Fr. Jacek Gniadek celebrating mass in Tanzania – Society of the Divine Word – Chicago Province

Who We Are

Fr. Jacek Gniadek celebrating mass in Tanzania.

It Is No Surprise That the Word of God Is at the Heart of Who We Are.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, St. Arnold Janssen founded the Society of the Divine Word to continue the work that Jesus began. We carry on his mission through faith in His Father’s love and the services we provide in his name.

As missionaries, we strive to make God’s love visible in our own lives as well as in those we serve. As an ethnically diverse community, we seek to manifest unity by celebrating our differences. Our bonds are strengthened by sharing prayer, celebrating the eucharist, and listening attentively to the Word of God. We work primarily where the gospel has not been preached, or not preached fully. We work where the local church is not yet viable. In these settings, we are especially devoted to serving the poor and oppressed.

The Holy Spirit inspires us and guides us in all we do. It enables us to discern God’s will by helping us understand what the gospel meant when it was written, and what it means today. The Spirit helps us read the signs of the times and how to apply the gospel in specific circumstances. No matter where we serve, we engage in a respectful conversation and relationship with the local community. This ‘prophetic dialogue’ helps us discern the new paths down which the Holy Spirit may be leading us.

We strive to:


Reach out to those who have no faith or who are searching.

These include those who have been alienated from the Church and those who have been described as “faith seekers.” The relationship is mutually beneficial because when we share our faith with those who have none, or who are searching, we discover the shortcomings in our own and are invited to grow as a result.

Our call to mission is a call to: 

"Reach out to faith-seekers and to people who have no community of faith, to engage in primary evangelization and re-evangelization.” (XV General Chapter 2000)


Engage in respectful dialogue with different cultures to build unity and remove any stigma of division.

Learning a new language or entering a new culture is no easy undertaking. It requires self-discipline and a little sacrifice that ends with great reward. The result is a deeper relationship with others that enhances our own understanding of the gospel and invites us to unity.

Our call to mission is a call to:

“Prophetic dialogue with people of different cultures so as to learn from and share in the diversity of gifts given by the God of Life.” 
(XV General Chapter 2000)


Imitate Jesus’s example of bringing good news to the poor.

While we often think of the poor in terms of those who are lacking in material resources, it also includes those who are marginalized due to gender, race, appearance, physical ability, age, political persuasion, education, or other reasons. We are called to build bridges of solidarity among all people regardless of social or economic status.

Our call to mission is a call to:

“Prophetic dialogue with the poor and the marginalized of our world in seeking to promote integral human development.”
(XV General Chapter 2000)


Reflect what Vatican II taught us, the profound respect we owe to those believers who do not share our tradition and our faith.

Our world today is often afflicted by suspicion of those who do not share the same religious faith. We promote tolerance, openness and respect toward those who follow other traditions.

Our call to mission is a call to:

“Be more committed to prophetic dialogues with the other Christian Churches, with followers of other religious traditions, and with people committed to diverse ideologies.” (XV General Chapter 2000)

Our Principles:

Father_Bernard_Latus_at_Mass_.jpgBiblical Apostolate

Studying, praying and preaching from the Bible were central in the life of St. Arnold Janssen. It was only natural that he would promote it among his fellow missionaries as we continue to do today.


St. Arnold Janssen understood the importance of verbal communication, especially between different people, groups, and cultures, in order to spread the good news of God’s Kingdom of love. He also encouraged written communication. Five months after he founded the seminary at Steyl, Netherlands, he inaugurated a printing press.

Father_Thien_Saint_Thomas_Food_Pantry.jpgMission Animation or Awareness

St. Arnold Janssen appreciated the necessity of making the laity aware of missionary activity and animating them to participate in it. The success of missionary efforts requires a commitment that extends beyond the individual missionary to the communion of the whole Church.

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)

Inspired by our founder, we strive to offer our service in social justice causes, peace efforts, and care for our natural earth. This includes our dedication to advocacy work with organizations such as VIVAT International that promotes human rights at the local, national, and international level.

Young adults with candles

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Serving the needs of vulnerable communities and proclaiming the Gospel throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. 
Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 36-2183817

Mailing Address

Society of the Divine Word
Development Department
P.O. Box 577
Techny, IL 60082-0577

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