St Francis de Sales Association
ALSO KNOWN AS
Lay branch of the Society of the Daughters of St Francis de Sales
The origins of the Association date back to 1872 when Abbé Henri Chaumont and Caroline Colchen Carré de Malberg set up a group in Paris for members of the laity living in the world, called the Missionary Catechists of Mary Immaculate, which was canonically established in the Archdiocese of Paris in 1891. In 1911 the Holy See approved the Society of the Daughters of St Francis de Sales. In 1954 the Catechists adopted the name of Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, and in 1968 they were recognised as a religious congregation within the Society of the Daughters of St Francis de Sales and united with the Lay branch (the St Francis de Sales Association) by a common body, the Superior Council. On 22 May 1994 the Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a decree recognising the Association Saint François de Sales as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
The Association is a spiritual family created to pursue the personal holiness of its members, called to evangelise their own environments according to the spirituality of St Francis de Sales and with a particular devotion to the Holy Spirit and our Lady. The formation programme followed by the associates, which is based on the methodology of a probationary period, lasts for two years and ends with consecration without vows, the renewal of the baptismal promises and pledging allegiance to the Most Holy Trinity and to Mary. Each associate is left free to undertake other ecclesial commitments.
The Association is headed by a General Council headed by a General Director, and is divided into regions corresponding to geographic zones, which themselves are subdivided into groups. The regions and groups are headed by Regional Directors and Group Directors. In its evangelisation work, the Association is assisted by sensitisation and reflection groups such as "St Francis de Sales Meetings", gatherings approved by the Bishop of Versailles, and "Salesian Thought Groups" headed by consecrated members, and "Salesian Friendships" for single people. After the admission of men in 1968, on an experimental basis, an autonomous male branch was created.
The Association has 3,029 members in 19 countries as follows: Africa (5), Asia (1), Europe (7), North America (3), and South America (3). There are 105 male associates.
Le lien salésien is published every two months in French, English, Polish and German; Ecos is published quarterly in Spanish.
Association Saint François de Sales
57-59, rue Léon Frot - 75011 Paris - France
Tel. [+33]1.43676060 - Fax 1.43704473