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MISSIONS


393


MISSIONS


anzus and of Nyssa), Basil, and Chrysostom, Am- brose, Leo, Augustine, and Gregory the Great making special efforts on special occasions to strengthen faith and foster piety by extraordinary series of instruc- tions, exhortations, and devotions. The good work of the wandering Celtic missionaries in the sixth and seventh centuries — e. g., Sts. Columbanus, Gall, Ki- lian, Fridolin — nmy also be taken as, in some sense, an early ty]3e of the popular mission. Sts. Bernard, Peter Damian, Peter the Hermit , and the other great preach- ers of the Crusades were eminent popular mission- aries, and their appeals to the Christian zeal of Europe were splendid instances of popular missions adapted to the conditions of the age. With the rise of the mendicant orders began a new era in the history of missionary endeavour. The Dominicans and Fran- ciscans were popular missionaries in the truest sense of the word. They went from town to town preaching to the people everywhere, in the public places as well as in the churches. They preached chiefly to the masses, the poor people, using simple, unadorned lan- guage. As a consequence, the people followed them in crowds, drawn by their simple eloquence. Their strict rule of life and renunciation exercised during the Middle Ages a most salutary social influence over the enslaved and imprivileged classes of the population. In the fourteenth century we have the eminent Do- minican preachers, Tauler and Henry Suso; in the fif- teenth, St. Vincent Ferrer and Savonarola; in the six- teenth, Louis of Granada. The acme of Franciscan preaching was reached by the Observants in the fif- teenth century, especially in Italy and Germany. Famous popular missionaries of the Franciscan Order were Sts. Bemardine of Siena, John Capistran, and Peter of .Alcantara. By the middle of the sixteenth cen- tury the Society of Jesus took up this work. St. Igna- tius comljatted" chiefly the errors of the Reformers. In 1592 the Yen. Cesar de Bus (q. v.) founded the " Pre- tres seculiers de la doctrine cliretienne", a congrega- tion devoting itself entirely to the work of catechiz- ing and preaching the Christian doctrine.

All these saints, religious institutes, and preachers may be said to have represented the work of popular missions in its rudimentary form. That work was not reduced to a system until the foundation of the Con- gregation of Priests of the Mission early in the seven- teenth century by St. Vincent de Paul. The circum- stances which led to St. Vincent's taking up this work, together with a full account of his institute (com- monly called the Lazarists) and its methods, will be found under Missions, Congreg.\tion of Prie.st.s of THE. The holy enterprise of St. Vincent de Paul had France for its birthplace; in Italy, a century later (1732), St. Alphonsus founded his congregation (see Redei^mer, Congreg.^tion op the Most Holv). Their primary occupation is the apostolic ministry in the preaching of missions and retreats to all classes of Catholics, but especially to the most neglected. The congregation spread rapidly throughout Europe. About one hundred years later Venerable Ciaspar Bufalo (d. 1837) founded in Rome the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood (see Precious Blood, Congregation of the Mo.st), to devote itself exclu- sively to parochial mission work. The causes which have led to the rapid diffusion of this newly organized mission work in the last three centuries are not far to seek. Owing to the changed conditions, intellectual, social, as well as religious, the older style of popular preaching had become inadequate to the exigencies of the age. The increasing number of sects with itiner- ant representatives, and a corresponding spread of religious indifference, called for specially organized effort on the part of the Church.

The work, once begun, was soon taken up by other orders whose primary end was different. Notable among these were the Jesuits, who were the foremost labourers in the field, the Dominicans, Franciscans,


Capuchins. The apostolic labours of these missionaries were everywhere blessed with remarkable success. In France, tlie birthplace of popular missions , the Lazarists and the Jesuits were the pioneers of a missionary activ- ity which stirred up the faithful to greater zeal and de- votion in every part of the country. Other orders and congregations gradually came to their assistance, and, though there was a slight falling off in this respect dur- ing the period of the French Revolution, yet, in the reign of Napoleon I, the emperor himself arranged for missions in the dioceses of Troyes, Poitiers, La Ro- chelle, and Metz, to be conducted at the expense of the Government. After the Restoration in 1815, a new impetus was given to missionary work by the Abl36 Forliin-Janson, who, with his friend the Abb^ de Rauzan, founded the MLssionaires de France, and by Charles de Mazenod, who founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, at Mar.seilles, in 1S15. In Germany paro- chial missions had been given sporadically, chiefly by the Jesuits and the Redemptorists, before 1848; after that date they became more general. The bish- ops everywhere encouraged and urged them. The Cardinal Archbi-shop of Mechlin, in 1843, maintained that the people of every parish are entitled, at least ex caritate, to have the benefit of a mission. During this period the Cierman Church could pride itself on many eminent missionaries — Redemptorists, Jesuits, Do- minicans, Franciscans — who devoted themselves en- tirelj' to popular mission work: the names of Fathers Roll. Klinkiiof.strom, Pottgieser, and others are still held in benediction. On the expulsion of the Jesuits, Redemptorists and other orders from the German Empire, in 1872, there was a short, interruption, but the work was soon taken up and carried on with the richest results by the congregations which had been permitted to remain. The Redemptorists, on their return in 1894, entered the field with renewed vigour.

In Italy systematic mission work was introduced by the Lazarists during the lifetime of their founder. With the rise of the Redemptorists, the Passionists, the Fathers of the Precious Blood, and several other congregations, the work spread rapidly over the entire peninsula, and, in spite of the disturliances of the nineteenth century, popular missions have flourished there. In Austria they developed during the reign of Maria Theresa, but under her successor, Joseph II, missions were to a great extent prohiliited, and mis- sionaries banished. The Redemptorists were recalled, but could labour only on condition of submitting to official persecution. It was only after the Revolution of 1848 had spent itself that the Redemptorists, Jes- uits, Capuchins, and Franciscans could carry on the work of missions unmolested, es]>ecially in Bohemia and the Tyrol, in Westphalia. Bavaria, and Wiirtem- berg. On the expulsion of tlie Jesuits and Redemp- torists, missions were again prohiliited. Later, how- ever, Capuchins and Franciscans took up the work, and diocesan priests also entered the field as mission- aries and directors of retreats. In 1786, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, second founder of the Redemptorists, with his friend Thadaus Hubl, founded a house of the congregation in Warsaw, where King Stanislaus Poni- atowski placed the German national church of St. Benno at their disposal. The labours of St. Clement and his companions at Warsaw from 1786 to 1808 were crowned with extraordinary success.

After the death of St. Alphonsus, his mis.sionaries evangelized the deserted Catholics in the Russian Prov- inces of Courland and Livonia, on the invitation of Monsignor Saluzzo, Apostolic Nuncio in Poland. In Belgium and in Holland the missionary spirit has, with one or two slight interruptions, always been active. The Lazarists lalioured in Great Britain as early as 1640, and until the penal laws made organized mission work impossible. It was not until about 1850 that the work was effectii/ely begun in that country. In Ireland, missions were recommended by national and