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The Congregation of Jesus and Mary (CJM; Official Catholic Directory #0450), whose members are known as Eudists, is a small society of priests founded in France by St. John eudes in the 17th century. It is engaged mainly in the training of diocesan clergy and education.

Origin and Development. When the founder initiated the society in 1643, his aim was twofold: to provide seminaries for the formation of clergy according to the decrees of the Council of Trent and to preach parochial missions. The establishment of a seminary in Caen, Normandy, was the immediate reason for the birth of the new society; for Eudes, at that time an oratorian, had not been able to persuade his superiors to start this seminary, then badly needed in that province. Soon other bishops of Normandy and Brittany asked him to establish similar foundations: Coutances (1650), Lisieux (1653), Rouen (1658), Évreux (1667), and Rennes (1670). At the same time Eudes and his confreres carried on their work of preaching parochial missions in towns and villages all over France. After the death of Eudes (1680) and under the rule of his first three successorsJean Jacques Blouet de Camilly (1680 to 1711), Guy de Fontaines de Neuilly (1711 to 1727), and Pierre Cousin (1727 to 1751)the society took charge of seven other seminaries in France. After that the number of houses remained practically unchanged under the government of the next four superiorsJean Prosper Auvray de Saint-André (1751 to1770), Michel Lefèvre (1770 to 1775), Pierre Le Coq (1775 to 1777), and Pierre Dumont (1777 to 1790).

When the congregation was dissolved in 1790 by the French Revolution, its membership stood at about 100 priests and a few lay brothers. They had charge of the 13 seminaries mentioned above, and in addition, three minor seminaries. The latter were special establishments where seminarians who could not pay for their tuition and support received a combination of classical education and theological instruction. The Eudists also had four colleges of the humanities at Lisieux (1653), Avranches (1693), Domfront (1727), and Valognes (1729); three parishes; and two residence houses, principally for their mission preachers.

One of the main services rendered by the congregation to the Church in France during the 17th century was the strong stand it took against Jansenism; because of this, the clergy in Normandy remained in greater part preserved from the heresy. The traditional devotion of the Eudists to the Holy See caused them to refuse generally to take the schismatic oath imposed upon the French clergy by the Constituent Assembly. Three who were martyred during the massacres of Sept. 2 and 3, 1792, were François Lefranc, famous for his book indicting Masonic plots; Claude Pottier; and François Hébert. Four other Eudists also gave their lives during the persecution.

19th- and 20th-Century Revival. After the Revolution the society was revived in 1826 when Louis Blanchard, former superior of the seminary in Rennes, convened the surviving Eudists and was elected superior general. He died soon afterward (1830); and his successor, Jérôme Louis de la Morinière (1830 to 1849), was able to increase the number of members only to about 40. Upon the request of his friend Bishop Simon brutÉ, he sent a few priests to start an establishment in Vincennes, Indiana, but this venture was short-lived. Under Louis Gaudaire (1849 to 1870) the congregation slowly consolidated itself, while remaining centered mainly in Brittany.

New vitality was realized through the leadership of Ange Le Doré, who ruled the society for nearly half a century (1870 to 1916) and whose influence was felt in the general affairs of the Church in France during the struggles with the anticlerical Third Republic. The three seminaries he founded in Mexico were later wiped out by the revolution in that country, but he successfully planted his congregation in Colombia (1883) and in Canada (1890). When he died, the Eudists numbered 270, as against 85 in 1870. Another achievement of Le Doré was the rediscovery of the personality and works of John Eudes, through historical research and the publication of his forgotten spiritual writings. Albert Lucas (1916 to1930) strove to repair the losses inflicted by World War I; he also revised the constitutions in accord with the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

The congregation remains dedicated chiefly to work in seminaries and education. Like the Oratorians and Sulpicians, the Eudists do not take religious vows and have no special habit distinguishing them from the diocesan clergy.

The generalate is located in Rome; the North American provincialate in Quebec, Canada; and the United States regional headquarters in Seneca, New York.

Bibliography: e. georges, La Congrégation de Jésus et Marie, dite des Eudistes (Paris 1933). g. de la cotardiere, La Congrégation de Jésus et Marie, Eudistes au Canada, 18901940 (Besançon 1946). l. samson, Les Eudistes en Amérique du Sud, 18831926, 3 v. (Paris 194955). c. berthelot du chesnay, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 15:133135.

[g. de bertier de sauvigny/eds.]