Sulpicians, Or Priests Of The Society Of St. Sul-Pice, a congregation of priests in the Roman Catholic church founded in the parish of St. Sulpice, Paris, in 1645, by Jean Jacques Olier de Verneuil, and specially devoted to the training of candidates for the priesthood. In 1642 Olier and two other clergymen formed a community at Vaugirard, and bound themselves to found ecclesiastical seminaries. His companions soon abandoned him, and becoming in the same year rector of the parish of St. Sulpice, he set about realizing his plan there. The act founding the society of St. Sulpice is dated Sept. 6, 1645, and was immediately sanctioned by the proper authorities. The corner stone of the present seminary of St. Sulpice was laid in September, 1649; the edifice was completed and occupied in August, 1651. The society formed two bands, the one devoted to parish work, the other to that of teaching. The Sul-picians were warmly befriended from the beginning by St. Vincent de Paul, and the establishment of Sulpician seminaries in nearly all the dioceses of France soon followed.
There-bv the society came to have the chief part in the education of the French clergy down to the revolution of 1789. They were at first favored by Napoleon, but were suppressed by him in 1812 for their attachment to Pius VII.; they were restored by Louis XVIII., and ever afterward directed the most important diocesan seminaries in France. - Olier in 1636 formed a company for colonizing the island of Montreal. They purchased it in 1640, sent out Sieur de Maisonneuve with priests and nuns in 1641, and transferred their proprietorship to the Sulpi-cians in 1656. In 1657 the Sulpicians De Quey-lus, Souard, and Galinier took possession of the island and founded there a missionary establishment; but their claims to exclusive parochial jurisdiction being resisted, De Queylus in 1659 obtained in Rome a bull erecting Montreal into an independent parish, and used the powers thus conferred in spite of Bishop de Laval, till a lettre de cachet forcibly removed him in October, 1660. This conflict of jurisdiction broke out anew in 1821, on the erection of the see of Montreal, and has been kept up till the present time, the most eminent Canadian jurists taking sides in the controversy.
Both parties appealed to Rome, and a final decision had not been reached in the beginning of 1876. The Sulpicians Francois de Fenelon, brother of the author of Telemaque, and Claude Trouve, founded in 1668 the first Iroquois mission at the western extremity of Lake Ontario. In July, 1669, a party of Sulpicians under Dollier de Casson first explored Lake Erie and sailed round it and Lake St. Clair. But their missionary labors were soon necessarily limited to the Indian tribes in the immediate neighborhood of Montreal, where they collected the remnants of the Christian Algonquin and Iroquois tribes into two contiguous settlements at the lake of Two Mountains on the Ottawa. In Montreal city, besides the seminary proper attached to the church of Notre Dame as a parochial residence, founded in 1657, they possess the theological seminary, to which students are sent from every part of the United States, the preparatory seminary or " college of Montreal," founded in 1773, and several other succursal churches with their residences. - In April, 1791, at the call of Bishop (afterward Archbishop) Carroll, a band of four Sulpicians and three seminarians, headed by Francois Charles Nagot (died 1816), sailed for Baltimore, where they formed for a time the clergy of the cathedral.
They sent some of their number to teach in Georgetown college, and founded in Baltimore the theological seminary of St. Mary's, with a collegiate or preparatory school. The seminary was raised by Pope Gregory XVI. to the rank of a Catholic university; the collegiate school was removed to near Ellicott City, Howard co., in 1849, and suppressed in 1852.