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 The Society of Saint Edmund was founded in Pontigny, France in 1843.  In their earliest years, they worked around Pontigny, later expanding to western France, including Mont St. Michel, Laval, and Chateau Gontier.  In 1902, the Society was forced to give up its official status and many holdings in France, although personnel did remain and some of their works continued despite their unofficial status.*  Beginning in the 1930’s the Society attempted to reestablish a formal place in Pontigny.  The Society maintained personnel in Pontigny throughout the 1930’s and World War II.  Following the war, they purchased Pontigny and established a House there, working in parishes in Joigny, Tonnerre, Toucy, and Alliant-Sur-Tholon.  From 1947-1954 they had a school at Pontigny, the Collège St. Edme.  In the 1970’s a group of men, some of whom were already ordained, expressed an interest in revitalizing the society based on the ideals of the early founders, and for a time this new foundation was quite active.  When this foundation ended in 1980, the society was left with only one remaining priest in France, Fr. Simmonet, who worked in the Diocese of Sens until his retirement in the 2000s. 

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