Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement

Catholic secret society combining the characteristics of a pious confraternity, a charitable society, and a militant association for the defense of the church, founded at the Convent of the Capuchins in the Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris, 1630, by Henri de Levis, Duc de Ventadour, Henri de Pichery. Jacques Adhemar de Monteil de Grignan, and the Capuchin, Philippe d' Angoumois. It numbered among its members some of the most celebrated Catholics of the 17th century but was never formally recognized by Rome. It was governed by a board of nine members which was changed every three months and which was administered by a superior, usually a layman, and a spiritual director. Meetings were held weekly. The society aimed to correct abuses among the clergy and in the monasteries; to aid country parishes; the poor in hospitals, galleys and prisons; and to establish foreign missions. Through its efforts the General Hospital and the Seminary of Foreign Missions were established. Fifty important branches were maintained outside Paris, but in 1660 the membership began to decline and after the act passed by Parliament forbidding all illicit assemblies, congregations, and communities which was directed at it, it ceased to exist about the year 1665.

New Catholic Dictionary

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