VATICAN CITY, JULY 16, 2006 (ZENIT.org).- Here is the description of the St. Francis de Sales Association, which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
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Official Name: St. Francis de Sales Association
Also known as: Lay branch of the Society of the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales
History: The origins of the association date back to 1872 when Abbé Henri Chaumont and Caroline Colchen Carre 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 recognized 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 May 22, 1994, the Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a decree recognizing the Association Saint Francis de Sales as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
Identity: The association is a spiritual family created to pursue the personal holiness of its members, called to evangelize 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 program 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.
Organization: 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 evangelization work, the association is assisted by sensitization 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.
Membership: 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.
Publications: Le lien salesien is published every two months in French, English, Polish and German; Ecos is published quarterly in Spanish.
Web site: http://www.desalesassociation.org
Association Saint Francois de Sales
57-59, rue Leon Frot – 75011 Paris – France
Tel. [+33]1.43676060 – Fax 1.43704473
© Copyright 2006 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]