A Minority at Work: Protestant Charity in France, 19th–20th Centuries

By Martha Gilson

This paper presents a preliminary attempt to understand the forms and practices of Protestant charity. Christian charity is often equated in France with Catholic charity. But Protestants, although they were in the minority, did develop charitable activities in France beginning in the nineteenth century. These works, based on “diaconal” will, were part of the golden age of religious charity in the nineteenth century. In response to the secularization of society, charitable practices changed first in their form, and then in their modes of action following the Second World War. The article also examines the question of whether this adaptation of charitable activities contradicts the unity of Protestant charity over time.


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