Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland – Sulpician Fathers

Article

Educational. Founded 1642.

The Congregation of the Priests of Saint Sulpice was founded by M. Olier, who was born in Paris in 1608. From his tenderest years he showed signs of piety; after he had finished his studies he visited Rome, where he was seized with violent inflammation of the eyes, which was miraculously cured by a pilgrimage to Loretto. On his return to Paris he first joined the missionary priests, whom Saint Vincent de Paul was instructing at Saint Lazare. He was so zealous that he used to stop in the streets of Paris to instruct the beggars, and would take them home with him, and teach them to make a general confession.

After he was ordained he made with some friends, a journey through Auvergne, Velay, and Brittany, holding missions, instructing the people, hearing general confessions, visiting the hospitals, and giving retreats to priests.

He refused the office of Bishop-coadjutor of Châlons-sur-Marne offered him by the King, and resolved to found a seminary to prepare young clerics for Holy Orders and for ecclesiastical functions. He tried at first to establish this institution at Chartres, but it failed there, as no one would support it; but by the advice of a friend he renewed the attempt at Paris in 1642, and there it succeeded. He hired a house at Vaugirard, near Paris, and received in a short time a considerable number of persons to be trained by him and his assistants for the priesthood and the cur6 of Saint Sulpice. Resigning his cure shortly afterwards, M. Olier took charge of the parish, which he set himself to reform, as it was one of the wickedest parts of Paris; and, convinced that one of the sources of the evil was the custom of the priests of making their parishioners pay for the Sacraments, he decided that he and his associates should charge nothing for administering the Viaticum, and should refuse any fee for the Sacrament of penance. The other revenues from the parish were to be put into the common fund, and each member should content himself with having food and clothing provided.

M. Olier continued to work in Saint Sulpice until his death in 1657, when he had established similar seminaries at Nantes, Viviers, and Puy. After his death his institution continued to spread, and established itself in Canada also.

Until recently the Superior-General resided at Paris, at the mother-house in the Place Saint Sulpice, and every year on a certain day, after Mass, all the seminarists, each according to his rank, approach the altar, and kneeling before the Bishop or Archbishop, who on this day says Mass for them, they renew the promises they have made to God, and pronounce these words: “Dominuspars haereditatis meae, et Calicis mei, tu es qui restitues haereditatem meam mihi.”

MLA Citation

  • Francesca M Steele. “Sulpician Fathers”. Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 December 2018. Web. 15 December 2018. <>