Vocation: The Persecuted Church, Charism: Manual Labor in the testiest places on earth


Hello friends,

I have looked for several years for a religious order, using many Catholic resources, that has a charism for physical labor with a vocation to serve the persecuted Church.

As close as I've found is the Divine Word Missionaries, but I don't feel like a good fit for them. I don't often use words like "dialogue" or "social justice" or concepts like social programming.

It's just a matter of style rather than belief. So please don't think I don't believe in the efficacy, they've won a lot of converts, and I'm very happy for them.

I consider as personal heroes figures such as St. Vincent Ferrer, who just walked right into a synagogue and converted everyone in it. He converted 8,000 Muslims too. I tend to take the bold approach.

I've also considered, for that reason, the Dominicans. But as I mentioned, my charism isn't necessarily preaching, its working with my hands, more like a carpenter or a cook.

I just have very little interest in working in schools, like Jesuits, even though they tackle some very difficult missions, where the Church is persecuted.

So it has me thinking:

"Oblates to the mission of Saint Joseph, the Foster Father who tends the Persecuted Christ with the work of his hands, by obedience to the Word of God, and consecrates himself to the Immaculate Conception."

Sounds about right. St. Francis and Mother Theresa had similar views regarding preaching, "preach the Gospel at all time, and if necessary, use words." That's kinda my attitude.

Where to begin: The Sudanese borders of Uganda and Chad is what I had in mind. I think I would want this mission to be in one part like a supporting mission, providing physical support for other teaching, preaching, nursing missions, etc. From there, it could expand to serve the Church in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkey, China and Vietnam. Where next? Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Eritraea, Bhurma, Cambodia, Pakistan.

Who am I? I'm a Cavalry Scout for the U.S. Army. I have an undergraduate degree in Communications, and have completed three years of seminary, completing pre-theology, and have completed the program at the Jesuit-run Institute of Priestly Formation.

I was once an orphan, then a foster child, then adopted. But I learned to be street smart at a young age. Our family later was finally able to move to a more rural setting.

I'm not a chef, but I paid my way through college working in restaurant kitchens. I can work with any food and cook just about anything.

I want to help tend the children of these war torn countries by bringing them the three daily breads: Gospel, Eucharist, and the bread of man.

Now I figure that if I can exercise my talent for cooking, and maintain a proper focus in such violent places, then if there are others with other talents, like carpentry, journeyman, plumbing, and other skills, we could make a run at this.

I'm aware of all the technicalities, and guidelines to follow. I would expect to follow them properly. Other particulars include consecration to the Immaculate Conception, and Daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Eucharist, as well as devotion to other saints like, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Augustine, St. Phillip, St. Thomas (the twin).

An just a man who has made of myself am oblation to Saint Joseph, there are now three of us. Myself, another from Texas, and one from Mexico.

You can respond to this post or contact me through email through the site if you wish.

I wouldn't want to begin a religious order if I didn't see its good use. I just haven't found an order that possesses the same charism, vocation, and tac for serving the need that I find which I just can't turn away from. So I am compelled. However, I will be visiting the Fransalians soon. They are a pretty flexible group, who already have an outfit in Africa who is tending the orphans there.

So I am continuing my discernment. God provides. And if you were wondering, I do have a spiritual director.

Look forward to hearing whatever good news you may have!

Grace and Peace,



Michael, may God continue to lead you.

My only links with the Divine Word Missionaries is a prayer-poem written anonymously by one of them,
a good inspiration, I think, and perhaps indicative of their charism.

The following poem “But” was written by a Divine Word Missionary, inspiring us to love of others, even in the smallest gestures of human kindness.

It was only a sunny smile,
And little it cost in the giving;
But it scattered the night
Like morning light,
And made the day worth living.
Through life’s dark warp a woof it wove
In shining colours of hope and love;
And the angels smiled as they watched above,
Yet little it cost in the giving.

It was only a kindly word, a word that was lightly spoken;
But not in vain,
For it stilled the pain
Of a heart that was nearly broken
It strengthened a faith beset with fears,
And groping blindly through mists of tears,
For light to brighten the coming years,
Although it was lightly spoken.

It was only a helping hand
And it seemed of little availing;
But its clasp was warm,
And it saved from harm
A brother whose strength was failing.
Its touch was tender as angels’ wings
But it rolled the stone from the hidden springs
And pointed the way to higher things,
Though it seemed of little availing.


Michael, have you looked into the Oblates of St. Joseph?


Or the Missionaries of the Poor?


May the Holy Spirit be with you in your discernment.


Love the poem! This is why I like the Divine Word!

And to the other reply, there are several differences in vocation from the Oblates of Saint Joseph. Namely, that they are not necessarily called to serve the “persecuted church”, and I don’t want to discuss the semantics of the phrase, but also that I don’t necessarily feel called to the “elderly, immigrant, and poor”, even though I know how important that calling is, and how often they too are persecuted.

Their retreats and other activities are also very important, but you might say that, for the sake of comparison, and not to highlight any exclusive purpose, but this is more of a Marthan ministry and with retreats and teaching ministries, then by comparison theirs tends more toward the Marian ministries.

I hope that helps for the sake of clarity.

In just one simple phrase, I hope I can be clear: the ministry is not so much “for the reason that” they are poor, it is “for the reason that” they are persecuted.


I do thoroughly enjoy the ideals behind this movement.


Glad to hear it. I have a year and a half before the army releases me, so there is plenty of time for personal, and grup, discernment. Meanwhile, any interested person can start thinking of what skills they have and work to make them stronger. Labor skills are needed. So any experience with habitat for humanity and similar ventures are helpful.

Grace and Peace,



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