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About Us

“Motivated by the Gospel of Christ and faithful to the charism of our Founder in the mission entrusted to us, we give prophetic witness to the compassionate love of God for the world (cf. John 3:16). Attentive to the ever-changing signs of the times, and in a spirit of openness and dialogue, we cooperate with local churches, and with all who share our objectives. We work, chiefly among Africans and peoples of African origin and engage in a ministry of service and empowerment.” - SMA Constitutions & Laws, part. 2.

The Society of African Missions is an international community of Catholic missionaries who serve the people of Africa and people of African descent around the world.

Over 800 members of the Society come from Africa, America, Asia and Europe and work or live in 17 African countries as well as Europe, the Americas and Asia.  In addition, there are over 350 students in formation for priesthood.

African members come from Angola, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.

Asian members come from India and the Philippines.

American members come from Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Panama and the USA.

European members come from Belgium, Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

The Society welcomes all who agree to work for its aim and accept the style of life it proposes.


Our Founder


The Society of African Missions has traditionally been referred to as the SMA dating back to the Latin title: i.e. Societas Missionum ad Afros, when the SMA was founded at Lyons (France) in 1856 by the Venerable Bishop Melchior de Marion Brésillac. More information about the founder is available here.

Our History

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Founded in 1856 in France, nearly all of those who went to Sierra Leone, including the Founder died of Yellow Fever in 1859. Despite this setback and through the commitment and determination of Fr Augustine Planque the mission in Africa continued. The Irish Province was established 20 years later and now the SMA has a global membership that spans Europe, America, Asia and Africa. You can read the timeline of events here.

Our Structure


With a central administration based in Rome, the SMA is divided into Provinces, Districts and Delegations. Information on international structure with all website addresses can be viewed here.