New Advent
 Home   Encyclopedia   Summa   Fathers   Bible   Library 
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > M > Congregation of Priests of the Mission

Congregation of Priests of the Mission

A congregation of secular priests with religious vows founded by St. Vincent de Paul. The members add the letters C.M. to their name. As with many other communities, an appellation from the founder or the place they dwell in has superseded the original title. Thus in France and in almost all countries they are called Lazarists, because it was in the Priory of St. Lazare in Paris that St. Vincent de Paul dwelt and that he established his principal works. In the Irish province, which includes practically all English speaking countries except the United States, they are called Vincentians, and this name is gradually replacing that of Lazarists in the United States. In countries whose language is Spanish they are called Paules. This appellation, like the preceding, is obviously derived from the name of the founder. The name Congregation of the Mission indicates their first and chief object.

Origin of the congregation

In the beginning of the year 1617, Vincent de Paul was at the Château de Folleville in Picardy with the family of M. de Gondy, Count de Joigny, General of the Galleys of France, and had charge of the education of M. de Gondy's sons, one of whom became the celebrated Cardinal de Retz, Coadjutor of Paris. Vincent had opportunities of observing the ignorance of religion of the peasants of the neighbourhood. As the result of a sermon which he preached on the 25 Jan., 1617, in the church of Folleville, Vincent, with two Jesuit Fathers, began, at Mme de Gondy's request, to preach to and instruct the people of the neighbouring villages on her estates. Thus began the work which was to become eight years later, in 1625, the Congregation of the Mission. Mme de Gondy wished to make a foundation that would secure a mission every five years for the rural population of her extensive estates. The Oratorians and Jesuits being unable to undertake this work, she urged Vincent to gather together some zealous priests and organize missions for the poor country people at that time so little in touch with the clergy. Ecclesiastical authorization was easily obtained from John Francis de Gondy, then Archbishop of Paris, brother of the General of the Galleys. He also handed over to Vincent the ownership and all the rights of an old college in Paris, called "des Bons Enfants". Vincent de Paul took possession through his first disciple and co-labourer Anthony Portail, 6 March, 1624. The next year a contract confirming the previous promises was signed by the de Gondy family in favour of Vincent and his companions united "under the name of Company, Congregation or Confraternity of Fathers or Priests of the Mission". This took place on 17 April, 1625.

Edified by the success of their labours, the Archbishop of Paris gave his official approval a year later, 24 April, 1626, to the contract of foundation, and on 4 Sept., 1626, before two notaries of Châtelet in Paris, Vincent and his first companions declared that they had joined together "to live in a community or confraternity and to devote themselves to the salvation of the poor country people". Only three priests signed this declaration with Vincent de Paul: Du Coudray, Portail, and de la Salle. Very soon afterwards four other priests joined the little company: John Bécu, of the Diocese of Amiens; Anthony Lucas, of Paris; John Brunet, of the Diocese of Clermont; and John d'Horgny, of the Diocese of Noyon. The King of France, Louis XIII, added the seal of his royal authority to the act of foundation already approved by ecclesiastical authority the preceding year. In May, 1627, he issued letters patent, allowing the missionaries to form a congregation, to live in community, and to devote themselves with the consent of the bishops to works of charity. Community life being established, St. Vincent could no longer hold as his own property the College des Bons Enfants, which was annexed to the mission by a decree of the Archbishop of Paris granted 8 June, 1627. The court of the Parlement ordered the registration of the letters patent of 1627 which the opposition of certain pastors of Paris had delayed, and pontifical authorization was granted by the Bull "Salvatoris Nostri" of Urban VIII, 12 Jan., 1632. In 1632 an important change took place in the installation of the new community. On 8 January, Vincent took possession of the house of St. Lazare, then in the outskirts of Paris. It was an immense priory where only eight regular canons of St. Victor remained and which Prior Adrian Le Bon, seeing the great good that Vincent de Paul and his missionaries were accomplishing, had resolved in concert with his religious to transfer to him. An agreement was entered into between Adrian Le Bon and his religious on one side, and Vincent de Paul acting in the name of his community on the other, on 7 Jan., 1632, and the next day the Archbishop of Paris granted the transfer of the house of St. Lazare, and came himself to introduce Vincent. Vincent left some of his priests at the College des Bons Enfants, which was destined to become a seminary under the name of St. Firmin. The house of St. Lazare became the headquarters of the Congregation of the Mission.

The Congregation of the Mission, according to the desire of its founder and from a canonical standpoint, is a "congregation of secular clergymen"; this is the term the Sovereign Pontiffs use; for instance, Benedict XIII in the Bull of the Beatification of St. Vincent de Paul calls him "Congregationis presbyterorum sæcularium Missionis fundator" (13 August, 1729). To ensure its permanency St. Vincent surrounded his work with safeguards including vows, but on the other hand, for many reasons, was careful to prevent its becoming a religious order. Meanwhile the missionaries extended their labours over France and in foreign lands. They undertook labours of various kinds. But the exact form of the congregation had not yet been determined. Vincent saw communities around him, which he used to say, people entered and left like a well conducted hotel. In 1642 and 1651 he held two assemblies of the priests who had been longest with him. They decided at first on a vow of stability, and afterwards on the three ordinary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, without meaning to form a religious order, though they had due respect for the religious state. Almost immediately after his election Alexander VII completed the work of Urban VIII, confirming the transfer of St. Lazare to the Congregation of the Mission, and authorizing on 22 Sept., by the Brief "Ex commisso Nobis", the constitution of the community. The Brief declares that at the end of two years of probation, simple vows are to be taken, but that nevertheless the community belongs to the secular clergy. That there might be no question of changing the nature of his institute, Vincent did not establish a novitiate for the aspirants to his community, but a seminary, which is known as internal, to distinguish it from the diocesan or external seminaries. He also made it a rule that his missionaries wear the dress of secular priests; in a word that they should be distinguished, in the exercise of the apostolic functions, only by their organized effort to save souls (cf. Maynard, "St. Vincent de Paul", I, p. 253, ed. 1886). Such is the canonical status of the Congregation of the Mission.

Rule and government

There was, moreover, need of rules according to which the society he had just constituted should perform its functions. Vincent de Paul wished to test first, by experience, what circumstances might gradually require among the missionaries as to their manner of life and their work. Thus he was 82 years old when, 17 May, 1658, he distributed to the community the little book of "Common Rules or Constitutions". From these rules can be seen the elements of which the congregation is made up, the life it leads, its spirit, and the works to which its energies are directed. The elements, or members, of which it is composed are according to the "Common Rules", ecclesiastics and laymen. The ecclesiastics are, in imitation of Christ and His disciples, to preach and break the bread of the Word of God, to recall sinners to a Christian life, to give themselves up to various apostolic works which zeal for God's glory may call for among the people and the clergy. The laymen, or coadjutor-brothers, have for their work, while labouring also at their personal sanctification, the care of temporal concerns, and the practice of prayer and mortification to obtain the blessing of God upon the labours of the missionaries. The life prescribed by the rule is that which was led by Jesus Christ and His disciples. It does not prescribe any special austerities. But as Collet, one of the disciples of St. Vincent de Paul, says, although the life prescribed has nothing very extraordinary about it, nothing laid down as a law for ecclesiastics who live in community, the servant of God knew that he must adopt special means to sustain human weakness in so regular and laborious a life. For this purpose he prescribed to his followers the daily exercises of piety which every priest who is desirous of his own perfection should impose on himself. As to their daily intercourse, he especially recommends charity among his followers, urging them in particular not to speak evil of any one, above all of other communities, and never to decry other nations or countries. So far as intercourse with the outside world is concerned, he prescribes dependence on superiors, which is a guarantee of prudence and regulates whatever unwisdom might be found in even the best intentioned zeal. If, in the words of Abelly, Bishop of Rodez and first biographer of St. Vincent de Paul, the man of God made it his rule never to anticipate Providence, in the words of another Bishop of Rodez, Cardinal Bourret, in the nineteenth century, it is not less true to say that St. Vincent de Paul has always followed closely in the footsteps of Providence. Asylums for foundlings, for old people, the institution of the Daughters of Charity, retreats in preparation for ordination, seminaries, the apostolate of foreign missions among the infidels of Madagascar and Barbary, all show the zeal of St. Vincent de Paul, and this zeal he urged his sons not to allow to be extinguished among them after his death. Finally, according to the rules, the works that form the special object of the congregation founded by St. Vincent de Paul are thus determined: besides devoting himself to his own perfection, each one shall be employed in preaching the Gospel to the poor, especially to poor country people, and in helping ecclesiastics to the knowledge and virtues requisite for their state.

During the life of the founder, establishments were made not only in France but also in Poland and in Italy. The congregation undertook mission work in the North, in the Hebrides, in the Tropics, in Barbary and Madagascar. It was under Vincent (in 1642) that the houses of the congregation were grouped in provinces, each having at its head a provincial superior called visitor. The same year a rule was introduced for the holding of general assemblies, for the election of the superior general, for the nomination of his advisers under the name of assistants, and for other matters of importance. The following establishments were founded in St. Vincent's lifetime: in Paris: Bons Enfants (1625) and St. Lazare (1632); Toul: seminary and mission centre (1635); Notre Dame de la Rose: missions (1637); Richelieu: parish and missions (1638); Annecy: seminary and mission (1639); Crécy: missions (1641); Cahors: seminary, parish, and missions (1643); Marseilles: mission (1643); Sedan: parish and mission (1643); Saintes: seminary and mission (1643); Montmirail: missions (1644); Le Mans: seminary and missions (1645); Saint Méen: missions (1645); Paris: St. Charles Seminary (1645); Treguier: seminary and missions (1648); Agen: seminary and missions (1648); Montauban: seminary and missions (1652); also foundations in Rome (1642), Genoa (1645), Turin (16554), Warsaw (1651), Tunis (1645), Algiers (1646), Madagascar (1648). At the death of its founder the congregation numbered 500 members.

The government of the congregation is very simple. It consists of the superior general, and four assistants, aided by the procurator general and secretary general. All these officials are chosen by a majority vote of a general assembly, which is composed of the visitors of the several provinces and two delegates from each province, elected by secret ballot in the provincial assemblies. Each house in domestic assembly selects also by secret ballot, a delegate to accompany the superior to the provincial assembly. The provincial government is made up of a visitor appointed by the superior general and of consultors approved by him. Usually for the appointment of a visitor three names are selected by the provincial council, and presented to the superior general who chooses one to govern the province. Local superiors also are appointed by the superior general, with the advice of the visitor and his council. A general assembly is held every twelve years to legislate for the congregation. This is the only legislative body in the congregation.

An assembly is held every six years made up of the general officers of the congregation, and of one delegate from each province. This body may elect to vacancies among the superior general's assistants and may also decide minor matters of discipline. Decrees of general assemblies are binding on the entire congregation. Their interpretation rests with the superior general and his council. The office of superior general is held for life, or until his resignation. Provision is however, made in the "Constitutions" for his removal from office for crime, or perpetual inability to govern. Visitors remain in office at the discretion of the superior general. In like manner local superiors are removable, for cause, by the visitor, whose action, however, must be approved by the superior general, who alone has the right to appoint and remove superiors.

History

From St. Vincent until the Revolution

From St. Vincent's death until the Revolution there were nine superiors general, whose part was to complete the organization of the new society and to forward the various works for which it was instituted. These superiors general were: René Alméras (1661), Edmund Jolly (1673), Nicholas Pierron (1697), Francis Watel (1703), John Bonnet (1711), John Coutry (1736), Louis Debras (1747), Antoine* Jacquier (1762-1788). Felix Cayla was at the head of the congregation during the French Revolution. It was during the generalship of René Alméras, especially, that, in 1668, what are sometimes called the "Great Constitutions" were drawn up. They were discussed and accepted by the general assembly held that year from 15 July to 1 Sept., and were approved in October following by the Archbishop of Paris, Harduin de Péréfixe, with authority granted him by the Bull of Urban VIII, in 1632. The title is "Constitutions which concern the superior general and the government of the whole Congregation of the Mission". These are the general constitutions in force at the present day. Alméras is responsible for the compilation of an abridgment of these constitutions which has a still greater authority in the sense that this condensed edition under the name of "Summary", or, in Latin "Constitutiones selectæ", discussed in the general assembly of 1668 and approved by it, has been submitted to the authority of the Holy See. The text was examined and changed in some points by the examiners appointed by the pope. In this form it has been cited in its entirety in the Brief "Ex injuncto Nobis" of Clement X of 2 June, 1670. This is the chief act of internal legislation for the Lazarists. It has been published in the "Acta apostolica in gratiam Congregationis Missionis" (Paris, 1876). Alméras secured the drawing up of the rules for the offices, which were sent to all the houses in 1670. Edmund Jolly completed this work.

Bonnet, elected in 1711, had the longest and fullest generalship of all the superiors general before the Revolution. He had keen intelligence and great capacity for work. A brief sketch of his life and character is given in the preface to a collection of meditations which he composed and Collet published. He had to pass with his community through the difficult period of Jansenism. His congregation in charge of a great number of seminaries, and hence in close contact with a great number of bishops whose tendencies were very doubtful, was indeed in a delicate position. Rome condemned Jansenism, and Bonnet, regardless of the inconvenience his community might suffer, here and there, as a consequence, held firmly the course marked out by the pope. He expelled from the congregation men otherwise most distinguished such as Himbert and Philopald. After him, Couty and Debras showed themselves equally faithful and courageous in the doctrinal difficulties which still continued. The Congregation of the Lazarists had sometimes to suffer for this fidelity: for instance at Auxerre all the directors of the seminary were placed under interdict by de Caylus, an imperious bishop, a friend of the Jansenists, but they were reinstated by de Condorcet, his successor (see Migne, "Dictionnaire des Ordres Religieux", II, 766). The Lazarists held firmly to the side of Rome. One of them, Scardi, superior of the seminary of Avignon, published an important work "De Suprema Romani Pontificis auctoritate" (1747), which passed almost in its entirety into the work of Abbé, afterwards Cardinal, Villecourt, on "The Rights of the Holy See". Another Lazarist, Peter Collet, produced among other works, a theology of merit, which made him the butt of various attacks. In 1764 appeared a "Denunciation" of the theology of Peter Collet addressed to the Bishop of Troyes by a great number of ecclesiastics of his diocese (120 pp. duodecimo, 1764). The clergymen who signed it numbered one hundred and nine says an anonymous note. They accuse Collet of inclining scandalously towards a lax morality. The period of the French Revolution was approaching. The superior general since 1788 was Felix Cayla, a man of great ability. Elected as the first alternate for the deputation of the clergy of the National Assembly, he had in fact to take part in it because of the departure of one of the ecclesiastical deputies, and he refused at the tribunal of the assembly the oath for the civil constitution in 1791. He was immediately sent into exile.

When St. Vincent de Paul died in 1660 the secular clergy of Paris had a solemn service at which the preacher, Henry de Maupas du Tour, Bishop of Puy, who had been for many years in very close intimacy with Vincent did not hesitate to take as his text: "Whose praise is through all the churches" (2 Corinthians 8:18). Abelly, Bishop of Rodez, writing only four years later, declared that the work founded by this humble priest had already extended most widely and through his congregation would spread still more.

(1) Missions

The end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century was for France a half century of political and religious anarchy. The clergy of the large cities, where there were universities, were cultured, but the rural clergy were ignorant and neglected their flocks, who, in face of the disorders created by the conflict between the Protestant Reformation and Catholicism, not knowing which to believe, lost all interest in religion. To remedy this indifference and this ignorance, was what Vincent de Paul chiefly sought. The first missions of the Lazarists were in the suburbs of Paris and in Picardy and Champagne. The method and rule given by St. Vincent de Paul has been preserved for us by Abelly, a contemporary of the saint. It is in all essentials identical with the system used by his missionaries and in fact by all modern missionaries. "There was one thing that Mr. Vincent observed on the missions", says Abelly, his contemporary biographer, "and which he wished his spiritual sons to observe most faithfully; to give all the instructions and render all services gratuitously without being in any way a charge to those to whom they render these offices of charity", and this the priests of the Mission have inviolably observed. It was for this reason that Vincent de Paul would not agree to the establishment of a mission house unless it had a sufficient foundation to allow the missions to be given gratuitously. In the United States indeed where there are no foundations it has been the custom of St. Vincent's missionaries to accept whatever offering be made them, but this usage is confined to English speaking countries, elsewhere this most disinterested custom is in full vigour. The fruits of these missions were very marked and many bishops desired to procure this blessing for their dioceses. Soon after the establishment of the congregation, while he was at the Collége des Bons Enfants, that is to say from 1625 to 1632, St. Vincent himself gave one hundred and forty missions.

In 1638 Louis XIII wished Vincent to have his missionaries give a mission at St. Germain-en-Laye near Paris, where he then was with all the court. Vincent offered many excuses but to no avail. He recommended his missionaries to preach as simply at court as they did in the rural districts, having nothing in view but the good of souls. The mission was a complete success and Anne of Austria a few years later, 1641, asked for another in the same place and under the same circumstance. Mission preaching has been employed in every age of the Church; but systematic parish missions as now understood were commenced by St. Vincent de Paul (American Eccles. Rev., XI, 90), and the wonderful influence of the modern form of this great work of zeal dates from the first missions of St. Vincent and his companions in the infant Congregation of the Mission. St. Vincent cites instances: "A mission was given among the banditti and these wretched people were converted by the grace of God." Elsewhere he generalizes: "Of all the means which the Almighty has left to mankind for the correcting of their lives there is none that has produced effects more striking, more multiplied and more marvelous than the exercises of a mission." What the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius have done for religious and the clergy and for individuals among the laity, the missions as organized by the Lazarists have done for the people at large. Vincent fully appreciated the value of retreats and his house and the houses of his sons have always been open to laymen and clerics for retreat. From their foundation to the present time innumerable missions have been given throughout the Catholic world and the pioneers in the field have done a goodly share of the work. It has been, however, earnestly pursued by almost all the active orders and, especially in recent years, by zealous members of the diocesan priesthood. St. Vincent always insisted that this is the chief work of his community and should be held in the highest esteem by all its members.

From 1652 to 1660 more than seven hundred missions were given from the house of St. Lazare alone. The number of those given by the missionaries in various dioceses of France cannot be reckoned.

(2) Parishes and Chapels

It is only with regret that the Lazarist Missionaries accept chapels and parishes. For they wish to be free to go here and there on missions to give the help peculiar to their ministry, and by preaching and hearing confessions to revive if need be or maintain the good effects of the work of the parish priests. They accepted the charge of parishes and chapels only in two circumstances: when they could make of these parishes a residence for other missionaries who would go out preaching missions, or when circumstances made it impossible to refuse. An example of these circumstances is the parish of Richelieu founded by the Cardinal of that name, minister of Louis XIII, and the parish of Sedan. In 1638 Cardinal Richelieu wished to establish the Lazarists not only in the city of his ducal title but also in the Diocese of Luçon of which he had been bishop. By an act of 4 Jan., passed at Ruel, he obtained of Vincent seven priests who were to be sent to Richelieu in the following February, and to whom three others should be added within two years. Four of these the act declares "shall remain at Richelieu to perform the functions of the mission. The three others shall be sent every five years for the same purpose, to every town and village of the duchy, and while awaiting the time to begin their rounds again they shall give missions in the Diocese of Poitiers, or other places in the adjacent country as it shall please His Eminence to arrange. The three remaining priests shall be sent to Luçon for the same purpose and all shall go to the country four times a year at the period most suited for this work, and labour there for six weeks each time. One of the four priests living at Richelieu shall act as pastor with as many assistants as shall be deemed expedient. In the house of Richelieu shall be received gratuitously and for twelve days those who are to be ordained for the Diocese of Poitiers at the four seasons of the year, and for fifteen days such priests of the diocese as the Bishop of Poitiers shall send to make the exercises of the spiritual retreat". On his part the cardinal agrees to have erected and to furnish a suitable house and to obtain the annexation of the parish to the Congregation of the Mission and to procure for it the necessary revenues.

Sometimes special spiritual needs have caused the Lazarists to accept a parish. Hardly was Louis XIII in possession of Sedan when he desired Vincent to send his priests there. The needs of religion were very pressing for, through their continual intercourse with the Huguenots, the number of Catholics was daily diminishing and the true faith almost extinguished. The parish of Sedan was at first transferred to the Mission by the Archbishop with the consent of the Abbot Mouzon and the religious of the abbey, and Louis XIII gave an annual income of 2,500 livres for the administration of the parish and the support of the missions. Besides a priest to officiate at Balan, there were to be at Sedan a parish priest, seven other priests, and two brothers. At least four of the priests were to remain in charge of the work of the parish and four others were to preach missions to the people of the surrounding country. Three more priests were added in 1680, because since its foundation in 1644 the number of communicants had increased by two-thirds. Soon, of more than 10,000 inhabitants among whom at first not more than 1,500 Catholics could be counted, hardly a third part remained heretics. It was by means of the pacific method always recommended by St. Vincent, that the Lazarists thus diminished the number of Protestants and increased so wonderfully the number of Catholics. Instead of controversies which often embitter hearts, they preferred the explanatory system which gave solid and practical instruction to Catholics and Protestants alike. At the same time they extended their labours to the districts surrounding Sedan almost depopulated by war and they helped the people by exhortations and alms. Their charity thus helped their preaching and gained the hearts of those that were least disposed. At Sedan as elsewhere they aided the Protestants as well as the Catholics as Brother Sirven testifies whose eulogium Vincent wrote in a letter to Laudin in Mans, 7 Aug., 1660: "The whole city and surrounding country regret him, even the heretics who were edified by his modesty and aided by his charity."

(3) The Seminaries

The Congregation of the Mission founded by St. Vincent has for its chief object together with the missions devotion to the service of ecclesiastics. In France in his day there were in the cities, a certain number of well educated and distinguished clergymen, but the great majority especially in the country places had no practical means of formation. Many zealous priests of this period, Condren and Berulle of the Oratory, Bourdoise of St. Nicholas, above all Olier of St. Sulpice were preoccupied with the matter. Vincent used to say, as it is of the utmost importance for a military commander after he has conquered a country to leave behind him garrisons to maintain his conquest, so when apostolic men have led the people to God, or brought them back to Him, it is a vital matter to preserve this conquest, by procuring worthy and zealous priests to labour among them. He arranged with the Bishop of Beauvais as early as 1628 for a retreat for those to be ordained in that city. During the days preceding ordination they were assembled for exercises of piety and for immediate preparations for the pastoral ministry. These exercises were established at the house des Bons Enfants, afterwards at St. Lazare for the Diocese of Paris. The archbishop made them obligatory for all who received orders in Paris. At Rome, enjoined by the pope, they have been held at the house of the Lazarists at Montecitorio up to the present day. At Paris in the house des Bons Enfants in February, 1642 Vincent de Paul established an ecclesiastical seminary and gave it a rule for the exercise of piety and for the order of studies. It is no doubt the same that was put in practice by the Lazarists when they began the theological seminary at Annecy in 1641, and in the seminary at Alet. It was in substance that which is in vogue in the seminaries of France at the present day. The rule, as given in Maynard (op. cit., II, 211), exhibits an excellent compromise between the secular and the cloistered life and a wise mingling of study, piety, and discipline. The object is to fit the cleric for his sacred functions. In the seminary as conceived and actually established by St. Vincent students of classics were separated from students of theology. He withdrew the former pupils at Bons Enfants and placed them in a separate establishment at St. Lazare, in what constituted the preparatory seminary of St. Charles. The beneficial effect was immediately apparent.

As early as 1647, Vincent de Paul could write what he afterward embodied in his "Constitutions": "Our institute has but two chief ends, the instruction of the poor country people and the seminaries." After the first successes of Vincent and Olier there was a rivalry among the bishops to endow their dioceses with these most useful establishments. In 1643 the Lazarists were entrusted by Alain de Solminhac, Bishop of Cahors, with a mission house and the direction of the seminary of that city. In 1644 the Bishop of Saintes placed them in charge of his seminary; in 1645 those of Mans, of St. Malo and St. Méen were confided to them; that of Agen in 1650, and of Montaubon in 1660. After the death of the saint until the time of the Revolution the following seminaries were directed by the Lazarists: Norbonne and Metz (1661); Amiens, Troyes and Noyon (1662); Saint-Brieuc (1666); Marseilles (1672); Saint-Fleur (1674); Sens (1675); Arras (1677); Béziers and Alet (1678); Beauvais (1679); Tours, Chartres, Toul, and Auxerre (1680); Poitiers, Boulogne, and Châlons (1681); Bayeux and Bordeaux (1682); Sarlat (1683); Pau (1684); Manosque (1685); Saint-Pol-de-Léon (1689); Notre-Dame-de-la-Déliverande (1692); Vannes (1701); Angoulême (1704); Avignon (1705); Notre-Dame-de-Buglose (1706); Toulouse (1707); Poitiers (1710); Saint-Servan (1712); Pamiers and Tours (1715); Mornant (1717); Chartres (1719); Villefranche (1723); Figeac (1735); Arles (1752); Lurs (1753); La Rochelle and Metz (1763); Rodez (1767); Luçon (1771); Cambrai (1772); Albi (1774); Nancy (1780); Soissons (1786); finally, Castres (1788), the last seminary that was given to the Congregation before the Revolution. In all 43 theological and 9 preparatory seminaries (Maynard, II, p. 234). The Lazarists soon spread outside of France. In Italy, in 1641, a papal Bull authorized an establishment in Rome, and the Duchess of Aiguillon gave them a donation to devote their time to missions for the rural population, to labour for the clergy, the spiritual retreats for those to be ordained, etc. In 1697 the pope gave them the house and church of Sts. John and Paul on the Cælian Hill, but this has been exchanged for St. Sylvester's on the Quirinal. In 1645 they were called to Genoa, to Turin in 1655, to Naples in 1668. In St. Vincent's time they went to preach in Ireland and in the Hebrides; later Charles II called them to London for his chapel as Louis XIV had done in France for his chapel at Versailles. In Poland, in the time of John Casimir and his queen Louise Marie de Gonzaga, they were called to Warsaw in 1651, to Krakow in 1656, to Culm in 1677, to Vilna in 1687, and to many other cities, so that before the Revolution Poland was one of the most flourishing provinces. In Spain they were established in Barcelona and from there settled in several other cities. They reached Portugal in 1718 though not recognized by the king, John V, who up to this time was opposed to their dependence upon the superior general in Paris, but who afterwards favoured them and built them the magnificent house of Rilhafolles in the suburbs of Lisbon, a house which was confiscated by the Revolution. At the Revolution of 1834 there were six establishments of the Portuguese tongue.

(4) Foreign Missions among the Infidels

Foreign missions had a place in the schedule of apostolic works drawn up by St. Vincent de Paul, and although this sort of labour did not develop among his sons before the Revolution to so great an extent as it did in the nineteenth century, yet from the beginning they gave themselves to this work. In 1645 the missionaries set out for Barbary, as they then called it. The regencies of Tunis and Algiers in the power of the Turks were a den of pirates where a great number of Christians taken prisoners by Turkish Corsairs were held captives. The Lazarists did mission work there, and from time to time they even fulfilled the duties of consul, when it was too difficult to find a layman for this office. Some were imprisoned by the Deys of Algiers, some were put to death at the cannon's mouth as John Le Vacher and Francillon. They kept this duty till, finally, in 1830, France destroyed that stronghold of pirates. The Lazarists of the seventeenth century also preached the Gospel in the Island of Madagascar, and in the eighteenth century in Bourbon Island and the Isle de France. They passed over into China, at first one by one, like Appiani and Pedrini during the nunciature of Cardinal de Tournon, and like Mullener who became Vicar Apostolic of Se-Tchuen. They were called to Macao, a possession of the Portuguese, by the Portuguese Government in 1784, and directed many houses of education there. After the suppression of the Society of Jesus and despite the refusal of the superior general because of the inadequate number of subjects, through an agreement between the King of France and the Propaganda at Rome, the Lazarists were charged with the duty of taking the places, so far as they could, which had been held by the Jesuits in the Levant and in China (1782-1783). Father Viguier, a Lazarist, took possession of the mission at Constantinople and 8 May, 1785, another Lazarist, Father Raux, took possession of the mission of Pekin. At the outbreak of the French Revolution there were in France, Spain, Portugal, and the Palatinate along with the mission outside Europe about one hundred and fifty Lazarist establishments.

Under the Revolution

Even before the Revolution in France many nations had been the prey of internal dissensions. In the first place must be mentioned Poland whose discords were leading it to dismemberment and ruin. In 1772, in the first partition of Poland, twelve houses of the Lazarists passed under foreign dominion, Austrian, Prussian, or Russian. The Polish houses which became Austrian disappeared before the exactions of Joseph II of Austria. The King of Prussia, who when taking his share of Poland had promised to respect religious institutions, soon began confiscating ecclesiastical property. Nevertheless, in 1789 the Polish province of the Lazarists still numbered twenty-two houses. A second and a third division took place in 1793 and in 1795, among Austria, Prussia, and Russia, leaving nothing of unhappy Poland. In the part that fell to Russia the Polish Lazarists constituted a new province called the Lithuanian, remaining as far as possible in communication with the superior general in Paris. The Polish uprisings of 1830 and 1863 drew down upon the Catholics the rigours of the Prussian and Russian Governments. The Lazarist houses at Culm, Gnesen, and Posen were suppressed by the laws of 1836. The houses in Russia, much more numerous, were destroyed by the Government in 1842 and 1864. It was only later, under the Austrian dominion, that the Polish Lazarists could reorganize. They have establishments on Austrian territory in Galicia and Bukowina. In the different states of Italy, where the princes of the House of Bourbon reigned, life was no longer an easy matter for religious communities. In the Kingdom of Naples they were forced under penalty of suppression to stop all intercourse with the houses of the community in foreign states and especially with the superior general. This state of affairs continued from 1790 till 1815. About 1789 the houses of the congregation in Italy were divided into two provinces: the province of Rome with twelve houses and the province of Lombardy with fifteen houses which included the foundations at Barcelona, Palma, and Barbastro in Spain. In Paris on the day after the taking of the Bastille the mob made an attack upon the house of St. Lazare which was one of the chief religious establishments in Paris. The furniture was broken and thrown out of the windows, the priests and students were obliged to disperse. The missionaries returned and banded together there some days afterwards, but they had to separate again in 1792, and to abandon this house in which St. Vincent had lived and died, and which was the central house of the congregation. The other house of the Lazarists in Paris, the old Collège des Bons Enfants, became the scene of still more dramatic events in 1792. On the second and third of September of this year massacres occurred in different establishments in Paris in which the Revolutionists had locked in the priests. The Abbey, Carmel, and St. Firmin served as prisons. In the last house more than seventy priests were cruelly massacred, among others the Lazarist superior of the establishment, Father Louis Joseph François and his confrère, Henry Gruyer. The superior general of St. Lazare, Cayla, at the Assembly, refused the oath of the Civil Constitution of the clergy. Among members of his congregation several published learned protests against it and all refused it except a few, three of whom afterwards became Constitutional bishops. A goodly number died martyrs to their fidelity to the Church of Rome. Some of these martyrs were François and Gruyer, massacred at St. Firmin in Paris, Matthew Caron, John Colin and John Gallois at Versailles. Many perished on the scaffold: Francis Bergon at Cahors, John Guibaud at Mans, Louis Hayer at Niort, Francis Martelet at Besançon. In addition, several succumbed in prison: Nicholas Bailly, Paul Brochois, Victor Julienne, and Angelus Bernard Lamourette, nephew of the Constitutional bishop, or on the prison-ships of Rochefort and at the Isle Madame, as John Janet and Nicholas Parizot; or at Sinnamari, as Claude Cuin.

Such is the tribute which the Congregation of the Mission paid during the bloody Revolution. As a result of the legislation concerning the Constitutional Church and the decrees of suppression of religious orders, all the establishments of the Lazarists in France were destroyed. At that time they had in France provinces comprising 788 houses with 824 members. Obliged to flee, the superior general, Carla, took refuge in Rome, where he died 12 February, 1800. His death at a period when the scattered members of the congregation could not come together to elect his successor, began an interregnum which was full of difficulties. There were vicars-general; ordinarily two vicars-general governed simultaneously, one for the Lazarists in France and the foreign missions and as superior of the Daughters of Charity, the other had authority over the Lazarists of other countries. This provisional organization lasted until 1827, when a superior general was finally named. During these twenty-seven years the vicars general were as follows. On the death of the superior general, Felix Cayla, in 1800, Francis Brunet, his companion in exile at Rome and his assistant, was appointed vicar-general. Returning to France in 1804 Brunet lodged at the house of the Daughters of Charity and died there in 1806. Claude Placiard, his successor, who seemed destined for a longer career, died the next year after an illness of three days. He was succeeded by Dominic Hanon. The zeal with which the latter strove to maintain the authority which the superior general used to exercise over the Daughters of Charity drew upon him the animosity of the imperial power and he was imprisoned in the fortress of Fenestrelle. He did not regain his liberty until 1814 when he returned to Paris where he died in 1816. The next year he had as his successor Charles Verbert, who lived till 1819. On his death Charles Boujard was invested with the vicar-generalship, like his four predecessors, and it was under his government, lasting about eight years, that the congregation succeeded in reorganizing, and noticeably increased. These five vicar-generals were French and resided in Paris. The Italian vicars-general residing in Rome were Dominic Sicardi from 1804 to 1818 and Antony Baccari from 1819 to 1827. Even under the provisional régime of the vicars-general, the work of preaching, of the seminaries, and of the foreign mission was gradually re-established. In France as early as 1819 Verbert saw gathered around him a considerable body of young men and of ecclesiastics already formed and could state that the Lazarists had houses at Amiens, Soissons, Sarlat, Montauban, Vannes, Valfleury, St. Etienne (Circular letters, II, 351). At the same period some of the houses in Italy that were suppressed by the Revolution reopened. There were six houses in Spain, six also in Portugal, counting the college at Macao which was a Portuguese possession. The province of Poland or of Warsaw numbered twelve houses. The Lithuanian province because of political circumstances had but little intercourse with the superiors of the congregation. The foreign missions had to suffer too from the critical conditions brought about by the Revolution in those countries whence they drew their supply of missionaries. This period of expectation was followed by a period of expansion.

After the French Revolution

After the sanguinary crisis of the Revolution, the way was gradually paved for the restoration of the congregation. It was not until 1827, however, that its abnormal situation ceased when the two vicars-general Bonjard in France and Boccari in Rome having resigned, Pope Leo XII, by a Brief of 16 Jan., 1827, nominated Peter Dewailly superior general. In 1804 an imperial decree dated 27 May re-established the Congregation of the Lazarists; in 1816, under the Government of the Restoration a royal ordinance recognized it in the condition in which it had been placed by the Act of 1804. It was especially on the basis of these two decrees that the Council of State of 16 Jan., 1901, considered the Congregation of St. Lazare as legally recognized in France. The old house of St. Lazare having been transferred by the State to the public service, the Government handed over to the use of the congregation a piece of property situated at Rue de Sèvres 95, the Hôtel des Lorges, and here Verbert, the vicar-general, entered with his community still small in number, 19 Nov., 1817. Some adjoining ground on the Rue de Sèvres was bought partly by King Charles X for the building of a chapel, which was blessed by Mgr. de Quélen, Archbishop of Paris, 1 Nov., 1827. The following is a list of the superiors general who have been elected by the general assemblies held in Paris down to 1910. After Peter Dewailly died, 23 Oct., 1828, the general assembly of 15 May, 1829, selected as his successor Dominic Salhorgne. He had the consolation of seeing the relics of St. Vincent which had to be hidden during the Revolution brought back in solemn state to his religious family in 1830. Under the weight of age and infirmities he resigned in 1835. The general assembly named as his successor John Baptist Nozo who was succeeded in 1843 by John Baptist Etienne whose long and most successful generalship continued until his death in 1874. Then Eugene Boré was elected, a man well known in the world of literature and science. Death claimed him after four years, and in 1878 the general assembly made Anthony Fiat his successor, and he is now, 1910, at the head of the congregation.

The work of the congregation has remained unchanged save for adaptations to new circumstances. Missions at home are no less necessary than formerly. A special consideration makes them more than ever the objects of solicitude. It is that the people of our democratic age have acquired an influence and an authority which they never exercised before. Besides missions to the people, the congregation has adapted its methods in seminaries to new conditions. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries clerics received their formation chiefly at the universities or in the colleges of the chief cities; clerks who did not study there unfortunately but too often did not study at all. In this state of affairs it sufficed to provide seminaries as ecclesiastical homes for clerics who went out to follow the courses in the universities and colleges of the city. In the seminary there was a course in liturgy; the students were helped to make for themselves a practical abridgment of moral theology and when the time came they were aided by the exercises of the retreat to prepare for ordinations. Two or three priests at most sufficed for such establishments. Today all is changed in this regard. Seminarians ordinarily spend all their time within the walls of the seminary. The seminary gives them ecclesiastical instruction in philosophy, history, exegesis, canon law, and theology, teaching that they could not find outside save in a few universities. Seminary life no longer lasts for some months only, as it usually did in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but for several years, so that the faculty required for a seminary, whether it be composed of members of a community or of the secular clergy, must be much more numerous and specially equipped for scientific training. The Congregation of the Mission had then to adapt itself by the new order of things. Finally, as to the foreign missions, new facilities of travel and communication, and new means of influence and of intercourse with pagan or savage peoples have given a new character to the work of evangelization, requiring missionary bodies to change their methods to meet these changed conditions.

Literary and scientific activity

Teaching

The method of teaching which prevails in Lazarist colleges and seminaries, is that of explaining a well chosen text of some approved author from whose opinions even the professor is not allowed to depart, except by the express permission of his superiors. Such a text is placed in the hands of the pupils, who learn a portion of it, and receive explanations and comments from the professor. Individual research is encouraged but within limits suggested by the practical character of Lazarist college and seminary training. Conformably to the commands and recommendations of Leo XIII and Pius X, philosophy and theology are taught in accord with the doctrines of St. Thomas and of his most authorized interpreters. Novelties in doctrine are distinctly discouraged, while professors are bidden to make themselves acquainted with modern errors, for refutation.

Writings

The life of Lazarists is above all, an active life, in college, in the seminary, and on the missions, hence their writings have been called forth for some practical utility, or as a result of their scientific explorations and their journeys as missionaries. The following are noteworthy as writers: (1) Theology.—Collet, Peter, a Frenchman (b. 1693; d. 1770), professed theology with success in Paris. When Tournély died (1729) leaving unfinished a course of theology which the university and the seminaries held in high esteem, Cardinal Fleury, then prime minister, invited Collet whose talents he knew, to continue and complete the work, which Collet did with much success, publishing "Continuatio Prælectionum Theologicarum Horatii Tournély" in 8 volumes (Paris, 1733-1760). He made an abridgment of this work as a class book of theology for seminaries. "Institutiones theologicæ quas a fusioribus suis editis et ineditis ad usum Seminariorum contraxit Petrus Collet" (Paris, 1744, 5 vols.). Whilst engaged in this great work, Collet composed more than forty volumes on different theological, canonical, liturgical, and devotional subjects. Brunet, Francis Florentin (b. in France, 1731; d. 1806), wrote a "Paralléle des Religions" in 5 volumes 4° (Paris, 1792), which by its abundant researches paved the way for the comparative histories of religion now so much in vogue. Morino, John, visitor of the Neapolitan province, issued in 1910 the seventh edition of his Moral Theology. MacGuiness, John, a native of Ireland and professor in the Irish College in Paris, has recently published a second edition of a complete course of theology. McNamara, Thomas, a pioneer Irish Vincentian, published many books of great utility to the clergy, the best known of these is "Programme of Sermons and Instructions", which is still much used.

(2) Works on Canon Law and Liturgy De Martinis (b. in Italy, 1829; died 1900), Archbishop of Laodicæa, published "Juris Pontificii de Propaganda Fide, Pars Prima continens Bullas, Brevia, Acta S.S. a Congregationis institutione ad præsens, juxta temporis seriem disposita" (Rome, 1888-1897, 7 vols., in quarto), a collection of documents emanating from the Propaganda in every respect superior to any preceding collection. Baldeschi, Joseph (b. in Italy, 1791; d. 1849), published an "Espositione delle Sacre Ceremonie" (Rome, 1830, 4 vols., 24mo.), which has been translated into various tongues. Mancini, Calcedonio (d. 1910) began at the Lazarist house of Montecitorio, Rome, in 1887, the publication of a monthly review, "Ephemerides Liturgicæ", which is still issued. Buroni, Joseph (b. in Piedmont, 1821), besides several philosophical works, the chief is "Dell' Essere a del Conoscere" (Turin, 1877); he had previously issued a large portion of it under the title "Della Filosofia di Antonio Rosmini saggio di Giuseppe Buroni" (1877-80).

(3) Languages

Led by their ministry to speak the languages of the nations they evangelized the Lazarists have issued divers works in or concerning these languages. Caulier, Philip Albert (b. in France, 1723; d. 1793), composed an abridged catechism in the language of Madagascar, and wrote a Malagasy grammar for the Antanosy dialect. Gonsalves, Joachin Alphonsus, published among other works in the Chinese language, "Lexicon Magnum Latino-Sinicum ostendens etymologiam, prosodiam et constructionem vocabulorum" (Macao, 1841, in folio). Viguier, Peter Francis (b. France, 1745; d. 1821), published "Elements of the Turkish Language, or Analytical Tables of the ordinary Turkish Language with developments" (Constantinople, Printing Press of the Palais de France, 1790, 4°). Coulbeau, John Baptist (b. in France, 1843), has published in the glex language or primitive Ethiopian tongue, the "Missal of the Ethiopian Rite" (Kerew, Printing Press of the Catholic Mission, 1891). Schreiber, Jules, compiled a manual of the Tigrai language spoken in Central and Northern Abyssinia (Vienna, 1887) and Gren, John (b. in Germany, 1842; d. 1907), "La Lengua Quichua", a dialect of the Republic of Ecuador (Freiburg, 1896, in 12mo). More than half a million Indians in Ecuador, says the author, understand no language but the Quichua. He also wrote the first grammar and dictionary of this language. Bedjan, Paul, a Persian Lazarist, has written and published many works for the use of his fellow countrymen. During twenty years he printed more than forty volumes in the Syriac and Neo-Aramaic, reproducing almost all the ancient manuscripts hitherto unpublished in the various branches of ecclesiastical science and history. The latest is the most curious and important, the hitherto unpublished autobiography of Nestorius, "Nestorius, Le Livre d'Heraclide de Damas édité par Paul Bedjan, Lazariste" (Leipzig, 1910, in 8°).

(4) Travels and Scientific Explorations

Evariste-Régis Huc (b. in France, 1813; d. 1860), published "Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China" (Paris, 1850, 2 vols. in 8°), which was immediately translated into many languages. Later he published a sequel, "The Chinese Empire" (Paris, 1854, 2 vols 8vo), and finally "Christianity in Tibet, Tartary, and China" (Paris, 1854, 4 vols. 18mo). Armand David (b. in France, 1826; d. 1900), corresponding member of l'Institut de France, traveled in the East and Far East. Commissioned by the Museum of Natural History of Paris to make explorations, he enriched the collection by numerous discoveries. He wrote "Journal of Travel in Central China and in Eastern Tibet" which appeared in "Nouvelles Archives du Muséum", VIII, IX, and X, "Journal of my Third Tour of Exploration in the Chinese Empire" (Paris, 1875, 2 vols. 8°). Besides numerous studies edited by him, there are several works published at the expense of the French Government describing the scientific discoveries of David: "The Birds of China with Atlas of 124 plates" (Paris, 1877): "Plantæ Davidianæ ex Sinarum Imperio par Frarichet" (Paris, 1884, 2 vols. 4°), etc. Boccardi, John Baptist, has published astronomical studies of observations made at the Vatican Observatory and at Catania. He is the director of the Royal Observatory of Turin (1910). Many of his studies have appeared in the "Bulletin Astronomique de l'Observatoirede Paris", 1898, 1899. See "Notices Bibliographiques sur les Écrivains de la Congrégation de la Mission" (Angoulême, 1878, 8°). The English edition of the "Annals of the Cong. of the Miss.", Nos. 38 and 39 (1903), contains in thirty closely printed pages a list of books published by the Lazarists in various languages.

Present status

The Lazarists in Europe

The mother-house, the residence of the superior general of the whole congregation, is at Paris, 95 Rue de Sévres. This central residence is also a house of formation with its internal seminary, or as it is often less accurately called, its novitiate and scholasticate. A second house of formation is established at Dax, a city a little south of Bordeaux. In 1900 there were about fifty establishments in France, missions, seminaries, and colleges. Since 1901 and 1903 the greater number of these establishments had to be abandoned when a large number of the establishments of communities were closed, and when congregations not authorized by the State were suppressed. France has hitherto supplied almost exclusively subjects for the Lazarists' missions in China, Persia, the Levant, Abyssinia, and the different countries of South America. In Germany, where the Lazarists had been established since 1832, they were expelled by the Kulturkampf (1873), and since then they have establishments on the frontier of their country in Belgium and Holland. There are establishments in Syria, and in Central America at Costa Rica. In Austria there are two centres of activity for the Lazarists, one at Gratz for the houses of Austria and Hungary, the other, Polish in language, at Krakow for the establishments of Galicia and Bukowina, and for the colonies of Polish emigrants to America. In Spain, where the works of the Lazarists are in a flourishing condition, the houses are divided into two provinces, Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish Lazarists furnish to a great extent labourers for several of the old Spanish colonies, Cuba and Porto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippine Islands. They were twice expelled from their country by the revolutions of 1835 and 1868. They have been recognized by the Governments since the Concordat of 1851. In Portugal where they had six houses before the political and religious revolution of 1835, they have gradually been restored both on the mainland and in the Madeira Islands, where they are engaged in their former works. The Congregation of the Mission in Italy has felt the political vicissitudes of that country in the nineteenth century, the Napoleonic wars with their suppression of religious houses, the confiscation of ecclesiastical property by the Italian princes in 1848, 1860, and 1873. At the present time there are 38 houses divided into three provinces, Turin, Rome, and Naples. As to Belgium and Holland, it is chiefly since the difficulties in France that the Lazarists have secured in these countries houses for the missions and especially for the training of their young men. The congregation has taken up again work in Northern Africa, in Algiers. There is a vicariate Apostolic in southern Madagascar and another in Abyssinia, and there are establishments at Alexandria in Egypt. They have also founded schools in the Levant, Turkey in Europe, and Turkey in Asia. There are prominent colleges in Constantinople, in Smyrna, and in Antoura near Beirut. They have also other establishments for missions and education, near Constantinople, at Bebeck, in the Archipelago at Santorin, in Macedonia, Salonica, at Cavalla and at Monastir near Salonica; at Zeitenlik they maintain a seminary for the Bulgarian Rite, the hope for the religious regeneration of that country. In Syria they are engaged in the same work in various houses. In Persia where the Lazarists have had establishments since 1840, and where, since 1842, the Holy See selected from their number the prefects Apostolic and the Apostolic delegates for that country, they exercise the apostolate by preaching and by works of charity. One of the Lazarist missionaries in Persia said forty years ago: "No mission is so militant and perhaps also so difficult as this."

In China, which is one of the widest fields for apostolic labour, the Lazarists are in charge of the important missions of Peking and of several vicariates Apostolic. Sent to China towards the close of the eighteenth century, during the early part of the nineteenth century they passed through most trying times. Persecutions burst forth sometimes in certain localities, sometimes everywhere. In 1820 Francis Régis Clet, a Lazarist, died a martyr, and in 1840 Jean-Gabriel Perboyre had a like fate and a like honour. Both have been beatified. The work of spreading the Gospel was not interrupted, however. Apostolic work has been prosperous. Instead of the old residence of Petang at Peking a new and much more commodious residence has been erected on a large tract of land given by the Chinese Government and a new cathedral was begun in December 1888. This important work was and finished by the bishop, Mgr Tagliabue, and Rev. A. Favier who after became Bishop of Peking. Around the cathedral of Peking are grouped the theological and preparatory seminaries, a printing office, schools, and charitable institutions. Apostolic zeal has not grown lax. In 1908 the Lazarists of the Vicariate of Peking had the joy of numbering more than thirty thousand baptisms of adults. The total for the last five years was fully, if not beyond, one hundred thousand conversions. The Lazarists in China have six other vicariates Apostolic with their centres at Young-Ping-Fou and Ching-Ting-Fou in Tche-Ly; Ning-Po in the Province of Tche-Kiang; Kiou-Kiang, Fou-Tcheou-Fou and Ki-Ngan-Fou in the Province of Kiang-Si. In the missions entrusted to the Lazarists in China there are at present one hundred and forty-five European Lazarists and thirty-five Chinese Lazarists, eleven secular priests from Europe and eighty-nine native secular clergy. The Lazarists in China have two internal seminaries or novitiates. The procurator of these missions resides at Shanghai.

Such are the works of the Congregation of the Mission carried on by its 3249 members (1909), priests, students, lay brothers, and novices. It may be added that wherever they are, there is commonly to be found the other congregation founded by St. Vincent, the Daughters or Sisters of Charity (Cornettes). Such is the case in Europe, in America, and even on the foreign missions as in Madagascar, Persia, Syria, China. They number (1910) more than 30,000 and labour also in places where the Congregation of the Mission is not established.

The English Speaking Lazarists.—(1) The Irish Province.—During St. Vincent's lifetime his priests were sent to Ireland at the request of Innocent X, to help the persecuted Catholics. Eight priests went to Limerick and Cashel. In Cashel and the surrounding towns they gave missions and heard eighty thousand general confessions. In Limerick too their success was most marked and its memory is not yet dead. But new and terrible persecutions under Cromwell, forced the missionaries to go into hiding and ultimately to fly the country. A lay brother who had accompanied them died a martyr's death. When Maynooth College was founded in 1798, Father Edward Ferris, an assistant of the superior general, was allowed by his superiors to come to the aid of the new college. Archbishop Troy of Dublin had asked for him and made him dean of the new seminary. A few years later he took the chair of moral theology which he held until his death, 26 November, 1809. There is a tradition that his copy of the "Rules" of the congregation, found at Maynooth after his death, gave the first impulse to what resulted in the establishment of the community in Ireland. Early in the last century when the lack of church accommodation had been partially supplied, the desire of establishing Lazarists or some kindred institute for missions in Ireland was expressed by Dr. Doyle who had known them in Coimbra, by Dr. Maher who had been with them at Montecitorio and by Father Fitzgerald, O.P., of Carlow College, but nothing was done. In 1832 four young men at Maynooth approaching ordination, impressed by the dangers surrounding the ministry, and the importance of working for God and the salvation of souls, agreed that a community life was desirable for them. They were James Lynch, Peter Richard Kenrick, Anthony Reynolds, and Michael Burke, all of the Diocese of Dublin. On consulting with the senior dean, they were directed to the Congregation of the Mission. The dean, Father Philip Dowley, soon after became their leader. He had just been made vice-president of the college but resigned. About this time they were joined by Father Thomas McNamara, a valuable recruit, as his powers of organization contributed greatly to the success of the missions and other works of the congregation in Ireland. With the approval of Archbishop Murray a small college was opened in Dublin to serve as a preparatory seminary. Another newly-ordained priest, Rev. John McCann, supplied the funds for the purchase of Castleknock. In 1838 the little church in Phibsborough, a suburb of Dublin, was placed in the hands of Dr. Murray of Dublin, to which he soon added a foundation for two annual missions. It was for missions they had banded together, but though they gave three in their neighbourhood, other works took up all their energies. By this time they had lost Father Anthony Reynolds by death. Father Peter Richard Kendrick joined his brother, then Bishop of Philadelphia, and subsequently became Archbishop of St. Louis. Overtures were made to the congregation in Paris for the aggregation of the Irish community and this was soon accomplished; two of the Fathers beginning their internal seminary course or novitiate in Paris and finishing it in Ireland under Father Girard were delegated by the superior to form these postulants.

Father Hand who had early joined the community left before this time to found All Hallows College at Drumcondra for the foreign missions. The first mission of these Lazarists was given in Athy in Dublin Diocese. It was the introduction of the modern mission into Ireland. At this and the following missions the people attended in thousands and the confessionals were thronged night and day. The church at Phibsborough has given place to a fine Gothic structure. Here the devotion to the Sacred Heart was promoted most vigorously after the consecration of Ireland to the Sacred Heart by the bishops in 1873. Here too the care of the poor led Father John Gowan, C.M., to found a flourishing community of sisters called Sisters of the Holy Faith recently approved by Rome. The beginnings in Cork were similar to those in Dublin. A priest of high standing desired to open a house for missionaries, on the model of the congregation but with some modifications. He began by opening a day college. He was the Rev. Michael O'Sullivan, vicar-general of the diocese. For some years the college succeeded, but afterwards did not get on so well. He then offered the college to the superior at Castleknock and entered as a member of the community. Two who as superiors had a large share in the development of the Cork foundation afterwards became bishops, Dr. Lawrence Gillooly (1819-1895), Bishop of Elphin, and Dr. Neil McCabe, Bishop of Ardagh. In 1853 a church in Sheffield where there was plenty of work among the poor was confided to the congregation.

St. Vincent himself had sent a member of his community to the French consul in London in the hope of getting some foothold for his community in England where they might aid the persecuted Catholics, but in vain. Sheffield was the first foundation in England and it has become a mission centre partly endowed by the Duke of Norfolk. A house was established in Mill Hill, London, in 1889, and it is now a parish, and has the direction of the provincial house of the Sisters of Charity. A normal college at Hammersmith was entrusted to the Lazarists in 1899. In Scotland, Fathers Duggan and White laboured in St. Vincent's time, sent thither by him. Father Duggan worked zealously in the Hebrides travelling from place to place until his labours were cut short by death. Father White's busy life of missionary travel on the mainland of Scotland was interrupted by his imprisonment in Cromwell's time; on his release with the condition that if he be caught preaching or baptizing he would be hanged without trial, he resumed his work undaunted in the mountain districts. But it was not until 1859 that the first Scotch house was established at Lamark. The magnificent church destroyed by fire in 1907 has been rebuilt and the work of giving missions has gone on uninterruptedly.

In 1840, the houses of Ireland were formed into a Province and Rev. Philip Dowley (1788-1864), was appointed visitor. He was succeeded in 1864 by Father Thomas MacNamara (1809-18992), a man of great zeal and learning, who did much for the spiritual welfare of the deaf-mutes in Ireland and was head of the Irish College from 1868 to 1889. Father Duff (1818-1890) became visitor in 1867. He was followed, in 1888, by Father Morrissey who resigned in 1909, after a most successful career and was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Walsh. The novitiate was started in 1844 at Castleknock. Prior to that, and even to some extent afterwards, the novices were trained at the mother-house in Paris. In 1873, a new site was secured and the novitiate transferred thither. It is known as St. Joseph's Vincentian Novitiate, Blackrock, near Dublin. In 1858 the Irish College in Paris, founded in the last years of the sixteenth century, was transferred to the Irish Vincentians. Father Lynch, the leading spirit of the young priests who founded the congregation in Ireland, was consecrated bishop while head of this college; going first to Scotland, and afterwards to the See of Kildare and Leighlin. Armagh seminary was confided to them by Dr. Dixon in 1861. About 1888, the Irish Lazarists were made spiritual fathers at Maynooth, then according to Cardinal Newman the most important ecclesiastical seminary in Catholic Christendom. In 1875, a training school was begun at Drumcondra, Dublin, and in 1883 it was superseded by the newly founded normal college entrusted to the Irish Lazarists by the Government. In the space of twenty-six years it has sent out over 2300 Catholic teachers. All Hallows College was placed under the care of the Lazarists in 1892. The Australian mission of the Irish Province was begun in 1885 with a most successful series of missions from their new mission house in New South Wales. At the urgent request of Bishop Patrick Joseph Byrne they assumed charge of St. Stanislaus College, Bathurst, New South Wales, which had been founded some years previously. A mission centre and parish were established at Malvern near Melbourne in 1892. The Irish Province numbers (1910) 125 priests, 30 lay brothers, and 20 scholastics.

(2) The United States Province

The Congregation of the Mission was brought to the United States in 1816 by Bishop Dubourg of New Orleans. His diocese comprised both upper and lower Louisiana as it was then called. Upper Louisiana to which he sent the Lazarists included what became afterwards the States of Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois and all the territory north and west of these states. There were but four priests there at this time and three of them died soon afterwards. He succeeded after some difficulty in getting three Lazarist priests, with a brother, to head a band of twelve apostolic workers for his vast territory. They were Rev. Felix de Andreis, Joseph Rosati, John Baptist Acquaroni, and Brother Blanka. Bishop Ryan of Buffalo wrote of them as coming "to do for religion and the Church in the distant and still undeveloped West what a Carroll, a Cheverus, a Flaget, and other great and holy men had done and were doing in other parts of the country" (Early Lazarist Missions and Missionaries, 1867). They embarked 12 June, 1816, on an American brig bound for Baltimore, reaching there 26 July. They were welcomed at St. Mary's Seminary by Father Bruté. On their way to St. Louis, they stopped all winter at Bardstown, where Father de Andreis taught theology in St. Thomas' Seminary. He had already taught it with great success at the College of the Propaganda in Rome. He was, however, eager to go and preach the Gospel to the poor savages and studied the Indian language with this design. On 8 Jan., 1818, Father de Andreis settled down as pastor of St. Louis and vicar-general of the diocese, an appointment he had received on leaving Rome. He writes: "It will not be easy to establish our missionaries on the same footing as in Italy. Here we must be like a regiment of cavalry or flying artillery ready to run wherever the salvation of souls may require our presence." Several of those who came from Europe at Bishop Dubourg's invitation joined the little community. Father Joseph Cosetti died on the eve of his reception into the internal seminary. Father Andrew Ferari, F. X. Dahmen, a subdeacon, and Joseph Tichitoli, a subdeacon, were admitted to the novitiate on 3 Dec., 1818, in St. Louis.

Early in 1818 the beginnings of an establishment were made at the Barrens, Perry Co., Missouri, and thither the novitiate was transferred and placed under Father Rosati. In 1820, a small log house twenty-five by eighteen feet was occupied by priests, seminarians, and brothers. In 1820, shortly after writing to Father Rosati of his joy at the near prospect of going to work among the Indians, Father de Andreis died in the odour of sanctity. The process of his beatification has been begun (1910). In a few years a large brick building arose and gradually the splendid group of buildings, church, mother-house of the Lazarists of the West, and apostolic college were added. The early days were full of missionary activity for the new community. They gave the first real impetus to the progress of the Church in Illinois. Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, and Texas were the scenes of missionary journeys. Here and there churches were established but these were generally relinquished, as diocesan priests were found to take them. Father Rosati, who had been appointed superior by Father de Andreis, wrote in 1822: "We are, 19 March, ten priests, three clerics, and six brothers." He refused the post of Vicar Apostolic of Florida and only the peremptory command of the pope made him accept the coadjutorship of New Orleans. Though overburdened with work he continued still to hold the office of superior of the Lazarists until 1830 when Father Tornatore arrived from Rome.

In the year 1835 the province of the United States was formed. Rev. John Timon, born at Conewago, Penn., in 1797, was appointed visitor. He became first Bishop of Buffalo, dying in 1867. With Father Odin, afterwards Archbishop of New Orleans, he had done great work in Texas where the Lazarists succeeded in having the State restore to the Church the property it had taken when Texas separated from Mexico. The parish of La Salle, Illinois, a centre for the missionary labours of the Lazarists, was established in 1838 and they still minister to the faithful there. The same year, 1838, a school was begun at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, by Father Odin where a church had been opened two years before. This was the commencement of St. Vincent's College, Cape Girardeau. In 1893, the theological department of the Cape was transferred to the Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis directed by the Lazarists with Aloysius J. Meyer* as superior. In 1900 a preparatory seminary was added to the theological department in St. Louis. The Seminary of the Assumption of Bayou La Fourche was placed in the hands of the Lazarists by Bishop Blanc. It was destroyed by fire. Rebuilt in New Orleans it was not occupied until the Lazarists opened there the seminary of St. Louis, but the fewness of the candidates for the priesthood did not justify a separate institution and it was closed again in 1907. Since 1849 St. Stephen's Church in New Orleans with its schools, hospitals, and orphan asylum has been cared for by the Lazarists. They also have charge of St. Joseph's, established in 1858 and St. Catherine's, for the coloured people of the whole city.

Between the years 1842 and 1847 the Bishops of Cincinnati, Louisville, Philadelphia, and New York urged the visitor to take charge of their respective seminaries, to which by the advice of his council he consented. These seminaries remained in the charge of the Lazarists for a few years, but most of them were given up owing to the withdrawal of European Lazarists to their own land where religious disturbances had ceased, and the promotion of members to the episcopacy. The New York seminary, after its removal from La Fargeville to Fordham was accepted by the Lazarists at the request of Bishop Hughes. Father Anthony Penco, who was made superior, did not approve of the seminarians teaching in the college, so the community retired from the work. For eleven years the Lazarists had charge of the diocesan seminary at Philadelphia. They had been invited there by Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick. His former professor at the Propaganda, Father Tornatore, presided for a time over the seminary. The community withdrew from the seminary, in 1854, when Father Thaddeus Amat the superior was made Bishop of Monterey, Cal. The College or Seminary of Our Lady of the Angels was founded in 1856 by Rev. John Joseph Lynch, who left it when called to become Bishop and Archbishop of Toronto. It became the Niagara University in 1883. Its deceased presidents have been Rev. John O'Reilly (b. 1802; d. 1862), Rev. Thomas J. Smith, afterwards visitor, Rev. R. E. V. Rice (b. 1837; d. 1878), and Rev. P. V. Kavanaugh (b. 1842; d. 1899). The Immaculate Conception parish in Baltimore was founded by the Rev. Mark Anthony in 1850. He was succeeded by the saintly Father Joseph Giustiniani (b. 1811; d. 1886) who built the present beautiful church and schools. In 1850 the parish at Emmitsburg, Md., was placed in charge of the Lazarists and there resided the Rev. Mariano Maller, first director from St. Vincent's priests of the Sisters of Charity when Mother Seton's Sisters were affiliated to the central house in Paris. Father Maller's successors in the office of director of the Daughters of Charity of the province of the United States were Rev. Francis Burlando (b. 1814; d. 1873), 1853-1873; Rev. Felix Guedry (b. 1833; d. 1893), 1873-1877; Rev. Alexis Mandine (b. 1832; d. 1892), 1877-1892; Rev. Sylvester V. Haire, 1892-1894; Rev. Robert A. Lennon, 1894-1907; Rev. James J. Sullivan, 1907. This province was divided in 1910, Rev. J. J. Sullivan becoming director of the western with headquarters at St. Louis, Mo., and the Rev. John P. Cribbins director of the eastern and residing at Emmitsburg, Md. St. Vincent's Church, Germantown, was established in 1851 by Father Demenec, who was consecrated Bishop of Pittsburg in 1860. The mother-house for the United States was transferred from St. Louis to Germantown in 1868. There magnificent buildings in Chelten Avenue have been erected, including a house of studies, an internal seminary, and an apostolic school, as well as a beautiful church.

Father Philip Borgna laboured in Brooklyn at St. Mary's Church, Williamsburg, during the year 1843-44. A later date, 1868, saw the beginnings of St. John the Baptist's Church and College, the growth of which has been constant. The first president was Father John Theophilus Landry (b. 1839; d. 1899). The diocesan seminary of Brooklyn (1891) has been under the care of the Lazarists since its establishment. In 1865 Los Angeles College was opened. From 1875 in Chicago dates St. Vincent's Church and College, now De Paul University. In 1888 the province of the United States was divided; the western, with the mother-house at the old St. Mary's Seminary, Perryville, Missouri; the eastern retaining as the newer mother-house St. Vincent's Seminary, Germantown. In 1905 Holy Trinity College, with an especially fine equipment for engineering, was built at Dallas, Texas, and St. Thomas' Seminary at Denver, Colorado, in 1907. A mission house was opened at Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1903 and another at Opelika, Alabama, 1910. Mission bands are also stationed at Germantown, Pa., and at Niagara, N. Y., in the East, and at St. Louis and Perryville, Mo., in the West.

Since Father Timon the visitors have been: Rev. Mariano Maller (b. 1817; d. 1892), 1847-1850; Rev. Anthony Penco (b. 1813; d. 1875), 1850-1855; Rev. John Masnou [pro-visitor] (b. 1813; d. 1893), 1855-1856, recalled to Spain and made visitor there; Rev. Stephen V. Ryan (b. 1825; d. 1896), 1857-1867, when he was made Bishop of Buffalo; Rev. John Hayden (b. 1831; d. 1872), 1867-1872; Rev. James Rolando (b. 1816; d. 1883), 1872-1879; Rev. Thomas J. Smith (b. 1832; d. 1905), 1879-1905. In 1888 the Rev. James McGill became head of the eastern province; at his resignation (1909), the Rev. P. McHale became visitor. In the West Father Smith's successors have been Rev. William Barnwell (b. 1862; d. 1906, a few months after his appointment) and the present visitor the Rev. Thomas Finney. The two provinces number over two hundred priests who have charge of six colleges, one preparatory seminary, two apostolic schools for students aspiring to become Lazarists, four theological seminaries, about fifteen churches, and about eighty lay brothers and scholastics. Lazarists from the Polish province have churches for their fellow countrymen, at Conshohocken and Philadelphia, Penn., at Derby and New Haven, Conn., whence also they go to preach Polish missions. The Polish Lazarists are also preparing to build a college at Erie, Penn., 1910. Two Lazarists from Barcelona province in 1908 began work for the Spanish in Philadelphia, where they have a church and conduct night classes, and an employment agency. The establishments of the Lazarists at Ponce and San Juan, Porto Rico, as well as those at Manila, Calbayog, Cebú, Jaro, and Nueva Cáceres in the Philippine Islands may also be mentioned in connexion with the Lazarists of the United States.

Sources

ABELLY,Vie du Vénérable Serviteur du Dieu, Vincent de Paul (Paris, 1664); BOUGAUD, L'Histoire de Saint Vincent de Paul, tr. BRADY (New York, 1899); MAYNARD, Saint Vincent de Paul, new edition, 4 vols.; HELYOT, Histoire des Ordres Religieux et Militaires (8 vols., Paris, 1792); Dictionnaire des Ordres Religieux (3 vols., Paris, 1848); HENRION, Tableau des Congrégations Religieuses (Paris, 1831); PIOLET, Les Missions Catholiques Françaises (Paris, 1874); Annales de la Congrégation de la Mission 1834-1910; there are Italian, German, Spanish, and Polish editions, and an English edition, 1894-1910; Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission; Pologne, Madagascar, Algérie (4 vols., Paris, 1866); FAVIER, Pekin (Peking, 1897); POSSET, Vie de M. Etienne (Paris, 1881); BOYLE, St. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentians in Ireland, Scotland, and England, 1638-1909 (London, 1909); [BURLANDO], Sketches of the Life of Very Reverend Felix de Andreis (Baltimore, 1861; enlarged edition, St. Louis, 1900); RYAN, Early Lazarist Missions and Missionaries (in U. S.), (1887).

A complete bibliography is to be found in theAnnals of the Congregation of the Missions, No. 40 (Emmitsburg, Md., 1903). See also bibliography under SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL

About this page

APA citation. Randolph, B. (1911). Congregation of Priests of the Mission. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10357a.htm

MLA citation. Randolph, Bartholomew. "Congregation of Priests of the Mission." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10357a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by WGKofron. With thanks to Fr. John Hilkert and St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2009 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

CONTACT US