At the end of the nineteenth century, in Troyes, an expanding industrial town, textile factories were looking for cheap labour. Many young girls came from the countryside to be employed in the workshops. Their lives were precarious and exposed to danger of all kinds. After a day's work, they often have no place to stay or leisure appropriate for their age.
One day, Father Louis Brisson, an enthusiastic priest in the Troyes diocese was in a shop when a group of young girls who worked in the textile factories told him that they did not know what to do with their time on Sundays. Struck by their distress he opened centres and homes where there was a family atmosphere and they could live and relax safely. Thus, they become happy and responsible women who are not afraid to show their Christian faith.
To ensure the future of his homes, Father Louis Brisson founded the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales with Leonie Aviat and Lucie Canuet. Very quickly, he also opened schools to contribute to the intellectual formation of the young girls who were mostly illiterate. He saw in the support provided in these homes and the education in his schools, a means of evangelization to fight against the dechristianisation and the moral and spiritual poverty of the young people and their families.
Today 400 Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales continue the work of Father Louis Brisson and St. Leonie Aviat, in the service of young people in Europe, Africa, North America and South America.