Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Congregation of the
SACRED HEARTS OF JESUS AND MARY, CONGREGATION OF THE
(SS.CC., Official Catholic Directory #1140); a religious congregation of priests, brothers, and sisters, founded to continue the work of the communities suppressed by the French Revolution but with a new motivation: reparative love for the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Its founders were Rev. Pierre Marie Joseph coudrin, newly ordained priest of the Diocese of Poitiers, France, and Countess Henriette de la Chevalerie, a young aristocrat who had been imprisoned and condemned to death. After her release, she joined a small group of women known as the Association of the Sacred Heart, who were secretly keeping perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Coudrin was named director of the association in 1792, and two years later the priest and the countess established the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. In its early days, the congregation was popularly known as the Picpus Fathers, from the Rue de Picpus, Paris, where its first house was founded and where the Picpus cemetery, containing 1,700 victims of the guillotine and the body of the Marquis de Lafayette, is located.
Pius VII approved the new congregation in 1817. In 1825 Leo XII requested missionaries for Oceania, and priests and brothers went to Hawaii in 1827, the Marquesas Islands and Tahiti in 1833, Easter Island in 1837, and the Gambier and Tuamotu Islands in 1838. The twentieth century witnessed the congregation establishing missions in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Norway, South America, and the South Seas.
Because of Protestant opposition, two of the priests sent to Hawaii in 1827 were exiled to California in 1832. During the next ten years, French-born Alexis Bachelot became the first resident pastor in Los Angeles while Irish-born Patrick Short founded the first school near Monterey. In 1845, a group of these fathers arrived from Valparaiso, Chile, to found a college but were assigned instead to staff the vacant California missions from San Francisco to San Diego. Later they withdrew after having opened a school in San Francisco. In 1835, Bp. Benedict J. Fenwick of Boston, MA, asked for missionaries to evangelize the Passamaquody natives in Maine. Fathers Edmund Demillier and Amabilis Petithomme labored there and in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and even as far north as Nova Scotia. Demillier wrote the first grammar and catechism in the native language. In 1905, Bp. William Stang of Fall River, MA, invited the society to establish a residence in his diocese at Fairhaven.
The congregation has three provinces in the U.S.: Eastern Province (estab. 1946 and headquartered in Fair Haven, MA); Western Province (estab. 1970 and headquartered in La Verne, CA); and Hawaii Province (headquartered in Kaneohe, Oahu, HI). The generalate is in Rome. Renowned members of the congregation include Father Damien (Joseph de veuster), well-loved missionary to Hawaii who is remembered for his care of those afflicted with Hansen's disease.
Bibliography: v. jourdan, La Congrégation des Pères des Sacrés Coeurs (Paris 1928).