Our story begins in France in the early 19th century. Pauline Marie Jaricot, inspired by letters about the Missions from her brother, Phileas, starts gathering together small groups – mostly workers in her family’s silk factory. She asked each member of the group to offer daily prayer and a weekly sacrifice of a sous (the equivalent of a penny at that time) for the Church’s worldwide missionary work. Pauline insisted that her efforts be directed to all the Church’s missions, that it be universal.
From Pauline’s vision came the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. The very first collection of the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 supported the vast diocese of Louisiana, which then extended from the Florida Keys to Canada, as well as the missions of Kentucky and China.
The Propagation of the Faith continues to seek prayer and sacrifice for the world’s missions, now some 1,100 dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America.
It offers support for pastoral and evangelizing programs, catechists and catechetical work, building new churches, health care, education, communication and transportation needs.