Year of Consecrated Life 2015 ? The Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice: A ministry of priestly formation

Ronald D. Witherup PSS

The Year of Consecrated Life began in November 2014. This article looks at the history and contemporary situation of the Sulpicians. Ronald D. Witherup PSS is Superior General of the Society of Saint Sulpice.

Mention the ?Sulpicians? to many Catholics and the response will likely be a blank stare. Who are the Sulpicians? Even among devoted Catholics in countries where we Sulpicians have ministered for decades, we are not particularly well known. This is likely owing to our small numbers and our narrowly focused ministry, initial and ongoing formation of priests.

Origins
Unlike many religious congregations, we Sulpicians do not derive our name from our founder but from a church, which today sits in the heart of Paris, France: l??glise de Saint-Sulpice. Anyone who has read Dan Brown?s phenomenal best-seller, The Da Vinci Code, may recall that the church of Saint Sulpice featured prominently in that murder mystery. The book, unfortunately, abounds in inaccurate information, so it is not a reliable guide to the church or the Sulpicians.

In 1641, the pastor of the parish of Saint Sulpice, Father Jean-Jacques Olier (1608-1657), had the vision of reforming the church by beginning with the education and formation of its clergy.

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