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Clerks Regular of Our Saviour
A religious congregation instituted in its present form in 1851, at Benoite-Vaux in the Diocese of Verdun, France. The constitutions and spirit of the congregation are those of the Canons Regular of Our Saviour, who were established as a reform among the various bodies of regular canons in Lorraine by St. Peter Fourier, canon of Chamousay in 1623, and confirmed by Urban VIII in 1628. The scope of the reformed order, as outlined in the "Summarium Constitutionum" of St. Peter, was the Christian education of youth and the exercise of the sacred ministry among the poor and neglected. The order flourished exceedingly throughout the Duchy of Lorraine and made its way into France and Savoy; but was completely destroyed by the French Revolution. In 1851 four zealous priests of the Diocese of Verdun, anxious to see revived the apostolic labours of the sons of Fourier, withdrew to the retired shrine of Our Lady of Cenoite-Vaux, and there began a religious life according to the rule given to his canons by St. Peter Fourier. Three years later they received the approbation of the Holy See, which changed their name from Canons Regular, the title of the earlier organization to Clerks Regular. During the next half century the congregation spread and it now numbers several houses, its special work being the education of youth. The members of the congregation are of three grades, priests, scholastics, and lay brothers. Though possessing the title "clerks regular" they are not such in the strict sense of the word, as their vows, though perpetual, are simple, according to the present practice of the Roman authorities of establishing no new institutes of solemn vows.
HEIMBUCHER, Die Orden und Kong. der kath. Kirche (Paderborn, 1907), II, 47 sq.; HELYOT, Dict. des ordres religieux, (Paris, 1859), ed. MIGNE, IV.
John F. X. Murphy.