Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood

H. E. Charles de Forbin-Janson


In the mid-nineteenth century, a French bishop, H. E. Charles de Forbin-Janson was upset by the news coming from China about the children who were dying without having received Baptism. Regretting that he could not personally leave as a missionary, he asked for advice from Pauline Jaricot, the foundress of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Their exchange of ideas was enlightening and Bishop de Forbin-Janson got the idea to involve the children of France so that through prayer and material cooperation, they could help the Chinese children of their same age. 

One Hail Mary a day, one small coin a month” was the commitment made by every child from the first moment. It was on May 19th1843 and through this initiative the seed was sown from which the Society germinated. Years later, the motto would be coined, “Children Helping Children”, which sums up well the founder’s intuition and the Society’s charisma.


Today the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood has put down roots in more than 130 countries and has expanded its focus to include: Children Evangelizing Children, Children Praying for the Children, Children Helping Children Worldwide.

The Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood today strives to help children to develop a spirit of missionary leadership, that enables them to share the faith and material support, especially with children who are most in need. It promotes, encourage and supports missionary vocations especially ad gentes. It is an instrument for growth in faith, also from the perspective of vocations.

The Association of the Holy Childhood seeks to foster a personal and communitarian involvement in order to:

  • Stimulate the dynamic movement toward God and the latent apostolate in them
  • Support and encourage the taking up of a task that makes them feel part of a family where everyone is important and everyone lends a hand.

The actual challenge is the opening of the heart.