This Society is responsible for the formation of seminarians and novices, and the on-going formation for priests and religious. This Society has played and will continue to play a tremendous role in the formation of indigenous clergy and religious novices. Funds collected for the society of St.Peter the Apostle are used to build and maintain seminaries, take care of a basic grant for seminarians and for the higher education of those who are already priests. Our prayers and donations show our desire to share the cares of those who bring the Word of God to others. In basic terms this means that no seminary should be too small or ill-equipped to train those whose desire and vocation is to become priests. Many young men are waiting to take up the light and pass it on, and many of those young men are too poor to contribute anything to their training; this gives a wonderful opportunity for the people of God to take part in the training of their priests by giving generously to the collection for the Society of St Peter the Apostle. An important part of the Society of St. Peter the Apostle is to encourage prayers for vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
The foundress of this Society was a young French girl, Jeanne Bigard born on 2nd December 1859, who, in 1878 after the death of her father when she was nineteen years old, pledged herself to ‚ abandon the world and its vanities‚ and to give herself to Gods work. Through painfully shy, Jeanne and her mother, Stephanie, started a campaign to raise money for the support of indigenous priests in training mission countries. They begged for money from house to house, they asked for prayers and they distributed pamphlets stressing the great need for seminaries in countries like Japan. Jeanne gave her own dowry for a new church in Japan started by St Francis Xavier. Although the work that Jeanne was doing had the support of many missionary bishops for her valiant work on their behalf, her own bishops in France eventually recognized her society of St Peter the apostle in 1886. Until 1903 when Stephanie Bigard died, Jeanne and Stephanie collected huge amounts for the training of missionary priests and fired many other people with their passion. Jeanne did not get over the death of her mother and handed over her work to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. She entered a convent but became confused (alzheimers?) and was admitted to a mental hospital. Destitute and forgotten she lived for another 28 years without a moment of lucidity until her death on 28th April, 1934.