Arnold Janssen was born in Goch, Germany in 1837. As a youth, Arnold
discerned that he was called to the priesthood and soon after began
his seminary formation. Arnold was ordained in August 1861 after
completing classical, philosophical, and theological studies at
various schools and universities in Germany. After ordination, Arnold
spent several years in pastoral ministry doing tasks that included
teaching science and teaching Catholic doctrine.
In 1873, Arnold was asked to serve as chaplain and director of
the Ursuline convent at Kempen and soon after took on the directorship
of the diocesan Apostleship of Prayer as well. His first assignment
after ordination included him serving as a science teacher, and
he was later chosen to be the diocesan director or the Apostleship
of Prayer. After more than ten years of work in his diocese, Arnold
felt the call to spread the Good News beyond the boundaries of the
In 1875 Arnold established a missionary society with in Steyl,
Holland. The society became known as the Society of the Divine Word
(SVD) and gained formal Papal approval in 1901. By the time that
the society gained canonical approbation, houses had been established
in Austria and Germany. The order was composed of priests who took
simple vows. The focus of the order was missionary work, and the
first missionaries were sent out in the mid 1890's to such places
as Toga, New Guinea, North America, Japan, and Paraguay. The order
spread rapidly across the lands it was sent to and soon founded
many new houses.
In 1889, Arnold founded the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters to assist
the Society of the Divine Word in their missionary efforts. These
sisters serve as educators in mission lands, especially focusing
on the education of young girls. With the help of Blessed
Maria Virgo, Arnold formed the sisters with a contemplative
branch named Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration.
These sisters devote themselves to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
and prayer for the success of missionary efforts. These sisters
are nicknamed "Pink Sisters" because of the color of their
After a long, productive life, Bl. Arnold died in 1909. He was
beatified in 1975 by Pope Paul VI.
Prayer of Blessed Arnold Janssen, S.V.D.
O my God, I believe in You, because You are
the eternal truth.
O my God, I hope in You, because You are
infinitely merciful, faithful and almighty.
O my God, I love You with my whole heart and
am sorry for having offended You.
Out of love for me You are present in the Blessed
Sacrament, therefore I long for You, O my dearest Jesus.
From the Father send me the Holy Spirit with His
seven gifts, that I may glorify God in all things. Amen.