St. Patrick's Missionary Society
ST. PATRICK'S MISSIONARY SOCIETY
(SPS, Official Catholic Directory #1170); also known as St. Patrick Fathers, canonically established on March 17, 1932, with headquarters at Kiltegan, County Wicklow, Ireland. The founder and first superior general was Monsignor P. J. Whitney. It is a pontifical society of secular priests devoted entirely to the missionary needs of the Church. The society was a development of a movement initiated in 1920 among the Irish diocesan clergy. In response to an appeal made in that year at the national seminary, Maynooth, diocesan priests volunteered to work for a period in southern Nigeria. With the development of their work there, the need was felt for a permanent organization that would ensure a steady and increasing supply of priests. Even after the establishment of the society, volunteer priests from Irish dioceses and, later, from England, Scotland, and elsewhere, continued to assist the regular members in the mission work. In 1950 the society established its first foundation in the United States at Camden, New Jersey. The generalate is in Wicklow, Ireland.