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Leão Dehon

All events

of life

lead us to God

Fr. Léon Dehon

14.03.1843 - 12.08.1925

Founder of the Congregation

of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Leo Dehon was born on March 14th 1843, in La Capelle, France. From adolescence onwards he felt called to be a priest although it was against his father’s will. Following the wishes of his father he went and studied Civil Law in Paris and accepted the offer (again by his father) to go on a journey, to several regions, including the Holy Land, in an attempt to help him to forget the idea of becoming a priest.

But on his return, Leo asked to begin at Santa Chiara Seminary in Rome where he did his studies in Theology and Canon Law.
On December 19th, 1868 he was ordained a priest, in the presence and with the agreement of his parents. Appointed as one of the parish curates in St. Quentin, he accepted his mission with enthusiasm and was able to take on pastoral initiatives connected with the most diverse types of work: oratory, college, youth ministry, and the working class.

He was a cultured priest, both spiritual and dynamic, yet something was disturbing him. So after a long period of discernment, he made the decision to found the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 28th, 1878, the day of his First Profession. The principle aim of the Congregation was to be devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to spread his Reign in the hearts of the faithful and in society.

His cultural formation and sensibility led him to work in the social and missionary fields, spreading the social doctrine of the Church through conferences, articles, magazines, newspapers and books. Of particular note is The Social Christian Manual. He has also the merit of opening the Congregation to missionary work by sending many religious to the Americas and Africa.

In 1953, on behalf of the Nuncio D. Pietro Ciriaci and Father Gasperetti, scj.’s initiative.,

the Church was entrusted to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians),

responsible for the pastoral animation of the Italian Community in Lisbon.


Currently present in the church are two priests of Italian origin and one Portuguese,

who daily celebrate the Eucharist and dedicate themselves to the ministry of Reconciliation,

which is why the Church is highly sought after.

The 14th of March, the birth date of the founder Father João Leão Dehon

it is a significant date in the Congregation to revitalize the SCJ charism.

It is also the day of prayer for Dehonian Vocations.


Commemorate the Founder's birthday is always going back to the origins of life,

grateful to God, praised with brothers and lived in mission.
This day invites us to deepen our knowledge of our Founder's life and the dynamism of his activity,

developed in society and in the doctrinal work he left us.
It is never enough to "waste time" to taste the spiritual richness of Father Dehon and spread his religious and social message.


Celebrating the Day of Prayer for Dehonian Vocations reminds us of

the fundamental orientations of the Church in the promotion and animation of vocations,

a task that affects all sectors of the Church, not just those assigned to Vocation Ministry.

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