared in 1878 and spread quickly because its life reflected a continuous response to the social and spiritual expectations that people held. Our presence today in the world is somewhat modest when compared to the urgent needs that humanity has of faith and healing. But with the assistance of the saving love of Christ and the maternal protection of Mary, we are able to accomplish necessary and useful things wherever we are: missions, parishes, specialized movements within the church, teaching, youth work, the press and mass media, social apostolates and human welfare on behalf of the poor, the working class, and castaways.

We dedicate our life and our energy to the Lord to proclaim the Gospel of Love and to serve our brothers and sisters particularly in those situations and areas that are the most troubled and needy.

Our religious experience is at one and the same time a mission and an offering, perhaps an invitation, to anyone who is moved by the Holy Spirit and senses a call to give themselves totally to affirm the Reign of Love that exists among peoples and nations and to bring about the Reign of the Heart of Christ.

At the Heart of God

"I leave you the most wonderful of treasures: the Heart of Jesus. He belongs to all but has special tenderness toward those consecrated to him and are given over wholly to his love" (Spiritual Testament of Fr. Dehon).

"As disciples of Father Dehon, we want to make union with Christ in His love for the Father and for people the principle and center of our life" (Rule of Life n. 17).

In all that we are and do, in all the different situations and works we find ourselves, we Dehonians are called to enter into the advancement of redeeming love in a spirit of oblation so as to join our lives and the lives of all human beings to their origin: the Heart of God.

At the Heart of the Church

The vocation of a Dehonian, which is centered on the mystery of the Heart of Christ from which the Church takes its origins, puts us at the very heart of the Church as "prophets of love and servants of reconciliation." "By its very nature our Institute is an apostolic institute; and so we readily place ourselves at the service of the Church" (Rule of Life n. 30).

Our authentic service to the Church is based on a life of prayer and oblation. It is expressed through our ministry to workers, the lowly and the poor, our missionary activity, and our efforts in priestly and religious formation. According to the signs of the times and in communion with the life of the Church, we want to contribute to establishing the reign of justice and Christian charity in the world. We join our efforts to those of Jesus that the human family, sanctified in the Holy Spirit, might become an offering pleasing to God. (cf. Rom.15:16 and Our Rule of Life, n. 31-32)

Where do we live and work?

There are over 2300 scj priests and brothers world wide working on five continents in 38 countries.
Albania Argentina Austria
Belgium Brazil Byelorussia
Cameroon Canada Chile
Croatia D. R. of the Congo Ecuador
England Finland France
Germany India Indonesia
Ireland Italy Luxembourg
Madagascar Mexico Moldavia
Mozambique Netherlands Philippines
Poland Portugal Scotland
South Africa Slovakia Spain
Switzerland United States Ukraine
Uruguay Venezuela
As a congregation we divide ourselves into provinces, regions and districts for purposes of government. A growing list of provinces, regions and districts maintain their own web sites with information specific to our work in that area and in local languages. Simply use the links here to visit an scj web site in a country of your choice. You might also wish to visit our Links page for additional scj web sites.

What do we do?

[30] By its very nature our Institute is an apostolic institute; and so we readily place ourselves at the service of the Church in its various pastoral works.

Although our Institute was not founded for a specific work, it gets from the Founder some apostolic orientations which characterize its mission in the Church.

[31] This mission, for Father Dehon in a spirit of love and oblation, entailed eucharistic adoration, as an authentic service of the Church (cf. Notes Quotidiennes, 1.3.1893), "and ministry to the lowly and the humble, the workers and the poor" (cf. Souvenirs XV), to proclaim to them the unfathomable riches of Christ (cf. Ephesians 3:8).

With this ministry in mind, Father Dehon gave great importance to the formation of priests and religious.

For him missionary activity was a privileged form of apostolic service.

In all this his constant concern was that the human community, sanctified in the Holy Spirit, became an offering pleasing to God (cf. Romans 15:16).

This text is taken from Our Rule of Life. If you would like to read more about our spirituality and charism you can link here to a site maintained in North America by scjs in Canada and the United States, who have placed this document on their web site.

Art work from Reparar é Amar published by Edições Dehonianas, Portugal