Father Emmanuel d’Alson, the founder of the Assumptionist Fathers, was one of the outstanding church people of the 19th Century France. He was born of a noble family on August 30, 1810, at Le Vigan in southern France. Because of his father’s wishes he studied law for two years at the Sorbonne, but he never took the required law examinations.
Feeling himself called to the priesthood, he studied at the seminary of Montpellier for two years. Such was his ability, he completed his theological studies in Rome, largely by individual study sessions with some of the most learned scholars.
He was ordained on December 26 1834 and during the following summer began his ministry in the diocese of Nimes. After only three years he was named Vicar-General, a post he held under four bishops, until1878.
In 1868, after mentioning the numerous activities already undertaken by the Assumptionists, Fr d’Alson wrote: our life is build upon a broad vision which must nourish our common life and serve as a common bond to bring together all our various efforts. Our motto, ‘Thy Kindgom Come,’ give us this general vision. We want to co-operate as much as we can in any effort to extend the reign of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. Thereby we will struggle against the three great errors of modern times. We want to help bring about:
Following the Rule of Augustine, the Assumptionist family embraces a spirituality founded on love: of Christ and of those he loved most, of his Mother Mary, and of the Church. The Congregation’s motto, ‘May Your Kingdom Come’, expresses the conviction that, through his personal sanctification, each member labours toward the establishment of Christ’s reign on earth. The Assumptionist gives himself to whatever work is most pressing, a deep commitment to sacred duty, which explains. the Congregation’s emphasis on teaching and social work, its ecumenical orientation, and its penetrating involvement in the secular world.
In the 1950s they also came to New Zealand and worked giving of themselves wherever they found a need for the Kingdom. They came from the Continent, carrying the same ideals as their Founders to the ends of the earth. The beginning was not easy – it never is – but once acclimatised they simply did the work they came to do.
At first the Fathers helped Immigrants to settle in their respective parishes. Soon they broadened their apostolate to Catholic education in Primary and Secondary schools, Youthwork and Parishwork, Catechesis, Marriage preparation and Marriage Encounter.
The Assumptionists community life is characterised by a “Family Spirit”, giving each member the necessary support to bring out in our lives a closer unity with Christ and the Church and to be a witness of “the Kingdom to come”. Together we share our work, prayer and recreation in mutual openness and acceptance and are involved in a variety of works.
The Assumptionists are an international congregation formally called the Augustinians of the Assumption.