Our beginnings go back to two Jewish brothers, Theodore and Alphonse Ratisbonne, who came to the Christian faith. Theodore's discovery of it was the result of a long search for truth, in contact with committed Christians; that of Alphonse, on the other hand, was instantaneous: a vision of the Virgin Mary in the church of Saint Andrea delle Fratte in Rome. The two brothers interpreted this religious experience as "a sign" of God''s will that an apostolic work with the Jews be founded in the Church. The two Ratisbonne brothers were both accepted to the priesthood.
In accord with the theological thinking of their time, our founders felt that, out of love for their people, they were "sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 10:6) and called to seek the conversion of the Jews in order to hasten the accomplishment of the promises made to Israel.
Today, the Church has given new orientations concerning our relations with the Jewish people in its declaration Nostra Aetate and in other documents that followed. Because of this, and in obedience to the directives of the Church, we no longer seek to convert the Jews, but rather a better understanding of the place and role of the people of Israel in salvation history as well as their relationship with the Church.