Mother of Divine Love Province
The Irish Pallottines
The Community founded by St. Vincent Pallotti was one community until the beginning of the 20th century. Vincent Pallotti had a strong missionary zeal and organized help to mission countries and his first collaborators were involved with him in this task. He sent one of his earliest collaborators to London in 1844 and another a few years later, and thus begun the missionary life of the Pallottines. Irish men came into contact with the Pallottines in England and in Rome and embraced a Pallottine vocation.
Fr. William Whitmee visited South America in 1885 and recommended the courageous decision to send the first Pallottine missionaries there, and in 1886 the first 6 missionaries set sail and landed in Montevideo, Uruguay. A decision was taken that some of them would remain in Montevideo; others would go to Vale Veneto in Brazil and to Mercedes in Argentina. And it was thus that the presence of Irish Pallottines in Mercedes, which continues to this day, began.
The Society was divided into four Provinces, or administrative entities, at the General Chapter which took place in Rome in 1909 and one of the Provinces was the Irish Province, with its seat, or headquarters, in San Patricio, Mercedes, in the Province of Buenos Aires. That same year, 1909, saw the first Pallottines settling in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, with the aim of opening a house of formation for students for the priesthood and consecrated Pallottine life as brothers. Thurles became with the passing of years, the cradle of the Irish Province, it was there that generation after of generation of Irish Pallottines were formed and prepared for life on the missions. The Irish Province was from its very beginning a missionary province, committed to the formation of priests and brothers for work in the vineyard of the Lord.
In the early decades of the Province the Irish Pallottines worked in Argentina, in nearby Montevideo and in Chile; at the Church of San Silvestro in Capite in Rome, and at churches and parishes in England.
The missionary zeal grew and a decision was taken to open a mission in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in East Africa. The first three Irish missionaries to Tanganyika set sail in March of 1940, during the first year of World War II; Tanzania was fertile ground for the message of the Gospel and our presence there was greatly appreciated. The Irish Pallottines were instrumental in the building up of what are now the flourishing Dioceses of Mbulu and Singida.
A decision was taken to open a house of formation in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya and this was done in 1986. The Pallottines continue to minister in both of these East African countries. In Tanzania the Pallottines are ministering to the people of God in 9 parishes (the newest parish is Saint Padre Pio Parish in Mwenge, Diocese of Singida, opened on 19th August 2017); the Rehabilitation Centre in Siuyu was the brain-child of Fr. Tommy Ryan when it opened its doors to children with special needs in 2007, now it is administered by Fr. Tommy in conjunction with Sr. Rosemary Omboy of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters and with a strong group of local UAC members and volunteer collaborators. In the large city of Arusha the word Pallotti is synonymous with the suburb of Esso on the periphery of the city; here there is a thriving Pallottine Parish community and a Centre which offers sports facilities, vocational training, courses to young persons and to the local community in general. It is also home to Faraja Pallotti, a day care centre which caters for the rehabilitation needs of the people of the area, of all faiths and none.
The decision to open a formation house in Nairobi in 1986 was a wise one, now almost all of our East African members have passed through it while receiving theological formation at the nearby Jesuit run Hekima College. The Irish Pallottines assumed responsibility for Sacred Heart Parish in Dagoretti Corner a large sprawling area in a teeming suburb of Nairobi, and, when the parish was divided in two we also accepted responsibility for the second parish dedicated to Queen of Apostles, our Patroness.
Today the Delegature in East Africa is a thriving one with three houses of formation, in Gallapo were those who wish to be admitted to the Society begin their first steps in the Postulancy Programme. The students of Philosophy attend a three year Philosophy Degree course in the Spiritan Seminary in Njiro, near the city of Arusha while residing in our formation community there. The Novitiate Year takes place in conjunction with the Holy Family Province novices in Butare, in Rwanda. Then it is back to the formation house in Ngong Road, Nairobi, for theological studies.