Actes Gouv Francais

The volume entitled Actes du Gouvernement Français Concernant la Congrégation de la Mission Dite de Saint-Lazare. 3rd ed. (Paris, 1902) supersedes two previous collections of documents. The first was entitled simply Pièces Justificatives (Paris, c. 1863), 40 pp. The second was more complete, and bore the title Archives (Lettres patentes, décrets, arrêts et pièces justificatives), (Paris, 1876), 107 pp.

The purpose of these important volumes was to present the acts or official papers of the French government concerning the Congregation of the Mission. The work is divided into two parts, (1) from 1625 to the French Revolution, (2) from the Revolution until the end of the nineteenth century. The preamble to the first part discusses the legal situation in France of the Congregation of the Mission. The documents in the first part are arranged into three sections: (a) documents reproduced in full text, concerning in general Bons-Enfants and Saint-Lazare in Paris; (b) a listing of other establishments in France authorized by the state, and arranged chronologically; (c) documents cited in full concerning foreign missions.

An appendix contains other documents of a less official nature dealing with the Congregation, along with some documents discovered too late to be printed in the first part of the volume. The sources for these documents are the Archives nationales, or the Archives de la Mission, both in Paris. For researchers, among the most interesting part of the volume are the extensive notes that accompany many of the documents. These notes situate the document in its history and explain some of the references.

The volume has a table of contents (at the end), an index, and a list of errata, which have been corrected in the text, often set out in square brackets. The pages numbers of the original are also set out in square brackets in green type, to facilitate citation. Regrettably, this volume was not continued after 1902. The official documents dating after 1902 are found principally in the Archives of the General Curia, Rome.

John E. Rybolt, C.M. December 2008

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