The Precious Blood Fathers (1814)

The Congregation of the Fathers of the Precious Blood was founded at Rome by the Venerable Gaspare del Bufalo, in 1814, and is divided into four provinces, three European and one American. The latter was organized in 1844 by Rev. Francis S. Brunner. The order is represented in the dioceses of Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, St. Joseph’s, St. Paul, Chicago, and San Antonio. A band of missionaries under Rev. Godfrey Schlaeter, Apostolic Missionary, is continuously conducting missions in Catholic parishes. Several Fathers are stationed at the different convents to assist the secular clergy at the forty-hour devotions, retreats, and Sacred Heart Fridays. The Fathers publish an English and a German religious monthly at Collegeville, Ind. There are ninety-seven Fathers in the American Province, six clerics, twenty-one seminarians, and seventy-nine lay brothers in charge of fifteen convents, forty-two missions and twenty chaplaincies. The general mother house is at Rome, Italy. The Provincial is Very Rev. Boniface Russ, stationed at Carthegena, Ohio.

The founder of this order, Gaspare del Bufalo, was born in Rome in 1786,  a time when scandals and disorders were multiplying on the earth; but the presence of evil seemed only to quicken in his soul a zeal for God’s glory, and a devotion to the Precious Blood. A miraculous cure of his eyesight marked Gaspare in his infancy as one chosen by God. He turned pale and faint at an oath or an impure word, and even when a school boy in spite of blows and ridicule, toiled like an apostle for souls. Afterwards, when a priest, he won great numbers to Christ. In 1810, he was exiled and imprisoned by the French for his fidelity to the Holy See. On the return of Pius VII he was appointed to give missions. He had vowed to kindle in men’s souls love of the Blood of Jesus, and no sickness or dangers could check his delivery of the Divine Word. Followers gathered to his side, and with these he formed the Congregation of the Missioners of the Precious Blood. He said he would die content if a feast was established in Its honor, and in 1849, twelve years after his death, Pope Pius IX solemnly instituted the Feast of the Precious Blood, for the first Sunday in July.

Henry Coyle, Theodore Mayhew, and Frank S. Hickey, eds., Our Church, Her Children and Institutions (Two Volumes) (Boston: Angel Guardian Press, 1908), 118.

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