History of the Institute

 

A young Father Noll
Read his biography here

Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., is the legacy of Archbishop John Francis Noll (1875-1956). As a young pastor at St. Mary’s parish in Huntington, Indiana, Father Noll founded Our Sunday Visitor, a national Catholic newspaper, on May 5, 1912, and began a lifelong apostolate to educate the Catholic laity in the faith and to help them to be prepared to defend the Church from its many critics. Through books, pamphlets, periodicals and other catechetical efforts, Archbishop Noll spent his entire career encouraging and helping Catholics to bear witness to their faith.

His loyalty to, and love for, the Catholic Church, his eagerness to use his ability to engage the culture of his time, and his deep desire to create a laity well-educated in the faith, marked his ministry as priest and bishop. Today Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., renews its commitment to the vision of Archbishop Noll by service to the Church, its parishes, priests and people.

Today, the enterprise, founded by $1 investment in 1912, is the largest English language Catholic publisher in the world and the largest manufacturer of church offering envelopes in the world. We print several hundred million offering envelopes a year. We have resources to help parishes and dioceses launch websites, capital campaigns, offertory enhancement and stewardship programs.

Our Sunday Visitor Institute

Shortly after the founding of OSV, in 1915, Father Noll started the philanthropic activity of OSV. At 103 years old, it is one of the oldest Catholic institutes or foundations in the United States. Different than a foundation, with no endowments, money generated from publishing and printing activities would be reinvested into the Church. As a good steward, Father Noll felt that the money was not ‘his’ money; “All he had belonged to the service of the Church.” Countless parishes, dioceses and apostolates benefited from the generosity of Father Noll.

Building on the legacy of Archbishop Noll, in 1975, the OSV Institute would officially get its name and a more formalized program for the use of OSV’s funds was put in place. Giving in the form of grants, around broad giving criteria, was the main form of philanthropic activity.

In May 2017, the board of OSV created and outlined a new vision for the future of the OSV Institute. This vision would include going beyond grants to seed capital for new innovation, a greater alignment to OSV priorities, a proactive approach to identifying needs and driving the priorities and projects, maximizing impact with the use of data and measurable outcomes, and the formation of think tanks and research related initiatives. This new approach will look to solve big issues with solutions and approaches that are actually working. This new vision is helping to establish the Institute for the next hundred years and is creating a truly unique, innovative, strategic, and forward-thinking approach. Simply put — there is nothing like this in the Church today.

There is an overarching mission statement that is etched into the exterior of the OSV building in Huntington, Indiana: "To serve the Church." What was true in 1915 remains true today; dollars given are from the sale of products of goods and services, truly making OSV a social enterprise. OSV serves the Church thru the quality of its products and services and then serves it again through the grants and initiatives of the OSV Institute.

The OSV Institute has given away $75 million dollars since its founding. Our Sunday Visitor has truly had a transformative impact on the life of the Church in unseen and often untold ways. Looking back to the early 1900s, no one saw this coming. No one imagined it possible. And yet it did and it was. And most importantly, that same hope and sense of responsibility exemplified by Father Noll in 1912 continues to resound today; hope born of that trust in a God who sustains and protects us.