Bishop and proponent of a central missionary seminary in Rome; b. Lille, June 24, 1527; d. Tournai, Oct. 15, 1592. After beginning the study of law at Paris, he received his doctorate at Louvain in 1553 and then became professor of canon law in the University of Douai. While still a layman, he journeyed to Rome in 1567 with his friend William allen, an English priest who later became a cardinal. There he presented to Pius V memoranda proposing a missionary congregation and a seminary for the training of missionaries among non-Christians. Although unsuccessful in this petition, upon his return he gave considerable financial assistance to Allen in founding the famous English college at Douai, which trained priests for work in England under Elizabeth I. After the death of his wife, Vendville was ordained in the winter of 1580–81 and was made bishop of Tournai in 1588. In 1578 he put before Gregory XIII a concrete plan for a general Roman college for the propagation of the faith. Even though this Pope was zealous in establishing national seminaries in Rome, he did not act on the proposal of Vendville, who presented a similar petition to Sixtus V on his ad limina visit in 1589 and again to Clement VIII. The deaths of these popes and the difficulties of the times prevented its realization. Although Vendville did not live to see it, his hopes were fulfilled by Urban VIII, who founded the College of the Propaganda in 1627 to train for the secular priesthood candidates from all nations who wished to dedicate themselves to the propagation and defense of the faith anywhere in the world. The memorandum presented by Vendville to the popes was published (1870) at Tournai by Prof. M. Reusens under the title La première idée du Collège de la Propagande, ou mémoire présenté en 1589 par Jean Vendville, évêque de Tournai, au souverain pontife Sixte V.
Bibliography: v. a. von dessel, Bibliotheca Belgica (Brussels 1739) 744. r. streit and j. dindinger, Bibliotheca missionum 180, 1428. g. goyau, L'Église en marche, 4 v. (Paris 1930–34) 1:55–82. A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present time 1:14–20.
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