Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family: Why the Conferences Are Called “Conferences”?

by | Sep 16, 2023 | Formation

From the Conferences of History (a weekly meeting of young students at Mr. Bailly’s), a group of six young people, under the protection of Emmanuel Bailly*, decides to take action to help the poor.

At the end of one of their first meetings, the question of naming the group arose, and the name “Conference of Charity” was proposed. “Conference” is said to have arisen out of the Conference of History, but not everyone found the name appropriate: some people thought better to call them “meetings.”

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It is in a Manual of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, in 1845, where the drawbacks are pointed out. They said it would be “a very bad interpretation if it said its purpose was to give speeches on charity or to chat on improvements to be made on the fate of the poor classes.”

Author: Juan Manuel Gómez,
vice president, SSVP in Spain

About Emmanuel Bailly

E.J. baillyJoseph Emmanuel Bailly (1794-1861) was born on May 9, 1794 in Bryas (Pas-de-Calais). He came from an artisan family.

The Bailly family had a very close relationship with the spiritual descendants of St. Vincent de Paul. The father of Emmanuel kept, during the Great Revolution, the writings of St. Vincent. His relics were kept by Mrs. Bailly, from 1831 to 1834. Joseph Bailly, Emmanuel’s brother, was a member of the Congregation of the Mission.

Emmanuel founded in the time of the Restoration, the Société des Bonnes Études (where young people, who cared to associate their religious training with student works, met), from which it was born, from 1830, the Conference of History ( to which Ozanam was a member).

Mrs. Bailly was, at the same time, the starting point and the man who contributed most to the founding of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Later, when the first cell spread, chaired the first Council meeting and was the first General President of the Society, until 1844.

He directs the Tribune catholique (1832), which merged in 1834 with the Abbe Migne’s magazine l’Univers religieux. That was also the origin of l’Univers, which Bailly was one of the principal drafters, until he was succeeded by Louis Veuillot in 1842.

Married in 1830 with Apolline Vrayet de Surcy, the couple had six children, of whom several entered religion. The best known are undoubtedly Fr. Emmanuel and Fr. Vincent de Paul Bailly. These are among the first members of the new Father d’Alzon’s Congregation of the Augustinians of the Assumption, that played a prominent role in the defense of the Church during the nineteenth century. Frs. Emmanuel and Vincent de Paul Bailly, along with Fr. Picard, are at the origin of the most important asuncionistas works: Le Pélerin, La Croix, Le Comité Justice-Egalité, l’Œuvre des Pèlerinages.

In 1844, Bailly, aged, sick, victim of the worst financial difficulties and forced to liquidate all his business, resigned as General President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He was replaced by Mr. Jules Gossin, who accepted the position of President, begging Mr. Bailly to remain part of the General Council.

During his last years, Bailly was forced to a full retirement until his death in Paris, on April 12, 1861.

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    Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family



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