The Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls was founded by Blessed Eugenia Smet, A.P. She was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lille, distinguishing herself by intellectual acquirements and striking traits of devotion to the souls in Purgatory. She went to Paris on 19 January 1856 (the society dates its foundation from this day); three days later, Smet obtained the permission of the local archbishop to establish her congregation in Paris. On 27 December 1857, the foundress, with five of her first companions, pronounced her first religious vows. A Jesuit was appointed chaplain, and composed the rule of the congregation.