The Petites Annales de St. Vincent de Paul was the work of Fernand Portal, C.M. (1855-1926). His purpose, as outlined in the first number was to make Saint Vincent de Paul better known. As it happened, Portal also had a major interest in the social character of the work of the founder, and the articles in this journal represented this perspective.
This publication began as Bulletin de Saint Vincent de Paul, but after five issues, it changed its name to Petites Annales de St. Vincent de Paul. The reason was to avoid any confusion with the Bulletin of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, as requested by its editor.
Portal’s journal was published monthly and regularly, from 1900 through 1903. Its headquarters were at Portal’s work, the Séminaire Saint Vincent de Paul on rue du Cherche-Midi, Paris. With the advent of the twentieth century and the growth of new knowledge, Portal felt obliged to offer the students under his direction a rich mixture of experiences, including ecumenical contacts with Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and Jews. Portal became known in later life as a pioneer in ecumenism.
For reasons not completely clear, he also published a supplement to each issue, with its own separate pagination, but the focus of the main journal and its supplement is difficult to ascertain.
The issues often had photos or drawings to illustrate the text.
A table of contents concluded each volume, but there is no other index. The digitized issues are searchable, however.
The final issues of 1903 showed no inkling that they would be the last to be published. The reason here was doubtless the virtual suppression of the Congregation of the Mission in France by the French government at that time. As a result, the Congregation was limited to a single house in France, and its works were reduced to the minimum.
John E. Rybolt, C.M.
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