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Christian Mothers, Archconfraternity of


Originated in various parts of France, especially in Lille, when mothers began to gather to pray with and for one another and for their children, to discuss their problems, and to advise one another regarding the Christian rearing of their children. The movement gradually solidified, and on May 1, 1850, the first conference of Christian Mothers was held in Lille, under the leadership of Louise Josson de Bilhem, a court official. After the mothers received episcopal recognition for their growing organization, the society grew rapidly throughout France and neighboring countries. By 1963 there were six archconfraternities: Notre Dame de Sion Chapel, Paris (1850); San Agostino, Rome (1863); Church of St. Giles, Regensburg (1871); Church of St. Augustine (now known as Our Lady of the Angels), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(1881); Church of St. Barbara, Cracow (1913); Abbatial Church of the Order of St. Benedict, Einsiedeln, Switzerland (1944).

The society was introduced into the United States by the Capuchin Friars and on Jan. 16, 1881, the Confraternity of Christian Mothers of St. Augustine Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was raised to the rank of an archconfraternity with the right of affiliating other confraternities wherever the ordinary approved. Since 1881 some 3,500 confraternities have been affiliated with the Pittsburgh archconfraternity.

Bibliography: e. quinn, Archconfraternities, Archsodalities and Primary Unions with a Supplement on the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers (Catholic University of America CLS 421; Washington 1962).

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