The history of the Congregation of the Mission began on April 17, 399 years ago

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Congregation of the Mission, News | 1 comment

On a day providentially appointed, St. Vincent de Paul, with a vision that would transcend his time, signed the contract that would give birth to the Congregation of the Mission.

It was April 17, 1625, a date that would remain engraved in the history of Christian charity. The de Gondi house, located on Rue Payé in Paris, became the scene of a paradigm shift in the care of the most needy.

The de Gondi couple, two notaries and the chaplain gathered shortly after noon. In a ceremony devoid of ostentation but full of meaning, they read and signed a contract that would be the prelude to a monumental work. Vincent, with a firm and determined pen, left his signature on the document, followed by Marguerite de Silly (Mrs. de Gondi), whose name would occupy a central place in the minutes.

This act was not merely administrative; it was the expression of a deep spiritual commitment. The concern for the spiritual abandonment of the inhabitants of the rural districts was palpable. The de Gondis, moved by genuine compassion, aspired to remedy this situation with the creation of an association of priests who would embody doctrine and piety, renouncing urban comforts and ecclesiastical benefits to dedicate themselves body and soul to the salvation of forgotten souls.

The contract outlined a life of community and obedience under the guidance of Vincent de Paul and the superiors who would succeed him. These priests would form a company, congregation or confraternity, known as the priests of the mission, a name that would resonate through the centuries.

Marguerite de Silly, the woman whose support made this dream possible, would not live to see the fruits of her faith and determination. Two months after the signing, she passed away, leaving a legacy that would flourish and spread throughout the world. Her departure was like that of a flower that, having given up all its fragrance, wilts in the promise of new life.

The Congregation of the Mission, from that humble beginning in the de Gondi house, would expand to touch countless lives. St. Vincent’s vision and Marguerite de Silly’s sacrifice would become a source of hope and comfort for the poor, and its influence would be felt in education, health and social welfare down through the centuries. The seed planted that day in Paris would blossom into a global network of charity and service, perpetuating the spirit of its founders and carrying their mission to every corner of the world.

Felipe Andrés Rojas, CM


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