Father Justin Russolillo was born on January 18, 1891 and baptized in Pianura (Naples) on the next day. After completing Grammar School in his home town, he entered the Seminary of Pozzuoli, where he distinguished himself for intelligence, humility and piety. Bishop Zezza and Marquis Zampaglione were glad to pay the Seminary tuition for such a brilliant and pious Seminarian.
On September 20, 1913, Justin was ordained a Priest. While kneeling before the Bishop for the ordination, he vowed to the Lord to find a religious Congregation to cultivate vocations to faith, priesthood and holiness.
As a Priest, he intensified the work that he had already begun as a Seminary student. When he was appointed Pastor of Pianura on September 20, 1920, he soon started working for the realization of his mission.
On October 18 of the same year, the first community of Vocationist Fathers came into being at the Rectory of St. George's Parish. One year later the Vocationist Sisters Community was formed with the same aims and goals of the Fathers.
The Vocationist Fathers and Sisters rapidly spread throughout Italy, France, Brazil, Argentina and U.S.A. and lately, they reached Nigeria, India, Philippines, Madagascar, Columbia, Ecuador and the United Kingdom.
Wherever they went, their main goal was the search and cultivation of vocations, especially among the poor and the underprivileged. The Blessed Trinity, the Holy Family and the Mother Church were the source and center of his spirituality and of his multiple ministries.
The two religious congregations of the Vocationist Fathers and Sisters became congregation of Pontifical Right respectively on January 3, 1948 and on May 24, 1947. Fr. Justin completed his earthly mission on August 2, 1955, comforted by the Sacraments of the Church. Said petition was readily granted on April 3, 1978, and on December 18, 1997 Pope John Paul the Second officially declared that Fr. Justin had practiced the Christian Virtues in a heroic manner and therefore he was being raised to the dignity of VENERABLE, and now on May 7th, 2011 Fr. Justin was raised again to the honor of BLESSED by His Holiness Benedict XVI.
The Society of Divine Vocations is a religious congregation founded by Blessed Fr. Justin Maria Russolillo, S.D.V., in Pianura, Naples – Italy in 1920. We are also known as the VOCATIONIST FATHERS. Blessed Fr. Justin also founded the Vocationist Sisters and Apostles of Universal Sanctification. Our ministry is carried out in parishes, schools, missions and their main field of apostolate – “The Vocationary” – a place for vocational discernment and religious formation. Blessed Father Justin said, “A Vocationary is a religious house where, in a spirit of prayer and study, we educate and guide – free of charge – candidates who wish to dedicate themselves to a life of service to the Lord, but who are not oriented yet towards diocesan priesthood or religious congregations.”
Be truly holy because the rest is zero! - Fr. Justin