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Cretenistes manuscript

Call Number: MS C120


Volume containing rules for conduct of a religious order. The dates covered are between 1673-1706; the date on the title-page is 1706; mentions returning to the original virtue of the order, and following the notes made by the first Directeur (Cochet) and the third (Joseph Biord, Directeur 1698-1700). 1752 is written at the foot of folio 36recto.


  • 1706 (?) or 1752?

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Cretenistes Order

The Cretenistes (Joséphistes, Communauté de Saint-Joseph, or Congregation des missionaires de Saint-Joseph) were a Catholic order of evangelical and teaching priests based in Lyons.

It was first founded in 1648 by Jacques Cretenet (1603-1666), a layman and surgeon of Lyons, as part of his spiritual discussion-group. Some 40 churchmen in the group decided to evangelize the country-side; they were successful and converted many; this drew violent opposition including that of the Archbishop of Lyons, Richelieu.

In 1661 Archbishop Camille de Neuville of Lyons officially allowed the community to establish itself at Lyons; the king later granted them a patent. The body chose Saint Joseph as their patron and Cretenet as their leader, although he was not ordained until 1666 (with papal dispensation). The Archbishop was the final authority over them. The Director from 1661 to 1682 was Claude Cochet, who encouraged the additional goals of permanent physical buildings and of founding seminaries. Domestic missionary-work continued, seeking to recover the purity of the early Church. Daughter missions and convents sprang up across France. The original seminary, crowded by Jesuit students,was finally closed to external students in 1685; but the order had been founding colleges throughout France open to all classes of laymen.

The order had been accused of Jansenism ever since 1671. In 1713 the bull Unigenitus was published; Francois de Neuville, an enemy of the order , became Archbishop; and the King withdrew their establishment. Nevertheless they survived accusations of heresy until 1729, when the seminary was finally closed. In 1735 the community became less intransigeant; but the seminary did not re-open until 1771, when it became diocesan and a power in Lyons, and founded missions and new colleges.

At the Revolution the order was dissolved. Most members became part of the Lyons diocesan clergy, but some continued as Jansenists. Some of these became professors elsewhere.

(Paraphrase of a long article with bibliography in Baumgartner's Dictionnaire 4.e "spiritualite" (1936) col 2531-2537.)


1 volume : Unfoliated. Part 1: leaves [1-101]; part 2: leaves [102-121]; blank: leaves [122-159].The script is in a single hand.The material is paper.The binding is vellum over pasteboard. Spine shows exposed cords at head and foot, and 2 vertical pairs--"tackets"?. Head- and footbands round a wooden cylinder. Frames ruled in ink. Orange paper label, fragmentary: "Recueil pour les.... Lyon...71-170..." Green paper label: "Y,s. 20." Both labels on spine; mark of small missing label above the green one.

Language of Materials


Physical Location

MS C120

Custodial History

Bookplate: "Ex libris Joannis-Baptistae Marduel, ad S. Nicetium Lugdunensem Vicarii."

Processing Information

Former call number: MS Y246.

Guide to the Cretenistes Manuscript Collection
Cretenistes manuscript
Finding aid prepared by alh, March 12, 1974. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2005.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Cretenistes manuscript, MS C120, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States