The Australian CM site has recently posted two reflections by Tim Williams CM on the little appreciated role of Madame de Gondi in the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission.
On January 25, 1617, Vincent de Paul gave his famous mission sermon in the Church at Folleville in Northern France. This sermon was delivered after an experience with a dying man at Gannes, a few leagues from Folleville, while Vincent was engaged in ministry on the estates of Mme de Gondi (see Gondi Family). Vincent became aware of the need for missions to the country people of the area, but found it difficult to find clergy willing to take up this work. At the urging of Mme de Gondi, Vincent agreed to take on the work himself, and the work was based at the Collège des Bons Enfants in Paris. Vincent himself regarded January 25, 1617, the day of his mission sermon at Folleville, as the beginning of the Congregation of the Misson, and the CMs celebrate January 25 as their Foundation Day. However, it was not till April 17, 1625, that the contract of foundation of the Congregation of the Mission was signed by Vincent, Mme de Gondi, and her husband Philippe-Emmanuel de Gondi. This was the formal beginning of the Congregation of the Mission. MORE DETAILS
April 17, 1625, the legal contract for the setting up of the Congregation of the Mission was signed in Paris. The chief instigator of bringing about this event, Marguérite de Silly (Madame de Gondi). is not always given credit for her concern for the rural poor of Vincent de Paul’s time. In a brief article, Tim Williams CM reflects on Madame de Gondi’s role as Co-foundress of the Congregation of the Mission, and regrets the uneveness with which we sometimes recognize different people’s contributions and giftedness.