Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905), bishop of Piacenza, Italy, founded the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, also known as Scalabrinians, on November 28, 1887. Founded in response to the massive emigration from Italy toward the Americas in the late 1800’s, today they serve in thirty two countries and five continents in hope of raising the plight of the poorest migrants, to safeguard their faith, human rights, and cultural values. They are also present in Venezuela, Haiti, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. There are 568 priests worldwide, of whom six are bishops and one is a cardinal, nine deacons seven brothers, 113 seminarians.
At the invitation of Bishop Thomas J. Dowling the first Italian priest from the Scalabrinian Missionaries, Fr. John Bonomi, arrived in Hamilton in March 1908 to care for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the new immigrants. The Scalabrinians began their ministry at St. Anthony Parish first and then at Our Lady of All Souls Parish in Hamilton, where they continue to serve today.
Over the years, many Hungarian, Portuguese, and Vietnamese immigrants have been made welcome by the Scalabrinians in Hamilton. Since the mid-1980’s All Souls Church has provided a home for a lively ministry to Hispanic Catholics. More recently, members of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement have actively provided spiritual and temporal assistance to Mexican farm workers in the Waterdown area who have left their wives and children to gather crops from April to November.