As 16th President General, I announce that 2018 is the INTERNATIONAL THEMED YEAR OF FRANÇOIS LALLIER. On 8th February 2018, the International General Council will launch the International Competition, for monographs on "The First Conference - Lallier", in order to delve into the biography and works of François Lallier, one of those responsible for the collegial foundation of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, in 1833. Awards will be granted to the academic works that seek to present new or less well-known aspects of the personal, professional, Vincentian and family life of Lallier, with the aim of highlighting his contribution to the birth of the first Conference and to the spread of the SSVP throughout the world.
François Lallier (1814-1886) studied with Ozanam at the Faculty of Law in the Sorbonne. They were very close friends, Lallier even being the godfather of Marie Josephine Ozanam, Ozanam’s daughter. He married in 1839, and had a son (Henri), but suffered the pain of losing his daughter Julie. He was one of the most active during the debates in the Conferences of History, and also very active in all the foundation stages of the Society.
In 1837, Lallier was appointed general secretary of the Society, in charge of drafting circulars and letters. He was the youngest founder, and the last to die. He was a living witness of the innumerable events involving the new entity.
In the SSVP, Lallier was one of the main advisors to the Conferences and during discussions about establishing the Society in other countries, he always kept in mind the origin of the institution. He founded many Conferences. Besides working with those in need, Lallier was actively interested in archaeology, as a member of the Society of Archaeology in the town of Sens, France. He prepared reports about his discoveries and took part in archaeology conferences, in addition to publishing various social and political studies.
One of Lallier’s most outstanding works was the writing of the booklet "Origins of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, as remembered by its first members", in 1879, at the request of the 3rd President General, Adolphe Baudon. On that occasion, he met the remaining founders still alive (Le Taillandier, Lamache and Devaux) to prepare this document, which was published in 1882 and is kept in the library of the General Council, available for consultation.
With this rich biography, the International General Council believes that the International Competition for monographs on "The First Conference - Lallier" will be a great success as it was for the Year of Bailly (2017), the prizes for which were awarded to Vincentians from different parts of the world. This is just what we wish: to know more detail about the life and works of our founders, their qualities, virtues and imperfections, since they shaped the DNA of our organisation, and we feel their energy and their blood in our veins.
The rules for this competition will be available on the CGI’s website in the forthcoming weeks; keeping the general guidelines used for the 2017competition, cash awards will be given both for the winning authors and for the Conferences to which they belong. We are sure that the academic works about Lallier will be as rich as those about Bailly, offering interesting and fascinating detail about the life of this man who was so important in for the history of the SSVP.
I invite all Superior Councils to publish articles and reflections focused on the leading role of François Lallier in the foundation process of the SSVP, encouraging the study of his life and work, his personal, professional, academic and Vincentian aspects, thus contributing with the General Council to the launch of the International Themed Year, 2018.
On 8th December 2018, the closing date of the "International Themed Year of François Lallier", we intend to celebrate holy masses around the world for the founders of the SSVP, especially in memory of François Lallier.