Some figures to judge the evolution and the current situation of the Congregation.
1 – At the death of Jean-Marie de la Mennais, in 1860, the Institute is essentially Breton and already missionary.
The CONGREGATION IN DECEMBER, 1860
2 – The laws of secularisation (1880-1886 ) of Jules Ferry chased away the Brothers from the public schools, that were confessional ones till then : private schools were opened. But twenty years later, Émile Combes and the the Chamber of Deputies, by vote of March 18th, 1903, forbade from any education thirteen men’s Congregations and ordered their pure and simple dissolution. Many Brothers deconsecrated themselves and continued to teach as simple laymen. Others emigrated into Spain, Canada, the Middle East. A large number also left the Congregation.
In 1903, before its dissolution, the Congregation counted:
395 schools in France and 58 in Overseas territories , 2066 with perpetual vows(1947 French Brothers, 119 Canadians Bros.) and 111 Novices. in 1909, a few years after the storm, an official report of the Holy See counted 1055 Brothers.
3- Between both Great Wars 14-18 and 39-45, the Congregation took a new boost.. The year 1962 marks a summit in the number of Brothers of the Congregation, from now on international:
THE CONGREGATION in 1962
4 – The ” quiet Revolution ” in Quebec, ” May, 68 ” in France were revealing signs of a profound social and religious transformation in the West. The current situation of the Congregation reflects the consequences of this crisis.
5 – Today, the Congregation has more than one hundred of brothers of temporary vows. Europe and Canada are facing a grave crisis of vocations. But hope remains and all the work carried out with the laypeople, in particular in the real-life experience of the ” Mennaisian Family ” will bear fruits.