On July 1, 1989, our first missionaries arrived to New York City, thus commencing our apostolic work in North America. That day, a vow was made to the Immaculate Conception in thanksgiving for this foundation. The image before which that vow was made was given as a gift to the Institute by Father Carlos Lojoya and is currently found in the province’s novitiate in the United States.
In the year 1992, the first parish was entrusted to us in New York after we had been helping in different parishes in the diocese for more than two years. And in the year 1994, it was founded as a religious province of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, which, at that moment, comprised the missions in the United States and Taiwan, which would later separate in order to form part of the Province of Our Lady of Sheshan. In the year 1995, the province extended to another country, Guyana. From those lands, one of our missionaries years later would write:
“… I know that in many places where our Institute works, the presence of a priest is needed. If we are seeking only to mission in places where vocations can come forth and to gain numbers … if we are seeking places in the Universities and ears that want to listen to keynote lectures … if we are seeking to see great fruits in a short time and that the apostolic works that we do will be discovered by the world … then, sincerely, it makes no sense to send another priest here; it would be a waste, for I think that there does not exist a more arid place than this for bringing forth vocations; nor one that has simpler ears and souls; nor one that is so forgotten and hidden in the sight of the world. But if we are seeking only Jesus Christ and his Cross, then there is nothing better than this place.”
In 1997, in the Diocese of San Jose, California, the Institute opened its first Novitiate House within the Province, taking as its patrons the North American martyrs, St. Isaac Jogues and Companions. Several years later, the Institute moved the novitiate house from California to Mt. Rainier, MD.
The year 1998 was a year of great importance for our province since we not only began a mission in a new country—Canada—but, furthermore, because thanks to the help of His Eminence James Cardinal Hickey, then Cardinal-Archbishop of Washington, D.C., we were able to open our Fulton Sheen House of Formation, in order to be able to form the vocations that came forth from the province in the same province and not to have to send them to other seminaries as we had been doing until that moment.
The Venerable Fulton Sheen House of Formation originally opened its doors in Cheverly, MD, and later moved to Chillum, MD due to the need of more space for the growing number of seminarians.
Ten years later, in the year 2008, we would begin with another house of formation, in this case the “Saint José Sánchez del Río” Minor Seminary, which houses young men who have decided to follow Christ in the religious life from 13 years of age and up. Finally, in the year 2012, we opened the mission in Mexican land, in the city of Merida, and thus the Province of the Immaculate Conception was established in four countries: the United States, Guyana, Canada, and Mexico.