Fr. Jacques Sevin, S.J. (1882-1951) was a French priest of the Society of Jesus and a founder of Catholic scouting. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1900 after completing his studies in English at Catholic University in Lille. While studying theology in preparation for his priestly ordination, Sevin became fascinating with the scouting movement, which had been founded by Lord Baden-Powell in 1907. When two articles in the Jesuit periodical Etudes critical of the scouting movement appeared, Sevin was asked by his superiors to investigate the movement; he traveled to England in 1913 where he attended a scout rally in London and met Lord Baden-Powell himself.

Sevin was particularly impressed by the educational dimension of scouting, and after meeting Baden-Powell wrote his book Le Scoutisme. He attended training at Gilwell Park, and adapted Baden-Powell’s method for French Catholic youth. The Scouts de France were established in 1920, the Guides de France followed in 1923. Some voices among the French clergy were still critical of the movement, believing that vocations among young men in the scouting movement would be lost or that the movement served to attract youth to Protestantism; these criticisms stopped once Pius XI gave his approval to the scouting movement in 1926.

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