Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

SPOF Cross

St. Peter Apostle - Vocations and the Missions

The Society of St. Peter the Apostle was founded in Cain, France in 1889 by two laywomen Jeanne Bigard and her Mother Stephanie. These women overcame personal tragedies in their lives and dedicated themselves to working for the missions. In 1888 the Bigards were approached by a French missionary working in Kyoto, Japan who asked for their assistance to build a Church. They sold some of their possessions and raised enough funds to complete the building of the Church. A year later the Bishop of Nagasaki turned to them for assistance and support of his seminarians. The St. Peter the Apostle Society was born – a society that supported and promoted the formation of local clergy in the Missions.

The Bigards traveled throughout France promoting the work of the society. In 1922 Pope Pius XI placed it under papal patronage and gave it the task of supporting seminaries in mission dioceses – the young churches.

Frequently asked questions on SPA and impact on vocations in the mission lands.

I hear that vocations are growing in the Missions. How many seminarians does the Society of St. Peter Apostle support?

Currently, more than 30,000 major seminarians in some 400 seminaries receive help from St. Peter Apostle. In addition, close to 10,000 men and women Religious novices receive assistance.

How can I help the Society of St. Peter Apostle?

You can offer your prayers and personal sacrifices for the growth of mission vocations. You can also help young men as they prepare for the priesthood through the Society of St. Peter Apostle with a donation of $700 for a year of studies. A gift of $300 will help toward the formation of men and women novices preparing for a life of service as Religious Brothers and Sisters. You may also want to remember the Society of St. Peter Apostle when writing or changing your Will.

Why does it cost more to educate a seminarian than a Religious novice?

Seminarians typically spend a greater length of time studying for the priesthood than a religous brother or sister would spend in a spiritual formation program. A greater length of study requires a seminary to provide additional textbooks, classroom supplies as well as room and board for that period of time.

Once ordained, where do these priests serve?

Very often, priests ordained in the Missions will serve in the very dioceses where they were born and raised. Others are asked by the ordinary (bishop) of their dioceses to serve in other areas of their native countries or in other dioceses throughout the world — even in the United States.

May I sponsor an individual seminarian or novice through the Society of St. Peter Apostle?

Contributions to the Society of St. Peter Apostle are allocated to seminaries and seminarians in mission dioceses throughout the world according to need, with certain help offered to each seminary by the number of students there. This system of allocating funds helps ensure that aid is distributed fairly and that those who are most desperately in need receive enough support.