About the Office

The Society was the idea of a French teenager, daughter of a silk merchant, named Pauline-Marie Jaricot (1799-1862), to support missionaries. What we know as the Society for the Propagation of the Faith began as a group of factory workers who prayed the rosary and donated a few cents each week. Pauline, then 17, had a dream which showed her twin lamps; one lamp was drained of oil, the other was overflowing and bright. To her, the empty lamp represented the lack of faith in her native France; the overflowing lamp was the shining faith of new Christians in mission lands. Her vocation was found! She would support missionaries with prayer and donations; by doing so would revive the faith of the people of her beloved homeland.

The Society grew and its headquarters eventually moved to Rome where it was made a Pontifical Society, under the auspices of the Bishop of Rome. Today, the Pontifical Mission Societies, consisting of the Propagation of the Faith, Mission Childhood Association, which attempts to animate young people to support their mission land counterparts, the Society of St. Peter, Apostle, which supports seminarians, religious novices and catechists worldwide and the Missionary Union of Clergy and Religious, formed to “animate the animators” is the principal institution of the Universal Church in supporting missionary activity. The diocesan office of the Pontifical Mission Societies is located at 310 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn.