The government of Napoleon Bonaparte left a lot of troubles, especially for the Church in France.  After his tenure, gradually along with the restoration in many aspects, there also appeared a new enthusiasm in missionary works.  The old Religious Orders or Congregations that had been devastated during the goverment of Napoleon started to have been alive again. They as though “breathe the fresh air” freely. This new situation coincided with the birth of the new missionary congregations.  However, the financial difficulties came up to surface as a threat. Hence from such situation, it come out some small movements to encourage the missionary works such as selling and distributing calendars or almanacs, collecting stamps and movements of saving monies.

From these small movements, they appeared three prominent movements:
Het Genootschap tot Voorplanting des Geloofs (the Movement for the Propagation of the Faith); it was founded by a French woman named Pauline Marie Jaricot in 1822.
Voor het Sint Pieters Liefdewerk Landeigene Priesters (the Movement for the Priestly Formation of the indigenous people in the mission regions) it was founded by a lady and her doughter Stephanie Bigard and Jeanne Bigard in 1889.
Het Genootschap van de Heilige Kindsheid (Movement for Children and Adolescens), it  was founded by Msgr. Charles de Forbin Janson in 1843.

In the beginning, such efforts of the three movements were the local movements. However in 1922, by the suggestion or better the encouragement of Cardinal Willem van Rossum, the three efforts were elevated into the pontifical level in mission of the Universal Church.

After becoming the agents of mission in the Universal Church, Pope Pius XI asked all bishops and priests to explain and animate "the mission awareness" upon those three movements for their dioceses and parishes respectedly. Thus it was prepared a possibility to implement the supporting program of aids in mission of the Church universally.

The purpose of the Pontifical Mission Societies was to implant the awareness in the hearts of the people of God and their dignity as a Christian, that is to enliven their thoughts in faith and to rise up their conscience to pray for the development or promotion of faith. In other words, the core purpose of the Pontifical Mission Societies is the “awareness of faith” of the people of God and “mission minded” all Christians around the world.
Today, the Pontifical Mission Societies are the international institutions centered in Rome. Their members consist of the Daily Board and the General Council which consisting of the national or regional Churches throughout the world. The Pontifical Mission Societies are incorporated practically into the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. They are led by a President and assisted by a Secretary General for each society. All together are four Pontifical Mission Societies:

  1. The Pontifical Mission Society of Propagation of Faith (POPF)
    This society was founded in Lyon, France on May 3, 1822 by The Venerable Pauline Jaricot (1799-1862). Initially this society was a local level, then it got the pontifical status on May 3, 1922 by Pope Pius XI.  Because of the elevating status, thus automatically this society was moved from France to Rome and named as The Pontifical Mission Society for The Propagation of The Faith. (see Home Page on POPF). 
  2.  The Pontifical Mission Society of St. Piter the Apostle (POSPA)
    This society was  founded in Caen, France in 1889 by Jeanne Bigard (1859-1934). As the same with the POPF, this society is initially a local level. Only starting in 1918, some movements to support the formations for the seminarians were included as a part of the works of the Pontifical Mission Society of St. Piter the Apostle for Vocations. In 1920 the headquaters was moved to Rome. On May 3, 1922 the pontifical status was granted to this society with the official name The Pontifical Mission Society of St. Peter the Apostle. (see Home Page of POSPA).
  3. The Pontifical Mission Society of the Holy Childhood (POSI)
    This society was founded on May 19, 1843 by Mgr. Charles Auguste Marie De Forbin Janson (1785-1844), Bishop of Nancy, France in a pastoral meeting of his diocese. This society has a famous motto: “children helping children”, with the basic spirit of Prayer, Charity, Sacrifice and Testimony. Initially this society is a local level, but then it got its upgrading status as the pontifical status on May 3, 1922 by Pope Pius XI. By assuming the pontifical status, thus the official name of the society is The Pontifical Mission Society of the Holy Childhood. However internationally the short name of this society is derived from the Latin words: Pontificium Opus a Sancta Infantia (POSI). As a consequence, the headquaters of this society was moved to Rome. (see at Home Page of POSI).
  4. The Pontifical Missionary Union of The Clergy, Religious and Laty (PMU)
    This society was the only one founded in Italy by the Blessed Paolo Manna (1872-1952) in 1916. On October 28, 1956, this society got the status of the pontifical level by Pope Pius XII with the official name The Pontifical Missionary Union of the Clergy, Religious and the Laity or well known with the short name as The Pontifical Missionary Union. (see Home Page of PMU).

All four Pontifical Mission Societies have the same general purpose to promote the missionary spirit universally among the people of God. Of the four united societies mentioned above, The Pontifical Missionary Union is the "soul" of the other three pontifical mission societies  and attempting to make progress them.

The Feast Days and Mission Celebrations as folows:

1. The Feast Days of the Mission Patrons:
- 3 December : St. Francis Xavier, Priests’ and Brothers’ Mission Day
- 1 October : Sisters’ Mission Day

2. The Mission celebrations:
- The World Mission Sunday: the second-last Sunday in October.
- 6 January : Epiphany, The Presentation of the Lord, The World Day of Missionary Childhood
- 11 February : The World Day of the Sick.
- The Good Shepherd Sunday: the fourth Sunday of Easter.

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