Charles de Forbin Janson was born into a privileged noble family in Paris in 1785. However the de Forbin Jansons were, perhaps, noble in a more important way. They fostered a sense of duty and care in their young son for those who lived less fortunate lives.
Charles grew up to be handsome and fiercely intelligent, attributes only matched by his fierce abiding empathy for the underdogs in society, particularly children. A brilliant orator, he served for a time as an official under Napoleon but Priesthood beckoned. Commanding and passionate, he was soon appointed Bishop at the age of 38.
Deeply saddened by the plight of suffering abandoned Chinese children he founded the Society of Missionary Children in 1843. His idea was simple, “children helping children.” He asked French children to do two things; say a prayer and make a small material offering to help these children.
He had extraordinary success with his fledgling mission and children responded warmly and generously. They are still responding to this day as the Society of Missionary Children spread quickly worldwide and is deeply rooted in Ireland since 1853. Though he died just a year after establishing the Society of Missionary Children, Bishop Charles has left a hugely important missionary legacy.
He recognised that children have an ingrained love for, and desire to help other little children. Please let us all remember the child in each of us and through the Society of Missionary Children reach out to the suffering children of the world.