Presenter Information

John E. Rybolt C.M., Ph.D.


After the general assembly of 1963, the Congregation “mov[ed] from the daily recitation of vocal prayers in a formulary of prayers to the recitation of the liturgical offices of Lauds in the morning and Vespers or Compline in Latin in the evening.” John Rybolt traces the sources, development, and content of the traditional vocal prayers as far as the evidence at the time of this article would allow. These sources are the Primitive Common Rules, the Common Rules of 1658, Vincent de Paul’s writings (particularly a letter to Jane Frances de Chantal), two of the Congregation’s catechisms from Vincent’s time, and other manuscripts from his time, including the rules of office and early seminary rules. After examining all of these, Rybolt offers a possible order of prayer as it may have been at Saint-Lazare during Vincent’s life. In general, it seems that Vincent adapted traditional prayers that predated the Congregation’s establishment. Prayer before the French Revolution and during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is also discussed. An appendix compares two formularies for morning and evening prayer first published during the nineteenth century. A summary at the article’s end provides a helpful overview of the Congregation’s practice through time.