From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Paulists, or Paulines, is the name used for several Roman Catholic Orders and Congregations taken in honour and under the patronage of Saint Paul of Thebes the First Hermit. From the time that the abode and virtues of Saint Paul were revealed to Saint Antony the Abbot, various communities of hermits adopted him as their patron saint.

Male congregations[edit]

The Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit[edit]

Hermits of Saint Paul of France[edit]

Also called Brothers of Death. There is much discussion as to the origin of this congregation, but it was probably founded about 1620 by Guillaume Callier, whose constitutions for it were approved by Pope Paul V (18 December 1620) and later by king Louis XIII of France (May, 1621).

There were two classes of monasteries, those in the cities, obliged to maintain at least twelve members, who visited the poor, the sick, and prisoners, attended those condemned to death, and buried the dead; and the houses outside the city, with which were connected separate cells in which solitaries lived, the whole community assembling weekly for choir and monthly in chapter to confess their sins. Severe fasts and disciplines were prescribed. The name Brothers of Death originated from the fact that the thought of death was constantly before the religious. At their profession the prayers for the dead were recited; their scapular bore the skull; their salutation was Memento mori 'remember you're to die'; the death's head was set before them at table and in their cells. This congregation was suppressed by Urban VIII in 1633.

Hermits of Saint Paul of Portugal[edit]

Among the conflicting accounts of the foundation of this congregation, the most credible seems to be that it was established about 1420 by Mendo Gomez, a nobleman of Simbria, who resigned dearly bought military laurels to retire to a solitude near Setúbal, where he built an oratory and gave himself up to prayer and penance, gradually assuming the leadership of a number of other hermits in the vicinity.

Later a community of hermits of the Sierra de Ossa, the date of whose foundation is also in dispute, being left without a superior, prevailed on Mendo Gomez to unite the two communities, under the patronage of St. Paul, first hermit.

At the chapter held after the death of the founder (24 January 1481), constitutions were drawn up, which at a later date were approved, with some alterations, by Gregory XIII in 1578, at the request of Cardinal Henry of Portugal, who also obtained for the congregation the privilege of adopting the Rule of St. Augustine.

This congregation was later suppressed. Probably the most celebrated member was Antonius a Matre Dei, author of Apis Libani, a commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon.

Hermits of Saint Paul of Poland[edit]

This monastic Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit was founded in 1215 in Hungary. The founder was Blessed Eusebius of Esztergom, who united the hermits of Hungary in monasteries under the patronage of Saint Paul the Hermit.

The Order spread throughout Hungary and then into Croatia, Germany, Poland, Austria and Bohemia. At one time there were over 5000 Pauline monks in Hungary alone.

A significant event in the Order's history took place in 1382 when they became the custodians of the miraculous picture of The Black Madonna, believed to be painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. Legend says the Icon was brought to Poland by Prince Ladislaus from a castle at Beiz, Russia. He invited the monks to come from Hungary into Poland to safeguard the holy picture. The monks established a Shrine for the venerable image of the Blessed Mother in the small town of Częstochowa. Today this Shrine is the Motherhouse of the Order, and is also the largest monastery, with over 100 monks of the order. There are less than 500 members of the Order throughout the world.

Most of the Order's monasteries are located in Poland. The Order has monasteries and shrines in Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Italy, United States of America, and South Africa.[1]

Female congregations[edit]

Blind Sisters of Saint Paul[edit]

Founded at Paris in 1852, by Abel-François Villemain (d. 1870),[2] Anne Bergunion (d. 1863), and the Abbé Jugé, to enable blind women to lead a religious life, and to facilitate the training of blind children in useful occupations. A home was established for blind women and girls with defective sight.

Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres[edit]

Cathedral at Chartres

Formerly known as "Daughters of the School." In 1696, the congregation was founded by Fr. Louis Chauvet, parish priest of Levesville-la-Chenard, a little village in the region of Beauce, some 60 miles southeast of Paris.

Marie Anne de Tilly, a member of the first community of three Sisters, prepared her young companions for their mission: to instruct the daughters of the farm laborers, to teach the poor ignorant girls of the village, to visit the poor and the sick in their hamlets, to serve in the hospices in small communities of two or three sisters. As early as 1708, Father Chauvet had entrusted the growing community of the School Sisters to Msgr. Paul Godet des Marais, Bishop of Chartres, who provided them a house in the St. Maurice suburbs, an ecclesiastical superior in the person of Father Marechaux, and a name, that of the Apostle Paul who was to be their patron and model. From the time of its birth, one foundation followed another in rapid succession. One of their houses in Chartres, formerly belonged to a sabot-maker, and this gave them the name of "Les Soeurs Sabotiers", by which they were originally known. They devote themselves to teaching, nursing, visiting the poor, and taking care of orphans, the old and infirm, and the insane.

There are no lay-sisters, but every sister must be prepared to undertake any kind of work. The interior spirit is a love of sacrifice and labor for the spiritual and temporal good of others. The postulancy lasts from six to nine months, the novitiate two years, after which the sisters take vows annually for five years, and then perpetual vows.

The congregation was dispersed under the Commune at the French Revolution, but it was restored by Napoleon I, who gave the sisters a monastery at Chartres, which originally belonged to the Jacobins, from which they became known as "Les Soeurs de St. Jacques".

After its revival the congregation soon numbered 1200 sisters and over 100 houses in England, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Korea, China, Japan, Further India, the Philippines, etc. In China, a novitiate has been established for native subjects; and in Hong Kong, a school for European children, besides various benevolent institutions. In the Philippines, schools, hospitals, pastoral centers including and a leper hospital, and a formation house for candidates wishing to belong to the Congregation.

They settled in England in 1847 at the invitation of Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman. In 1907, they had fifty-six houses in various towns; their work in England was mainly educational, schools being attached to all their houses. Until 1902, they had over two hundred and fifty houses in France where, besides various kinds of schools, they undertook asylums for the blind, the aged, and the insane, hospitals, dispensaries, and crèches. After then, more than one hundred and sixty of these schools were closed because of the laicist policy of the Waldeck-Rousseau government and succeeding governments in France, as were thirty of the hospitals, military and civil, in the French colonies, three convents at Blois and a hospice at Brie. On the other hand, they opened five or six hospitals in the French colonies, six hospitals and 39 schools in the Philippines, and three educational houses and Saint Louis Hospital in Thailand.

Guided by the motto of the congregation, Caritas Christi Urget Nos (The Charity of Christ Urges Us), at present, there are about 4000 Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres in 34 countries all over the world.[3][4]


  1. ^ Compiled by Fr. Andrew Joachim Dembicki, OSPPE (1999). "Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit "The Pauline Fathers"". "Penrose Park" NSW Australia. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  2. ^ Gino Todisco (1983), Note e ricerce su Abel-François Villemain, Cassino, Frosinone: S. Benedetto.
  3. ^ "The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres". Retrieved 2015-01-25.
  4. ^

Further reading[edit]

Gino Todisco (1983), Note e ricerche su Abel-François Villemain, Cassino, Frosinone: S. Benedetto.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Paulists". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.