In 1889, the French missionary bishop of Nagasaki, Japan, asked Jeanne (daughter) and Stephanie (mother) Bigard to help him financially to keep open his seminary for young japanese men whom he judged to serve their people well as priest. The Bigards answered positively to such a request and started a small group for this purpose in their native Caen, France. From this humble beginning emerged the Society of St Peter the Apostle.
Within a very short span of sending their first donation to the bishop of Nagasaki, the Bigards, together with those who were ready to help, sent funds to seminaries in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Korea and China. The goal of such a Society was and still is to invite individuals to support through prayer and finanically the education of candidates for the priesthood and religious life in developing countries.
The Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle or as commonly known POSPA was officially founded in 1889 in the city of Caen, France. In 1920 it came under the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith by Pope Benedict XV and in 1922 was declared ‘Pontifical’.