This Society concentrates its efforts on teaching the Faith to all children, protecting the rights of children and providing assistance in situations where children are suffering from famine and/or lack of parental affection. It operates word-wide through bishops, clergy and Missionaries standing by the weak and afflicted, the homeless, the sick and rejected children so that they may know that they matter in Gods eyes. Children of the world are invited to assist particularly in the work of praying and raising funds. Originating from this, a further title of the Society is Children Helping Children
Holy Childhood functions on a spiritual level at all times even when at its most practical. An important task is educating and conscientising children so that they become aware of their responsibility to those children who have never heard the Good news of the Gospel or had the opportunity to be incorporated into the family of the church, in other words, teaching children MISSION and what it means.
The Society was founded on 9th May, 1843, by Bishop Charles de Forbid Janson, a Frenchman who was born on 3rd November, 1785 into a wealthy family and given a very good catholic education. After fleeing the French revolution, his family returned to France in the time of Napoleon when Charles was offered a post in the state council to be trained as a diplomat. However, Charles was concerned by the dreadful sufferings of the Church in France where churches and monasteries were being closed or turned into museums and children were growing up ignorant of their faith.
He decided to become a priest and ordered his coachman to drive him to the seminary of St Sulpice much to the surprise of his family and the anger of Napoleon. He was twenty-three years old.
During his seminary life, Charles developed a great passion for the work of missionaries and began to think about the millions of children in the world who had no one to teach them about God. He would have liked to go to China as a missionary, but the pope dissuaded him by telling him that he was needed more in France to build up the faith.
At the age of thirty eight Charles became the bishop of Nancy and became renowned for his zeal in instructing the faithful. In 1839 a wave of anti-clericism swept France and the bishop was driven out of his diocese of Nancy. While in exile he toured America and Canada preaching without rest (he once preached 130 times in fifteen days!). Returning to France, Bishop Charles de Forbin Janson met Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the society for the propagation of the Faith.
This meeting resulted in Chales organizing the children of France to assist the missions with prayer and money. No longer alone in his dream to evangelize all the children of the world, he realized that he had an army of children with him. He saw that, apart from the benefits to children in mission lands, the spiritual benefits to the children of France and Europe would be immense.
The plan was simple, Children Helping Children, and the rules were simple a short prayer and a small voluntary sacrifice. To keep it holy, he put the society under the guidance of the Holy Child Jesus. Through this society, children are linked by faith and action throughout the whole world. This is the oldest Catholic movement for children.