Newsnote: 1878 Carte de Visite: Antoine Fiat

The Vincentiana Collection at the Archives and Special Collections Department of DePaul University’s Richardson Library has recently acquired an 1878 carte de visite of Antoine Fiat who served as 16th superior general of the Congregation of the Mission and the Company of the Daughters of Charity. He was the longest serving superior general (1878-1914). The photo was taken by Pierre Petit whose studio was located at 31, Place Cadet in Paris. Petit specialized in photographing: the “Episcopat Francais, Lycees et Ecoles de France, Faculte de Medecine, Societe des Gens de Lettres.”

Research Resource: “L’Oeuvre de la Sainte-Enfance.”

There has been a more-or-less continual Vincentian presence in China for over 300 years.  However, the heyday of the China mission was the second half of the ninteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries.  During this period, especially before the First World War, the Vincentian presence was almost exclusively French.  These missions received massive grants from L’Oeuvre de la Sainte-Enfance (The Holy Childhood Association).  The charity was founded in France in 1843 by Charles-Auguste-Marie-Joseph de Forbin Janson the bishop of Nancy.  The world-wide growth of the charity in the next decades was astounding, and the financial support it provided to missions around the world in support of orphans and children was substantial. The missions of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity in China were among the grateful recipients. From 1843-1976 the Association published a journal highlighting fascintaing letters from missionaries in the field.


The journal of the American Historical Association has recently published an article by Henrietta Harrison entitled: “A Penny for the Little Chinese”: The French Holy Childhood Association in China. 1843-1951