The Xaverians

We are an international Catholic missionary congregation. Our main base is in Parma in Northern Italy.

Our organisation has an international commitment to prioritise work with people and groups on the margins and those working in solidarity with the marginalised.

Our first mission was in China in 1899 and since then we have opened missions in over twenty countries in four continents.

Africa Asia The Americas Europe
Sierra Leone (1950) China (1899) USA (1946) Italy (1895)
D.R. Congo (1957) Japan (1949) Mexico (1952) Great Britain (1945)
Burundi (1960) Indonesia (1951) Brazil (1954) Spain (1962)
Chad (1982) Bangladesh (1952) Colombia (1975) France (1969)
Cameroon (1982) Taiwan (1990)
Mozambique (1995) The Philippines (1992)
Thailand (2012)

You can learn more about our global presence here.

The Xaverians in the UK today

We have presence at the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge, Tabor in Preston and the Parish of St. Bartholomew’s in Glasgow.

The Conforti Institute

The Conforti Institute, named after our founder, is the European Dialogue Centre of the Xaverian Missionaries; A global catholic Organisation working in the areas of Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. The Conforti Institute exists to promote integral liberation, by exploring local and global connection, through Interreligious; intercultural; Intra-religious and Ecumenical dialogue.

In the contemporary Scottish and European context we are committed to facilitating and participating in inclusive dialogue with and between people of all faith traditions; those without religious faith and beliefs and those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious.

The global dimension and commitment in our work is reflected in the depth of our team’s experience of working in International Development contexts and work at home and abroad. To nurture this commitment we are an active member of the IDEAS network in Scotland.

Preston Centre

The Xaverians came to Preston in 1985 and set up a community in Ribbleton.

Our current presence in Preston is a new venture based in the facility formerly called Tabor which was operated by the Carmelite Community.   There is much to be done to establish ourselves.  We wish to build on the success of both the Ribbleton mission and that of the Carmelites.

St Bartholomew’s Glasgow

We serve the parish of St Bartholomew’s the Archdiocese of Glasgow.  You can read all about the parish here.

Our Founder

Guido Maria Conforti was born in 1865 to Rinaldo Conforti and Antonia Adorni as the eighth of ten children.

He attended elementary school from 1872 and each day on his way to the school he would stop by the church of Santa Maria della Pace where he used to have conversations in his parish church with the crucified Jesus Christ. This was when his vocation manifested, and he later recalled: “”I looked at Him and He looked at me and seemed to say so many things””.

He enrolled in the seminary in Parma at the age of 17 in November 1876, and he began immersing himself in the works of Saint Francis Xavier which inspired in him a desire to be a missionary, but requests to be a missionary of the Society of Jesus or the Salesians of Saint John Bosco were denied. At the time, his rector was Andrea Carlo Ferrari, future cardinal and Blessed. Their relationship became a friendship.

He was finally ordained to the priesthood on 22 September 1888 in Parma. After his priestly ordination, Conforti served as a professor at the seminary where he studied and he later became the vice-rector of the seminary. He became the Vicar-General of Parma on 7 March 1896.

Conforti established the Xaverian Missionaries on 3 December 1895 and it received the approval of Pope Leo XIII. At this time, in 1899, he sent the first missionaries to China. Leo XIII appointed him as the Archbishop of Ravenna on 9 June 1902 following the death of Cardinal Agostino Gaetano Riboldi, and he later submitted his resignation to a reluctant Pope Pius X due to his ill health in October 1904. The next month, on 14 November, he was made both the Coadjutor Bishop of Parma and the Titular Archbishop of Stauropolis.

In 1907 he became the Archbishop of Parma and he was known to travel to all parishes via horseback or other means to inspect his new archdiocese. He travelled to China in 1928 via Marseille to visit the Xaverian Missionaries’ working there. He arrived in Shanghai on 26 October 1928 and met with his contacts to inspect their work.

Conforti returned to Parma soon after his visit to China and fell ill in October 1931. He died a month later and he was interred in Parma. His tomb was later relocated in 1942 and once more in 1996.