WHAT DOES CICM SIGNIFY?
The letters CICM are an abbreviation in Latin of the name Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae or Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Rev. Theophile Verbist chose this name for his newly founded missionary institute as a way of honoring Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and placing his institute under her patronage.
The CICM Missionaries are also known by several other names depending on the country where they are working.
In Europe and Africa, they are widely known as the “Missionaries of Scheut” or “Scientist”, Scheut being the name of the locality near Brussels where the institute was founded. In the past CICM missionaries were sometimes known as the “Belgian Fathers” since the institute was founded in Belgium and most of its members were Priest. However, the institute was never an exclusively Belgium institute and includes both priests and brothers. Thus this name has fallen out of use, especially as the institute becomes more and more multicultural.
In North America, the institute is known as “Missionhurst – CICM” and its members referred to as “Missionhurst Priests and Brothers”.
Hurst is an old English word meaning a small hill or a wooded rise. As the headquarters of the missionary institute in North America is located on a small wooded hill, this became the popular name of the institute in that part of the world.