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The Missionary Cenacle Family
A spiritual family of active Catholics, with members from many cultures and walks of life, founded in Brooklyn, NY, in 1909. They began as a lay movement but now include priests, brothers, sisters, vowed laity, and volunteers across the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
August 23, 1868

Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge

The family was founded by Thomas A. Judge, C.M. Born August 23, 1868 in Boston, Fr. Judge was concerned about Baptized Catholics who were being lost to the faith. After several years on the Vincentian mission band preaching in many parishes, he came to the conviction that every Catholic is called to be a missionary. He labored from then on to develop a missionary minded, zealous, Catholic laity.


Enters Seminary

In 1890, Fr. Judge enters St. Vincent’s Preparatory Seminary in Germantown, Philadelphia, PA.

May 27, 1899


1899 – Fr. Judge is ordained to the Vincentian Order at St. Charles Seminary, Philadelphia.


Cenacle Lay Apostolate

1909 – Six women respond to Fr. Judge’s appeal for lay apostles to share in the mission and ministry of the Church. They were later to become known as the Cenacle Lay Apostolate.


Member of Vincentian Mission Band

Fr. Judge is an active member of the Vincentian Mission Band. He established lay apostolate groups in major cities and small towns from Maine to West Virginia.


First Missionary Cenacle

The first Missionary Cenacle is opened in Baltimore to care for homeless and unemployed women and to work among Italian immigrants.


Opelika, Alabama

Fr. Judge is assigned to a Vincentian mission in Opelika, Alabama. A number of lay volunteers follow Fr. Judge and give their lives completely to the Missionary Cenacle.


Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity

The Cenacle in Alabama become incorporated under the title of “Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity” consisting mainly of Catholic ladies. More at their website


Mother Mary Boniface

Louise Margaret Keasey is appointed by Fr. Judge to be the first General Custodian of the new sisters' community and receives the name Mother Mary Boniface.


Missionary Cenacle Family

Archbishop John Bonzano gives his approval to the newly formed religious communities and to the Cenacle Lay Apostolate, later to become known as the Missionary Cenacle Family.


Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity

The Priests and Brothers receive official canonical status from Rome and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity are established. More at their website


Mother Boniface Dies

Mother Boniface dies.


Canonical Status

The sisters receive canonical status from Rome under the original title “Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity."


Fr. Judge Dies

This photo was taken just a few weeks before his death in 1933.


Blessed Trinity Missionary Institute

Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1950 by Dr. Margaret Healy according to the inspiration of Fr. Thomas Judge, CM; approved as a pious union in 1964 by the Holy See through the Archbishop of New York.


Pontifical Status

Both religious congregations received Pontifical Status and the Decree of Praise from Rome.

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10 Comments on “Missionary Cenacle Family”

  1. We live at Holy Trinity, ALabama, where Fr. Judge’s lay missionary movement gave birth to our two religious communities. This is such a wonderful and creative way for others to have an historic sense of our story. Our thanks to Beth Nicol and to the Vincentian Family. The Sisters at Blessed Trinity Shrine Retreat.

  2. I want to thank Beth Nicol and the Vincentian family for this wonderful presentation and creative way of allowing others see our roots in the Vincentian family history. I am in Chambersburg, PA and recently took some students from Shippensburg University about 1 hour south of us to see the daughters of Charity place in Emmitsberg, Maryland. We had a wonderful tour of Mother seton’s shrine and met so many Sisters. It was so easy for me to share how the Missionary Servant’s are like cousin’s to the Vincentian community! Now I think I will send this e mail to the students that were on the tour this past Saturday. Divine Providence comes in many forms, even the internet! Thanks for sharing and caring for the younger branch on the Vincentian tree! In the heart of Christ, Sr. Maria Therese, MSBT

  3. Thanks everyone! Nice meeting you all in Indianapolis. Hope we can continue to work together as a family.

  4. I enjoyed reviewing this timeline. I appreciate the original energy around the missionary call to all baptized persons. Fr. Judge and companions were prophetic. As Vincentian Family, I trust we continue to find ways to embrace that universal call to mission.

  5. This was a great write up for a refresher in our own cenacle as well as using it to do our own recruitment. I hope to implement this in our process. Thank you.
    Rita Tolbert from Living Waters in Pensacola F.

  6. This is wonderful, a great tool to introduce others to the Missionary Cenacle Family, thank you to all who made it possible!

  7. I am the Incarnation Region’s Regional Custodian, feel free to contact me through my Facebook page. Margaret A. Flanagan, MCA

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