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Home VIRTUAL LIBRARY VIRTUAL LIBRARY Foreign Assumptionists in North America 1850-2000 (part 1)

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Windows IV

Foreign Assumptionists in North America 1850-2000

(Online version - part 1)

Jean-Paul Périer-Muzet 

Translated and edited by Robert Fortin, A.A., Joseph Fredette. A.A., and Richard Richards, A.A.

Brighton, MA - Yale, MI
2006

Short Biographies of Foreign Assumptionist Religious

In the North American Province 1850 – 2000

Acknowledgements

Windows IV on Assumptionist History presents the religious from other countries who worked in our North American Province.

This project follows that of Fr. Robert Fortin presented in Windows on Assumptionist History published by Bayard Press in 2002. I present a translation of 97 Assumptionists from other countries who worked in the North American Province.

I proceeded to translate all of the biographies from Fr. Jean-Paul Périer-Muzet’s five-volume work entitled Notices Biographiques des Religieux de l’Assomption, 1850-2000, Contribution à l’Histoire de l’Assomption. With each biography is included a small picture of the religious of Part III except thirteen. I hope to find some of them after  printing this text. I have also culled from the archives and other sources Addenda to complete these biographies.

I wish to thank Fr. Robert Fortin for his translations and comments as well as Fr. Richard Richards, the archivist of the Province of North America for his great help. I would be remiss if I did not mention those who helped me: Fr. Claude Grenache and Fr. Richard Richards were the proofreaders; Fr. Richard, Fr. Yves Garon, and Fr. Joseph Laffineur for their help with pictures; Fr. Yves Garon for a dossier on Bro. Marie-Armand Dupras; as well as the various people from the chanceries and libraries who helped in our research.

Windows II and III will provide a much-needed text in English for our Province and our English speaking religious. The lacunas in the text are mine. In the future, I hope to be able to complete these biographies with an update starting from the year 2000 to the present. I place this work under the protection of Our Lady of the Assumption.

joseph fredette, A.A.

Brighton, MA

August 15, 2006

 

Table of Contents

Part 1

José Allavena Orengo. 1

Crescent Armanet 3

Arnaud (Alfred) Arnaud. 5

Etienne-Marie (Louis) Aubert 7

Marie-Rogatien (Paul) Bahuaut 9

Bernardin (Jean-Pierre) Bal-Fontaine. 11

Anastase (Eugène-Louis) Baudart 13

Léocade (François Joseph) Bauer 15

Gerulf (Eugène) (Hugo) Bervoets. 18

Henri (Anthelme) Blanc. 20

Réginald (Louis Lucien) Bonnet 22

Joachim (François-Marie) Bosseno. 24

Gérard (Louis-François) Boudou. 26

Henri (Jean Pierre Henri) Brun. 28

Alphonse-Marie (Gabriel) Bugnard. 31

Adrien Buisson. 33

Renaud (Jean-Baptiste) Burdin. 35

Evariste (Jean-Charles) Buytaers. 37

Octave (Eugène-Louis-Joseph) Caron. 39

Albert (Albéric) Catoire. 41

Ildefonse (Pierre Alphonse) Causse. 43

Lazare (Pierre-Théophile) Chabant 45

Stéphane (Jacques Marie) Chaboud. 47

Dominique (Auguste) Chaurand. 49

Angelome (Clovis-Jean) Cleux. 51

Aubain (Armand) Colette. 53

Dionysius (Arnold Henri) Cornelisse. 55

Timothy (Patrick) Croghan. 58

Thomas (Edouard-Jules) Darbois. 61

Georges (Louis-Joseph) Demiautte. 65

Engelbert (Eugène) Devincq. 67

Marie-Louis (Louis) Deydier 71

Jean-Damascène (Jean-Baptiste) Dhers. 73

Jérémie (Alfred Joseph) Douziech. 75

Odilon (Claudius) Dubois. 77

Cassien (Antoine) Dubost 81

André (André-Gustave) Dumont 85

Marius (Marius-Louis) Dumoulin. 87

Jean (Jean-Joseph-Marie) Falhun. 90

Bernard Walstan (Harold-T.C.) Farrow 92

Aymard (Jean-Baptiste) Faugère 94

Basile (Jean-Marie) Filaire. 96

Hermès (André) Fuchs 98

Francisco (F.-Felipe) Garcia Gonzalez. 101

Marie-Alexis (Arthur) Gaudefroy. 103

Isidore (Hippolyte-Emile) Gayraud. 105

Eugène (Eugène Léon René) Giraud. 107

Armand (Jules, Joseph, Ghislain) Goffart 109

Michel-Ange (Michel) Gomez. 114

Polyeucte (Firmin, H. - J.) Guissard. 116

Marcellin (Charles Emile) Guyot 119

Yves (Yves-Marie-Pierre) Hamon. 121

 

Part 2

David (George) Hennessy. 124

Tanguy (Yves-Marie) Jointer 127

Paul de la Croix (Paul) Journet 130

Marie Emile (Emile-Joseph) Ladret 132

Marie Joseph (Joseph-Marie) Laity. 134

Yvon (Jean-Yves-Marie) Le Floc’h 136

Roland (Jules-César) Leroy. 141

Tarcisio (Gaspar) Lorente Madorran. 144

Luis Madina. 147

François Xavier (Félix) Marchet 150

Rodolphe (Léon René) Martel 152

Hydulphe (Félix-E.-J.) Mathiot 155

Edouard (Philippe) Melchior 159

Amarin (René) Mertz. 161

Alfred (Joseph Gérard Laurent) Moors. 164

Fulgence (Nicolas Auguste) Moris. 166

Aurèle  (Aimé-François-Ernest) Odil 168

Edmund O’Donnell 171

Amédée (François-Albert) Ollier 176

Tranquille (M. -Tranquille) Pessoz [Pesse] 178

Vincent Ferrier (François-Louis) Petro. 180

Pacôme (Antoine-Marie) Philip. 182

Elisée (Joseph- Marie-Désiré) Rathoin. 186

Zacharie (Bernard) Saint-Martin. 188

Lambert (Joseph-Théodore) Saive. 190

Eleutherios (Epaminondas) Schinas. 192

Clodoald (Antonin-Pierre) Serieix. 194

Bartholomew Sharkey. 197

Antoine (Jacques) Silbermann. 199

Marie-Gabriel (Léon-Victor-F.) Soulice. 201

Rumold (Jean-Joseph) Spinnael 203

Marie-Clément (Joseph) Staub. 205

Donat (Pierre-Marcel-Joseph) Teissier 208

Symphorien (Elie) Terraz. 210

Bavo Maurits (Albertus-Antonius) Theys. 213

Sylvestre Troussard. 215

Marcellinus (Jacobus-Antonius) Trum... 217

Felipe Uceda. 220

Janvier (Marie-Joseph) Vallon. 222

Paulien (Prosper-Claudius) Vassel 224

Ange (Charles-Louis-J.) Vermech. 227

Jude (Joseph-M.-Charles) Verstaen. 229

Oscar (Gabriel-Oscar-Otto) Zoppi 232

 

 

José Allavena Orengo

1893-1983

Italo-Chilean Religious of the Province of South America.

A religious from the ranks.

Born August 15, 1893 in a humble and Christian family at Castel Vittorio in Italy, José Allavena Orengo studied in the alumnates of Vinovo (1907-1911) and Ascona in Switzerland (1911-1913). He took the religious habit August 14, 1913 at the Limpertsberg novitiate in the Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg. He was tied down there like his companions during most of the war in 1914-1918. After novitiate, he began studying philosophy, but he had to also work in the neighboring farms so as not to die of hunger. He successfully reached Louvain in 1918 where he made his first vows May 19 of that same year and finished his philosophy. In 1919, he was exempted from military service. He then studied theology and was ordained to the priesthood July 23, 1922. His perpetual profession was also held at Louvain August 25, 1921. Fr. José began his ministry in the U.S.A. at the college in Worcester (1922-1923). He understood that this milieu was not suited to him and asked to be sent to Latin America in 1924. It was there that he spent the rest of his life. As associate pastor of the parish of San Juan de Matta at Concepción in Chile during four years (1924-1928), he was a marvelous confessor. He was then sent to Buenos Aires in Argentina (1928-1932). He returned for good to Chile in November 1933: at Lota as associate pastor till 1937, at the Mendoza apostolic school barely a month, and then again to Concepción where he was once more associate pastor from 1937 to 1960. After a year at the Los Andes novitiate, he returned a third time to Concepción as acting pastor. His work was very humble but most appreciated. This parish was returned March 20, 1962 to the archbishopric after an earthquake. In 1954, he made an official request to be transferred to the Province of South America. Again associate pastor at Lota for three years (1963-1966), Fr. José lived for a time at the novitiate of Los Andes, then, starting in August 1967, he was named to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Santiago. Having understood that heretofore his apostolate would consist in acceptance of his illness and old age in a spirit of faith, he made of his room a tiny sanctuary; he prayed constantly for his brothers until his death February 4, 1983 in his eightieth year. He was buried in the Assumption vault in the Santiago sanctuary.

Prayer at the tomb of the Religious of San Remo (November 1965).

In 1965, while with his family near San Remo (Italy), Fr. Allavena wrote: “I decided to stop at San Remo for two reasons: the desire to pray at the tomb of our 23 Assumptionist religious that died here while Fr. Ferréol Poux-Berthe was superior. I did this upon arriving. While I was kneeling down and praying the rosary, two women passed by and seeing that our two tombs had no flowers, they filled two vases with flowers and lit two candles. I thanked them and they said that they brought flowers to the tombs that had none and seemed to be abandoned. That was the case for our two tombs. The other reason was to be able to celebrate tomorrow the three masses for the dead. I would not have been able to do this in my village. From my room here, I can come directly down to the church without leaving the pastor’s house. He gave me a gift, an accordion for the Los Andes novitiate. This will put a bit more joy on feast days since the community doesn’t even have a harmonium. November 3, I leave for Valparaiso…  to continue sanctifying myself in Chile.”

Addenda.

Letter to the Provincial of North America, Fr. Henri Moquin, dated 18 October 1955.

A letter from Fr. Régis, my Provincial, gave me great joy when he said that, as a souvenir of my humble services at the big house in Worcester during 1922-1924, you had given me your electric razor. I don’t merit such a gift! But I want to tell you that I am very thankful. Since I have the joy of shaving with this electric razor, I don’t cut my face as I used to and I no longer get boils on my face. This is a great help for my health. Once again a thousand thanks from the bottom of my heart.

I constantly keep a good memory of you as well as our Father General, Fr. Braun and all those of your generation. I even often regret having asked to change hemisphere and province, since I really liked the college, the Fathers who were there and the good and dear students of that time. But oftentimes, the Superiors don’t realize the pain they cause their subordinates. During two years I had asked for an English teacher and for reasons unknown to me, this was refused. When I went out to celebrate mass un an English speaking convent or to the City farm where the director came to see me after mass and wanted to speak with me, I was unable to do so. What a suffering for a priest who lives in that country and doesn’t even speak the tongue or its street talk. You can imagine. That is why, although I liked the college and the dear friends and confreres that I had in that house, I felt obliged to ask for a transfer to South America. Here I felt immediately at ease since I could already understand and speak Spanish quite well and I am happy and hope to be able to do some good for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Please give my regards to all the elders: especially Frs. Rolland, Hermes, Odilon, Philippe, etc. When Fr. General came to visit Concepción, we spoke at length of the past: the college, the other houses, all the elders of whom many have already gone to Our Father’s house.

Portrait.

This religious with a simple heart and a trusting faith didn’t go any great works. Everywhere he went his work was very humble and devoted. He left a witness of being a modest religious, hidden, and with a big heart. He was faithful, knew how to love and lived as a saint close to the poor that he always received without any discrimination. On his 28th birthday, the anniversary of his baptism, he pronounced the vow, in the presence of the Holy Trinity with the permission of his superior, Fr. Possidius Dauby, and his confessor, to recite the rosary every day of his life.

‘Moved by a filial love of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Assumption, in thanksgiving to the Lord for all the favors received, with full trust in the intercession of Mary, I pronounce this vow as a proof of my fidelity until I die.’ (The original of this text is signed in his own blood. It is kept in the archives of the Province of South America.)

From the archives in Chile.

His parents were Francesco Allavena and Antonia Orengo. He was baptized 24 August 1893 in the parish church of San Stefano in Vittoria and confirmed in the same parish on 19 March 1902. He did his philosophy from 1915-1916 in Luxemburg and then in 1918 at Louvain. From 1918 to 1922 he did his theology at Louvain. He received the religious habit from the hands of Fr. Emmanuel Bailly.  He made his perpetual profession on 15 August 1921 in the hands of Fr. Possidius Dauby. In 1932, after a time in Argentina, he returned to Concepcion, Chile.

Crescent Armanet

1879 – 1955

French religious, superior of the North American Vicariate.

Youth.

Born November 24, 1879, in Chatonnay, near Saint-Jean de Bournay (Isère), Crescent first attended school with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (1885-1891), then became an alumnist in Miribel-les-Echelles, Isère (1891-94), and in Brian, Drôme, (1894-96).  He entered the novitiate in Livry (Seine-Saint-Denis) in August 1896, where he took his first vows September 8, 1897, and his final vows September 6, 1898, in the hands of Fr. Emmanuel Bailly.  He went to Notre-Dame de France in Jerusalem for his philosophy and theology (1898-1902), then to Kadi-Koy, Turkey, in 1903, for a third year. Bishop Bonetti ordained him a priest in Constantinople 20 December 1903.

A teacher in the East.

Fr. Crescent was first assigned to teach in Assumptionist schools in Turkey: Eskishehir (1903-04) and Brousse (1904-06), then in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (1906-09).  He wrote many picturesque descriptions of missionary life for the Mission Review of the Augustinians of the Assumption:

“On several occasions, I saw the Turkish soldiers, who were escorting us, approach an angel [a pupil of the Oblate Sisters of the Assumption] who had strayed from the ranks and gently bring this angel back, tapping the child lightly on the cheek.  These Turkish soldiers are very nice people.  They put their heart and soul into their police work, imposing silence on the talkative, brushing aside the unwanted, and punishing the recalcitrant, without ever losing their majestic gravity!”

Missionary in England.

From 1909 to 1912, Fr. Crescent was sent to England to initiate himself into parish ministry.  He first went as a curate to Brockley (1909-11), then to Rickmansworth (1911-12), perfecting his command of the English language.  This proved to be important for the rest of his life and ministry.

Superior of Assumption College in Worcester (USA).

From 1912 to 1952, Fr. Crescent was assigned to the relatively recent Assumptionist foundations in the United States, first as a curate at Our Lady of Esperanza parish in New York City (1912-14) and again from 1919 to 1929 but especially as the young director of the Franco-American college in Worcester, Massachusetts (1929-35).  The only break in his long stay in the New World occurred during the war of 1914-19 when he was called up for military service and assigned first to the paramedical corps in Bordeaux (Gironde), then with the High Command in Paris.

In Worcester, he successfully faced the college’s financial crisis that accompanied the country’s own economic crisis, thanks to benefactors whom he invited to the institution, asking them to help develop it and improve its reputation.  The Cross of the Legion of Honor that he received from the French government underlined the competence of the Director and excellence of the school’s educational program.  In 1929, he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the religious in North America, a position he held until 1946 when the Vicariate (United States, Canada, and Mexico) became a Province.

Return to France.

In 1952, he definitively left the United States, after having had the pleasure of greeting his successor, Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, a former superior of the College and provincial of the North American Province, who was elected Superior General of the Congregation.  Assigned to the Congregation’s Development Office in Marseilles, where he was also the superior, he died there December 18, 1955, at the age of 76.  Presided by Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, his funeral took place December 20th in Marseilles’ church of the Sacred Heart.  He was laid to rest in his family’s vault in Chatonnay, near Vienne (Isère).  “Fr. Crescent was a pleasant man who loved his Congregation and community life.  He is remembered as a vigilant superior who did not hesitate to say what he thought, and whose personal regularity regarding community exercises led him to be concerned about religious discipline in general.”

Addenda.

Fr. Richard Richards wrote in the ANA (Assumption North America , v. xxxv #4, 4-5):

After the war, from 1919 to 1929, he served at Our Lady of Esperanza. During this time he wrote a 160-page book on the history of the church and its decorations. Then 1929 to 1935, he was Superior/President at Assmption College in Worcester, as well as Vicar Provincial. Many interesting events took place during his term as President. Probably the most important one was when Fr. Crescent announced that as of September 1930, Assumption would accept externs, i.e. dayhops. Until then all the students had been residents. This change was made partly for financial reasons, and partly to respond to the desires of the Franco-American clergy and parents in Worcester. Tuition would be $100.00 per year, and the dayhops could, if they so desired, have their noon lunch for $7.00 per month. At first, they had to arrive by 8:00 a.m., but that was changed to 8:30 after a short while.

Father Crescent wanted to found a small alumnate in Barre, MA, but when that proved impossible, he started the Apostolic School at the High School and College under the direction of Fr. Odilon Dubois. The Apostolic School continued until the Prep School closed in 1970. As Superior, Father Crescent tended to be quite authoritarian, even tough. But he also had a knack for obtaining generous benefactors, and that enabled him to make important improvements on campus. For the Silver Jubilee of the College in 1929, Father Clodoald Serieix had ordered from Brussels a statue of Father d’Alzon... The sculptor died suddenly and the statue had to be finished by another sculptor... It befell Father Crescent to have it unveiled in front of the College wing on November 24, 1930.

The year 1930 also saw the Assumptionists purchase one side of Baker Lake near Webster and build under the tree, The Villa d’Alzon, complete with chapel, to serve as a summer recreation house for the Assumptionists of Worcester and New York City.

In 1932, thanks to a generous gift from Father J.M. Marceau, pastor in Millbury, MA, a new Lourdes grotto was built near the road going up to the baseball field. The first grotto had had to be destroyed when the College wing and gym had been built. The stones for the grotto had been brought from Jefferson, MA in a truck sent by another benefactor, Mr. John Tinsley, Vice-President of Crompton-Knowles Loom Company.

The land in front of the grotto was soon called Crescent Park and in it, Father Crescent placed a fine bronze statue of St. Joan of Arc, which is now on the grounds of St. Anne Shrine in Sturbridge.

The most notable and noticeable improvement on the campus was the opening, in November 1934, of the new entrance to the campus from West Boylston Street. The Assumption Avenue approach was horrible, especially in winter. Crescent had obtained a generous gift from a true Francophile, Mrs. Homer Gage, who paid for the road, and had had pillars built at the entrance as well. Maple trees were planted along the road.

Mrs. Gage was a generous benefactress in other ways as well: she kept subscribing to important French magazines for the College library. And she donated for the eventual college “museum” a series of 24 lithographs of scenes of heroism in World War I, made by Lucien Jonas in France. They used to hang in the High School study hall.

While he was President of the College, Fr. Crescent received two decorations from the French government. On January 4, 1932, from the Ministry of Public Instruction and Fine Arts, he received the decoration “Officier d’Académie.” This was partly due to the monthly articles he wrote for La Croix, by which he tried to give to the French clear ideas on the political and economic life in the USA. And it was partly for his work at Assumption College, which helped spread French culture in the USA. Then on June 13, 1934, the French Consul General in New York, Charles de Ferry Fontnouvelle, by virtue of the powers he had as Consul General, and in the name of the President of France, made Fr. Crescent a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Before coming to the United States, Father Crescent Armanet directed schools in Turkey, taught at Plovdiv, in Bulgaria, did parish work in England, and fought in World War I.  From 1912 to 1914, he was at 156th Street and from 1919 to 1929, Superior and President of Assumption College and Prep for the next six years, then returned to Our Lady of Esperanza in New York as Superior, while remaining Vice-Provincial for North America. Our Province owes much to him and it is largely due to him that we became a province in 1947. He spent the last three years of his life as Superior at Marseilles.

Arnaud (Alfred) Arnaud

1888-1976

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A youth traveling the roads of the world.

Alfred was born in Paris June 28, 1888 in the XVIIIth district where his dad worked, but his childhood was spent in Savoy at Gilly-sur-Isère. He was accepted at the Notre-Dame des Châteaux alumnate in September 1899 and witnessed the search of the house on November 11. In 1903, he went to Mongreno near Turin to the villa ‘Madonna del Buon Consilio’ where he finished his high school studies (1903-1904). He chose the Assumptionist life and traveled to Louvain, Belgium, to begin his novitiate with 27 companions September 18, 1904 under the direction of Fr. Benjamin Laurès. He pronounced his first vows there September 18, 1905. Traveling again, he was off to Rome where he did his philosophy (1906-1909). At the Angelicum he got his doctorate and made his perpetual profession in the Eternal City June 7, 1907. His health faltered and he was sent to rest at San Remo from 1909 to 1911. From there, he left for Jerusalem where he studied theology (1911-1914) and was ordained a priest May 17, 1914.

Thirty years of ministry in England.

Although declared unfit for the military, Fr. Arnaud had to leave Jerusalem: Turkish staff occupied Notre-Dame de France. After a short stay in Rome (1915), he reached England where he witnessed the raid by the zeppelins (blimps). He took the time to first anglicize himself, at the alumnate of Bethnal-Green (1915-1923), then at the Charlton parish (1923-1929). Fr. Clodoald Serieix, recently named provincial, asked him to accept to become the director of the Archconfraternity of Prayer and Penance in the U.S.A. (1929-1934). Having finished this task, he returned to England as curate in New Haven and in 1935 replaced Fr. Bal-Fontaine, the pastor, who was named provincial. During 10 years, he was a much appreciated, zealous, and attentive pastor. He welcomed to Bethnal-Green the Little Sisters of the Assumption whose convent was destroyed by bombs in 1940. The Sisters set up camp in the refectory and were very embarrassed to undress under the watchful eyes of a framed picture of Fathers d’Alzon, Picard, Bailly, Maubon, and Quenard who watched them from the wall. The war was trying for this religious whose health changed from precarious to sickly: pleurisy, appendicitis, intestinal ulcer, and chronic bronchitis. From October 1945 to September 1949, he took refuge at the convent of the Holy Family at Littlehampton (Sussex). He then went back to the Paris province, his original province.

Fifteen years as chaplain.

In the space of fifteen years, Fr. Arnaud was to have fifteen residences as chaplain. These would bring him from the Midi to Portugal until he was attached to the provincial house of Denfert-Rochereau Avenue. Up to 1964, he ministered to the Carmel of Créteil where his sermons were simple but doctrinal and he was known for a more than monastic regularity. The hour for his retirement was clear: in 1964 he accepted to go to Chanac (Lozère) where he spent twelve years (1964-1976). In September 1969, he paralyzed on one side, and that forced him to keep to the residence although he remained very active. He stayed in his room but never missed the ‘radioscopie’ program by Jacques Chancel. Bit by bit, he lost his sight but never his critical sense. He died suddenly on Sunday, November 28. His funeral was celebrated on Tuesday, November 30 and the burial took place at the tomb of the religious in the Chanac cemetery. For someone who was curious about everything, and especially concerning spiritual things, he could now understand fully the Gospel phrase: ‘Eternal life is to know You, You the only true God and the One that you sent’.

Addenda.

Portrait.

Anecdotes are not lacking to pad the life of this religious: in November 1908, he had the honor to accompany Msgr. Biolley, as a Savoy compatriot, to the papal audience of Pius X who called him a “rascal” and gave him a glorious slap. Perfect Anglophone, to the point that one noticed his Oxford accent, he was the only Frenchman to understand the game of cricket and enjoy it! As a religious, he intimidated others since he was of a fiery temperament and could make biting remarks, but under these explosive appearances, he hid a heart of gold that was warm and full of attentions. He was extremely devoted during the bombings of London in 1940, and would get up in the middle of the night to help the wounded and the dying. To be sure, some of his religious confreres found his frankness too rough and his character as intolerant as he was intolerable! He was always on time, and held himself to a rigorous observance of the rules. On the doctrinal level, his totalitarian character made him uncompromising to the point of being feared, even though he remained very human in his contacts with others.

Etienne-Marie (Louis) Aubert

1898-1976

Religious of French Origin of the Province of North America.

At first a European journey.

Louis René Henri, the future Fr. Etienne-Marie Aubert, was born October 4, 1898 at Fécamp in Normandy (Seine-Maritime). His formation was begun at the Caen minor seminary from 1910 to 1914 and then at the Assumptionist alumnates: Vinovo in Italy (1914-1915) and Ascona in Switzerland (1914-1915) during a time when the French Assumption was forbidden to live on French soil and had moved its activities to the neighboring countries. In August 1917 he entered the Lumières novitiate, situated in Goult (Vaucluse), at the time when the expelled religious started to re-enter clandestinely under cover of the First World War. Although deferred in 1916, he fulfilled his military duties from 1918 to 1921. He made his first vows at Saint-Gérard (Belgium) with the name of Brother Etienne-Marie. He began philosophy at Taintegnies and continued his clerical studies at Louvain from 1922 to 1928. He was perpetually professed April 16, 1925 and ordained to the priesthood in Louvain July 29, 1928 by Bishop Legraive. His apostolic life began as a teacher at the college of Sens (Yonne) for three years (1928-1931). During vacations, he gladly accompanied the young orphans of the Halluin house in Arras to the beach of Merlimont, on the North Sea. Was it there that he heard the call of the ocean?

In the service of the U.S.A. Assumption during more than thirty years.

At that time, the Province of Paris was in charge of a vicariate that consisted of England and North America. In 1931, he was sent to the college in Worcester (Massachusetts) to teach languages, a task that he accomplished with zeal and humor, to the high school seniors and first two years for college students. It was said of this young religious that he had a nice smile but gave low marks. From 1935 to 1948, he was named dean of discipline and willingly accepted to be in charge of a drama club. He based his actions on a double base of trust and loyalty without sparing stiff rebukes… A man of boiling ardor and who was athletic, he accompanied the sports teams with verve and earned the nickname of ‘Pop’ because he was esteemed. He even helped with the student newspaper, The Heritage, as he inspired and corrected the French parts. In March 1947, he requested and obtained his affiliation to the newly created Province of North America. Because of the excellence of his teaching service, in 1950 he was decorated with the Palmes Académiques and, in 1966, he was made a knight of the National Order of Merit by the ambassador, Charles Lucet. Besides teaching, he had other ministries: weekend ministry, chaplain for the French Consulate in Boston, the Alliance Française, and member of the Society of French Assistance. He didn’t forget his native land that he occasionally visited and the Second World War had not spared. The bombings at the time of liberation in June 1944 struck cruelly in Normandy, especially the city of Caen where his family lived. His brother, a priest, died in 1948 and his sister took care of his elderly mother who was already 88 in 1953. His other brother, a cabinetmaker, lost everything in the bombings. In 1953, Fr. Etienne-Marie would live through similar emotions, even if he came out safely from the terrible tornado that struck the college at Worcester in June. It lasted only ninety seconds, but the spectacle cannot be described. It was just like bombardments during wartime. Fr. Engelbert died as well as two Antonian of Mary sisters and Fr. Louis-Robert Brassard escaped with a broken leg. Fr. Etienne-Marie, also known by the Hispanic name of Esteban, died October 9, 1976 at the age of 78 after having lived a full life and whose activity in the midst of a college prolonged his youth. His funeral was held at the church of Holy Name in Worcester with the participation of many alumni who kept fond remembrances of him. Was it not there, in that church, that he spent more than thirty years faithfully and devotedly on weekend ministry?

Addenda.

When he received from the hands of the Hon. Charles Lucent, French Ambassador to the United States, the Cross of Chevalier, National Order of Merit, from the French government on May 3. 1966, he received the highest French award to civilians in foreign countries. He was buried in Ste-Anne’s cemetery in Fiskdale on October 12, 1976.

Text taken from the funeral mass homily preached by Fr. Edgar Bourque, Provincial (Assumption North America v. x # 8, 3):

There is no doubt about the fact that Father Etienne largely deserved all the teasing he received for his power of moaning and groaning – “in season and out of season.” I suppose that a modern translation of that would be “in times of real suffering and in times of a good show.” But we would be shortsighted and of very small hearts and minds to close our eyes to the fact that there was a great deal of suffering in his life. He left his family and country as a young priest. He suffered the loss of his parents and family. There was always the worsening condition of serious cases of asthma, emphezema, and heart trouble, not to mention the long sleepless nights that these caused him. We cannot overlook either the exaggerated amount of work that his health allowed him because of a youthful strength that was only lessened by age. To this, we can add the suffering brought about by the tornado of 1953 and the even greater hurt that came with the closing of a school that had been such a great part of his life. Finally, there was old age and death that had to be faced.

Fr. Etienne was a man of faith and could take all of this and make it part of the cross he carried with Christ for the salvation of the world. That he could do as a Christian. But a special calling and generous response had made of him over fifty years ago a religious and a priest. This helped him deepen his call to identification with Christ, whether it be as he lived out his obligation of community life, taught his truth in the classroom, preached the Word of God, or offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Here, at the breaking of the bread, he could recognize Christ in his turn and all that was being asked of him every day of his religious and priestly life. His heart too burned within him as he too could say with Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

In 1944, he became an American citizen. He died of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm with a massive hemorrhage during the operation.

During his 35 years at Assumption Preparatory School, Fr. Etienne Aubert has taught French and Latin, served as Director of Athletics, prefect of Discipline, Choir Director, and a Director of the Dramatic Club and Glee Club. He was named Officier d’Académie by l’Académie Française in 1950. Father Etienne was also formerly a member of the administrative staff and faculty member of Assumption College.

The Hon. Charles Lucent, French Ambassador to the United States, will present the Cross of Chevalier, National Order of Merit, to the Rev. L. Etienne Aubert, A.A. of Assumption Preparatory School at a special reception in Father Aubert’s honor at the French Consulate in Boston. The award, the highest given by the French government to civilians in foreign countries, will be made at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, 1966, at the Consulate. 3 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA.

The award is being made in recognition of Father Etienne’s outstanding contributions to the promotion of French culture in the United States, particularly to the French colony in Boston.

A native of France, Father Etienne is an instructor in French at Assumption Preparatory School, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1931.

He attended St. Gerard, Taintegnies and Louvain in Belgium, where he was ordained an Assumptionist in 1928.

Father Etienne is the first Assumptionist priest in the United States to receive the award. Before joining the Congregation, he served from 1918 to 1921 in the French Army.

Letter by the Provincial, Rev. Edgar Bourque to Rev. Roland Hebert, Pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Church, Worcester, dated 18 October 1976

This is just a little note to give you a big word of thanks for your many kindnesses to the Assumptionists on the occasion of Father Etienne’s death and funeral.  We all thought that it was extremely thoughtful and generous of you to offer the use of your church for the funeral mass. It was as obvious to us as it as to you that this was the place to do it. This is why we had no hesitation in accepting. I feel very certain that this would have pleased Pop very much. Everyone knows how much he loved going to your parish week after week over the past 30 years. I don’t know which to admire most: his devotion or the hospitality that made him feel so welcome.

Marie-Rogatien (Paul) Bahuaut

1879-1949

Religious of the Province of Bordeaux.

An outstanding pilgrimage.

Born in Nantes May 11, 1879, Paul began his secondary studies at the diocesan minor seminary of Des Couets (1891-1897). In 1896, he took part in a penitential pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was impressed by Fr. Picard, a religious of faith and certitude: it was there that he discovered his Assumptionist vocation. He took the religious habit October 28, 1897 at the Livry-Gargan (Seine-Saint-Denis) novitiate under the name of Marie-Rogatien. He spent the second novitiate year at Phanaraki (Turkey) and it was there that he made his first vows that were also his perpetual vows December 8, 1899. While at Jerusalem, he did all of his philosophy (1899-1901). It was at Eski-Chéïr that he became a French teacher (1901-1904), then went on to Kadi-Keuï and Phanaraki at the end of 1904, and studied theology at Louvain (Belgium) in 1905-1906. He was ordained a priest there in July of 1908.

An emeritus professor who cultivates paradox.

His vocation was to teach: at Bizet (Belgium) 1908-1910, at Ascona (Switzerland) 1910-1913 where he revealed that he was an outstanding teacher by the quality of his knowledge and intellectual enthusiasm that he stimulated in his students, and in Worcester (U.S.A.) 1913-1919. He was exempt from military service because of myopia. In 1919, he went to Charlton, England, as chaplain but also educator. From 1924 to 1929, he taught in the scholasticates of Belgium: Taintegnies and Saint-Gérard where his science became the formation of souls. He was called to be superior and professor in 1929 at the alumnate of Melle (Deux-Sèvres), and in 1932 the Saint-Caprais College in Agen benefited of his services. He spent six years there giving the full measure of his gift for organization and formation of the whole being.

But his health did not get any better and his sight diminished dangerously. In 1938, he went off to rest in Bordeaux. The war in 1939 mobilized all of the young religious and he was greatly needed at the alumnate for humanities of Cavalerie (Dordogne) to which was attached the diocesan Bergerac minor seminary. He made up for the lack of his sight by the depth of his psychological insight, which permitted him to understand and guide in depth the youth entrusted to him.

At the peril of his life, in July of 1944 he saved the house of Cavalerie and its inhabitants thanks to his calm and courage. The situation became once again normal in 1946 and Father Marie-Rogatien was discharged from his position as superior and became an itinerant preacher: “There are two men in me: one hides the other, the spiritual one and the joker. I do not pretend that they are both transcendent. I have an original cast of mind.”

A way of the cross.

The last part of the life of Fr. Marie-Rogatien was marked by long physical and mental sufferings. His work had to be given up and he was separated from his religious family. An illness of acute furuncles (boils) transformed his body in constant sores that gave him many nights of insomnia.  “I understood what the gridiron of Saint Lawrence was.” On April 18, 1948, while preaching the monthly retreat at Sacré-Coeur of Angoulême, he had to be taken urgently to the Sainte-Marthe clinic for an operation. He would never leave it. “It is through suffering that I think I arrived at habitual union with Our Lord.” On the morning of March 8, 1949, he lost consciousness and his heart weakened. Fr. René Gaury administered the sacrament of the sick and that night all hope of amelioration was abandoned. He died with no contraction or even a movement of the eyes around 10:35 p.m. The funeral was celebrated in the church of Sacré-Coeur d’Angoulême and the body buried in the Soyaux cemetery. Father Marie-Rogatien had spent the last eleven months of his life in hospital.

Addenda.

Father Marie-Rogatien found his vocation on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He was a born educator, capable of provoking personal thought on the part of the students and of eliciting the best out of them. His preferred subject was literature, in which he excelled. He taught in many countries: in Turkey at Eski-Chéir before his ordination, then in Switzerland at Ascona and at Assumption College in Worcester from 1913 to 1919; then, after a short stay in England, he taught philosophy at Taintegnies and St. Gerard in Belgium until 1929. He was then Superior at the college level alumnate of Melle in the Province of Bordeaux and at the College of St. Caprais at Toulouse (?Agen?).  During World War II, in spite of his lost eyesight, he still taught the alumnate students of Melle, moved to the free zone of France, as Melle was in the section of France occupied by the Germans.

During his later years, he preached retreats. Here, as in his teaching, he was always original in his manner of presenting ideas. He had a good sense of humor, but also a sense of the paradoxical, which often caused misunderstandings. He died after a long and painful illness. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Portrait.

“Tall, handsome, with a quite severe aspect under his thick glasses of a half-blind person, with a short beard that he retained from his being formerly an artillery captain. He was brave, taking everything in, retaining all. And what speech! He used the precise word, to bring forth an image or a contrast, and was very clear as he chose his expressions carefully: originality. He was concise and harmonious. In fact, his ministry was spent preaching: in the Orient, Belgium, Switzerland, and North America. He preached in cathedrals and humble shrines. His three favorites were Bossuet, Newman, and Louis Veuillot. He always returned to these three preferred authors finding in their style contentment because of their solid logic and base. He was energetic and was not afraid of death. The Germans noticed this when in 1944 they kept him under fire from their machine guns during two hours. ‘Aren’t you afraid?’ a professor asked him. ‘How do you want this to worry me? You know that I am blind. I never saw the German!” (Voulez-Vous? 1949.)

Bernardin (Jean-Pierre) Bal-Fontaine

1887-1978

Religious of the Province of France, Provincial.

A Savoyard in the world.

Jean-Pierre was born May 25, 1887, in Hauteluce (Savoie), a small village not far from the Notre Dame des Châteaux alumnate which he attended from 1899 to 1903.  He found refuge from the newly enacted anti-clerical laws at “Villa Madonna del Buon Consiglio” in Mongreno, Italy, located some 4 km (2 ½ miles) from Turin (1903-1904).  He entered the novitiate in Louvain September 18, 1904 with 27 companions.  Fr. Vincent de Paul Bailly gave them the religious habit and Fr. Benjamin Laurès guided their first steps in religious life. He took his first annual vows September 18, 1905.  In October 1906, Jean-Pierre, having become Brother Bernardin, went to Rome, Piazza de Ara Coeli, to follow courses at the Angelicum (1906-1909), crowning them with a doctorate in philosophy.  He made final profession in Rome June 7, 1907. According to custom, he was sent to teach at Elorrio (Spain) from 1909 to 1911, discovering the country and learning to speak its language fluently.  He then went to Jerusalem to pursue studies in theology (1911-1914), receiving priestly ordination from Patriarch Camassei May 17, 1914.  However, in December 1914, the Turks expelled him from the country along with 30 other Assumptionists.  Three weeks of travel by both land and sea finally brought them to Rome in January 1915, after a difficult odyssey where he finished his fourth year of theology.

Years of wandering.

In September 1915, Fr. Bernardin was sent to the alumnate in Vinovo (Piedmont), which also served as a temporary novitiate.  Typhoid fever in 1915 obliged the novices to go to Rome.  Thanks to Archbishop Latty of Avignon, the quarters next to the shrine of Notre Dame des Lumières (Vaucluse) were placed at the disposal of the Assumptionists in May 1916.  Transferred from the alumnate to the novitiate, Fr. Bernardin found himself in Provence from 1916 to 1919. Those were hard working but exquisite years during which he cumulated several positions: master of novices, director of the shrine, local treasurer, and host for the soldier-brothers on leave.  In September 1919, Fr. Bernardin was sent to England where he spent 16 years: chaplain in New Haven (1919-22), Brockley (1923-29), and Bethnal-Green (1929-35).  A model pastor, he was seduced by the English culture, learning the language of the country, which he spoke with a bit of a French accent, but to the point of being able to pass for a perfectly refined and meticulous gentleman.  He was Provincial of Paris before, during, and after the war.

This nomad had not finished touring Europe. At the General Chapter of 1935, Fr. Clodoald Sérieix, having underlined his fatigue, was relieved of his responsibility as Provincial of Paris. On February 2, 1935, Fr. Bal-Fontaine was appointed as his successor, a position he held for 11 years (1935-46).  Before the war, his plan was clear: “I draw your attention to three points: religious fervor, the need for intensive recruiting, and the need to strengthen our finances.”  Are not the soul, manpower, and money the order of priority of all development?  Vérargues (Hérault) was enlarged in 1936, as was Les Essarts.  Perpignan and Nîmes were growing.  Montéchor (Pas-de-Calais) was opened in 1937, and Soisy (Essonne) in 1938.  The Vicariate in England was becoming more and more promising.

But war broke out.  Some 90 religious of the Province were called into active military service, and 6 houses were requisitioned.  At the debacle of May 1940, even the Provincial had to flee to Nîmes until April 1943.  In May-June 1944, the orphanage in Arras was bombed four times; on June 22, the house in Saint-Denis was devastated by the explosion of a V1; Le Bizet, which had become a munitions depot, exploded; Les Essarts was pillaged and ransacked: “All the houses of the Province of Paris suffered from the scourge of war.” And to complete the martyrology, Fr. Bal-Fontaine, in his report of 1946, also mentioned the houses in England that had been the victims of air raids: New Haven, Bethnal-Green, Brockley, Charlton, etc.

After 1945, everything had to be rebuilt or repaired as well as possible, but materials and money were lacking: “Everyone had to camp out.”  At the General Chapter of 1946, the Provinces of England and North America were canonically erected and detached from Paris.  In 1946, Fr. Rémi Kokel succeeded Fr. Bal-Fontaine who was elected Assistant General.

Assistant General in Rome.

Fr. Bernardin accepted the new position that lasted six years.  He was greatly appreciated for his calm and level-headedness of his opinions, particularly in financial matters.  A practical man, he was wary of ideas that were not backed up by reality.  He spent his free time visiting the Eternal City and guiding pilgrims, especially in 1950, his mastery of four languages serving him in good stead.  In 1952, when his term was over, he returned to his province, accepting to become the superior of the community in Nîmes.

Final years.

Fr. Bal-Fontaine was 65 years old at the time.  For 6 years, he ably and confidently directed the college in Nîmes.  In 1958, he was placed in charge of Saint Peter in Gallicantu in Jerusalem, located at the time in Jordan.  Because the residence had been leased, after the departure of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, to an Arab family to be used as a hotel, the Silver Tower, he and the community were obliged to live a Spartan existence in what was formerly known as the “farm.”  In 1962, he moved to Notre Dame de France where he managed to save the archives that had accumulated over a period of 80 years.  In 1963, he returned to France, accepting to become chaplain to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Vendôme (Loir-et-Cher).  He died in a hospital January 3, 1978, and was buried in Vendôme January 6, 1978.

Addenda.

Traits of a real d’alzonian.

“The resemblance of Fr. Bernardin to Fr. d’Alzon, especially after his fiftys, is quite clear: same forehead, high and wide, same look, same profile with a slightly hooked nose. The moral character of Fr. Bal-Fontaine owes even more to the Congregation’s founder. His fidelity to the Church, lived as a fidelity to the Pope and the hierarchy, his faithfulness to his religious commitments expressed in a perfect regularity, his filial devotion to the Virgin, and especially by his love of the Eucharist, all of this is specifically Assumptionist...

Fr. Bal-Fontaine is a true son of Fr. d’Alzon by the various periods of his priestly ministry: parishes, responsibilities as Provincial and Assistant, Director of a high school, chaplain. His spiritual life bases itself on the Eucharist that explains all of his priestly life, his charity that colors all of his works, his hope that fills his life because it is sustained by that of the Risen one...” Fr. Arandel, table companion and assistant to Fr. Bernardin at Vendôme from 1970 to 1978.)

Anastase (Eugène-Louis) Baudart

1882-1948

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A child from the North.

Eugène was born in the diocese of Arras at Guemps in Pas-de-Calais. His pastor, Father Ledoux noticed him and passed on to him certain original ideas that he always held on to. Eugène lived in the alumnates, first at Sainghin in the North from 1896 to 1898 and then at Clairmarais in Pas-de-Calais, near Saint-Omer from 1898 to 1900. Fr. Edouard Bachelier left his imprint on Eugène’s character. He entered the Gempe novitiate in Holland September 18, 1900 and finished his novitiate at Phanaraki in Turkey (Asia) where he made his profession of first vows September 18, 1901 with the name of Brother Anastase. He then went to an apostolic house at Gallipoli (1902-1903), this time in European Turkey. It was there that he pronounced his perpetual vows January 1, 1903. He was once again named to the mission of Zongouldak in Turkey on the Black Sea (1903-1904), then to that of Ismidt (1904-1905). At this point he studied theology at Jerusalem from 1905 to 1910 where he was ordained to the priesthood July 10, 1910.

First stay in Worcester, U.S.A.

From the Orient, he went to the New World as a teacher at the college in Worcester for four years (1910-1914). Although he was short and had a weak voice, it was not long before he became a real orator, even though there was no echo of this facet of his life except for a mention of great sympathy in this Francophile milieu.

The years of the war of 1914-18.

On the other hand, his military obligations requisitioned him for many years during which he left many experessions of affection. He mostly served in the infirmary service during the different sections of the campaign that brought him to Dordogne as well as in Doubs, the Vosges and especially the sector of Verdun. This war was very trying for him and his family since he lost two brothers, a brother-in-law, and four cousins, on the battlefront. August 26, 1916 he wrote:

I have spoken to you of the disappearance of my brother. I have just learned that he fell at Verdun July 11. He was married and the father of a child. My poor parents, almost in their eighties, are in a very deep desolation…. Because of military censure, it was not always possible to fix the locality of his personal position. He wrote October 16, 1916:

“ Here I am again in the woods in a post. I will take over in the village just like in May. The wounded are not numerous, but during the whole day we have to dig passages. We are in the middle of rain and snow and in our windowless shelter, it is absolutely forbidden to build a fire. I hope to be sent to a post where I shall have more time to do my religious exercises….” There was no doubt that this period of his life marked him deeply. He was discharged in January 1919 and once again sent to the college in Worcester.

A second stay in Worcester, 1919-1929.

He returned with joy to the college that he had left five years before. Of the 24 members that were part of the college, a certain number, including himself, were freed up to exercise an apostolate of missionary preaching. In 1929, he asked to go for a visit to the tomb of his deceased parents who died in 1920. He was then given more pastoral works in France: the parish of Clairmarais (1929-1932) and Montmirail-Gault-la-Forêt (1932-1947). He was named to Montpellier in 1947 where he was chaplain at the neighboring orphanage of Bon-Secours. On Saturday, June 19, 1948, he complained of stomach problems. He died suddenly at the entrance to the door around seven p.m. from an angina attack. He was buried the following Monday, June 21, and rests next to Frs. Augustin Nègre and Sernin Baron.

Addenda.

Father Anastase’s early ministry was in Jerusalem. Twice he was stationed at Assumption in Worcester, from 1910 to 1914 and from 1919 to 1929, when he taught in the Prep School classes. Later, he was one of the team of parish priests covering a large territory   from a central rectory at Montmirail, in France. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Fr. Anastase, a well tested catechist.

“A few years after he returned from Worcester, one day I met Fr. Anastase in a rectory at nearby Montmirail. He was gifted with a strong will and a persevering devotion, but these were hidden talents. He raised chickens, took care of a garden, and taught catechism with perfection, for he has a passion for the catechism and had inherited from his first pastor several teaching aids and even a methodology that he had placed on large charts that were worthy of being printed.

On reading the Bulletin of Montmirail, it is striking to see the activity and the many sermons, meetings, and masses that he took care of on Sundays. At the time, there was an auto that took him to the various parishes where he ministered. When the war came in 1939, he had to use a bicycle and push it up the hills of the rugged roads of his parishes, in all sorts of weather, rain or snow. At times, he came back exhausted, very tired…”  (Lettre à la famille, 1948).

Léocade (François Joseph) Bauer

1891-1967

Religious of the Province of Paris.

An ‘Alsatian-Lorraine of the interior’ in the exterior.

François Joseph was born July 19, 1891 at Achères, today in the Yvelines, of an Alsatian father, François, and a mother from Lorraine, Marie Villen. The Alsatian family from Guebwiller left their native soil in 1870. Three children became religious: one a Lazarist, another a brother of the Holy Cross, and a third a Franciscan brother. This last was martyred in China by the Boxers in July of 1900 and was beatified by Pius XII November 24, 1946. François Joseph’s infancy was put to the test by the death of his mother, a little sister, and in 1897, his dad. He was an intern student with the Brothers of Holy Cross at Bourgeuil (Indre-et-Loire). A Little Sister of the Assumption put him in touch with the Assumption through Fr. François Mathis who guided him to the Clairmarais alumnate (Pas-de-Calais) in September 1903. He then went to Bizet in Belgium (1904-1906), next to Saint-Trond, then Zepperen, and finally to Taintegnies where he studied until 1908. He was a very sharp adolescent, an artist, but was a bit withdrawn. He entered the Louvain novitiate and took the habit August 28, 1908 under the name of Brother Léocade. Fr. Antoine de Padoue Vidal was in charge of him at Gempe where he made his perpetual vows August 30, 1910, on the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Fr. d’Alzon. He started philosophy at Louvain September 1, 1910. In August 1913, he was named to teach at Brousse in Turkey, but military hostilities forced him to go from Phanaraki in August 1914 to Ismidt at Kadi-Keuï and finally Plovdiv until the expulsion of the religious in November 1915. He was among the religious that from Rumania, Russia, Finland, Scandinavia, and England returned to France to do their military service. In January 1917, he was called up and named to health services until August 1919. He could then get back to his theological studies at Louvain where he was ordained a priest August 7, 1921, at age 30.

After the Orient, America (1921-1940).

Fr. Léocade who studied English in London (Bethnal-Green: 1915-1916) was sent to the college in Worcester, U.S.A. from 1921 to 1931. A demanding teacher, he received the nickname of ‘Hot Dog’. The students also liked him because he published the magazines ‘L’Assomption’ and ‘L’Almanach de l’Assomption’. He was involved in theatrical representations where his talents for staging plays, wardrobe master, and musician were exploited. His much-appreciated sermons earned him another nickname, this time a more admiring one: ‘the little saint Anthony’. In 1931, he was sent to Quebec, at Bergerville, as master of novices where he gave himself totally with his heart and ingenious energy to the formation of a young generation of American religious. Various illnesses obliged him to request that he be sent back to France in 1940.

At Nîmes (1941-1966).

At first it was at the college of Nîmes where he was spiritual dean until 1948. He was then involved in the Institut d’Alzon of the Oblate Sisters at Séguier Street where he gave a spiritual ministry of quality: retreats, chaplaincy, catechetics, and missionary formation. For the younger students, he adopted the custom of ‘godmothers’. In doing so, the older ones were better formed on the religious level and they became more responsible. He took over very naturally the groups of the Noël and organized trips to foreign countries that enlivened and gave a boost to the work for the year.

The last stage: Paris (1966-1967).

At the request of Fr. Brajon September 8, 1966, he accepted the chaplaincy for the Sisters of Sainte Marie, in Paris, at Bara Street. He died there December 21, 1967 of a heart attack. The funeral was held December 26 in the chapel of the Bon Secours Hospital where Fr. Léocade was urgently transported the night of December 21. He was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery.

Addenda.

Fr. Léocade was most hospitable to any American going to Nîmes.

In North America (1921-1924) by M.V.

His letter of obedience sent him to Assumption College in Worcester (Mass.) He arrived in September 1921. During 10 years, he devoted himself as a monitor at first, then teaching Latin to 1st year high, and finally he taught the seniors. Fr. Louis-Robert Brassard, one of his former students, describes his teacher: “Fr. Léocade had the reputation of being demanding. That is where his nickname “Hot Dog” came from. He knew his subject matter and his methodology was week-adapted to beginners. With him, it was impossible not to learn.” Besides teaching, he was in charge of the College magazine: “L’Assomption”. Each year at Christmas time, he published the “Almanach of the Assumption”. This was most appreciated by the teaching sisters and the students of the Franco-American schools…

He was gifted as an organizer. “In 1929, for the silver Jubilee of the College, he was put in charge of the program of celebrations. The preparation lasted six months and revealed his many great qualities of spirit, heart, and imagination. Everything was a success, especially the exposition of photos and charts illustrating the history of our College and the Assumptionist works in the world. I can still see Fr. Wilfrid Dufault – at the time a philosophy student – spending hours looking at these paintings. They most likely gave him his first overview of the Congregation that he would later be in charge of. Fr. Léocade also solidly established the Drama Club of the college. His great success was “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” of Molière. All had to be done: costumes, scenery, music, and ballets… The end result was an unheard of success…”

“These endeavors in no way impeded his ministry of souls: at the college, he confessed and guided spiritually a good number of students; and outside, he preached, gave retreats and conferences, plus regular weekend ministry in New England parishes. Father would come each weekend to our parish of St. Cecilia in Leominster to help. His preaching was solid and eloquent and this enthused the faithful. He was soon nicknamed: “the little Saint-Anthony”. During these visits, only God knows how many young girls were guided toward religious life, especially for the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit of Saint-Brieuc.” (Fr. J.R. Brassard)

In 1931, Fr. Léocade was sent to Bergerville (Canada) as Master of Novices. He kept this position until 1940 when illness forced him to ask to go back to France. What he was like as master of Novices can be surmised by reading the Novitiate courses found in his things… We get a better picture by listening to Fr. Brassard. “ What could have been discouraging – given the climate, isolation, solitude (since I was the only novice) – did not take place. The same energy, the same ingenious devotedness that characterized his years in Worcester made these fifteen months under his guidance the most interesting and encouraging for a young religious.” The many religious that he formed could most likely sign this testimony. So could other appreciations formulated by Fr. Brassard: “Fr. Léocade was for many American Assumptionists a light and a model. He was one of the best builders of our young American Province. The American Assumption is greatly indebted to him. The work that he did here, the vocations that he nurtured, encouraged, guided are the greatest monument to his memory. We were preparing to receive him this year to celebrate his priestly Jubilee. God decided otherwise and called him to his eternal reward. This is far greater than anything that America could have offered him.”

He was in North America from 1921 to 1940. First, he was a teacher of freshmen in the Prep School. He was severe and knew how to obtain hard work from many enthusiastic students. Many an Assumptionist vocation is due to him at a time when the American vocations were only starting.  Then, from 1931 tom1940, he was Master of Novices in Quebec. Because of poor health, he requested to return to France and was spiritual director at the College of Nîmes and at the ‘Institut d’Alzon’ conducted by the Oblates of the Assumption in that city. He kept doing this work for 25 years. At the same time, he was active with the ‘Noël’ and led the Nîmes train of pilgrims to Lourdes for the national pilgrimage. His last two years were spent in Paris as chaplain to Sisters.

Father Léocade Bauer arrived in Sillery 27 September 1931 with Father Crescent Armanet, vicar provincial, who announced to the community 30 September the appointment of Fr. Léocade as master of novices. The following year, 15 August, he was named superior.

The team for animation of the novitiate was totally reconstituted. In fact, Father Tranquille left 2 October 1929 and Father Pierre Martel 21 September 1931; Father Marie-Alexis left 14 October of the same year and Father Réginald 5 September 1932; Father Marie-Clément remained but only took care of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc. After Father Léocade, the following arrived: Fathers Hydulphe Mathiot in December 1931, Hermès Fuchs in July 1932, Maurice Gagnon in August 1934 and Wilfrid Dufault on September 18, 1937; the latter studied philosophy at Laval University, but helped the team as much as he could. In 1939, Father Germain Guénette arrived.

Fr. Léocade taught major and minor novitiate; Fr. Hydulphe took care of the chant and also during several years of courses on the Gospels and Psalms; Fr. Hermès gave with a lot of conviction the courses on hagiography and liturgy; Fr. Maurice taught good manners and the history of the Assumption; for these, he had long notes that were duplicated as handout notes; later he would teach the courses on Psalms and the Gospels. The Fathers also assumed other tasks: Father Hydulphe was a professor of patrology at the University. (Les Assomptionnistes au Canada, Yves Garon, a.a., Sillery, 1997, 46)

Gerulf (Eugène) (Hugo) Bervoets

1913-1980

Religious of the Province of North Belgium.

Formation in Belgium.

Eugène Victor was born August 11, 1913 at Lummen in the Belgian Limbourg where he went to grade school. He then came into contact with the alumnist life, first at Zepperen (1927-1931), then at Kapelle-op-den-Bos (1931-1933). He entered the Taintegnies novitiate in 1933 and took his first vows October 4, 1934 under the name of Gerulf. He was evaluated as being of an absolute sincerity, having good aptitudes and being devoted, well groomed, with a happy character, and easy to approach. At Saint-Gérard, he did two years of philosophy (1934-1936) and started his theology at Louvain (1937-1939). It was completed at Saint-Gérard (1939-1942), because the bombings had destroyed the Louvain convent in 1940. He took a year off to fulfill his military service obligation. It was at Louvain that he pronounced his perpetual vows October 13, 1938 and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Charue at Saint-Gérard February 22, 1942. At first, he was sent to the Zepperen alumnate to teach (1942-1949).

The years in far-away missions (Colombia, New York).

In 1949, he volunteered for the mission in Colombia at Cali and in 1954 was temporarily transferred, for three years, to the Province of North America. Fr. Henri Moquin wrote to his confrere, the provincial of Belgium, Stéphane Lowet December 16, 1954: “It is with pleasure that I accept the loan of Fr. Eugène Bervoets to the American Province for three years that, I hope, will be renewed. He will not lack work at the 14th Street parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe (New York). Presently Fr. Zoppi has a serious heart condition. We are therefore waiting for Fr. Eugène with a certain impatience because, with the absence of two out of five religious, those who are left find themselves overloaded”. Fr. Eugène-Gerulf lived in the United States until 1958. His passage in New York did not go unnoticed if we are to believe the chronicle of Fr. Ed. Melchior of 12-29-1955: “Fr. Eugène Bervoets, who is at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, has been so appreciated in our Hispanic milieus that on a solemn occasion presided by Msgr. Vivas, auxiliary bishop of Bogota and of Bishop Philip, auxiliary for the Hispanos of New York, he was solemnly decorated in the name of the Ibero-American Republics for his talent for organizing and his enthusiasm as spiritual director of the Guadalupino Center. It was there that he created a center for Hispanic and Catholic culture. I was there among the 2 to 3,000 persons at this celebration. Fr. Eugène spoke with a mike, in Spanish to be sure, and I can assure you that he does so very well”.

In pastoral service (Belgium).

In 1958, Fr. Eugène-Gerulf returned to his country; he was part of the Stabroeck community in Belgium (1958-1973). Stabroeck was a Belgian village in a Flemish zone, in the province of Anvers, belonging to the archbishopric of Malines. The Assumption acquired in 1952 as a replacement for Hal, for the Flemish philosophers and theologians of the Belgian province, the Ravenhof castle of Count Charles Moretus as well as the estate of some 25 hectares (250 square meters).  This foundation was to last till 1968 when the estate was sold. Fr. Eugène did ministry in the neighboring parishes. In 1973, he suffered from serious brain illness and had to be cared for in various institutions: from 1973-1976 at the Kapellen clinic in Antwerp, then at the rest home ‘Emmaus’ at Korbeek-Lo from 1976-1979, and Erps-Kwerps in 1979-1980. He died October 28, 1980 at Erps-Kwerps, having kept his hope and a smile right to the very end during this very difficult time of trial and never complaining. Fr. Eugène-Gerulf was buried in the cemetery of his native land, Lummen.

Addenda.

He arrived in Cali, Colombia, in March 1954 at Casa Cural de San Nicolás and worked in the parish church.

The Colombian Mission.

“In 1946 Fr. Rodrigue Moors, newly named provincial of Belgium, followed through on the decision of his predecessor, Fr. Dieudonné, by sending two volunteers to found at Cali, Frs. Lamberto Muermans and Renato Paulassen who arrived there 4 October 1946. Their adjustment took place on the spot thanks to the hospitality and kindness of the Little Sisters of the Assumption. The Assumptionist community was strengthened on 6 March 1947 by the arrival of Fr. Luis Puig (Argentinian religious) and 4 Belgian religious: André Dumon, Edouard Melchior, Niklaas Nicolaes, and Roger Besseling. This community accepts to care for the territory of Saint Nicolas, having some 1000,000 souls, in other words 1/3 of the city in 1947. The first project of the Assumptionists was to set up mission-chapels in the sections or barrios. On the west of the Santander and Las Delicias barrios, The Credit Institute set up a modern barrio to shelter the honest working families provided that they were married. It was this sector that fell under the care of Fr. Eugenio Bervoets in 1949, some 100,000 persons…” (News from Cali, March 1953.)

Letter by Fr. Eugène Bervoets to the Provincial in New York.

Lummen, 16 February 1955

I can well understand that you are starting to have doubts and that you are questioning whether I really want to come to New York. I received my Visa in the course of December and if I stayed more than 6 months in Belgium, it is because I needed several months of rest.

If I am going to New York, it is with a view to work there since I know that there is much work to be done. I worked in Colombia at Cali in a huge parish where there was also a lack of priests. I know that in similar cases there is a lot of work to be done. I myself asked to go to New York so as to continue working with Spanish-speaking people. Therefore, it is not a situation of my not wanting to go.

Yesterday I spoke with Rev. Fr. Stéphan and according to your last letter I was able to understand that I am to make the arrangements for the trip myself. That is what I did yesterday. I leave on the ship “LIBERTÉ” 4 March from Le Havre and plan to arrive on 10 March in New York.

Fr. Stéphan lent me the money to pay the trip. Therefore unless something unforeseen happens I hope to arrive in New York around 10 March.

Kindly receive, my Very Reverend Father my sincerest respect,

Fr. Eugène Bervoets

Henri (Anthelme) Blanc

1884-1972

French Religious of the Province of North America.

In the surroundings of the Assumption until 1927.

Henri was born November 12, 1884 at Cruet, Savoy, in the district of Saint-Pierre d’Albigny. After the years of the communal school, he entered the Notre-Dame des Châteaux alumnate (1897-1901) where he was one of the “solitaires de la montagne” and pursued his humanities at Brian in La Drôme (1901-1903). He asked to enter the Assumptionist family and took the religious habit October 18, 1903 at Louvain with the name of Brother Anthelme. He did his novitiate in Jerusalem where he made his first vows November 13, 1904 as well as his perpetual vows the following year, October 23, 1905. He then pursued his philosophy studies from 1906 to 1907 as well as his theological studies from 1907 to 1910. He was ordained to the priesthood July 10, 1910 by Msgr. Piccardo, the auxiliary to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr. Camassei. During his studies, he learned English. This permitted him to go to the college in Worcester, U.S.A., where he taught (1910-1921). Rebellious during the war of 1914-1918, he escaped military service in Europe and became a naturalized American citizen April 9, 1917. From 1921 to 1927, he was named to the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York City at 14th Street. At that time, he asked for and obtained an indult of secularization November 23, 1927, giving as reasons for this decision family and moral issues and his desire of entering the Fathers of Mercy. His confreres denounced his love of independence, good living, and money, which is so easy to set aside in New York. This dialogue fell on deaf ears and his final break took place: the bishop of Raleigh (North Carolina) accepted the ex-Father Anthelme, who had become Reverend Henri, into his diocese by an official act of incardination for three years, renewable. Reverend Henri became chaplain in a hospice and then in a girls’ school. We then lost trace of him.

Return to the bosom of the Assumption.

In September 1960, Reverend Henri wrote to Fr. Dufault, Superior General: “ I have just returned from Asheville, with which you are familiar, and on my desk I found the precious parchment [authorization to pronounce his vows as an Assumptionist religious in articulo mortis]. What a consolation to have it for my soul with what is included! A thousand thanks for this graciousness! It touches me greatly. I have just returned from a trip to Europe to visit France; I wanted to go to Savoy and revisit Notre -Dame des Châteaux and pray in the old chapel. I cried. I also stopped at Saint-Sigismond to visit the Fathers and leave an offering. The Assumption did so much for me. I also went to Ars where I slept in the rectory. In Paris, I visited Fr. Aurèle Odil at la Bonne Presse and Frs. Savinien and Cayré, former classmates of mine. My trip finished with a pilgrimage to Lisieux. In New York, I chatted with Fr. Provincial...” A letter from Fr. Antoine-Marie Philippe dated February 15, 1967, and sent from New York to Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, mentioned the desire to renew more official contacts with the Assumption by Reverend Henri: “Fr. Blanc has asked to be buried next to our Fathers in Worcester. He belongs to the Third Order and he has put us in his will. He himself told me that he would like to re-enter, but cannot accept the idea of having to redo a novitiate, if I remember well.” Fr. Dufault facilitated the return of Reverend Henri into the bosom of the Assumption, accepting his desire and indicating on this occasion the flexibility of Canon Law for the good of persons: “I have received your answer and am very pleased with the way you have received my suggestion. I am also glad to thank you immediately from the bottom of my heart for the generous gift that accompanied your letter. The Procurator General [Farne] is snowed under at this time and that is the reason for the delay in the steps to take [authorization for a dispensation to redo the novitiate]. You have the text for the indult for admission to vows in articulo mortis, with the delegation of any priest that will be near you at that time. I am sending you a number of ‘ l’Assomption et ses oeuvres’ in its new presentation; it is an interprovincial magazine that has much improved in its presentation and content….” From this moment on, Fr. Henri clearly manifested his belonging to the Province of North America. He died at Asheville May 6, 1972 and was the first religious buried in the new cemetery of Fiskdale.

Addenda.

As a boy, Henri watched the Swiss woodcarvers at work and took this craft up as a hobby. After being incardinated in the Raleigh, NC diocese, he was a chaplain at the Oteen VA hospital in Asheville, NC (1928-1952). In 1952, he was named chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital and then in 1955, chaplain of St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines and retired in 1967. He was at first buried with the Assumptionists in the Greendale Cemetery of Assumption College. During World War I, Father was chaplain at Assumption College for the Army Training Corps. He celebrated his Golden Jubilee Mass in July 1960 and his Diamond Jubilee Mass in 1970, marking his 60th year [as a priest].

“Fr. Blanc became a chaplain at Oteen VA Hospital in 1928. While there, he was working with patients in therapy, and decided to start carving to encourage the men. Using a pocketknife, he carved out an owl, and discovering the fascination of carving, began doing it as a hobby, carving many items while talking with patients.

He began doing other birds, then went to animals, and finally to people, with his craft culminating in depiction of religious scenes. For many years, Father Blanc brought carvings of events in the life of Jesus to The Citizen-Times on religious holidays, especially Christmas and Easter, which published photographs of them. He also carved some depictions of the late Pope Pius XII. He preferred orangewood, but carved cherry, dogwood and walnut. He also used woodcuts he carved to illustrate articles for religious publications through the years.” (North Carolina, Asheville Citizen-Times, Sun. May 7, 1972, 5D)

Wood carving of the Curé d’Ars.

Rev Jean-Marie Vianney

By Fr. Henri Blanc, A.A.

On May 6 Fr. Henri (Anthelme) Blanc died in Asheville, North Carolina at 87 years of age. A Savoyard, he had done his early studies at the alumnate of Notre-Dame des Châteaux. Ordained in Jerusalem on July 10, 1910, he celebrated his 60th anniversary of priesthood in 1970. For a number of years, he worked in Worcester and then at Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York. In 1927, he requested an indult of secularization and, in January 1928, he went to work in the diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina. For more than twenty years, he was chaplain of a veterans’ hospital and then of a school for girls. According to one bishop, he was “one of the most venerated priests in the South.” In 1967, he asked and received an indult that would allow him to pronounce his vows in articulo mortis. Already at that moment, he gave the bulk of his belongings to the Province and continued after that to generously share whatever he had. He remained in regular communication with the Provincial right up to the time of his death. He had asked to be buried with his brother Assumptionists and was given the assurance that he would. He is now the first to lie in our new cemetery site in Fiskdale.

Réginald (Louis Lucien) Bonnet

1881-1955

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A sensitive and affectionate nature.

Louis-Lucien was born November 18, 1881 at Le Lauzet (Alps of Haute Provence). He did his primary studies at Urtis and Le Lauzet; then he became familiar with alumnate life: three years at Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoie) 1894-1897 and two years at Brian (Drôme) 1897-1899. He took the religious habit under the name of Brother Réginald at Livry September 8, 1899 and finished his novitiate at Phanaraki in Turkey by his profession September 8, 1900. The following year, Fr. Antoine received his perpetual vows September 8, 1901: “A very sensitive youth who manifests a character dominated by affections. He has a very intense spirit of piety and is very thoughtful, even in his relations with his confreres. At times he can be scrupulous, but stays within the limits thanks to his absolute docility. He is noble and distinguished, discreet, conscientious, with an open heart.” These are the words of a report written about him by Fr. Benjamin Laurès. Bro. Réginald then started his graduate studies: philosophy at Jerusalem (1902-1903), teacher at Eski-Chéir (1903-1905) and Varna (1905-1907), theology at Jerusalem (1907-1910) where he was ordained to the priesthood July 10, 1910 by Msgr. Picardo, auxiliary to the Latin patriarch.

In America.

Fr. Réginald who had practiced English was named to the college in Worcester (1910-1925) where his ministerial priority was preaching. He paid a heavy tax during the war of 1914-1918 since he was called up to serve during 5 years (1914-1919) in an infantry regiment that brought him back to the Orient where he also served as infirmarian. One of his letters to Fr. Joseph Maubon dated March 20, 1919 brings to light this period of his life: “My return trip from the Orient took place the day before yesterday. I left Salonica so quickly that I was unable to send you the information that you asked for in your circular letter of December, sent from Rome. Here is the itinerary of the places where I was posted during my military life: Digne, Marseilles, the vicariate of Alexandria in Egypt, Athens and Salonica. I am now at La Crau d’Hyères with an aunt who brought me up; I still have to visit my old father at Gigors in the Lower Alps.”

Once again a civilian, he returned to Worcester until 1925. He then went to Canada at Bergerville-Sillery near Quebec (1925-1932) where he was named superior 1929-1932. Then his teaching aptitudes were useful at the Louvain scholasticate in Belgium (1932-1934).

In the North of France and the region of Paris.

The third part of the pastoral life of Fr. Réginald is then started at Lille (1934-1948) where he again is named superior in 1935. The Paris provincial, Fr. Merry Susset, asked him to be in charge of the foundation of the alumnate of Lambersart (North) from 1948 to 1951 before going to that of Soisy-sur-Seine (1951-1953). He finished his life as chaplain of the Oblates of the Assumption at their residential school of La Ville-du-Bois in Essonne (1953-1955). He died January 25, 1955 at the age of 74 in Longjumeau. The brief notice concerning him in the official Bulletin of the Assumption was laconic, even very dull. It seems to even retreat from the hopes expressed by his master of novices about Réginald before the war: “A model of regularity, likeable and open, Fr. Réginald manifested a lack of administrative sense and initiative when faced with certain responsibilities. Nevertheless, he was happy to consecrate his life to preaching, especially in communities of sisters, either in North America or France.” Be that as it may, nothing justifies this clear ostracism concerning his memory by the reviews of that time. Was it that he was not well known because of the fact that after 1923, the Congregation having been divided into provinces, Fr. Réginald went from the orbit of Lyons to that of Paris?

Addenda.

Father Réginald spent what were probably his best years in our Province, as part of a mission band based in Worcester. In 1925, he was sent to Quebec, where he was to be for a few years Superior of the Novitiate-Shrine, though he was not the Master of Novices. Later, he returned to France, where he did more preaching. At one time, he filled in as a teacher of history of the Church and patrology – probably as bad a teacher as he was a good preacher. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A resigning superior who was maintained.

“Concerning my nomination as superior of the alumnate of Lambersart [1948], I presented to Fr. Merry Susset the objections that he has undoubtedly brought to your attention. I have already had that responsibility at the house in Lille. It was a long mandate that was extended beyond 6 years until 1944. This was my 9th year as superior in the same residence.

My objections have not changed. I state my age, 67, and my lack of experience in heading up an alumnate. At Lambersat, we are speaking of a foundation. This is more delicate. I have never lived in an alumnate since I left as a student in 1899, almost fifty years ago!

A younger man, knowing this type of work and how it is run would do a much better job. I felt that I had to write you this letter”. (Fr. Réginald, 25 September 1948.)

Fr. Merry Susset wrote to Rome: “I saw Fr. Réginald at Lille 4 days ago. I really have no one to put in that place. Insist.” (27 September 1948, Paris.)

While at Sillery, Fr. Réginald was a preacher and also taught catechism to the Lay Brothers. (Les Assomptionnistes au Canada, Yves Garon, a.a. Sillery, 1997, 40.)

Joachim (François-Marie) Bosseno

1878-1943

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A religious coming from the worker’s sector.

François-Marie was born April 14, 1878 at La-Vraie-Croix (Morbihan), near Elven in the diocese of Vannes, Brittany. Before coming to the Assumption, François-Marie spent 5 years as a tertiary with the Franciscan Fathers in England, at Nantes, and Saint-Nazaire. He did 3 years of military service at Fontainebleau (1898-1901) and wanted to return with the Franciscans, but because of the law on Associations, they liquidated their Third Orders. François-Marie was hired by Plisson at Crécy-en-Brie (1902-1904). He was seeking another kind of life. A priest from the diocese of Versailles presented him to Fr. Hippolyte Saugrain who sent him to Louvain. He took the religious habit September 18, 1904 at Louvain and did his novitiate under the direction of Fr. Benjamin Laurès. He made his first vows under the name of Brother Joachim September 18, 1907. His novitiate time was taken up by very practical jobs: cook helper and head cook. In 1908, he left Louvain for London (1908-1909) and then joined Bro. Armand Goffart in Worcester, USA (1909-1943) where he was also assigned to the kitchen. He made his perpetual profession October 23, 1913 in the hands of Fr. Omer Rochain. During World War I, he did not answer the draft call and was considered a draft dodger.

Jack of all trades in Worcester for 36 years.

A good worker, Bro. Joachim was totally committed to this Franco-American college founded in 1904. There were almost no jobs that he did not fulfill, and at times several at once, for the paid lay personnel was quite reduced. He stoked the furnaces and swept the hallways and classrooms. He was in charge of the laundry for the 85 resident students who at that time, as interns, sent all of their clothes to be washed at a public laundry. As sacristan of the public chapel, he greeted the local population for the Sunday and feast day offices since the Greendale parish had not yet been founded. Each year, he liked to organize raffles to decorate the chapel and involved a group of city women in making liturgical vestments. For a time, he even became once again the cook, a trade in which he excelled. Had he not taken cooking lessons at Louvain from an ex-chef of Napoleon III? In 1910, Bro. Joachim had scarlet fever. To be sure, he got better, but throbbing pains were to occasionally appear and affect his joints to such a point that his movements became painful. In Worcester, everything was done to remedy this painful throbbing. He consulted specialists in Boston. They put a plaster cast on his leg for months at a time; they even tried parallel medicines that claimed to be able to eliminate suffering that the official medicine could not heal. Bro. Joachim underwent everything without the least complaint. As soon as he felt a bit better, he got back to work without complaining. On the personal level, Brother Joachim, through his example and regularity, by his openness and kind words, had a great influence on the college students. As years went by, he became impotent. He even had to leave, with great sacrifice, his job as porter and went to live in 1941 at the end of the south wing of the building, close to the door that opened on Assumption Avenue. He was still able to be useful by keeping the jobs of office supplier and typist. For two years, he confined himself to that nook, happy to share in a visit from a friend. Sometimes he went, leaning on his cane, in faithfulness to the religious exercises of the community. On September 15, 1943, the anniversary date of his 34 years of arrival on American soil in Worcester, he became bed-ridden. Shortly after, he was hospitalized at Saint Vincent’s hospital during three weeks. He died there December 1, 1943. His body was transferred to the college chapel. He was buried December 4 in the presence of all of the religious of the community in the Assumption cemetery in Greendale.

Addenda.

Joachim entered the Franciscan novitiate at the age of 16. He served in the Dragoon regiment and then in a supply train of the French army. Bro. Joachim was the cook at the scholasticate in Louvain from 1904 to 1908. He became crippled with a locked hip following an attack of scarlet fever in 1910. In gratitude for his many services, Rev. Anatole Desmarais, an alumnus of Assumption College, donated a stained glass window for the chapel of the religious in his memory. In 1937, he had a first heart attack that weakened him.

When I began as a freshman at Assumption High School in the fall of 1937, Brother Joachim Bosseno was the porter. That meant that he lived in a room off the main entrance where he took care of the single telephone the school had. His switchboard was just behind a sort of counter, and near the board a curtain separated his “office” from the alcove where he had his bed. When I left for the novitiate in 1942, Brother Joachim still worked at the switchboard and slept in the same alcove. He wasn’t going anywhere fast, and that was mainly because he was a cripple; he had a locked hip, which caused him great pain and made him walk with great difficulty.

Brother Joachim was a real old-timer at Assumption in Greendale. He arrived there in 1909. Fr. Engelbert Devincq knew him in Europe before then, and much of the information I give here is from an article Fr. Engelbert wrote at the time of Brother Joachim’s death. He explained that Brother’s main characteristic was strength. His physical strength caused him to do his military service in the dragoons, the heavily armed cavalry…

Most of us will remember the Brother as the doorkeeper who acted as banker for most of the younger students, who daily swept and dusted the study halls and class rooms of the first floor, who varnished all the study hall desks during the summers, who was sacristan for many years, who mailed the monthly reports to the folks at home, who in one word was generally useful in hundreds of small ways. (Assumption at War News Bulletin, Dec. 15th, 1943 p. 2, Henri Moquin.)

Brother Joachim was a man of strong soul, continually energetic and firm against obstacles. He was strong in his humble service, never thinking he had done enough for his community. Of course, Brother was not yet a saint. He had quite a temper and could be quite sharp in some remarks. But the tempest passed rapidly and he never carried a grudge. Sometimes even the strong have moments of weakness.

Brother Joachim was strong in piety, not a showy piety, but a solid piety grounded in love. He was always faithful in reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, which the lay brothers recited in those days. At peaceful times we could see him reciting the rosary. He made special efforts to rise early enough so that he could laboriously and painfully make his way to the freight elevator that would take him to the second floor. Dragging his feet, leaning on his cane, he managed to get into a pew. His Eucharist was most important for him. In many ways Brother Joachim can be for us a model of strength, despite infirmities…

Brother was a strong community man. He loved being with people and conversing. He was pleased when religious and students stopped to chat with him as he sat at his desk in his porter’s room. He had a prodigious memory. He was a real dictionary of the facts and events of the house, the religious and the students. If you needed a date or a name, or a fact, you could ask him and he promptly gave you the answer. Alumni fondly remembered his help, his encouragement. He was an “apostle” without leaving his invalid’s chair.

Brother Joachim died at St. Vincent Hospital, Worcester, around 7:30 p.m. December 1, 1943. He had received the Sacrament of the Sick in late September. He had been in the hospital a couple of weeks, because he could no longer take care of himself. He was heavy and couldn’t turn in bed, because of his hip deformation. Brother had been unconscious since noon of November 30. Fathers Armand Desautels and Wilfrid Dufault watched him during the night, and Father Rodolphe Martel had been there during the day. Brother was buried in the community cemetery in Greendale. His funeral so impressed Cuthbert Wright that he begged the Assumptionists to bury him in the same way.

(ANA April-May 1999, ASITWAS 1878-1943 Brother Joachim Bosseno, 3-4 by Fr. Richard Richards, A.A.)

He came to Worcester in 1909 with Brother Armand Goffart. He became progressively infirm and could hardly walk. Still, he worked at the front office, was sacristan, and did various jobs. His work in the sacristy was increased in the early years because the Holy Rosary Parish started in our buildings. Brother Joachim encouraged many vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Gérard (Louis-François) Boudou

1889-1918

French religious.

A mobile and very lively personality.

Louis was born at Marseillan (Hérault) October 12, 1889. At the age of 12, his dad died. On April 12, 1901, he entered the alumnate of Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoie) where the superior, Fr. Eugène Monsterlet, received him. He was part of the group that left, being chased away, for Mongreno in the Piémont (1903) and from there to Calahorra in Spain (1904-1905). Being from the South, he was not at all used to the rigorous climate of Castille; he was an assiduous client of iodine and glycerin to deal with chilblain and cracked skin. A born comedian, he was full of exuberance at the evening gatherings and the family celebrations that were the favorite distraction of the residents. Even though he was an excellent swimmer, he was unable to save one of his unfortunate companions who was carried away by the swift current of the Ebro River and drowned. He took the religious habit under the name of Bro. Gérard at Louvain September 13, 1905 and it was there that he made his perpetual vows September 13, 1907. His philosophy studies took place right there with no interruption. He tended to be enthusiastic and took off to conquer truth, a bit like Don Quixote with his enemies, with the tip of his spear. Excessive in all things, this disciple of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine dreamed of oratorical jousts with Cajetan and helped brilliantly by his intellectual collaboration to the Revue Augustinienne for which he made an analytical table of the articles, after it ceased to exist in 1910. From 1910 to 1912, he became a History of philosophy and Introduction to the Bible teacher. In 1912, he left Louvain for the college in Worcester, U.S.A. where he taught classical literature and in 1913, he went to Jerusalem to do his theology. When the world war started, he had just been ordained sub-deacon (July 2, 1914).

Campaign time.  Wounds followed by death.

On September 15, 1914, he went to the recruiting office in Albi. From there, he was sent to Perpignan in the infirmaries section. He was to experience the front lines, since from the Lamartine Hospital to Dunkirk (January 1915), he was sent to the fighting units. During the first 5 months of 1916, he was in the ‘Verdun hell’ and in May found himself in the Flanders sector where he took part in the bloody battles of Bailleul and Mount Kemmel. The battle was furious and at daybreak of May 24th (1918), he was in the trench of an observation post, pinned down by bombarding. The fragment of an exploding bomb struck him in the head; his helmet was pierced and a large, deep wound tore open his skull. He was transported very quickly by ambulance to Arnèke and decorated with the military medal and the distinguished service cross with palms for his courage: “I did not deserve it, but it will be for the honor of the clergy.” He died June 1st, 1918, amid a concert of praises and regrets, for this religious showed himself to be at the front what he was in the convent, a leader. In his honor, one of his confreres wrote the following poem in his memory:

“He constantly dominated us by his superb height.

We always trembled that the winds of battle

Would suddenly cut down this righteous soldier,

For whom even heroism was too narrow,

So great was his unsatisfied thirst

To spread forth for all his light and life.

His soul was bright and wide; his candor

Was for his spirit a deep spring.

None more than he loved the Angelic Doctor,

And his first thrusts of apostolic zeal

Proclaimed that his doctrine was, in truth,

That of Saint Thomas with integrity.

All those who knew him shed tears for a brother

And will wear the mourning of his strong light.

Addenda.

Brother Gérard was both an intellectually minded religious and a person of action. Even as a scholastic, he taught theology. But he was killed in action in northern France during World War I. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Portrait.

“Gérard Boudou, besides his two years of novitiate at Louvain, spent five more years at the house of studies: three years in philosophy, and two as a philosophy tutor, professor of History of Philosophy, and Introduction to the Bible. He was very tall, quite noisy, with well-filled lively eyes, a very hard worker, and an uncontrollable exuberance. He would sleep like a rock, but his days were: Life, more life, and still more life: this is certainly what kept him young in character and soul. This is what also gave him great success in all the comedies he acted in and even more so in pantomimes: his facial expressions, so varied, let him imitate even the most illustrious people… Whoever went to Louvain, whoever had been seen or heard by him, was photographed and reproduced, and even at times developed by this unbelievable recording machine. A deaf and dumb person could even understand the meaning of a book or a sermon just by looking at him….”

(from Polyeucte Guissard by Fr. Merklen.)

Portraits Assomptionnistes 371-383.

Louis Boudou was born at Marseillan (Herault) 12 October 1889. His first years were those of all children marked right from the crib to serve the altars. Pious, applied, ardor, carefree, success in primary studies. Then, suddenly, there was a trial that marked this life with a sad note: he was barely eleven when his dad died. From this early life as an orphan he would carry during his whole life, unknown to others, moments of sadness. How often did he not show me the photo of his dad that he had barely known! He would try to find in his traits what he had inherited from his deceased father. He knocked at the door of the Notre-Dame des Chateaux alumnate on 12 April 1901. Fr. Eugene Monsterlet met him. He remained devoted to this priest and a few days before his death he asked for his prayers and advice. He was forced to leave with all of the students and went to Mongreno (Italy) in 1903. He was very tall, quite active, with a lively look, he was a hard worker and very exuberant. He was very involved in comedies and pantomimes. His big dark eyes flashed. When he recited the office in choir, he reproduced on his face all of the thoughts and sentiments expressed by the psalms, hymns, and lessons. Likewise in the refectory, he would live the events of the books being read. This caused his neighbors to explode in laughter and be lectured severely.

He would bring to life all those that he knew to the amusement of his fellow religious. He was a very serious student of philosophy. At times he was excessive. But he received corrections with docility. He was a disciple of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas.

He was always willing to help others with their writings and corrections. His room was a mess. He would encourage those who needed to be encouraged. He made an analytical table of the Revue Augustinienne that stopped being published in 1910. The war saw to it that it was not continued at a later date. From 1910 to 1912 he was a professor of History of Philosophy and Introduction to the Bible. He was a man of novenas and always had one going on. In 1912 he was off to Worcester. He was involved as secretary in a study group that would eventually launch Vers l’idéal, a review of the college. In 1913, he went to Notre-Dame de France in Jerusalem for theology studies. On 15 September 1914, World War I having been declared, he went to Albi to enter the army and then to Perpignan to join the 16th section of infirmarians. In 1915 he was at Dunkerk at the Lamartine Hospital. In the first five months of 1916 he is in the hell of Verdun. In May it is in Flanders where he takes part in the bloody battles of Bailleul and Mount Kemmel. On 24 May he was hit in the head by shrapnel. He was brought by ambulance to Arneke in a serious state. He received the last sacraments. He received the military medal and the Croix de Guerre with palms. He died 1 June 1918 after offering his sufferings to Our Lord and was buried at the cemetery of Arneke.

Henri (Jean Pierre Henri) Brun

1821-1895

French religious, Assistant General.

One of the first five Assumptionists.

Jean-Pierre Henri was born October 1, 1821, in Langogne (Lozère).  He did all his studies in his diocese of Mende. Ordained a priest December 1845, he received permission from his bishop to teach at Collège de l’Assomption in Nîmes.  A man of common sense and devotedness, he committed himself to the new congregation in September 1847 under the spiritual direction of Fr. d’Alzon who received him as a novice and appointed him as prefect of discipline, then as assistant director.  He held a master’s degree and, in the absence of Fr. d’Alzon, knew how to remain calm, patient, and firm.

On December 25, 1850, he pronounced his temporary annual vows in Nîmes immediately after the Founder and before Brothers Victor Cardenne, Hippolyte Saugrain, and Etienne Pernet, in the community’s Chapter Room [not in the college chapel as is often stated erroneously].

In all simplicity, he accepted the direction of a small orphanage -- which was also an agricultural school and the novitiate for lay brothers -- in Mireman, some 3 km from Nîmes (1852-57).  A permanent member of the general chapters, he was elected in August 1852 as first and only General Assistant, a position he held until 1862.  He pronounced his perpetual vows December 25, 1851.  In 1857, he was sent to the Collège de Clichy-la-Garenne, in the northern suburbs of Paris (Hauts-de-Seine), to teach high school juniors and assume the position of treasurer.  His first years in the apostolate were therefore spent in the field of Christian education, a distinctive characteristic of the first Assumption.

Missionary in Australia (1862-73).

In 1859, Fr. d’Alzon began holding discussions with Bishop James Quinn, the first bishop of Brisbane (Australia), who went to France seeking personnel for his distant mission.  Fr. Brun volunteered to go, requesting that he be allowed to give himself to the evangelization of the aborigines and not just of Irish immigrants. After a period of initiation to English culture, he embarked with Fr. Tissot for Australia in December 1862.  He tried in vain to create on Australian soil a real religious community, which the bishop authorized without ever making it concretely possible.  This methodical religious, who was both an explorer and architect, founded the parish of Ipswich: “Fr. Brun, as a priest, you are an indefatigable worker.  No one has a greater zeal than you in building churches and in exercising your holy ministry.  There is one thing I have never seen you do, and that is to sit down to take an hour’s rest.”  The parishioners of Ipswich who, long after the departure of the missionary, remembered the eminent qualities of a sensitive and energetic pastor, often repeated this compliment in the mouth of an interested bishop.  Fr. Brun left Australia definitively in May 1873.

A servant always available.

Fr. d’Alzon put him in charge of organizing the various alumnates that were being founded in order to relieve Notre-Dame des Châteaux: superior of the alumnate of Saint Clément at Le Vigan (1874-81) after the departure of the novitiate; superior in Alès from 1881 to 1885 (Gard), then teacher at both alumnates of Nîmes (1885-1887) and Mauville, the latter founded in 1879 in the Pas-de-Calais (1887-91).  “What we admire about Fr. Brun is that he is willing to do anything that is asked of him.”

In 1891, the Little Sisters of the Assumption established themselves in New York City.  The old missionary who had gone to Australia accepted once more to expatriate himself to become their chaplain.  He did not live to celebrate his golden jubilee as a priest but died January 15, 1895, at age 74.  His funeral was celebrated by Fr. Edwards January 17, in the parish church of the Immaculate Conception in New York City and in the presence of Archbishop Corrigan who gave the absolution.  He was buried in the Calvary cemetery plot of the Little Sisters of the Assumption in Woodside (New York), then transferred to the Assumptionist plot in the same cemetery.  In May 1987, his remains were transferred to Saint Anne’s cemetery in Fiskdale, Massachusetts, in the plot belonging to the Assumptionists.

Addenda.

Father Henri pronounced his vows together with Fr. D’Alzon on that Christmas of 1850. He was assistant to Fr. d’Alzon at the College of Nîmes where we were founded. Then he spent sixteen years in Australia – a mission that was discontinued. Later, he was Superior and a teacher in various alumnates of France. Finally in 1892, he came to New York, the first of our Fathers in the United States. He came as chaplain to the Little Sisters of the Assumption. He is buried in Mount Calvary cemetery in New York, (Notes from Fr. Armand Desautels.)

On the eve of a trip.

“I have just arrived at Cork; I’ll say mass tomorrow at 8, at 10 I’ll leave for Queenstown, and in the evening the ship will leave. I went to confession yesterday and again today. I am glad to leave and I thank God that my desire as a young priest finally becomes a reality. I had always desired the missions. You have graciously permitted me, Father, to follow this call; I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I realized that it was best not to bring up the question of my future in Australia with Dr. Mat. [??]. Once, I had tried to say something about this and I realized that it was useless to bring up any subject whatever. With Dr. Mat, just as with the bishop, one needs to have patience and wait for a favorable moment to act. I put myself in the hands of Divine Providence. I’ll keep you up to date on everything and I’ll go in the sense that you have already indicated to me and that you will give me later on.

The captain’s name is Brown; he is Protestant, but he will be very pleasant and will tend, so he told me, to be nice to me”.  (Henri Brun to Fr. d’Alzon. Cork, 10-12-1862.)

Fr. Brun joined the first group of Assumptionists as a priest and made vows immediately after the Founder on Christmas Eve, 1850. He made his perpetual vows a year later in 1851... Pious, prudent, gifted with great common sense, he studied the situation for two years before deciding that his vocation was to be an Assumptionist... In 1862, Bishop Quinn of Brisbane sought from Fr. d’Alzon some missionaries for Australia. Fr. Brun volunteered. According to his diary, the trip to Australia aboard the “Golden City” took 84 days. For eleven years, amid countless hardships, he ministered to an immense parish. It was at the age of 70 that he left for the USA to be the chaplain for the Little Sisters of the Assumption in New York City... On April 20, 1894, he wrote: “I understand fully the new difficulty created by recent deaths and by the state of health of many Fathers. Still, if you could send just one Father, it would be a first step toward establishing ourselves here in New York. Then, if a year later, another could come, we could form a small community.” His thoughts were turned toward the future and he was preoccupied with the expansion of the Assumptionists in the United States. Proof is found in a letter written on January 3, 1895 (less than two weeks before his death): “You can get an idea of the good we could do in New York only by coming to study the situation on the spot. But I assure you that my ministry here is a real mission. Convent chaplancies do not appeal to me a great deal. Yet there is much good to be done there. These modest functions guarantee food and shelter, and leave spare time for good works and for preparing the future. Some day, we will have a house in the countryside, where we can have a seminary, Brothers, etc. But before that we will need a nucleus of well-Americanized priests. This is not Utopian. Let us pray, dear Father; you will see all that. But your poor solitary will long before that have sung his “Nunc dimittis.” Father’s words were not Utopian; they were prophecies.

Fr. Henri Brun, from Langogne, came to us from Mende. Timid, awkward, he was wrapped in a cloak edged with astrakhan. His blond hair fell very straight. His voice quavered. His exterior didn’t reveal the treasure hidden in the heart of this priest who later became a really holy religious. He was named prefect of discipline to replace Fr. Henri.  [Sketches, H.D. Galeran 187-188]

Letters from the Little Sisters giving details of the death and funeral.

New York, Convent of Our Lady of the Assumption, 15 January 1895.

“My dear Mother,

You were notified by telegram of Fr. Brun ‘s death. At the start of the month, he had the flu. He was able to celebrate mass at the Dames Servantes without any other problem but loss of voice. Three days after this, on the insistence of Little Mother, he promised not to come and celebrate mass at 6:30. However feeling much stronger, he was able to celebrate mass at 7 a.m. at Ms. Lambert’s orphanage, which is very close by.

The doctor that we consulted assured us that there was nothing serious in his condition; the only problem was his asthma that he had since a long time was bothering him more. However, he forbade Father to celebrate mass, the 11th and 12th, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the sick Father felt much better and the doctor lifted his restriction. We had mass at 7 a.m. Father was driven back home, even though his convent was not more than 200 yards away. One of our converts accompanied him during the trip and stayed with him the whole day of Sunday. He even slept in his room so as to be able to serve him in any way possible.

Yesterday morning, Monday, Fr. Brun sent his night nurse to Little-Mother to tell her that he felt better, even though the night had not been too good.

During the whole time that Father’s illness lasted and right from the start, two Little Sisters visited him three or four times a day. They brought him his meals and all that he needed.

It was 11:30 when, after a last blessing Fr. Edwards ordered that the casket be closed. Six Little Sisters accompanied the body to the cemetery, about 4 miles from New York, and Fr. Edwards did not leave the tomb until all was finished.

Father rests next to our dear Little Sister Marie-Euphrasie, right at the foot of the cross: he had chosen this place.

We trust that he is now in God’s presence and that he will be one more protector for our dear mission in America.                                        Sr. M. St-Vincent.” [Souvenirs. 31 January 1895 # 202, 35-36]

Letter by Fr. Ernest to Very Rev. Fr. Picard.

...We were all surprised and touched by Fr. Brun’s death. This religious was loved by all. For my part, I esteemed him greatly and loved him. He had been our first superior at Le Vigan and he initiated me to the Assumptionist life. We loved him even though he scolded us terribly.

Later, I had him at Mauville under me; he edified me strongly because of his humility and his devotedness. I had great difficulty to be the superior next to his white beard; but his humility and religious spirit gave him so many instances to stay hidden and remain an inferior. He was still very ardent, lively and very jovial. He was always ready to take on the most difficult services and he would have been very remorseful to undertake anything without permission.

He will certainly be regretted in our family. The elders are starting to leave us. If only the young ones were worth half as much as the elders! We need to pray a lot. Ernest.

Fr. Ildefonse from the community of Rome sent us these last words of Fr. Brun: “I suffer greatly. Since three days I can no longer celebrate mass. I am sending you the money for announced masses for the 11th. Pray for me.                   H. Brun.  [Souvenirs, 31 January 1895 #202, 36-37]

Alphonse-Marie (Gabriel) Bugnard

1918-1985

Religious of the Province of France.

Priestly brothers at the Assumption.

Gabriel Francis Jean was born September 28, 1918 at Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne) where his father, François Théophile, worked in the Post Office. A short time later, the family returned to Savoy and settled in Chambéry at Jacob-Bellecombette. The four boys, Lucien, Gabriel, Noël, and André, all entered the Assumptionist family. After his primary studies at Cognin, Aix-les-Bains, and Chambéry, Gabriel started his secondary studies at the college of Rumilly; he then entered Saint-Sigismond (Savoy) with his older brother, the future Fr. Anthelme, from 1928 to 1932 and after that went to the alumnate of Miribel-les-Echelles (Isère) from 1932 to 1935. Gabriel received the religious habit at the Nozeroy novitiate (Jura) in September 1935 and pronounced his first vows under the name of Brother Alphonse-Marie: “Artistic, sensitive and good, impulsive, with a lively intelligence, good singer and good reader” were some of the remarks concerning him made by his master of novices, Fr. Gausbert Broha. He then went to Saint-Jean house at Scy-Chazelles (1936-1939) for philosophy when war exploded. At the time of the armistice in June 1940, he was in Alsace and was able to cross over to Switzerland. The ‘interns’ had quite a liberal schedule since they were able to follow theology courses at Fribourg! In January 1941, Fr. Alphonse-Marie was at Layrac, a free zone, where as much as possible an intensive theology program was organized for the survivors of the South zone. It was there that he made his final profession March 19, 1942. With his brother, Noël, he received the minor orders in the chapel of Msgr. Rodié, bishop of Agen (June 1942). Lucien, alias Fr. Anthelme, came from Lormoy, joined them, and the three brothers were ordained to the priesthood June 19, 1943 in the chapel of the Saint-Sigismond alumnate. The fourth one, Fr. André, would join them a bit later. The famous author, Henri Bordeaux, wrote up this event.

A teacher in spite of himself.

Fr. Gabriel – he dropped the first names of Alphonse-Marie – started teaching at Briey (1944-1945) in very primitive conditions of that time, then two years at Scy-Chazelles (1946-1947). He was then chosen to go to the college in Worcester in the U.S.A. (1947-1952). But having a missionary soul, he thought mostly of Manchuria: to get ready he let his beard grow and collected some animal skins. He liked to do parish ministry in Hartford (Connecticut) and go to the camp at Baker Lake where he spent the summer clearing the land. From 1952 to 1957, he taught English at the college of Mongré (Rhône). Everywhere he went, he was an excellent confrere in the community, willingly a joker, with a bit of exaggeration to surprise others and provoke discussion. During a period when news was rare and censored, he built a make shift radio so that he could be the first to announce the news to his confreres with his own personal comments. New things did not scare him and he strove to renovate the library collections that had become obsolete and of the period of Théophile Gauthier! He gladly practiced the virtue that Aristotle in his time and tongue called ‘eutrapelia’.

In Ivory Coast, teacher and missionary.

Fr. Gabriel was part of the first team to open Our Lady of Africa College, in Ivory Coast at Abidjan. He adapted readily to a missionary and adventurous life that he liked: clearing land, building on the edge of a lagoon, and driving the school bus (1957-1964). In 1964, the college was passed on to the Marianists. Fr. Gabriel finally could realize his dream to leave for the bush. During 12 years (1964-1972), he animated several mission stations: Aboisso, Adiaké, Port-Bouet. A man easily distracted who was simple and full of goodness, he was loved by his faithful. But in 1976, because of health reasons, he had to return to France. He spent some time resting and under medical care at Lyon-Debrousse. In 1977, he was asked to animate groups of pilgrims in Jerusalem. It was with joy that he joined the community of Saint Peter of Cock-Crow (March 1977).

Jerusalem.

Fr. Gabriel spent two years in Jerusalem, esteemed for his even temper, his practical sense, his capacity to render services, and his competence by Anglophone and Francophone groups. In November 1978, a cancer of the mouth was discovered and he was treated energetically at the Hassadah Hospital, but the rays caused all of his teeth to fall out and he no longer had any saliva. This time spent in Jerusalem prepared him to live a real way of the cross.

At rest.

In May 1979, he was forced to go back to Lyons where he was treated and declared healed at the Bérard Center. Now handicapped, he was named to Saint-Sigismond in September 1979. Always serviceable and fraternal, he was happy to be able to work in the garden and search the woods for mushrooms. In 1984, an unfortunate scooter accident caused him great suffering: broken ribs, decalcification of the spine. He was hospitalized at Chambéry where they discovered bone cancer. Upon his return to Saint-Sigismond, four difficult months awaited him: he could barely walk even with crutches. His sisters relayed themselves at his bedside. He was finally accepted in an intensive care facility at Albertville, the Léger house. He died there peacefully September 21, 1985. His funeral took place September 23, presided by Msgr. Feidt. The prayer of Teilhard de Chardin was read: ‘Lord, it is not enough that I die receiving communion: teach me to communicate while dying.’

Addenda.

The Assumption in Ivory Coast.

In 1957 Msgr. Boivin, archbishop of Abidjan, suggested to Fr. Bruno Linder, provincial of Lyons, that the Assumptionists take charge of a formation High School, Notre-Dame d’Afrique, in Abidjan as well as several missionary posts.

Four religious were assigned to this for the beginning of classes in October 1957. This High School was turned over to the Marianists in 1964, with the consent of Msgr. Yago, the new archbishop. The Assumption was lacking in trained personnel and several religious were volunteers for another kind of missionary work. In order to answer the request for a missionary life, several mission outposts were taken over: Aboisso, Adiaké, Abyt, Etiouché, Assomlan, Tiampoum, Frambo, Kadiakro…

Aboisso is a small city on the banks of the Abia where the White Fathers had established themselves in 1905. To this center, there were 22 secondary stations that Frs. Jean Robert and Louis Durget take over in 1958, and then Fr. N. Chardon. Fr. Gabriel was responsible for the Adiaké group starting in 1970. The last posts served were Port-Bouet and Grand Bassam (1988).

Greek and Latin Literature professor.

Thanks to his clear explanations, this young professor with a soft and musical voice was able to captivate the students by his Greek and Latin literature classes. His perpetual smile, his joyful personality made his subjects easier to take since they were, alas, quite dry subjects. When we were tired after studying Xenophon or Cicero, Father knew how to relax us by reading excerpts from the Odyssey. We wish to express our cordial thanks to him. [Memini Yearbook, 1950]

Adrien Buisson

1863 – 1954

French religious of the Province of North America.

A singer and cantor.

Adrien was born February 13, 1863, in Cendras, near Alès (Gard).  He attended primary school with the Brothers of Christian Schools in Tamaris (Gard).  He first went to the alumnate in Alès (1879-80), then to Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais) for his humanities (1881-82). He received the religious habit May 5, 1882, at the novitiate in Osma, Spain, pronouncing his final vows there July 20, 1884, in the hands of Fr. Emmanuel Bailly, who wrote in his report: “At age 21, Brother Adrien is a good boy, a little slow and thick, but docile and generous.  Out of timidity, he is easily frightened and embarrassed, once again exhibiting great naïveté.  Though he is behind in his studies, he has made considerable progress.  Very humble, he sought to be admitted to the Congregation only as a lay brother, but he is capable of becoming a choir brother if he continues his studies.  He has a lot of talent for singing and a good voice.  Since he prefers to work with poor and humble people, he would happily leave for the missions.”  He was among the novices who made the exciting pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostela on foot and without money.

After the novitiate, he continued his intellectual and spiritual formation in Osma where he was ordained a priest on March 5, 1887, and remained in that community until 1889: “Very young, I was left to be the superior in Osma, with the obligation to found a college, something I tried my best to do, even though Fr. Picard was not too keen on keeping this house.”  Barely ordained, he mastered the Spanish language so well that he was invited to preach in the cathedral of Osma before very distinguished people.  With fond memories of his stay in Spain, he dedicated his future ministry to the service of Spanish-speaking people.

Chile and the United States.

Fr. Adrien was sent to Chile the very year the mission was founded (1890).  There until 1903, he considered these years as the best of his apostolic life.  He worked with his good friend, Fr. Darbois, also a young missionary, traveling over mountains and valleys on horseback, with only their ponchos to protect them.

In 1903, Fr. Adrien was sent to New York City where the Assumptionists, at the request of Archbishop Corrigan, had accepted responsibility for the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on West 14th Street, which served the Spanish-speaking faithful.  Amiable, skillful, and fond of tall stories like a Frenchman from the Midi, he quickly became very popular in this milieu.  When it became clear that this church could not adequately serve the needs of all the Spanish-speaking people in the city, the Assumptionists built a second church, Our Lady of Esperanza on West 156th Street.  It was opened in 1912.  Appointed pastor, Fr. Adrien gave life to this parish for more than 36 years!

Bishop McIntyre, then auxiliary bishop of New York before becoming cardinal archbishop of Los Angeles, gave this beautiful tribute: “Of all the priests of the archdiocese of New York, you are the one who impressed me most by your deeply priestly character, your piety, and your respect for the hierarchy.”  Fr. Adrien did not shine by his eloquence, but his simple, direct, and well-prepared talks had the knack of convincing and touching people.  He himself was often moved because, being of a very sensitive and with an emotional nature, he could be stirred by small memories that brought tears to his eyes.  A man of good counsel and sound judgment, he was frequently asked to solve difficult or complicated cases of conscience.  His warm and beautiful voice often entertained his confreres with French and Spanish songs from his repertoire. He also knew how to embellish his stories with picturesque and humorous anecdotes.

In 1953, at the age of 91, Fr. Adrien sadly left New York for Lorgues (Var) where Fr. Thomas received him with great fraternal charity.  He died July 10, 1954, well into his 92nd year, and as the dean of the Congregation by religious profession.

Addenda.

Father Crescent Armanet, in his necrology of Father Adrien Buisson, said that Fr. Adrien was one of the rare Assumptionists to have known Father d’Alzon. It is very plausible that Fr. Adrien would have told Fr. Crescent that during the many years that they were colleagues at Our Lady of Esperanza Church... He was 17 years old when Fr. d’Alzon died and could very well have known him, as Fr. Crescent said.

...Because Adrien spoke Provençal, his mother tongue so well, it was very easy for him to learn Spanish... Since a cab hit him in 1948, he got around with less agility. His eyesight began to fail, and in November 1848, he received a papal indult authorizing him to say either the Mass for the dead or the Mass of the Blessed Virgin. Also he could recite the rosary rather than read the breviary. In a letter to Fr. Wilfrid Dufault in May 1947, he wrote: “I have had the joy of reciting the breviary every day since 1879. But there is an end to everything in this world.”

... In a letter to Fr. Henri Moquin, Provincial, in August 1952, Fr. Adrien wrote: “I think I am the oldest member of our religious family, and it is as such that I can write these lines. I knew the Very Reverend Father d’Alzon, Fr. Picard, and Fr. Emmanuel Bailly and all our older Fathers... their virtues and their burning zeal for the extension of the Kingdom of Our Lord. In my long life as a religious, I only was stationed at three houses: Osma in Spain, then Chile, and finally New York where I arrived 50 years ago next May 10th.”

Despite his age and infirmity, Fr. Adrien went to Europe in 1953. While he was there, Fr. Henri Moquin and Fr. Wilfrid Dufault offered him some choices when he returned: especially at the Greendale campus rebuilt after the tornado, at Saugerties, or even at Lorgues, the home for retired religious in France. Adrien chose Lorgues where Father Jean de Matha Thomas, a Moscow veteran, was the superior.

[ANA December-January-February, 2000 by Fr. Richard Richards, 15-17.]

Father Adrien was a novice when Father d’Alzon died, and continued his novitiate in Spain, at Osma. Before coming to New York, he did some ministry in Spain and in Chile. He arrived at Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York at the very beginning of the parish in 1903 and saw the actual church built. He is also the founder and first pastor of Our Lady of Esperanza at 156th Street, at the request of the Archdiocese. All his active years were spent in New York where many people appreciated him. He returned to France at Lorgues shortly before his death. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Letter by Fr. Adrien Buisson (written in French).

I believe that I am the eldest of our religious family and it is in that capacity that I write the following. I knew the Very Reverend Father d’Alzon, Fr. Picard, Fr. Emmanuel Bailly, and all of our old Fathers... their virtues and their burning zeal for the extension of the Kingdom of Our Lord. In my lengthy religious life, I only went to three houses: Osma in Spain, then Chile and finally New York where I arrived 50 years ago, on next 10 May.  [ANA, December-January-February 2000, 17]

The first pastor was Father Adrian Buisson, who had been pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and he remained at the new church for 40 years. A Frenchman by birth, he was ordained in Spain in 1887 and three years later, he was sent to Chile as a missionary. During his service in South America, he came to feel a deep affection for his flock and it was natural that he should be chosen, in 1903, as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a great northern Metropolis to which Spanish Catholics were coming in increasing numbers.

During his pastorate, Father Adrian offered some 24,000 Masses, performed 8,000 baptisms and officiated at nearly 4,000 marriages. His labors among the Spanish-speaking people of New York constitute a bright chapter in the story of their history.

A dozen years after the church was opened for public worship, the increasing number of parishioners began to seriously crowd it and it was decided that although the small building was quaintly beautiful, it must give way to the needs of the parish, at least in part, and be enlarged. There was no adjacent rectory and the priests found it increasingly difficult to minister to their parishioners.

Therefore, an extension was planned. It was added to the old church, bringing its recessed front up to the sidewalk. The work was started in February 1925 under the supervision of Lawrence G. White, son of the noted architect Stanford White.

The new face of Our Lady of Esperanza is a completely different one from the old. Instead of the neo-classic temple, with its pillars of Indiana limestone and tier of steps from the sidewalk, the church is now faced in authentic Spanish style. Father Buisson’s years of service to this new church with an old history were broken only by the three-year period from 1930 to 1933 when he again served his old church, Our Lady of Guadalupe. During those three years Father Paul Journet, A.A. was the pastor of Our Lady of Esperanza. In 1952, when he was 90 years old, Father Adrian retired and was given the title of pastor emeritus. The following year the people of his parish gave him a 40th anniversary banquet. Some of them saw him off as he departed soon afterward for his native France. He died there on July 10th, 1954. [Our Lady of Esperanza, New York Fiftieth Anniversary, Custombook Inc. 1963]

Renaud (Jean-Baptiste) Burdin

1881-1964

Religious of the province of Lyons, provincial treasurer (1938-1951).

A Savoyard from Maurienne.

Born April 11, 1881 in Lanslebourg at the foot of Mount Cenis, after going to the parish school, Jean-Baptiste went to the alumnate of Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoy) from 1892 to 1895, then to the humanities alumnate at Brian (Drôme) from 1895 to 1897. He was vested with the religious habit September 8, 1897 at Livry with the name of Brother Renaud. He made his first vows on the same date of 1898 and his perpetual vows, again on September 8, 1899 at Jerusalem: “Brother Renaud, a good novice who is a bit timid, has an excellent spirit, is serious, intelligent, and assiduous. He can be given positions of trust; he does them faithfully and devotedly,” remarked Fr. Ernest Baudouy. Then came the years of philosophy at Jerusalem (1899-1901). Bro. Renaud first taught at Eski-Chéir in Turkey (1901-1904). He returned for his theology to Kadi-Keuï (1904-1905), Phanaraki (1905-1906), and Jerusalem (1906-1907) where he was ordained to the priesthood May 8, 1907 by Msgr. Camassei. He was then sent to teach at the college at Worcester in the U.S.A. (1907-1912), then to Locarno in Switzerland (1912-1914) where the war caught him by surprise.

The heavy price of the war years.

Mobilized in August 1914 at Modane, Fr. Renaud, after short stays at Chambéry and Donzère (Drôme), went to the front lines of Artois (1914-1915). Ill and wounded, he was hospitalized away from the front in Orne and Mayenne (1915-1916), then was sent once again to the warehousing barracks: Chambéry, and Donzère before being sent to the front (1917-1918) in the Vosges, Champagne, and Aisne. He served more than four years of active duty.

Once again at the Orient mission and the return to France.

Back as a civilian, he was once again affected to the mission of the Orient to the Karagatch alumnate (Turkey) as a teacher from 1919 to 1923 and then as superior from 1923 to 1924. He next went to Haïdar-Pacha on the Asian side of Istambul (1924-1935). Then he returned to France to take the reins of the community at Menton-Carnolès (Alpes-Maritimes) from 1935 to 1938. Fr. Maximilien Malvy, newly named provincial of Lyons in 1938, entrusted him with the treasury (1938-1951). From 1951 to 1964, he was chaplain for the community of the Little Sisters of the Assumption at Firminy (Loire).

Celebration of diamond jubilee of religious life.

In October 1969, Fr. Renaud celebrated 60 years of religious life. He wrote: “Let us leave to God the care of realizing your wish ‘ad multos annos’, if He wants to. When someone arrives at my age, one cannot forget that the hour for answering the call of the Divine Master is near and one must think of preparing himself more seriously than ever for this divine meeting. One is glad to be able to count on the help of the fervent prayers of one’s confreres. May the days that it may yet please God to give me in this world be better employed in His service! Thank you for the picture of Pope John XXIII. I am specially attached to the present pope because I often had the occasion to approach him when he was in Turkey and to appreciate his goodness and kindness.

On Sunday, May 10, 1964, no longer able to assure his service as chaplain, Fr. Renaud was driven to Lorgues (Var) where he was happy to be reunited with some of the ‘veterans’ of the Orient mission. But the time of reunion was short lived: on Wednesday, May 13, he had a stroke that left him paralyzed and without speech. Fr. Renaud had to be hospitalized and on Sunday, May 25, feast of the Holy Trinity, he died at age 83 and was buried at Lorgues.

Addenda.

Father Renaud was stationed in Worcester immediately following his ordination, in 1907, and stayed there until 1912. After World War I, in which he served in the army, he was in the Near East until 1935. During his last 13 years, he was chaplain of the Little Sisters of the Assumption. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Personal witness.

“Fr. Renaud is our chaplain since 13 years now. He is a real and saintly religious, of a regularity that is perfect and exemplary, always up at 5 a. m., punctual, discreet, open to all that is asked of him and to all changes in scheduling. He prepares his mass very well as well as the divine office and prays them piously.

If he has to sing the mass, he always requests the music for the intonations and practices them the evening before in his room. He is remarkably tidy, even meticulous, and his office is always neat. He doesn’t leave things hanging around and sees to it that his clothes are repaired when needed. Until the age of 80, he memorized his Sunday sermons, which is demanding on his poor memory.  These last years he has agreed to read them. The few persons and families that he frequents keep a memorable souvenir of his visits and kindness. He enjoys speaking often of his stay in the Oriental missions. He never complains and in the course of time, I was never able to know what foods he preferred in our modest meals.”

(Sr. M. Saint-Claude. Little Sister of the Assumption, 1964.)

Evariste (Jean-Charles) Buytaers

1885-1955

Religious originally from the Province of Paris, affiliated to the Province of England.

A lad from the North.

Jean-Charles was born October 16, 1885 at Arras (Pas-de-Calais) of a Belgian father, Charles, and a French mother, Jeanne Jagu. He kept his double nationality and as a result had to do his military service in Belgium. His brother, Lucien, was well known since he was the director of the regional newspaper, l’Echo du Nord. Two of his sisters became nuns: Marie-Evariste, Oblate of the Assumption and Jeanne-Marie, religious of Saint-Francis de Sales. Jean-Charles’ curriculum, the future Father Evariste, was quite varied: alumnist at Arras from 1897 to 1900, Clairmarais from 1900 to 1901, Taintegnies from 1901 to 1902, investiture with the Assumptionist habit October 4, 1902 at Louvain by Fr. Roger des Fourniels, and first profession at Louvain October 4, 1903. Brother Evariste had two masters of novices: he started with Fr. Félicien Vandenkoornhuyse and finished with Fr. Benjamin Laurès. Philosophy and theology at Louvain from 1904 to 1909; priest December 18, 1908 at Louvain by Msgr. De Wachter. He began his priestly ministry as a teacher at Louvain (1909-1911), next at Ascona in Switzerland (1911-1912), and finally at Gempe (1912-1913) in Belgium.

British citizen and religious.

Already in 1913, Fr. Evariste was curate at Brockley until 1922. During this period, he wrote a short book on ‘Brockley before the Reformation period’. Fr. Wilfrid Manser printed it on his ‘machine gun press’. He then went to the U.S.A. to Worcester from 1922 to 1924. He returned to settle in England for the rest of his life: curate at Rickmansworth (1924-1926), pastor at Hitchin (1926-1932), superior of the Hitchin College (1932-1938), superior and pastor at Rickmansworth (1938-1952), superior and pastor at Newhaven (1952-1955). It was at Newhaven (Brighton) that he died on Friday, September 9, 1955 of pneumonia with cardiac complications. He was buried in the vault of the Immaculate Conception of Mary with Fr. Cécilius Bruet, also deceased at Brighton in 1929. Fr. Evariste had the joy of celebrating beforehand his golden jubilee of religious profession October 4, 1954.

Appreciations.

Those who only knew him indirectly may have found Father Evariste a bit aloof, reserved, and not very communicative. These traits of his character had already been noted during his novitiate. After his death, some notes were found that had been saved on the occasion of his transfer from Rickmansworth to Newhaven in 1952; they reveal things concerning his spiritual intimacy and the efforts that he made in his spiritual life. This transfer from one place to the other was very difficult for him since he had to take in hand a parish impoverished by war and reduced by the bombardments. He was once again in charge of rebuilding and restoring, a task that was habitual throughout his life. It was thanks to him that the church at Hitchin was built after having been for a long time only plans. At Hitchin College, he enlarged the actual building to provide a theater hall, an infirmary, dressing rooms, and classrooms. At Rickmansworth, it was thanks to him that a hall for various ministries was built (Croxley Green) and a vast property at Mill End was purchased for the future schools. At Newhaven, facing the port, he finished the restoration of the rectory damaged by bombing and the explosion of a barge carrying munitions. He also had a project for the reconstruction of a hall for ministries that Fr. Delphin had built during the war of 1914-1918 and that was destroyed during World War II. A man with a brilliant intelligence, a born musician who liked to play the organ, he was remarked for his natural distinction and an air of a successful gentleman. Of England, he knew how to perfectly adopt the language, culture, history, customs, and mentality. That is why he was able to assume for a lengthy period the role of correspondent of La Croix.

Addenda.

Rickmansworth, 1946.

“The community is pleased to wish Fr. General [Gervais Quenard] the many joys and blessings of Christmas and to rejoice with you on this our anniversary. It thanks God for your prompt recovery and renews its expression of filial and obedient affection in the Assumption.

Let me add this personal note. Fr. Provincial of England [Fr. James Whitworth] tells me that I have to make a request to be detached from the Paris province. I wish to indicate that it is my desire to be attached to the Province of England.  I am a British citizen by naturalization already since 10 years now and my obediences have maintained me in the English houses since 33 years.

Let me express my respectful and filial obedience in Our Lord, most Reverend Father.”

(Fr. Evariste Buytaers)

Octave (Eugène-Louis-Joseph) Caron

1868-1931

Religious of the Province of Paris.

The fruit of a retreat at Clairmarais.

Eugène-Louis, brother of Abbé Auguste, the eldest brother of the future Fr. Benoît-Labre, was also born to Eugène Caron and Charlotte Gruson July 26, 1868 at Maisnil, near Haubourdin in the North. He did his secondary studies at the Institute of the Sacred Heart at Tourcoing from 1878 to 1885. Hesitating on his choice of life, on the advice of his brother priest, Auguste, he went on a discernment retreat at Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais), under the direction of Fr. Géry Delalleau. Instead of being bored as he had thought he would be, he returned home transformed and enthusiastic for religious life. A few months later, he left for the Osma novitiate in Spain. He received the habit on November 21, 1885 under the name of Brother Octave, went on the famous pilgrimage to Avila with the community, and in October 1886 went to Livry to finish his novitiate where he pronounced his first vows March 25, 1887. “Bro. Octave is a totally satisfactory novice from the viewpoint of piety, obedience, openness, and distinction of heart, spirit, and energy. He is still young and lacks experience; he needs to develop through studies”. The following year, he was sent to Rome for philosophy and theology. He made his perpetual profession November 21, 1887 in Saint Brigid’s church near Farnese Place. Msgr. Duboin ordained him a priest August 15, 1891 at Livry. His theological studies were done at the Minerva as well as the Roman College: he obtained a double doctorate in philosophy and theology. Gifted for languages, he spoke Spanish, English, and Italian.  Gregorian chant held no secrets for him.  In 1893, he left Rome.

Apostolic and Assumptionist horizons.

Fr. Octave was first sent to teach at the Livry novitiate (1893-1898) where he was also in charge of two Bonne Presse publications: La Vie des Saints (The Life of the Saints) and La Franc-Maçonnerie démasquée (Freemasonry unmasked). He was very diligent concerning these. From 1898 to 1902, he was sent as superior to Menton (Alpes-Maritimes). He then requested to be sent to the far away missions. He left for Chile where he was stationed from 1902 to 1909, first at Mendoza near Rengo, then at Santiago. He then returned to Europe and taught at the Elorrio alumnate in Spain during two years (1909-1911). A new obedience gave him the occasion to get to know North America. From 1911 to 1930, he stayed at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe where he was pastor from 1918 to 1921. Fluent in Spanish, English, and Italian, he had a solid and extensive intellectual culture. During twenty years, he worked to ease the misery of the poor of the area, with a childlike spirit and the heart of an apostle, according to the expression of a confrere. He even was good for those who deceived him. Without making any noise, he knew how to reach everyone’s heart, rich or poor: the rich, to extend his hand for help and the poor, to help them.

Return to France.

In the fall of 1930, Fr. Octave showed signs of fatigue and returned to his native land. After a month at the house at Javel in Paris, the reason for his fatigue was discovered: cancer of the pancreas. The doctors were not in favor of an operation; in fact, they felt that it was impossible. The medical staff gave him a few weeks to live. Fr. Octave was transported to Notre-Dame du Bon-Secours Hospital where he battled with great patience and without complaining faced with an illness that would not forgive. One of his religious brothers gave him the sacrament of the sick. Fr. Octave died March 11, 1931 at the age of 63. His body rests in the vault of the Assumptionists in the Parisian cemetery of Montparnasse.

Addenda.

Father Octave came to New York from the South American mission. He spent thirty years at Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York. He returned to Paris shortly before his death. Father Octave had an excellent knowledge of several languages and was a man of real culture. He was one of four brothers in the Congregation. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A choice vocation.

“At the age of 17 and three months, Eugène Caron, whose parents were both dead, decided to become a religious after a retreat at Clairmarais given by his brother, a diocesan priest of the diocese of Cambrai.

He comes from a good family. Eugène is a good student and shows dispositions for prayer, work, obedience, and simplicity that, linked to the good education and solid instruction he received, make of him, it would seem, one of the best recruits for the novitiate. I present him willingly for investiture in the religious habit.

He passed the first part of the written baccalaureate exam, but failed the Greek oral test.”

(E. Boilly, Osma, 26 October 1885.)

The 75th Jubilee Edition of the Parish says that he was pastor from 1918 to 1920.

Albert (Albéric) Catoire

1869-1945

Belgian religious of the Province of Paris.

A simple announcement in La Croix.

Fr. Albert Catoire, the brother of Fr. Anselme, died March 14, 1945 in New York according to the Tuesday, March 29 newspaper La Croix. This is almost the only officially printed document of his existence of which we can barely retrace the facts, except for the few chronological elements written in the Register for Religious. It is good to note, however, that the year of the death of this religious (1945) was not very favorable to gathering information. There are other similar cases for this same period. On the other hand, by simply reading the few letters of this religious that have been preserved, it is easy to detect on his part a continuous instability attested by the many and repeated requests for exclaustration and incardination to which the Roman Congregation for Religious did not want to answer, if we are to believe the documents that were consulted.

Chronological elements for a biography.

Fr. Albert was born in Belgium August 4, 1869 at Taintegnies (Hainaut) in the diocese of Tournai, Belgium, to Albéric Catoire and his wife Fideline, née Bonnet. After his birth, he was named Albéric at baptism after his father. His schooling took place at the orphanage of Arras (Pas-de-Calais) from 1883 to 1885 and the Clairmarais alumnate 1885 to 1887. He took the religious habit under the name of Brother Albert September 8, 1887 at Livry (Seine-Saint-Denis) and pronounced his first vows September 8, 1888. His master of novices, Fr. Emmanuel Bailly noted simply on the report for admission: “Brother Albert, as a Belgian, is not held to military service. He is a young 20-year old, a bit stubborn, but virtuous enough to not remain stubborn for a long time. He is able, active, and generous in manual work and exterior works”. The perpetual profession of Brother Albert was held at Livry September 8, 1889. Following the custom of that time, Brother Albert was sent to teach on the alumnate level in the lower classes: Arras (1890-1891) and Notre-Dame des Châteaux in Savoy (1891-1892). He returned to his studies at Livry (1893-1895), at the end of which he was ordained to the priesthood August 11, 1895. He wrote that he studied two living languages, English and Spanish.

An apostolic life in many directions.

The personal form that each religious filled out in the year 1923 mentioned the long list of affectations that Fr. Albert would know as a teacher after his ordination: Miribel-les-Echelles alumnate in Isère (1896-1898), Notre-Dame des Châteaux (1899), Paris at rue François 1er (1899), Los Andes, Mendoza, and the Rengo parish in Chile from the end of December 1899 to 1905, a stay in England at Newhaven and Charlton between 1905 and 1909, teacher at Philippopoli in Bulgaria (1909-1910), Bure in Belgium (1911), and finally New York at the 14th Street parish in the United States starting in 1911. His letters of that time echoed the difficulties that he was living: In 1910, he asked to enter the diocesan clergy; then came a request with the motive of seeing to the material needs of his mother, a widow and without money. When he was dean of discipline, he also had a run in with Fr. Herman, music teacher at the college of Philippopoli. After 1911, his trace was lost. The documents are silent on his nominations that we presume to have been numerous. According to the register, Fr. Albert, deceased in New York, would be buried at Bergerville, Canada?

Addenda.

In 1911, he was assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York. In 1929, Fr. Albert was named counselor and also treasurer.  He lived at 14th Street for almost 30 years.  September 5, 1940, he went to the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc after an accident to rest since he was handicapped. During this time, he was an extraordinary confessor for the novitiate and took part in the meals for feast days. In 1942, he was moved to the Bergerville novitiate where he usually stayed in his room. He died of cardio-renal uremia March 14, 1945, at the age of 75 after having spent 4 years and 6 months at Sillery and was buried March 16 in the cemetery of the community in Bergerville-Sillery, Quebec. He also had a brother, Fr. Anselme Catoire (1865-1944), who was an Assumptionist.

Father Albert spent many years doing parish work at Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York. Because of his last illness, he was transferred to Quebec where he died and was buried. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A suffering religious.

Letter of 14 May 1928…

“Maybe you have already been informed by the Congregation for Religious of the serious request that I addressed to the Holy Father asking to be released from my religious vows for three years and permitting me to obey Bishop Cornelius Van den Ven, bishop of Alexandria (Louisiana) who is willing to accept me among the priests of his diocese. I presented the serious reasons that pushed me to take this step and explained the sentiments that decided me to make this important decision in my life. I never felt very attached to the Congregation or its works. In fact I was never happy or satisfied in any of our works, not in Chile, nor England, nor even here in New York. I had hoped that with time I would become more hopeful. The troubles through which the Congregation has passed these last years concerning its Constitutions did not help me. Because of this and the poor state in which my reputation stands in the mentality of many religious, I think that it is beneficial to change my situation.

Ildefonse (Pierre Alphonse) Causse

1867-1951

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A recruit of Fr. Henri Brun.

Pierre Alphonse saw daylight April 20, 1867 on the heights of the plateau of Espérou at Camprieu (Gard) where the Assumption made a fleeting trial of an alumnate in 1874. Young Pierre was a student with the Christian School Brothers from 1877 to 1879 at Meyrueis (Lozère) when Fr. Henri Brun, as recruiter, noticed him. In September 1879, Pierre entered the alumnate of Le Vigan (1879-1880). He then went to Alès, Notre-Dame des Châteaux, and Clairmarais from 1880 to 1885; in these places his studies were solid. On September 29, 1885, he was held up at Nîmes by the cholera that closed the Spanish border, just at the time when he was ready to enter the Osma novitiate. He received the habit from Fr. Alexis Dumazer and took the name of Brother Ildefonse. He was then able to go to Osma, did his pilgrimage to Avila as a novice, and returned to France at Livry to pronounce his first [as well as his perpetual] vows, September 29, 1887. He was then sent, as was the custom, to serve in ministry: teacher at Mauville (Pas-de-Calais) from 1887 to 1890. On his 22d birthday, he was ordained sub-deacon at Lille. From 1890 to 1895, he studied at Rome where he passed a double doctorate in philosophy and theology. Msgr. Duboin had ordained him a priest on August 15, 1891. His talent as an administrator had already been remarked: at Rome, as treasurer, he had bought and installed the house of Ara Coeli. Being desirous of a missionary life, he learned Italian and English.

From East to West.

Fr. Brun would have liked to attract him to New York as a helper. After a stay at Istanbul (1895), Fr. Ildefonse took a ship to North America. He installed himself at Klotzville to evangelize the blacks and then went to New Orleans, the capital of Louisiana, for five years of missionary work (1895-1899) for which he kept an excellent souvenir for the rest of his life. When school started in 1899, Fr. Ildefonse was at Nîmes as treasurer for the college, teacher, and assistant principal during a quarter of a century (1899 to 1925). He got involved in everything: languages, sciences, ministry, and innumerable services that should not be ignored for their excellence as well as at times the precarious character of the conditions in which they were exercised. At Nîmes, Fr. Ildefonse experienced secularization, trials, expropriation, as well as appearances before tribunals, but he was greatly helped by superiors and school directors who were courageous: Frs. Timothée Falgueyrette, Matthieu Lombard, and Arthur Déprez. After 1930, a new college was reborn on the route of Arles. In 1925, Fr. Ildefonse was sent as superior to Sens for the recovery of a Saint-Edme college. Some parents wanted to return to the former system: first cycle on the spot, second cycle at the lyceum of the city. Fr. Ildefonse who was finishing his mandate was opposed to this choice and went to the residential school of Saint-Louis de Gonzague in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales). He remained there two years (1931-1933) before going to Chanac (Lozère) whose first superior he became (1933-1942). In November 1942, after some time at Vérargues (Hérault), he became chaplain for the Little Sisters of the Assumption for 8 years (1942-1950).

Illness and death.

Fr. Ildefonse suffered from inflammation of the arteries and a wound on the left foot. Medicines were of no avail to heal him. A move to Lorgues (Var) was contemplated for him. For a long time, he kept up his hopes of returning to his chaplaincy, but once a successor was named, he understood that this was finished for him. His nephew and his nurse, Sister Saint-Claude, took him by car from Firminy to Lorgues where he was placed under the good care of the community. He died very suddenly March 13, 1951 in the evening. His funeral was celebrated where he was and Fr. Ildefonse was buried at Lorgues. He had just finished his 84th year, the preceding month.

Addenda.

Fr. Ildefonse took part in our Louisiana adventure with Father Marcellin Guyot, and generally seems to have liked the work among the Negroes at Klotzville and at New Orleans. When the mission was closed in 1899, because of difficulties with the Archbishop and the clergy, he became for many years the treasurer of the College of Nîmes. Later, he was to be the first Assumptionist Superior in two colleges that we inherited from others, first at Sens (which is no longer ours), then at Perpignan, near the Spanish border, which we still conduct. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Letter from Klotzville (Louisiana, 1896).

“October was a fruitful month: two elderly persons, one older than 100 years, came for the first time to communion, on the day of the Rosary. Many blacks came to Klotzville and were astonished by this feast and the procession, since we are able to set up arcs of triumph to the Blessed Virgin, display our banners, and standards without worrying about an order to cease from the mayor. The freemasons have processions, so why not us? We profit from the neutrality of the State that protects all religions. The Catholic faith is penetrating bit by bit in the ranks of the Protestants. Two weeks ago, I baptized two who were about to die. A woman left four children that I shall baptize on All Saints.

When Fr. Barnabé [Gigand] arrives, we can go to visit the families together and do some good to these people of color who are full of good will but need to be encouraged to return to God. Since we have established two pious societies, I haven’t heard of any black dances in Klotzville….”

(Fr. Ildefonse, October 1896.)

Lazare (Pierre-Théophile) Chabant

1842-1909

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A diocesan priest at the Assumption.

Pierre Théophile was born at Niort (Deux-Sèvres) June 3, 1842. Like his older brother, he entered the minor seminary of Montmorillon and then went to the Paris seminary of Saint-Sulpice for philosophy and theology. He was ordained to the priesthood May 6, 1866 and returned to his diocese of origin for pastoral ministry, first as a curate at Poitiers, then pastor and senior pastor of La Villedieu-du-Clain. He was also chaplain for the Carmelites at Niort. Fr. Emmanuel Bailly met him on the occasion of a retreat preached at the Carmel of Niort. He presented Reverend Chabant who requested to take the Assumptionist religious habit September 2, 1885: “Reverend Chabant, about 44 years old, chaplain of the Carmel of Niort, distinguished priest of the diocese of Poitiers, esteemed by Bishop Gay, has been pastor and archpriest during a few years. Possessed of a great gift of speech, enjoying excellent relationships, and regretted by the Carmelites whose chaplain and confessor he has been for several years, came with us on a Jerusalem pilgrimage. His easy and delicate lifestyle, a capricious health, a certain tendency to self-sufficiency, and tendencies to being inconstant have caused us at his age to have doubts concerning the difficulties of the religious life that he wants to follow regardless of the objections that we oppose to him. But he has shown firmness and a spirit of sacrifice. In order to arrive at Osma, he confronted a difficult voyage and went through a cruel quarantine where it was extraordinary that he did not in turn fall sick. I believe that he can be admitted to the novitiate”. Reverend Chabant found familiar faces there in a trio of religious from Poitevin: Frs. Jean-Emmanuel Drochon, Marie-Jules Chicard, and Maximin Vion. In 1887, having become Father Lazare, Reverend Chabant pronounced his perpetual vows September 18 at Livry.

In the forceful winds of ministry and preaching.

From 1887 to 1890, Fr. Lazare was sent to the college at Nîmes (Gard) that he already knew having spent his second year of novitiate (1886) as a teacher at the humanities alumnate. But it was mostly to the ministry of preaching that Fr. Chabant was to give himself in his various resident communities: (alumnate of Nîmes: 1887-1890, Bordeaux: 1892, Nîmes college: 1892-1896, Paris: 1986-1900, Toulouse: 1900). He was part of the Parisian community of rue François Ier when the searches and trials took place (1899-1900). He was part of the Trial of the Twelve. Interrogated, he answered the president of the tribunal: “I am a missionary and a preacher, and because of this, in Paris they ask themselves to what house I belong because, when I am not preaching, I am in the train. I certainly care for souls before I preach and after I do so, but only in actions that are absolutely Catholic, supernatural, and always for the glory of God”. This declaration did not stop him from being condemned! Forced to leave French soil, Fr. Lazare, after a short stay in Belgium, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become a missionary in North America. At Baltimore, he cared especially for the French colony and was chaplain for the Dominican sisters. In January 1906, because of his health, Fr. Lazare went to the San Remo house on the Italian coast. He was chaplain to the Ursulines of Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d’Or, also withdrawn to this city after the expulsion from France of all teaching religious congregations. He also served as preacher and confessor to the Sacré-Coeur sisters, the Carmelites, the Religious of Nancy, the Religious of the Assumption who were all present in this diocese of Ventimille. In October 1907, his health became problematic. In March 1909, for a change of air, he visited his brother, a diocesan priest at Civray (Vienne). It was there that death awaited him May 6, 1909, the very day of his 43d anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. He was buried there on the following Saturday, May 8.

Addenda.

He entered the Assumption at the age of 43. At the end of March 1909, thinking that changing place would be good for him, he asked Father General for permission to spend some time with his brother, the archpriest and pastor of Civray. Permission was granted and the sick religious left at once. He arrived at his brother’s on March 29, a very tired man. He went to bed from which he would never get up.  During a month, his weakness augmented. He had no appetite and could not retain food, even liquids. On the advice of his doctor, on Friday, 30 April, his brother gave him Extreme Unction and a plenary indulgence. He received them with great piety and edification. After the prayers, he thanked all those present.

Since that day, his brother wrote on 3 May, Father Lazare’s health grew constantly worse. He could only take a glass of sugared water in 24 hours. He could keep nothing else down. He could no longer read and barely listen to what was being said to him. He prayed, was patient, and did not seem to worry. Everywhere, especially in the communities where he was known, novenas were prayed to the Blessed Joan of Arc. A third novena was finished and the fourth was about to start when a telegram announced his death at 6 a.m. on 6 May. This was a remarkable coincidence since it was the 43d anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Father Lazare had been a priest 19 years when he entered the Congregation and made his novitiate at Osma. He was one of those involved in the “Procès des douze,” which brought about the legal dissolution of the Congregation in France, then went to Belgium and the United States, where he worked in our New York community, and alone in Baltimore. He then returned to France. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A threatening sign.

“Please respect the corridors, the vestibules, the stairways of this d’Alzon House because of its souvenirs and its works.”

“This house requires a great calm and a perfect conduct because of its dignity. Whistling, singing, shouting, running down the stairs and making noise here! No! Because of the future. Father Lazare!”

This printed sign that is posted is to be found at Le Vigan, in the room consecrated to Fr. d’Alzon and his family, named the d’Alzon museum. It is not dated, but must be of the time when Fr. d’Alzon’s birth home, having served at first for the novitiate between 1864 and 1874, then the Saint-Clement alumnate from 1874 to 1881, was purchased by the Countess de Clermont-Tonnerre in order to preserve it from being certainly expropriated, with a view that at a more favorable time it could be bought by the heirs or those who had a right to it. Between 1881 and 1933, the house, rented to numerous tenants, went through very careless hands.

Stéphane (Jacques Marie) Chaboud

1857-1921

French religious, assistant general (1918-1921)

Formation years.

Jacques Marie Chaboud was born in Lyons August 10, 1857. He himself has explained the genesis of his vocation: his education in two schools of Lyons, the death of his parents, and his being put in touch with Fr. Picard through an aunt. At the age of 20 he presented himself to the alumnate of Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais) where Fr. Joseph Maubon received him (1877-1878). A bit lost among this youth, he quite quickly went to rue François Ier where he took the habit under the name of Brother Stéphane and the direction of Fr. Picard (December 9, 1878). On December 10, 1880, Brother Stéphane pronounced his perpetual vows. He was marked with the stamp of his master of novices who had become the superior general, successor to Fr. d’Alzon. Fr. Géry Delalleau initiated the second year novice to the study of philosophy, but the expulsions of December 1880 sent both teacher and student to Osma in Spain (1881-1882). On December 23, 1882, Bishop Richard ordained Brother Stéphane a priest in Paris. In order to complete his theology studies, Fr. Stéphane went to Rome (1883-1885) where he got a doctorate. He was part of the student community directed and animated by Fr. Michel Romanet. He then was able to go back to Paris for a year in animation of the General Works under the guidance of Frs. Alfred Mariage and Etienne Pernet (1885-1886).

From the foundation of alumnates to a missionary adventure: Chile, New York.

Fr. Picard had plans for this young religious that he esteemed. He sent him to be in charge of the alumnate of Saint-Joseph of Roussas (Drôme) that had been improvised after the expropriation of that of Alès. Fr. Stéphane devoted himself to it during 3 years (1886-1889) and ensured the transfer of Roussas to Brian (1889). A remarkable educator, ardent and enterprising, he showed that he was prudent, knowing how to conciliate ‘kindness and strength’. In 1889, the superiors asked him to leave the direction of Brian in the hands of Fr. Henry Couillaux to found a college in Osma, Spain in the place of the reintegrated novitiate at Livry in France since 1886. But this experience was short-lived (September 1889 - July 1890). However, this permitted Fr. Stéphane to strengthen his knowledge of Spanish. He gladly embarked on a missionary adventure to Chile that Fr. Picard presented to him at the request of Msgr. Casanova, archbishop of Santiago, whom he had met at Lourdes. In November 1890, Fr. Stéphane left with a few companions by ship. Their first stop was Mendoza-Rengo, the second, Santiago. After the time of closed retreats came a life in the open air with missionary trips through the country by horse (1890-1897). Fr. Stéphane returned to Paris for a few months, from January to November 1897 and then returned to Santiago, Chile, from November 1897 to March 1898. At that time, Fr. Picard asked him to take over the direction of the college at Nîmes (1898-1909). He handled this task with vigor gaining the trust of the families and crossing the storm of the beginning of the century until it became necessary to shut the doors of the ‘cradle’ (1909). Always tireless, Fr. Stéphane volunteered for the North American mission in the two parishes of New York (1910-1918), 14th Street and 156th Street. Highly esteemed and very capable, as Regional Superior, Fr. Stéphane was the inspirer, counselor, and organizer of the Assumptionist works in the New World.

Final years: Paris-Rome.

In 1918, on the occasion of the General Chapter of which he was a permanent member, he became assistant general and was put in charge of the relationships with the Little Sisters of the Assumption. He had a first serious warning of health problems November 2, 1920, as he was going to rue Violet. In December 1921, he returned to the house in Rome where he died in the evening of December 31 at 64 years old. He was buried in Rome at Campo Verano in the vault of the Great Augustinians while waiting for the Assumptionists to purchase their own burial site, where the remains of the religious who died in Rome would be transferred.

Addenda.

Letter to the Provincial.

“I have the honor of sending you these few words; I was recommended to you by my aunt, Marguerite Chaboud, a housemaid in Paris. I had the misfortune of losing my father last 28 August. My only thought and hope is to become a priest. I was born at Lyons in 1857. My father, born at Tour-du-Pin in Dauphiné, was a crystal cutter.

My mother, a weaver, died in1860. Thanks to my uncle who is my godfather, I studied at Saint-Louis de la Guillotière and La Martinère. My father remarried in 1870. Since 1872, I work as a clerk in a Lyons office. I am taking Latin courses with a Jesuit priest, Fr. Brézard. I became emancipated. My tutor is my godfather and I live with one of my uncles. I haven’t forgotten my desire to become a priest even though in my present situation it will be difficult for me to get back into studies. I’ll have to draw lots in 1878. After my military service is finished, I’ll go back to my work place. However, if I can be successful in my desire to become a priest, I’ll thank God my whole life long.

Portraits Assomptionnistes 74-86.

At the start of the school year 1876-1877, Fr. Joseph Maubon, the superior of the Clairmarais alumnate received a tall young man with an opera hat who was a bit solemn. This was Jacques-Marie Chaboud. He was born in Lyons 10 August 1857. From 1864 to 1867 he was a serious student at the clerical school of Saint-Louis de la Guillotiere. Because of the war he had to give up for a time the desire to be a priest and became a notary’s clerk. He was 19 when he came to the alumnate. He was at first quite taken aback by the site and the students. He was homesick and wanted to leave. He went for a boat-ride with some companions and they tipped over. From then on, he was no longer lonesome. He finished his classical studies in two years. It was 9 December 1878 when he took the religious habit at rue Francois Ier with the first alumnists of Clairmarais. It was Fr. Picard who formed him and he took the name of Bro. Stephane. On 10 December 1880 he made his profession in the hands of Fr. Picard, just named Superior General after Fr. d’Alzon’s death.

He started philosophy during his second year of novitiate and it was in Paris that Bishop Richard ordained him a priest 23 December 1882. It was off to Rome to finish his theology until 1885 where he got his doctorate. He then helped with the Lourdes and Jerusalem pilgrimages. In 1886 he was named in charge of the alumnate of Saint-Joseph of Roussas for 4 years when the alumnate was moved to Brian, near Valence. Once Brian was set up, he let Fr. Henry take over and went to Osma to set up a college that was not long lived. Later the alumnate of Calahorra was founded and transferred to Elorrio. In 1890 Fr. Stephane was to lead 9 other religious to Chile at Rengo. In 14 years, 5 houses were opened and established. For the Chileans, the Assumptionists have become especially the “Fathers of Lourdes”, since they have established in Santiago a grotto that attracts many pilgrims. The Echo of Lourdes with 30 000 copies reaches many people.

In our photo, we can see Fr. Stephane on horseback with a Chilean poncho ready to leave on another trip through the pampas to gather in souls. In 1898, Fr. Picard recalled him to Paris to rest for several months. He then took over the direction of the Nimes college for the 1898-1899-school entrance. He remained there till 1909. In 1910 he left for North America and learned English as easily as he had learned Spanish. He was in New York City and worked toward developing two parishes at 14th St. and 156th St. There is also Assumption College for the Franco-Americans living in the larger cities. This college becomes a great source of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Fr. d’Alzon’s statue dominates the entrance yard. In 1917, the Quebec diocese opened up to the Assumptionists. The chapel was copied on that of Paray-le-Monial and was the center for the archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre. The Assumptionists were in charge of this for Canada and the USA. The Sisters of St-Joan of Arc have their motherhouse next to that of the Fathers. Fr. Stephane was the regional superior. He became an assistant general once he had returned to France to rest and had health problems.  The Little Sisters of the Assumption were now under his care. He died on New Year’s Eve 1921 late in the evening, at the age of 64. He had confessed himself a few hours before. ~

Dominique (Auguste) Chaurand

1861-1935

French religious.

A trajectory interrupted and resumed.

Auguste Chaurand was born in Fr. d’Alzon’s village, Le Vigan (Gard), November 4, 1861. From 1874 to 1881, young Auguste lived the errant life of the alumnates: Notre-Dame des Châteaux, Arras, Alès, and Clairmarais. He entered the Osma novitiate in Spain under the name of Brother Dominique October 2, 1881 and pronounced perpetual vows October 2, 1883. At the end of the month, Brother Dominique was already in Smyrna for his tonsure. The superiors sent him to the Orient for his ecclesiastical formation, to Kadikoy where he was also community treasurer from 1883 to 1887. He was ordained a priest in Rome December 17, 1887. He got his doctorate in Canon Law. Two years later, he was again in the Orient as treasurer for the entire Oriental mission (1889-1891). He was then sent to the foundation of Izmit in Turkey (1891-1899) before becoming a missionary in the New World at Santiago, Chile in 1900. What happened after that? Letters from Fr. Picard mentioning this religious are both full of praise and reproach: “Fr. Dominique is good, active, but not always well mannered by the way he acts and at times by a certain manner of being headstrong. He is full of ardor. He is deficient in theology and too indiscreet.” Fr. Picard met on several occasions with the religious of the Orient during his regular canonical visitations. He stressed to Fr. Dominique the necessity of pursuing studies. “Study and see to it that the books don’t get mildew in the house.” Fr. Merklen said of Fr. Chaurand that he was ‘one of Fr. Picard’s victims’, but, according to the documents that we have, we cannot affirm or confirm such a judgment. Regardless of the true motives concerning disagreements between these two religious, around 1900, Fr. Dominique Chaurand left the Congregation to become a missionary in Mexico (Oaxaca) taking back his identity as Rev. Auguste Chaurand. It was clear that he always tried to stay in contact with a few religious and that his being far from his religious family did not lessen his deep attachment to it. In Mexico, Reverend Chaurand lived and acted as a missionary priest and chaplain. In 1905, he wrote to Fr, Thomas Darbois that it was no longer possible for him “to live any longer among these drunkards and wretches. I confess myself to a blind German priest who cannot even say two words to me. The situation in which I live is painful: an icy chapel where the holy water in the founts is frozen since 15 days, no mass servant, a missal dating to 1842, vestments falling apart. I am living my purgatory and am disgusted with the uncaring attitude of the Trappist Fathers for a work so badly served. I have already seen more than 50 priests go through here, and they start drinking and smoking. It is not just a purgatory, but a hell!” Even though we can say that there was exaggeration in this testimony, it is not difficult to imagine that living conditions and pastoral ministry were very painful for this apostolic missionary. His feelings toward the Assumption did not vary and in 1914 he wrote to Fr. Hilaire Canouel: It is with the greatest pleasure that I read the Assomption magazine and follow from afar the wonderful projects of our dear religious family to which I am always attached by all the fibers of my being. I would like to do much more for our dear novices; the present difficult situation of Mexico impedes me from doing so at the present time. Kindly tell me how many francs it would take to set up a foundation to subsidize a novice perpetually. Thank you for the mortuary picture of Fr. Vincent de Paul. I had already placed it on my wall since I had cut it out of la Croix (newspaper). This one will go in my breviary with that of Fr. Picard”. In 1923, Reverend Chaurand was chaplain of the Sisters of the Cenacle in New York. Two years before his death, on the occasion of a uremia crisis, Reverend Chaurand obtained an indult readmitting him into the Congregation. Frs. Adrien Buisson and Cassien Dubost were present at his bedside June 27, 1935 and were the only witnesses of the fact that even at his last moments, Fr. Dominique renewed his vows as a religious of the Assumption. In 1987, his remains were transferred to the cemetery of St. Anne’s parish in Sturbridge (Massachusetts).

Addenda.

While at Izmit, Fr. Dominique was superior. In 1901, he was sent to Chile and in 1903 asked to be secularized and was incardinated in the diocese of Antequeras, Mexico. In 1908-1909, Fr. Thomas Darbois visited him in Mexico after the death of Fr. Brun to collect funds for the Latino-American community of New York. Fr. Chaurand was buried at first in Calvary cemetery, NY on July 1st, 1935. “Fr. Chaurand is in the pre-history of our presence in Mexico.” ( Fr. Pierre Touveneraud, A.A. in a letter to Fr. Bernard Guillet August 30, 1979.)

Concerning Fr. Chaurand, it seems that they offered him a bishopric in Haiti with the blacks, but he refused because of his age. So much the better! [Letter from Fr. Crescent Armanet to Fr. Eutrope, October 19, 1926.]

Souvenirs in links.

“I remember that in 1948, old Fr. Adrien Buisson (1863-1954), the founding pastor of Our Lady of Esperanza in New York, explained to me why we had postcards from Mexico. In 1935, an ex-Assumptionist, Auguste Dominique Chaurand (1861-1935) was chaplain for the Sisters of the Cenacle. Seeing his end coming, he asked Fr. Adrien to obtain from Fr. Gervais Quenard permission for him to pronounce his religious vows. He wanted to die as a religious of the Assumption. That is what happened. Fr. Chaurand made his vows in the hands of Fr. Adrien and died 29 June 1935. He left all of his possessions to the community of Esperanza, including postcards from Mexico. He was buried in ‘Old Calvary Cemetery’ in New York next to Fr. Henri Brun, the first Assumptionist to come to the United States. I don’t know in what year Fr. Chaurand left the Assumption. According to photos, his appearance was very dignified with a grayish beard, a cassock of secular priests and a missionary crucifix.”

(Bernard Guillet, 1979.)

Father Auguste Dominique Chaurand: notes from Fr. Pierre Touveneraud 13 May 1987.

Born: Le Vigan (Gard) 4 November 1861. Took habit 2 October 1881. Perpetual vows: 2 October 1883.

Fr. Romuald Souarn’s secularization request for Chaurand mentions perpetual vows in 1881. Studies: 1883-1887 Philosophy studies in Constantinople. 1877-1879 Theological studies in Rome. Ordination: 17 December 1887. 1889 Left Rome for Koum Kapou and Ismidt where he was Superior. 1901 Sent to Santiago, Chile. 1903 Requests secularization, which he obtained and was incardinated in the diocese of Antequeras (Mexico) according to the Souarn document. 1906-1923 In Mexico where in 1908-1909 Fr. Thomas Darbois visited him. 1923 Came to New York, where in 1933 he requested reintegration into the Congregation. The Congregation for Religious granted the request. In a document dated 5 April 1933 allowing profession in articulo mortis.

A handwritten formula of perpetual vows was dated 27 June 1935. Witnesses were Adrien Buisson and Cassian Dubost. A printed formula of testimonial, signed only by Adrien Buisson is dated 28 June 1935. Death: 29 June 1935. Burial in Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, NY 5 July 1935. At the time of making his will, he resided at 628 West 140 Street. In a codicil of 2 January 1934, he is at the same address.

Angelome (Clovis-Jean) Cleux

1888-1953

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A childhood in Ardèche, a youth in foreign lands, and wounded for life.

Born August 28, 1888 at Saint Etienne de Valoux, in the district of Serrières (Ardèche) where he went to grade school, Clovis entered the college of Sainte-Barbe at Annonay (1900-1903) before living the life of the alumnate: Miribel-les-Echelles (Isère) from 1903 to 1906. He received the habit from Fr. Emmanuel Bailly September 21, 1906 at the Louvain novitiate (Belgium) where he made his first vows September 21, 1907 under the name of Brother Angelome. (He insisted that there was no ‘ô’ accent on the ‘o’.) He stayed there to do his philosophy (1908-1911). He pronounced his perpetual vows September 21, 1908. It was the custom that scholastics would spend a few years in apostolic houses. Angelome was sent to Worcester (U.S.A) from 1911 to 1913, then to Locarno in Switzerland (1913-1914). Without any military preparation, at the start of hostilities, he was drafted: asleep in a beet field and wearing the red pants of the infantry, his two thighs were struck by a machine gun burst fired low on the ground. At night, he was captured by the Germans and cared for beyond the Rhine. This wound left him limping for life. A prisoner for three years, he was exchanged and then able to begin theology at Fribourg (Switzerland). In 1918, he returned to Louvain to finish his theological formation. He was ordained to the priesthood August 7, 1921. A long career in teaching lay in wait for him after he spent some time at the Documentation Catholique of the Bonne Presse (1921-1922).

Teaching, press work, and preaching.

Having been a teacher of literature at the college of Nîmes, Fr. Angelome returned to Worcester from 1924 to1929. Serious minded, desirous of perfection, with a solid culture, he was an excellent teacher, humanist, and pedagogue, a stimulator of theatrical talent, a happy and distinguished confrere, the lover of cultural distractions, but too scrupulous. He launched the magazine Vers l’idéal. His religious first name caused him to battle without pity a written ‘ô’ that he saw as faulty in his name and got him the nickname of Two in one. As a man of great culture, he loved to castigate his vocabulary, watch over his readings, but had an exaggerated attitude of ‘preserving’ the youth. He readily censured the library shelves and the repertory of the theater. For health reasons, he once more crossed the Atlantic and worked again in the alumnates of Davézieux (1929-1935) and Vérargues (1935-1938). The Bonne Presse tapped him to be the director of La Croix des Jeunes and La Croix du Dimanche. His chronicles, written with a lively pen that treated the current hot issues of the day with competence, won for him notoriety and faithful readers. But his friends were worried by the fragility of his health and his tiredness; even his vacation time seemed to give him no rest. He complained of suffering from enteritis, but in 1951 a cancer was diagnosed for which he was operated. He was sent to Lorgues (Var) in convalescence. Fr. Gabel decided to inscribe him for the national pilgrimage to Lourdes from which he returned with the certitude of having been cured. In 1952, he was able to leave the rest house and go to Lormoy (Essonne), which became the base for his apostolate. He wrote reports for the Bonne Presse, put the finishing touches to his work on Fr. d’Alzon, wrote small books, and preached. In January 1953, a kidney X-ray forced his transfer to the Juvisy-sur-Orge hospital. He just got out at the end of the 1963 summer and went to La Ville-du-Bois (Essonne) where the chaplaincy of the boarding school run by the Oblates was just right for him. But illness reasserted itself. He was again hospitalized, this time to Saint-Michel in Paris. He died there October 24, 1953 after having received the sacrament of the sick from Fr. Balme and having shaved his beard according to the custom. The funeral was presided by Fr. Fulbert Cayré in the chapel of the Parisian Provincial House at Denfert-Rochereau. He was buried in the Montparnasse vault near the elders of the Assumption that he venerated.

Addenda.

He was twice stationed at Assumption in Worcester: first as a scholastic in 1912-1913, then as a priest from 1923 to 1929. He was a good, solid teacher. He was also twice stationed at La Bonne Presse in Paris: first as a young priest when he worked at La Documentation Catholique, then as Director of La Croix des Jeunes, and finally as Director of La Croix du Dimanche.

A writer and a speaker.

“Many religious were taken up with Lenten ministry and especially for Holy Week. The record for sermons must be held by Fr. Angelome who gave 52 at Nantes in the church of Notre-Dame de Bon-Port where he followed in the shoes of illustrious preachers”.

(News of the occupied family, 15 April 1942, p.1.)

“We call upon Fr. Angelome Cleux to replace Fr. Ernest [Baudouy], a fine chronicler who enjoyed writing all of our goings on in the Lettre à la Dispersion [Letter to those Dispersed]. Now is the time to start again a publication that his death and the war interrupted, regardless of the actual restrictions of printing and paper. Fr. Angelome can get help under the patronage of Fr. Rémi Kokel, general secretary of the Congregation. A new Dispersion could start with the New Year and you are asked to send directly to him at the Bonne Presse all communications”.

(Fr. Gervais Quenard, 17 December 1944.) [In fact, the new Dispersion became the “Lettre à la Famille” (Letter to the Family)].

Aubain (Armand) Colette

1888 – 1970

Religious of the Province of South Belgium,

Assistant General from 1946 to 1964.

An engaging and cultured person.

Armand Colette was born in Leignon, Belgium, in the diocese of Namur, on August 7, 1888.  Introduced by Fr. Mottet, pastor and dean of Ciney, as a pious and very intelligent young man, Armand entered the alumnates in Bure (1901-04) and Taintegnies (1904-06) where he was well liked by his companions and noticed for his seriousness: he was more interested in conversation than in sports!  Distinguished-looking and dedicated to his work, he entered the novitiate in Louvain September 11, 1906, received the religious habit under the name of Brother Aubain, and pronounced his first vows September 1, 1907.  Frs. Benjamin Laurès and Antoine de Padoue Vidal appreciated his intellectual capacities and his precocious maturity, but reproached him his talkativeness. Perpetually professed September 11, 1908, Brother Aubain studied philosophy in Louvain (1908-11) and theology in Rome (1914-18) where he was ordained a priest May 14, 1916.

A dialectician gifted with words, he liked to discuss and argue.  He was at home in the realm of abstract reasoning.  Fr. Pierre Fourier Merklen asked him to teach philosophy in Louvain for two years (1911-13).  Brother Aubain also taught the young alumnists in Ascona, Switzerland, from 1913 to 1914.  Finally, he moved to a higher level by teaching Moral Theology and Canon Law in Rome (1918-19) before going to Assumption College in Worcester, U.S.A., where he taught from 1919 to 1922.  Gifted with a clear and precise mind, he liked to transmit his knowledge and stimulate his students.  Again a teacher from 1922 to 1927, this time in Sart-les-Moines, he knew how to pass from the world of science to that of spirituality and became a much-appreciated spiritual director.

Formation and animation of the Congregation.

Enjoying the confidence of his superiors, he was appointed master of novices and superior of various scholasticates over a period of 25 years: Taintegnies (1927-29), Saint Gérard[1] (1929-34), Louvain (1934-37), Sart-les-Moines (1937-40), and again Saint Gérard (1941-46).  He helped these young religious develop a deep spirit of faith and a great love for their religious family.  He had a true veneration for Father d’Alzon, which he liked to share with others.

In 1946, he was chosen by the General Curia to replace Fr. Dieudonné Dautrebande who resigned his post as Assistant General. Very pleased with his nomination, he nevertheless associated all the communities of the Province of Belgium-Holland with this honor, considering it theirs as well as his own.  “As happy as a child who has just received gifts from Saint Nicholas,” Fr. Aubain left for Rome where he lived the next 24 years of his life, exhibiting good judgment and level-headedness.

He also became Secretary General and Postulator for the causes of Fr. d’Alzon (1952-70) and Fr. Marie-Clément Staub.  The writings he collected -- beginning in 1930 -- and deposited in the Roman archives represent 52 typewritten volumes for the Founder, 53 for Fr. Vincent de Paul Bailly, 25 for Fr. Picard, 13 for Fr. Galabert, to say nothing of the 16 volumes of letters of Mother Marie-Eugénie de Jésus collected by the Religious of the Assumption.  It was an enormous undertaking.

Energetic despite his proverbial corpulence, impassioned, and sometimes tenacious, but not overly preoccupied with minutiae and precision, he gave free rein to his natural impetuousness.  Nevertheless, it was kept in check by his loyalty, his sincerity, his devotedness, and a cordiality that disarmed even his detractors.  Good humored and a good companion in times of relaxation, he argued every day as he played belote, a card game similar to pinochle, which for him was like a “liturgy,” and for which he constantly devised a few Roman rules that surprised his adversaries.

In 1970, he went to Belgium to retire.  He was plagued with health problems: prostate, phlebitis, and intestinal blockages.  Back from the hospital on August 17, 1970, Fr. Aubain died at Saint Gérard on December 7, 1970, at the age of 82.  His funeral was presided by Fr. Istace on December 10.  He was buried at Saint Gérard.

Addenda.

He is a legendary figure in the Congregation, well known to many generations of scholastics. In spite of a number of strange mannerisms and a sometimes-exasperating importance given to minute rules and regulations, he was all heart and truly admired.

After his ordination to the priesthood in 1916, he taught successively at Rome, Worcester, and Sart-les-Moines in Belgium. In 1927, he became novice master at Taintegnies and then Superior of the scholasticates at St. Gérard and Louvain.

In 1946, he was co-opted Assistant-General, and 3 years later he also took on the charge of Secretary General. Re-elected at the Chapters of 1952 and 1958, he remained Assistant General until 1964. He then stayed on in Rome to work full time as Postulator for the causes of beatification for which he had borne responsibility since 1954. His devotion to Father d’Alzon knew no bounds. He conducted the preparation of all pertinent documents for the cause of beatification of our founder with utmost care and exactness, keeping in touch with a member of the Sacred Congregation of Rites to be sure that every detail was attended to properly.

In July 1970, once this task had been completed, he retired to Belgium. Father Aubin always took a lively interest in everything concerning the Congregation, and his great love for the Assumption was an inspiration to all.

Evocations.

“How many tricks the students of Louvain and Saint-Gérard played on Fr. Aubain! There was no malice intended but their insistance and the inventive spirit manifested itself! They got great joy out of creating comical situations,  by asking preposterous or extreme questions. This would provoke on his part indignant or scandalized answers, and placed him in embarrassing situations. Father didn’t know what to do. He wanted to be firm but his goodness of heart took over and he couldn’t refuse a favor. Later on, confreres teased the postulator by putting into doubt the possibility of having Fr. d’Alzon canonized. Fr. Aubain would get irritated and carried away by holy indignation...  We knew him and loved him the way he was: not at all athletic, with the corpulance of a Canon or a Cardinal, a thinking head under the hood of black serge, an exuberant heart with little control from a viril modesty that was always displayed, loving to play cards, fervent and assiduous at prayer, always meticulous and hard working, optimist and open to changes in the Church, in short, a man synonymous with sunshine and health.” (From witnesses.)

Dionysius (Arnold Henri) Cornelisse

1913-1980

Dutch religious missionary to America.

Curriculum vitae.

Born at Beverwijk (Holland) July 26, 1913, Arnold Henri began his primary studies at the Catholic school of ‘Hobbenstraat in his village. He became an alumnist at Boxtel (1926-1932) and then entered the Taintegnies novitiate (Belgium) August 6, 1932. It was there that Fr. Norbert Claes presented him and gave him the religious habit under the name of Brother Dionysius, which would become ‘Dennis’ or more simply ‘Deni’. His master of novices, Fr. Romanus Declercq, noted as his qualities goodness, affability, meekness that was even a bit feminine, and devotedness, even when at times he seemed to dream. Accepted for the first profession October 3, 1922 at Taintegnies, he was sent to Saint-Gérard for philosophy (1933-1934), taught a year at Sart-les Moines (1935), and did his theology at Louvain (1936-1940). He made his perpetual vows at Louvain October 3, 1936 and was ordained a priest in the same city February 11, 1940. From 1940 to 1945, he went to Nimeguen. Having entered the Assumption with the desire to be a missionary, he had to wait for the war to end before realizing his project. He took the ship to Brazil at Lutte in 1945. Fr. Dennis, a polyglot, wrote on his personal file that he spoke Dutch, French, and German. Undoubtedly he perfected his linguistic knowledge by learning Portuguese, English, and Spanish if we judge from his itinerary. But what transpired clearly from his apostolic life was his special love for the disadvantaged milieus and his constant battle to better the living conditions of the poor. A pastoral man, he was at ease in human contacts as well as in concrete actions in favor of his parishioners.

A missionary giant to the two Americas.

Fr. Dennis did not stay very long in Brazil (1945-1949). In 1949, he was named to the U.S.A. After teaching a year at the college in Worcester, he went to New York to work with the Hispanic population of this megapolis where the poor, especially the immigrants, were often the prey of exploiters and prejudices. Named curate of the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he remained there until his death some thirty years later. A man having a strong natural authority, he expressed his thoughts strongly and knew how to manifest his very cut and dry ideas. He manifested a great charity in his parish and social ministries in favor of the poor, the sick, and those in difficulty. If he was reputed in community to be brusque, punctual, and quick, he knew how to trim down this sharpness in the Latin milieu of his flock, even when he sought to have his preferences for order and regularity adopted by them. A man of action and personal contact, he rarely liked recreation or meetings. His health was robust and his energy overflowed as he strove to accomplish the thousand and one activities of a priest desirous of concretely bettering the lot of the Hispanic population: housing, scolarity, social programs, and English courses.  On the religious level, he was a prudent counselor, an experienced and assiduous confessor who received people in his office during long hours. His sudden death May 12, 1980, at the age of 67, surprised everyone. An impressive number of poor people came to kneel before his body as soon as they heard the news of his death. Many men hid their tears, betraying their emotions and deep love for this priest who had given his life for them. His funeral was celebrated May 15, the feast of the Ascension, presided by Msgr. Garmendia, Episcopal vicar for Hispanics. A ceremony was held for his burial at Fiskdale the next day, May 16, with Fr. Edgar Bourque, the provincial, in the company of some forty Assumptionist confreres.

Addenda.

In his honor, the Dennelisse Corporation was set up to provide Homemaker Services to families with children in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens.

Father Denis died suddenly in the early morning hours of May 12 (1980). Although a member of the Dutch Province, he had been active in our Province since 1950, almost exclusively at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The wake was held at the Parish Hall on May 13 and 14, with the funeral mass on May 15, presided by Bishop Garmendia, with Father Edgar (Bourque) giving the homily. The church was filled to overflow. … A special service was held in Father’s home parish, in Holland, on May 24, for his family and fellow Dutch Assumptionists.

Saint John and Saint Luke both speak to us, in their Gospels, of the death and resurrection of Jesus; of His departure from this world, and of the sending of the Holy Spirit. They do so in different ways, according to the needs of their communities, of their theology, and of their purpose.

…Each year the Church invites us to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. During the past few days, the readings at mass are already preparing us for Pentecost. And yesterday we celebrated the Lord’s Ascension. This helps us along our journey from slavery to freedom. This commemoration cleanses us from sin to live more fully from the life of God’s grace… And in the midst of this: Father Dennis!

The Assumptionists meet today for the second time in one week. We admit that we are stunned.  We admit that our arms are heavy from having empty hands. We admit that we don’t know how to replace Father Dennis. We are as lost as the Apostles who awaited the Holy Spirit. We too experience loss along with expectation. We don’t know where to turn. But our faith keeps our eyes fixed on the Lord who will show us the way He would have us go.

The Lord will be with us in that search as He is with us this morning to help us learn the lesson He gives us through Dennis’ life and death. Our Gospel reading shows us the Apostle Thomas confronted by the Risen Lord. Our imagination tells us that there is some resemblance between Thomas and Dennis. But our admiration for Dennis and our faith in Jesus tell us that the meeting between them that we celebrate this morning is marked with the same kind of love for Jesus and the same brilliant confession of faith as that of the Apostle Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” In this context, let us reflect together on the two great loves that certainly filled the heart and life of Father Dennis: his love of Jesus and his love for the Spanish-speaking peoples of New York City.

Dennis loved God! And because he was Dennis, there were no two ways about his love. It was total. It was single-minded. Ever since I received the news of his death, I have tried to fathom the mystery of what the love of God has done in this man’s life. What stays with me most strongly is that the timelessness of God gave him balance. We all know that here was a man who was nervous, jumpy and impatient. A man who was always in a hurry, always running. He could listen and he was kind. But, he could say “No” as quickly as he could say “Yes.” Yet, as volatile as this man was, we all agree that he was a man of balance. Of course, this made him a man of good counsel for himself and for others.

God resides in each one of us. All of His attributes are at work in us, especially when we allow God to be important in our lives, the way Father Dennis has done. This mystery of God’s presence, the action of His indwelling leaves a different reflection in each person. For Father Dennis, it was the eternity of God that showed through, His timelessness. Day after day, in the most difficult situations, in the most harried circumstances, maybe when Father Dennis ran around the most, God was at work, giving a different meaning to time in the life of this priest-religious. God’s eternity had broken through in his life. The people he served, the brothers of his community, profited from this. Is this not “the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” that Saint Paul writes about in our reading from Ephesians?

With Dennis gone, we have lost the man in the province who hated meetings more than anyone else. He had absolutely no patience with meetings. His resistance to them was total. He must have understood very well that Thomas would be absent when the other Apostles were meeting. As often as I have heard that Dennis was a man of balance, I have heard that he was not a team man. It doesn’t mean that he didn’t cooperate or that he didn’t do his share of the work; it only means that no one had ever convinced him of the utility of meetings. His big question was always: “What difference do they make?”

We, who are left behind, and who will undoubtedly continue spending countless hours at endless meetings, must allow ourselves to be confronted by this question: “What difference do they make?” Our continual meetings must strengthen our decentralization, our participation, our shared responsibility, in the work that we do for the Kingdom. If we fail at this, then meetings do not make a difference and we are foolish men indeed. How empty we remain if all our talking doesn’t lead us to a deeper recognition of the Risen Christ: “My Lord and my God!”

Father Dennis loved the Spanish-speaking peoples of New York City. Our reading from Ezekiel speaks of another people transplanted by God as a “tender shoot of a cedar tree.” Father Dennis had a great sensitivity to all the hardships of taking root in a new country. His Hispanics knew this and returned his love. He expressed their mutual devotion best in Holy Desiring: “Their sincere friendship is the most valuable gift I have ever received.” This is a Dennis statement. It is an absolute statement. But we can be sure that it was a true statement. Another Dennis statement that became famous in its way was: “Happiness for me is 14th Street!” That pronouncement didn’t need much of an interpretation. It meant: “Nowhere else but 14th Street!” He wasn’t saying: “I’m unbudgeable and I won’t move.” It was more that if we wanted to know where he stood, there it was. I suspect that Father Dennis was just about as impatient with spiritual talk as he was with meetings. He very obviously was not against spirituality; he merely preferred action to words. One area that made him particularly uncomfortable was too easy a talk about prayer and contemplation. It was simply not something to talk about too much and certainly not something you tried to achieve before getting down to hard work. He understood that this is not the Assumptionist way. Father Dennis’ work was his asceticism. His position was that action leads to contemplation. I don’t know if Dennis knew that this was Augustine’s position too. I suspect he did. Of course, this links us to Father d’Alzon’s surprising and original statement at the beginning of the Constitutions of 1855, that as Assumptionists we will sanctify ourselves through our apostolate.

I have obviously applied several labels to Father Dennis this morning. But, the most appropriate label of all is that he was an apostolic priest…. Today we regretfully bury a brother who gave us a great prayer of apostolic devotion. The loss to the province is great. The loss to the Spanish-speaking peoples of New York City is great.

Many years ago, maybe as many as fifty-five, there was a small boy in Holland who had a dream about going to the missions. This boy became a young man and was ordained a priest in 1940. Because of the war, he had to wait five years before going to Brazil. There he experienced the missions as he had dreamed of them. He spoke about having to travel twelve miles on dusty coal trains before reaching the first mission outpost that his community was responsible for. He spoke about it with a twinkle in his eye and with joy. For him, that was working in the missions.

In 1950, Father Dennis arrived in New York City. This too was mission land for him. He saw his apostolate in the inner city as an honest response to his call for missionary work. And rightfully so! In how many other concentrated places in the world can you find a group of three million people, suffering from dislocation, wrestling to learn a second language while holding on to their own, trying to assimilate another culture without losing their own, threatened in their faith, treated unjustly, finding it difficult to find work and suitable housing? Dennis reached out to them as he reached out to the poor in the brush-lands of Brazil. He did so in all ways. He preached to them the word of God. He administered the sacraments and he counseled them. But he also addressed their social needs long before the City tackled this problem seriously. He helped people find jobs. He helped them find homes. He helped them hold on to what is most important to them… the faith that had been theirs and the right to practice it in a way that fits them culturally.

Father Dennis was the priest of these people. To see them surrounding him on the sidewalk outside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church made it clear that they had found in him a priest who had been sent to them by God… a man who was doing that for which God sends His angels. Father Dennis was a true angel of God time and time again in the lives of countless people.

I’m sure that these people remained countless for him also, but not unnamed. He left an address book in his room. Not an ordinary address book, but a huge one – an 18-inch long ledger, an inch thick. In it, He had the names and addresses of his family. One page! After that, it is page after page of the names and addresses of the Spanish people he had baptized, married, and for whom he had baptized their children. All people he had reached out to… the names of people “whose sincere friendship was the most valuable gift he had ever received in all his life.”

Timothy (Patrick) Croghan

1919-1977

English religious of the Province of North America.

A winding path.

Patrick Aloysius Croghan was born August 25, 1919 at Ashton-in-Makefield in the diocese of Liverpool, England, of an Irish family. He studied at Ashton Catholic Elementary School (1924-1928), then at Mansfield (1928-1932), and finally at Nottingham for high school at ‘The Becket School’ from 1932 to 1937. He then chose the life of a diocesan priest and was sent by his bishop to ‘Hallow’s College’ in Dublin for his classical studies (1937-1939), followed by two years of theology at ‘All Hallow’s’ (1939-1941). After a severe nervous fatigue, he interrupted his studies and left the seminary. Ever pursued by the ideal of a priestly life, he asked to enter the Assumptionists. He was accepted in August 1944. He took the habit under the name of Brother Timothy at Bindon House and pronounced his first vows there October 22, 1946. Fr. Gabriel Brayton-Slater, his novice master, noted: “ In spite of the health crisis he underwent at the seminary before entering the novitiate, Brother Timothy spent two years in a very active life as a journalist and felt no effects from his former nervous problem. Although he is inconstant by nature, he needs to be prodded from time to time on an intellectual as well as spiritual level so as to be guided and not let him center himself on his health. He is quite evasive on incisive matters but has satisfactorily fulfilled his task as socius”. Brother Timothy did a complementary year of theology in France, at Lormoy (Essonne) and another at Capenor, England, in order to complete his theology. His perpetual profession at Hitchin, October 22, 1949, was followed by his ordination to the priesthood in the same place December 18, 1949. His ministry began as a teacher at Saint Michael’s College in Hitchin (1949-1952), but since he had great difficulty dealing with community life, after two years as curate at Rickmansworth (1952-1954), Fr. Timothy asked to join the secular clergy. The Provincial asked him to go slowly with his decision and first restore his health. Because of his persistent desire and the choice of being a military chaplain, he was exclaustrated to the Brooklyn diocese (U.S.A.), being transferred temporarily under the obedience of the Provincial of North America. But six months after he had obtained his visa, the American administration told him that he could not apply for a post as military chaplain since he was not an American citizen. Faced with this refusal, Fr. Timothy had to search for a bishop who accepted to incardinate him ad tempus. He was named curate for Saint James Church at Seaford (New York, Long Island), in the diocese of Rockville. But this situation was only temporary. After the 6-year time span that was foreseen, he was refused incardination in the diocese of Rockville, a part of Brooklyn. He then spent several months at Fiskdale upon the acceptance by Fr. Moquin. He once again asked for an indult of secularization ad experimentum in the diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut (1962). It was thanks to Fr. Timothy that we have an English translation of the Directory (1965) and a biography of Bishop Pie Neveu, started in 1969. He found work as chaplain to the Religious of the Assumption at their Ravenhill boarding school in Germantown (Philadelphia), where he gave courses in Sacred Scripture to the young professed sisters. During all this time, he kept a lively link with the Assumption, being attached to the New York parish at 14th Street. He died at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut November 8, 1977, having lived many very trying years thanks to a dialysis machine. One of his friends who was familiar with all the difficult problems in the life of Fr. Timothy could not help making the following remark: “He seemed to be born to suffer.”

Addenda.

He have up a good position at the Irish Press to become an Assumptionist. Bishop George Andrew Beck, A.A. ordained him to the priesthood in 1949. He was chaplain at Regina Laudis monastery in Waterbury, CT. For the last four years of his life, Father Patrick required the use of a renal dialysis machine two or three times a week. During these years the Rapp family of Woodbury, CT took care of him with great kindness, affection, and generosity. On November 8, Father Patrick went to the Hospital in Waterbury, CT for his customary treatment and the doctors discovered the existence of a blood clot in his leg. They decided on immediate, emergency surgery. Father Patrick didn’t survive the operation.

We come together this morning to say goodbye to a man, a friend, a priest, a fellow Assumptionist to whom we’ve scarcely said hello.

As most of you know, I was in England when Father Patrick passed away. You also know that he was of the English Province and that he had been stationed in the North American Province for the past twenty-two years. I regretted deeply being out of the country when Father Patrick died. However, being in his home province allowed me to share in the after-death conversations of his English brothers as well as that of his brothers in the United States. In both countries I was struck by the fact that Father Patrick remained unknown and mysterious. On both sides of the ocean, most of us were saying; “We haven’t seen him for a long time.” “He was always mysterious, always quiet, always retiring, always warm, always friendly.” One of the fathers from Bethnal Green, who had known him during all his religious life, although he too had not seen him for a long time, said what I thought was most significant: “Pat seemed to be born to suffer.”

As I reflected on that statement in the many hours I spent alone, I began to see how it applied to Father Pat’s life. We are not talking here about the suffering of the past three or four years when his kidney ailment condemned him to what he called being married to a dialysis machine. There was so much more to his suffering. There was the suffering of searching during an entire lifetime for what it was God expected of him. The suffering of thinking that he had an answer and then discovering that it had disappeared! The agony of trying to find his place and when he thought he had found it realizing that it was probably somewhere else! From his very youth it was clear to Father Patrick that he should be a priest. At first he thought of the secular priesthood, then of religious life, again of the secular priesthood, and back to religious life. His was the suffering of a man who hungers for peace and who would love to be at home somewhere, but for whom the search for the place where that peace and that home could be never ends.

I had the opportunity during the past two years of speaking with Father Pat often. Oh, it isn’t that he ever said it, but it seemed so easy to be attuned to what he was feeling. Always, there were signs of yearning for something else. We all know of people who suffer in this way and we sometimes have moments when it is true of all of us. This funeral mass can be for us the occasion to try to deepen the meaning of the vocation of a man who is born to suffer. When it became clear to me that this is what we should do together this morning, I soon felt drawn toward the Book of Job…

But if we ask ourselves what the author of Job tells us, the answer he gives is that you’re not going to find any other explanation except that this is what God wants. We suffer because God wants it… But as we reflect on it, I don’t want to settle for that answer and I don’t think anybody here does either. And I don’t think Father Patrick settled for it. It’s not the really complete teaching of the Book of Job. That’s a cold, depersonalized answer.

The answer comes in Job of what we do with this. God wants me to suffer, but where is God in His wanting this, in His permitting this? Job becomes very beautiful if we hold on to the most inspiring verses in that Book: “I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that one day I will see Him, one day I and no other will look up and see Him standing beside me.” A God who can be there, a God who can be so close to me! Yes, if He wants me to suffer, all my life, in all things, I don’t need any other explanation. And I don’t have to be searching for an answer to the mystery. I have the answer, “I know that my Redeemer lives. One day I’ll see Him, standing by my side.” Father Patrick knows that today.

It looks as though all of his life he was wrestling with the tent that Saint Paul speaks about in his Letter to the Corinthians. This tent, you can almost sense it crumbling to pieces as we have been able for years to see the body of Father Patrick getting weaker and weaker. And yet Father Patrick held on and did things with a courage that was astounding to all of us. Long after the prediction of his death should have made it a reality, he traveled with Ann to Ireland, not once but twice. When he was fed up with the cold, as we are every winter, he dared with Ann to go to Florida to warm up his bones. And do you think his traveling was over? No later than a week ago he was calling New York and wondering if it wouldn’t be possible to go to Lourdes in the spring. And they were going…

We know that God is beside us all the time. He’s beside us in faith as we reach out to His saving power. But we also know that He stands beside us in people. If only we could be smart enough to know that in every one of our sufferings we can look around to the people who are reaching out to us and say that this is a gift of God. For all of Father Pat’s suffering and for all of his solitude and aloneness and for all of his mysteriousness throughout his life, he had someone standing beside him. This was true, for example, of Father Brendan Fox, in England, whom Father Patrick considered a lifelong friend.

[Funeral homily by Fr. Edgar Bourque, A.A., Provincial on November 12, 1977]

Father Patrick was buried in St. Anne’s cemetery in Fiskdale. He was a naturalized citizen of the United States. Before entering the Assumptionists, he worked in the Irish Press.

Thomas (Edouard-Jules) Darbois

1863 – 1939

French religious, Assistant General (1923-29), affiliated to the Province of Paris.

Youth.

Edouard-Jules was born in Champignelles (Yonne) on August 28, 1863, the feast of Saint Augustine.  He and his twin brother, Gunfrid, attended the alumnate of Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais) from 1877 to 1881, chose to become Assumptionists, and received the religious habit in Osma, Spain, October 2, 1881.  Taking the name of Thomas, Edouard-Jules made his first profession – which, according to custom, was also his final profession -- with his brother in Osma October 2, 1883.  The very evening of his profession, he embarked for Constantinople, Turkey, where he became a teacher at the seminary-school in Kum Kapu.  With his brother, he went to Rome for theology (1885-89).  Bishop Duboin ordained Brother Thomas a priest in Livry September 24, 1887.  Inseparable until 1889, the two brothers then received different assignments and, from then on, hardly saw each other.  Fr. Thomas earned two doctorates, one in philosophy, the other in theology.  He mastered Spanish, English, and Italian.

Founder in Chile, the United States, and Mexico.

In 1889, Fr. Thomas taught theology at Le Breuil (Deux-Sèvres).  In September 1890, he left with a team of founders for Chile where he remained from 1890 to 1891.  He was then sent to New York as the first pastor of the Spanish-speaking parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe on West 14th Street.  In 1904, he founded the beginnings of an alumnate in Worcester, which later became Assumption College.  In 1907, he left for Mexico, but the planned foundation in Monterrey did not take place (1907-08).  After returning to France, he went to rest in San Remo, Italy (1908-09).

In 1912, he was asked to take charge of the new residence in Montpellier, on rue Bonnard. During the First World War, he offered his services to Bishop de Cabrières to care for the parishes deprived of priests due to the general mobilization and was placed in charge of the parish of Saint Jean-de-Fos (Hérault).  In 1918, Fr. Joseph Maubon asked him to join the novitiate community at Notre-Dame de Lumières (Vaucluse) and  serve the neighboring parish of Goult (1918-19). He was then appointed chaplain to the boarding school of the Oblates of the Assumption in Jalesnes (1920-23). While there, he was surprised one day to receive a decree from the Holy See appointing him as First Assistant General of the Congregation during the troubled period of its existence (January 1923).

A strong-minded Assistant.

From 1923 to 1929, Fr. Thomas generally resided in Rome because of his responsibilities.  He showed himself to be concerned about the traditions of the Congregation and even to be over-protective of its past.  His relations with Fr. Merklen and the Franck Mothers, and his energetic personality did not always facilitate the “new direction” inaugurated by Fr. Gervais Quenard, also appointed by the Holy See, who wanted to lead the Congregation along new paths that respected both its present and its future.  In 1929, Fr. Thomas’ mandate was not renewed.  For two years, he was chaplain to a community of Sisters of Saint Joan of Arc in Beaulieu-les-Fontaines, Oise, (1930-32), then spiritual director of the scholasticate in Louvain, Belgium (1932-34).  He was also stationed for a short time in 1934 at the college in Pontlevoy (Loire-et-Cher), before going to the rest home in Lorgues (Var) on February 22, 1934.  Worn-out, he suffered from varicose veins in his legs.

Active retirement.

The “old missionary,” now 71 years old and still nostalgic about his former apostolic life, thought he could render service by preaching from time to time.  He also wrote biographies of the founders and foundresses of new religious congregations.  Meanwhile, he underwent several operations that temporarily alleviated his pain.  Nevertheless, he became an invalid in 1937 and died of uremia July 11, 1939, in Lorgues, at the age of 76.  His funeral was celebrated two days later by Fr. Broussaleux and his body was buried in the cemetery of Lorgues.

Addenda.

Father Thomas entered the Congregation with his twin brother, Father Gunfrid. He seemed destined to “firsts”. He was part of the first team sent to South America and remained in Chile from 1890 to 1901. He was almost among the first to come to New York and was at Our Lady of Guadalupe when the parish was organized. He was the common superior of the houses of the United States, and as such, presided over the founding of the unsuccessful agricultural school to which he would have liked to join an alumnate at Granby, Massachusetts. He then presided over the founding of Assumption College in 1904. His later years were more “standard”. When the Sisters of Saint Joan of Arc attempted a foundation in France (1930-32), he was their chaplain. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A rebuke.

“You acted cruelly toward me; I suffer day and night; I had counted on a relief through Dr. Savignac: you refused me permission to see him and I return with all my miseries. I am complaining about the harshness in the way you proceeded. Others noticed your injustice: it was to stop me from seeing Fr. Merklen in Paris that you were inflexible. I thought this was finished. I thought that for a peaceful resolution, no favors were being given and that no severe measures were to be taken against him. The measures of not letting him see those who care for him and only encouraged him to be patient, energetic, and fervent in his religious life are odious. I want to add a word on the way the Congregation is going: it has a doctrine, Frs. d’Alzon, Picard, and Bailly told us this so often. I protest against your having called the Dominicans and the Jesuits to La Croix. You are still young and should act in agreement with your assistants of whom three are older than you are”.

(Fr. Thomas to Fr. Gervais, 14 November 1923.)

His brother Gunfrid died March 14, 1924… In September 1890, when Fr. François Picard decided to open a mission in Chile, Fr. Thomas was sent there with the founders of the mission. They were ten. Five priests; Stéphane Chaboud (Superior), Géry Delalleau, Marius Peyson, Adrien Buisson, and Thomas Darbois. There were also five lay brothers.

Fr. Adrien Buisson, writing about Fr. Thomas, had this to say: “In 1895, I preached a series of retreats with Fr. Thomas, in the north of Chile… at two seaports. In his instructions, Fr. Thomas scourged vices so vehemently that the doctors, lawyers, and notaries, feeling targeted, complained about it in the newspapers, attacking Fr. Thomas very harshly.

“Fr. Thomas answered in the same way, regretting only that the dead sent to the cemetery by the doctors could not be there to accuse those who attacked him, the missionary. To the lawyers, he answered that the widows and orphans they had despoiled formed an army which could do nothing because they were too poor and too ignorant to defend themselves.” This severity, this harshness with people would surface again in New York, as we will see…

Fr. Thomas was called “le Père commun” (the common Father) i.e. superior of both Guadalupe and Worcester… he purchased the first college building on Fales Street.

Fr. Adrien Buisson tells us that in 1908 he sent Fr. Thomas to Mexico, to beg for money to build Our Lady of Esperanza Church. One day, at Ciudad Juarez, Fr. Thomas preached against the great revolutionary Caudillo, who had been born there. The Mexicans revered Juarez and threatened Fr. Thomas, who had to flee incognito to avoid the Mexicans’ wrath. Fr. Adrien said: “All this just proved to us that he lacked proper balance. But nothing could stop his indomitable zeal.” Fr. Thomas stayed in Mexico about a year and a half, trying to found a house in Monterrey, but without success.

While I am mentioning Fr. Thomas’ character, I must say that I was told that Fr. Thomas’ severity and harshness were again obvious when he would not allow the religious of Our Lady of Guadalupe to take their recreation in the yard in the back of the church. They might communicate with the ‘magdalens,’ unwed mothers, in a building in back, on 15th Street. Lack of balance, lack of trust in his fellow religious.

The General Chapter of 1923 was indeed a strange one, where a cardinal took the votes of the capitulants and brought them to the Vatican, saying that the Holy See would announce the winner. Thus in January 1923, Fr. Thomas was named First Assistant to the new Superior General, Fr. Gervais Quenard, and stayed in Rome until 1929…

The veteran missionary, despite his faults, admirably served his Congregation in Chile, the United States, and in Rome. But he never sought any special consideration because of that. He was always humble and patient in his suffering. [ANA, ASITWAS, October-November-December 1999, Richard Richards, a.a., 23-24]

Father Thomas was a practical man who believed that the greatest dreams are realized one-step at a time. He was busy taking several steps. He insisted that all the Assumptionists who might be called upon to assist him in his ministry should study Spanish. Next Father Thomas started publishing the Calendario Mensual. The first issue of this monthly calendar appeared in May 1902 with two thousand copies rolling off the press. The calendar was published for many decades, apprising parishioners of religious services and important church events.

Father launched a busy schedule of activities in the hope of making services so convenient that many would attend. There were six Sunday masses, daily Masses, and devotions every evening. A priest was on duty every day as confessor, adviser, or consultant to anyone in need.

Of course there were problems. At some masses there were more English-speaking persons present than Hispanics, and this soon irritated pastors of nearby churches who felt that their programs were being threatened.

Within a few months Father Thomas established a parochial school and had it staffed by nuns who taught grades one, two, and three. From the beginning the school attracted both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students. Though Father launched his small school with high hopes, many problems beset the enterprise. Finally, the Archdiocese summoned the nuns to a more urgent need, and the school closed within a year.

Yet the number of parishioners was growing, and more and more people stopped in for Mass or a few minutes of prayer. Father Thomas knew that someday the church would have to be enlarged so he kept an eye out for opportunities. The Spanish-speaking population was surging: some five thousand came to the city every year between 1903 and 1919 from a dozen countries with a Spanish heritage.

Father Thomas and his assistants lived anything but an easy life. From their quarters above the church they served the people wherever they could; at liturgical services, in their homes, at hospitals, at family celebrations, in neighborhood social events... wherever their presence could be helpful. Theirs was a simple life, even one of poverty, like that of so many of their parishioners.

Father Thomas found the time to accomplish other great tasks including the founding of the Chapel of Our Lady of Esperanza on West 156th Street. He was also a guiding force in the establishment of Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. A liberal arts institution, the college had difficult beginnings like Our Lady of Guadalupe, but it has grown and expanded and continues to look to the future with visions of even greater service.

In 1906, Father Thomas redecorated and expanded the church, and visited Mexico to find funds. As the years passed, his unceasing efforts bore much fruit. Soon afterward his health began to fail, and in 1909 he returned to France. He had the consolation of knowing, however, that his beloved Our Lady of Guadalupe was finally firmly established. [75th Jubilee Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1979, Custombook Inc., 16-17]

The alumnate in Granby.

As the number pf Assumptionists in New York City increased, they began seeking additional ministry. In 1902, an interesting proposal was made to Fr. Darbois by Rev. Charles Crevier, pastor of Precious Blood parish in Holyoke. Fr. Crevier owned a 500 acre farm in Granby, MA., and offered to give the farm, the livestock, and all the equipment to the Assumptionists for an alumnate and agricultural school (French-speaking). At first, Bishop Beaven of Springfield was not greatly in favor of such a school and tried to impose upon the Fathers a number of conditions. Eventually he insisted only that the Assumptionists contract no indebtedness for the school, without the written authorization of the ordinary. In May 1903, three priests and three brothers left New York with Fr. Darbois, bound for Granby. When they arrived they discovered that there could be a great difference between promise and reality: the living quarters were inadequate, the farm itself was in poor condition, the animals were old and lame. Moreover, Fr. Crevier became difficult and refused to cede the property as he had promised. It soon became evident that what he had been seeking was someone to cultivate his miserable farm. He tried to add all kinds of obligations upon the Assumptionists. In July 1903, they decided that they would not “take it” any more and they left Granby. They hoped however to be able to work somewhere in the area, and many found work preaching missions or helping as temporary curates in many of the Franco-American parishes in New England and upper New York state.

During the summer of 1903, Fr. Thomas Darbois submitted a request to be allowed to open a residence for missionaries in Worcester and start an alumnate and trade school. He was told that written permission from the bishop was unnecessary. The Holy See had approved the Assumptionists’ coming into the diocese and they were free to make arrangements for a settlement in Worcester, with the bishop adding that he himself would notify Rome of the change from Granby to Worcester.

Fr. Darbois soon purchased a house at 27 Fales St., in the Greendale section of Worcester on November 5, 1903. The original community comprised: Fathers Georges Demiautte, Marie-Joseph Laity, Isidore Gayraud, Marie-Emile Ladret, Antoine Silberman and Brothers Felipe Uceda, François Bourtembourg, and Jean Despas. One of the first apostolates that the Assumptionists undertook in Worcester was the chaplaincy of the Notre Dame Institute (The Lake) of the Sisters of Notre-Dame de Namur. They began on December 10, 1903 a ministry that has continued to the present day. At first Fr. Darbois was the common superior of both the 14th St. Community in New York and the Worcester community. That meant an inordinate amount of commuting, and therefore in April 1904, Fr. Isidore Gayraud began what was to be a one-year term as superior, during which time he purchased a second house on Fales St. and connected it to the first by a 50-foot passageway.  [The Assumptionists in North America by Rev. Richard Richards, A.A., 115-116]

Georges (Louis-Joseph) Demiautte

1868-1941

Religious of the province of Paris.

Curriculum vitae.

Louis Joseph Demiautte was born August 2, 1868 at Ligny-Thilloy in the district of Bapaume (Pas-de-Calais). After his primary studies at the village school, he went to the alumnate of Arras where he did his grammar classes from 1881 to 1883, and then passed on to Clairmarais for humanities (1883-1885). He chose the Assumptionist religious life and left for Osma, the novitiate that had been transferred to Spain at the end of 1880. He took the religious habit August 15, 1885 with the name of Brother Georges. The following year, the novitiate returned to France at Livry-Gargan in a former abbey dear to Mrs. De Sévigné. It was there that Brother Georges pronounced his perpetual vows August 15, 1887 in the hands of Father Emmanuel Bailly. “ Brother Georges had problems to solve in order to become a religious, since, having lost his parents, he depended on an uncle, his tutor, who was not favorable to this choice. This young religious has a timid and lively character; he is serious and leans toward studies where he is more successful than in exterior works. However, at times he works in a capricious manner. He is still a child, yet good and virtuous”. Brother Georges was then sent to Rome for a year of philosophy (1887-1888). He was chosen to teach at the Clairmarais alumnate (1888-1889) and the Brian alumnate (Drôme) for two years (1889-1891). He next returned to Rome to study theology for two years (1891-1893). In just a few years, he did obtain his licentiate and doctorate in theology. Bishop Livinhac, the Superior General of the White Fathers, ordained him a priest at Livry August 15, 1893.

Teaching in Europe and America.

Father Georges continued teaching in the houses of formation of the Assumption: Taintegnies (1893-1895), Arras (1895-1896), Clairmarais (1896-1897), Brian (1897-1898) and again at Arras (1898-1902). It was then that the decision was made to involve him in the new foundations in the U.S.A., notably at Worcester where an alumnate was projected but quickly changed to a college. He remained there 6 years (1902-1908), adding to his task of teaching in the college, several chaplaincies in the neighboring religious communities. Returning to France in 1908, he resumed his involvement in teaching and formation in the alumnates: Le Bizet on the Franco-Belgian border (1908-1910) and Ascona-Locarno in Switzerland (1910-1918). After the World War in which he was not a participant, we have no specific details on his postings: Bourville (Pas-de-Calais) from 1918 to 1920 where he taught literature, Les Essarts (Seine-Maritime) from 1920 to 1925 where he took care of late vocations, Clairmarais once again (1925-1926), Bourville for ministry (1926-1927), Les Essarts (1927-1928), Newhaven in England (1928-1930), Bethnal Green in London (1930-1938), and Lorgues, his last residence from 1938 to 1941 where he died March 18, 1941 at the age of 73. It was by a simple family letter, the only way that was possible to communicate in France at that time between the occupied and the so-called free zone, that Fr. Gervais Quenard who had been advised of the fact by Father Clément Laugé announced on March 24 the death of this religious. Father Georges was buried at Lorgues (Var). He was known to be quite original. That was most likely linked to his great mobility. His memory would deserve more than a dry listing of the places and dates where he was, but his various life companions in France, America, and England never wrote about him…

Addenda.

Inculturation.

“I didn’t stop serving at the two chapels of the Brothers at Millbury and the Sisters of Notre-Dame until last September. Since I wasn’t certain that I would remain at Greendale [Worcester], I contented myself with celebrating mass alternatively at these two places and confessing the Brothers and children of Millbury. Upon seeing that my return to New York seemed more and more unlikely, I took to heart these two chaplainries. Therefore I added to my first program that was not very heavy, two sermons in English that I preached after having composed them myself and learned them by heart, one to the Sisters on Thursday and the other to the children at Millbury on Sunday. I can assure you that the preparation of these doesn’t leave me too much free time.

Nevertheless, showing good will, I could insert in my schedule a few tutored lessons given to youth from the exterior, if, knowing my repugnance for classes with many children, you approved my idea and were to convince Fr. Thomas [Darbois] that it was fine….”

(Fr. Georges, 8,11,1904.)

Engelbert (Eugène) Devincq

1889-1953

French religious of the Province of North America.

First part of a journey.

Eugène Devincq was born September 25, 1889 at Tilques near Saint-Omer (Pas-de-Calais). His scolarity was done in the alumnates of Sainghin-en-Weppes (Nord) and Courtrai (Belgium) from 1900 to 1903, then Taintegnies from 1903 to 1905. He entered the Louvain novitiate September 13, 1905 under the name of Brother Engelbert. His first vows were taken September 7,1906, and perpetual vows on the same date the following year. He stayed there for his philosophy from 1907 to 1910. Then following the traditional custom of the Assumption, he spent two years at Zepperen (Belgium) from 1910 to 1912. His superiors sent him to Notre-Dame de France in Jerusalem, at that time a Turkish territory, to study theology (1912-1914). He was delayed for orders but handled this with faith and submission. He went on to Rome to pursue theology, since the Turkish army had requisitioned the house of studies in Jerusalem. He followed courses at the Angelicum during two years (1915-1916). Brother Engelbert was ordained to the priesthood May 3, 1915 by Bishop Cepetelli. Twice declared unfit for military service, he escaped the draft for war and participated in the foundation of the alumnate of Saint-Maur (Maine-et-Loire) where he taught from 1916 to 1921. A year was then spent at Sart-les-Moines (Belgium) from 1921 to 1922. Then a new page started for him with his transfer to the college in Worcester (U.S.A.).

At the service of the college in Worcester.

It was as a teacher of French literature that Fr. Engelbert began his 31 years in America. A concentrated interest in this field gave him the advantages and inconveniences of a culture in one field, an undisputed competence in his field, and at times a too radical severance from other disciplines. Nevertheless, he also cultivated with a passion history and music. His very pure, crystal-clear voice would reserve for him the musical parts in the cultural performances of the college. He learned to conduct successfully many concerts in Worcester, but also in the parish sector of Woonsocket as choirmaster. Preaching opened up his horizons to a less rigid field than teaching. He evangelized almost every parish of New England and preached many retreats to religious communities. His direct style, very meticulous however and even at times affected, attracted to him an audience of quality and connoisseur. On the human level, he was lively, even mischievous, and appreciated as a spiritual director because of his great prudence and devotedness. He was a trustworthy and discreet friend, sensitive to signs of thoughtfulness and good-upbringing. To be sure, with the years, at times, he felt a generation gap concerning the students. But for 32 years, he represented the incarnation of the typical professor whose authority imposed itself because of competence and an intuitive comprehension of youth in which his whole life bathed.

A tragic death.

In 1953, only two days after the official graduation ceremony at the college held on June 7, a terrible tornado was unleashed on the campus in Worcester. The cyclone, preceded by torrential rains, large hailstones, and extremely violent winds, tore off roofs, pulled up trees by their roots as if dealing with straw, and lifted up the wooden houses as if they were made of cards. This lasted only some 90 seconds and then a great calm set in. It was then that the wounded were being looked for. Fr. Engelbert was one of the victims. He had been happy that in a few days he would leave for Europe to visit with his family members. His funeral was celebrated at the Holy Name of Jesus church in the presence of Bishop Beck who had come from England for the graduation. The real cause of his death could not be ascertained: hemorrhage, choking, being crushed, or heart attack. He was buried in the cemetery of the religious in Worcester. Later on, all of the deceased religious were transferred to the cemetery of Fiskdale.

Addenda.

He was director of dramatics at Assumption College for many years and took on the most difficult roles in the plays that were presented by him. During the tornado of 1953, much of the main tower fell upon him as he sat in his room.

The 16th Congress of l’Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amérique.

This congress was held in Worcester from May 12 to 15. It was for the Franco-Americans an important event that had a long preparation and was a great success… On Tuesday night, it was our turn to entertain the delegates who were numerous. We were worried that we could not place all of our guests in the gymnasium; we were able to do so by getting more chairs from the rec halls. There was a superb and unforgettable presentation of Henri Ghéon’s Les Trois Sagesses du Vieux Wong. Before I leave, I cannot help but express my thanks to Fr. Engelbert who not only prepared this play, but also held the main role. During 25 years at the college, he has prepared so many celebrations. He has spent so much time when we were young and were not afraid to take on difficult tasks. But age has come and slowed us down.

[L’Assomption, May-June 1946 by Fr. Rodolphe Martel, A.A.]

The last couple of years of his life were not very good. He began to have very sharp pain in the back of his head. They became so severe that his doctor recommended that he no longer go on weekend ministry. But Engelbert kept going, saying it was for him a kind of distraction.

He suffered psychologically. He felt that he was being bypassed by events, and was being shoved aside by some of the younger men, many from abroad, who were now members of the Greendale community.

On June 9, 1953, when a powerful tornado hit the College, it sent a large portion of the tower crashing through his room. Father Engelbert’s body was found under tons of debris in the main parlor. He was still semi-conscious and responded by squeezing the hand of people trying to free him. He was placed on a flatbed truck and brought to St. Vincent’s hospital. He died en route. His funeral was held in the Holy Name of Jesus church. Bishops John Wright and Andrew Beck were in the sanctuary, and the assembly was very numerous, including many representatives of religious communities.

[ASITWAS by Fr. Richard Richards, A.A.]

Father Engelbert was killed in the tornado that destroyed Assumption College in Worcester in 1953. He had been there since 1922 a brilliant teacher of French literature, a well-known preacher, and a knowledgeable musician. He never had the occasion to go to a graduate school, but had the equivalent of an excellent graduate education through personal study. He spent every summer at Baker Lake, reading and criticizing all the works of one author per year. Before coming to Worcester, he had taught literature in some of the alumnates of France. He was buried in our cemetery in Worcester. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Noël: Sermon by Fr. Engelbert Devincq.

Evangelizo vobis gaudium magnus natus est vobis hodie Salvator.

It is to you, my dear brothers, that the Lord says on this night this great news. May joy flood your Christian souls, as it did the shepherds of Bethlehem! Go to the manger as they did to see this marvel and to facilitate the gift of your adoration ask yourself: Who is this Child in the crib? How is He born? Why is He born?

Who is this child? The eyes of your body tell you that he is a child like all others, as weak, as poor; smaller than all others, since the fact that he made a trip and the indifference of men force him to be born in the natural shelter of animals; more obscure than those whose arrival is expected, celebrated because of the fortune of the parents and their nobility. Do not make a mistake; it is with the eyes of faith that you must look at him. They will tell you: “This child is the only begotten Son of God, virginally born of a virgin Father, God just like him; it is the almighty God who made from nothing all the beauties that the world contains; it is goodness itself that shares with all beings through love its riches without ever growing poorer; it is wisdom that governs all on earth and only seeks the greater good of men – it is knowledge that penetrates all; it is holiness that even the shade of a spot does not even touch. They will also tell you: It is the Messiah promised to Adam, announced by the prophets, desired during more than 4000 years, as the hymn sings. Lift up the veil of his so fragile humanity and you will see in him all the splendors of his divinity.

2/ How is he born? Through a contradiction that stupefies us. He is born as a miracle child and a rejected child.

A) As a miracle child. The prophecy states that he is to be born at Bethlehem; a miraculous intervention on the part of God makes use of the human calculations of an emperor to realize this prophecy. He inspires Augustus who has become the sole master of the Roman world through his victory over his enemy, Anthony, the idea to have a census made of his subjects. Palestine, part of the Roman province of Syria is held to his edict. The governor Quirinius, the executor for the region of the wishes of his master, takes into account the Jewish customs wishing that each inhabitant return to the place of origin of his family to be inscribed. At this time, Joseph and Mary live in the humble town of Galilee named Nazareth, but they descend from the royal family of David who lived in Bethlehem of Judea. So they must leave for a long and dangerous trip, since the countryside is very mountainous and the means of travel are very primitive, but the prophecy is fulfilled.

Like a miraculous child: Mary conceived Jesus without losing her innocence; the angel had promised this to calm her fears and all took place as he had announced. Today she gives birth without pain, with an ineffable joy, and her marvelous maternity making her even more glorious in the eyes of the faithful did not touch her virginity – Jesus comes out, says Bossuet, like a ray of the sun going through crystal not only by not harming it but even making it more brilliant and more magnificent.

Like a miraculous child – Jesus has just been born, and God sends his angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem to announce the good news – an apparition envelops them with brilliant light, so much so, that they are seized with great fear, like Moses at the burning bush. Joy follows fear and hurriedly off they go to offer the newly arrived Messiah not their fortune but their adoration and their love.

Like a miraculous child – Jesus is born; at once all of the celestial hierarchies are in admiration in seeing the divine majesty in such a lowly condition. They present him their homage and sing their harmonious chants. What a fine doxology is found in their chants! It proclaims the Incarnation, God’s masterpiece; worthy of unceasing celebration in the highest heavens because of the glory that it procures him – it also holds for men the promise of peace, a peace offered because of the merits of the one who appears, a peace offered to all, but is enjoyed only by those who have good will, that is, whose will is in conformity with that of God.

B) He is also born as a rejected child. Where do the shepherds find him? Where they are used to lead their sheep to save them from nature’s bad weather – when Joseph and Mary arrive there is no longer any place at the inn: the strangers coming from everywhere have already filled it – there is no place either for them with the inhabitants; they are poor descendants of David – they retire to one of the numerous grottoes that nature has carved in the rocky hills of Judea and it is there that the day’s mystery takes place. The season is not too difficult; yet it is quite humid in this cave; it must also be quite cold because of the great difference in the temperature of the day and the night in this country. Jesus should have been born in a palace – the sons of Herod are quite close; that live in nice houses on the sides of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Jesus comes into the world as he will leave it; a grotto is a mighty fine manger for the one who is to die on a cross.

He is born as a rejected child. All around him is to be found indifference – in your families the birth of a child is a source of joy for you and your friends – Jesus is alone with his parents who adore him, the shepherds have gone to the square to tell what they saw. Can a reasonable man trust what they are saying? It is with the power of a conqueror, the majesty of a monarch that the Messiah will come. The hope for a liberator who is to come is strengthened by the tyranny of the stranger. This predisposes the simple folk to hallucinations; they didn’t see angels that they claim to have seen – besides we have other things to think of. With this reasoning, Jesus is the object of a general indifference.

C) Why is he born? Who can describe the sad state in which the human race was found before the coming of Jesus. Since a few centuries, Adam’s sin had closed the doors to heaven and the anger of God was not appeased. Men were plunged in darkness; the idea of a real God was wiped out from peoples’ minds. There was no more restraint in the moral order. The Romans, just to mention them, had consolidated their power through their other virtues… ~

Worcester 9 June 1953.

What worries us first is the situation of our poor Antonian Sisters whose convent we saw crushed. With slipshod means, since all is disrupted, we hurry to pull out the unfortunate sisters who have been buried. The youngest is dead; we free the others. One of them, regardless of transfusions, died soon after her arrival at Memorial Hospital. Three others are seriously wounded; they return to their Mother House in Chicoutimi. We run to the rooms of Frs. Englebert and Louis-Robert Brassard that nobody has yet seen. The stones of the tower crush their rooms. It is a chaos of beams, planks, plaster, furniture, books and clothes that we must clear in order to proceed to save them. Fr. Brassard has a broken leg, his face slashed by a long wound. He is unconscious but breathes visibly. Fr, Engelbert, lying down on his stomach after having weakly called for help, can only moan. We give them the last rites because of their critical position. Once Father has been taken out, he finishes dying…

 

Marie-Louis (Louis) Deydier

1872 – 1953

Religious of the Province of Paris.

Formative years.

Louis Deydier was born April 13, 1872, at Uffernets, in the city of Saint Paul de Tartas, near Pradelles (Haute-Loire).  He was the eldest of a family of 11 children.  After attending public primary school, he was sent, because of his piety, to the minor seminary of the Carthusians in Puy (Haute-Loire) from 1885 to 1887, then to the alumnate of Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoie) from 1887 to 1889.  He finished his secondary education in Nîmes (Gard) from 1889 to 1891.  However, during his last year, he came down with typhoid fever.  Coming close to dying, he made anticipated religious vows in articulo mortis. After recovering, he entered the novitiate August 15, 1891, in Livry-Gargan (Seine-Saint-Denis), taking the name of Brother Marie-Louis.  Very soon thereafter, he left for the other novitiate in Phanaraki, on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, where he pronounced his first vows September 8, 1892, and his final vows August 15, 1893.  According to custom, he interrupted his personal formation to teach at Kum Kapu (1893-94) and Kadikeui (1894-96).  He was the factotum of Fr. Alfred Mariage, superior of the Eastern Mission.  From 1896 to 1901, Brother Marie-Louis studied in Jerusalem where he was ordained a priest August 19, 1900.  From there, he was sent to Phanaraki to teach at the novitiate (1901-03).  “Fr. Marie-Louis understands religious life very well.  He will be a good religious and will do whatever he is asked.”  This statement of Fr. Baudouy was like a prophecy that eventually proved to be true.

Ministry and foundation in the English-speaking world.

Because Fr. Marie-Louis Deydier spoke excellent English, he was immediately asked to develop the Congregation in England.  From 1903 to 1905, he was chaplain to the Sisters at Bethnal Green.  Tired and in need of rest, he spent a few months in San Remo, on the Italian Riviera.  In May 1906, he was well enough to return to England as pastor in Brockley where he devoted a good part of his apostolic life.

During the First World War, he was called to serve in the armed forces from 1914 to 1917 as a chaplain.  He returned to Brockley from 1917 to 1919, at which time he was asked to take charge of Assumption College in Worcester (USA), succeeding Fr. Omer Rochain, a former co-worker in England.  His stay in Worcester was marked by a significant expansion of the college as well as by a catastrophic fire on March 23-4, 1923 that destroyed the center section of the main building. Without giving in to discouragement, he started its reconstruction.  In 1923, he was able to leave with a light heart, confident that the institution was both prosperous and debt-free.

From 1923 to 1925, he was back in Brockley, helping in 1925 with the Assumptionist take-over of Saint Michael’s College in Hitchin, which had formerly belonged to the Fathers of St. Edmund.  In 1932, the parish in Brockley once again opened its arms to him.  He stayed there until 1946.  It may be said that the parish owed him its organization and numerous priestly and religious vocations.  During the Second World War, he sadly experienced the V1 and V2 bombers that destroyed the church of which he was in charge.  He immediately set about making it rise from the rubble.

He was then appointed superior in Jerusalem (1947-48) and, after that, at Les Essarts (Seine-Maritime) from 1949 to 1952.  His last community was in Perpignan (1952-53), at the college of Saint Louis de Gonzague.  All his life, Fr. Marie-Louis showed himself to be a hard worker, indefectibly attached to the Church and to its teaching, as if energized by the difficulties he encountered.

A short retirement.

Fr. Marie-Louis Deydier arrived in Perpignan at the age of 80, suffering from the infirmities of old age, but also from diabetes.  However, he did not follow the advice of his doctors.  On January 25, 1953, after a very ordinary day, he remained a long time that evening in his room, awake and singing loudly.  His neighbor, Fr. Deleporte, intrigued and disturbed by the noise, advised the superior, Fr. Rodolphe Martel, around 3 a.m. that Fr. Marie-Louis was “out of his mind.”   Fr. Marie-Louis died during the forenoon of the following day.  His funeral was held on January 27.  His body was temporarily buried in the city’s Northern Cemetery until the Perpignan community was able to obtain a plot big enough to receive his remains along with those of two other Assumptionists, Brother Aloys Rossi and Fr. Hippolyte Lamberigts.

Addenda.

Father Marie-Louis was Superior of Assumption College in Worcester from 1919 to 1923. Otherwise, most of his priestly life was spent at the parish of Brockley, in London, both before and after his stay in the United States. He was the organizer of the parish, encouraged the extraordinary large number of vocations that it has given to the priesthood and to religious life, saw it partially destroyed by a bomb during World War II, and rebuilt it. (Notes from Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Union with the Augustinians?

“Concerning the question of a union with the Augustinians, I can only repeat what I said at the Chapter at Louvain: my opposition to any union. I don’t have the time to develop the reasons for my opposition. This union would bring about some spiritual advantages but also many inconveniences in the continuation of the very modern works started by the Assumption that give a very distinctive character to our religious family. Privileges could be easily obtained from Rome once we will have become more numerous. Frs. Aidan [Kenny] and Omer [Rochain] are of the same opinion and I don’t think there is even one A.A. in England who wants this union… It would even be preferable to have a foreign Assumptionist [not French] as Superior General, if that were to happen, rather than have an Augustinian who would not be open to modern works. If Fr. Gervais is not reelected Superior, I would like to see Fr. Ernest [Baudouy] replace him. He is one of those who are the most filled with the spirit of Fr. d’Alzon”. (Fr. Deydier to Fr. Vailhé, Hitchin, 31-12-1928.)

Jean-Damascène (Jean-Baptiste) Dhers

1874-1953

Religious of the Province of Paris.

A time of preparation.

Jean-Baptiste Dhers was born March 26, 1874 in Orus, a small village near Viedessos in Ariège. His formation took place in the milieu of the alumnates: Roussas (Drôme) in 1886, Brian (Drôme) in 1889, Nîmes (Gard) in 1889-1891 from where he had to leave fleeing a cholera epidemic. August 13, 1891, Jean-Baptiste was vested with the religious habit at the abbey of Livry-Gargan (Seine-Saint-Denis) under the name of Brother Jean-Damascène. It was there that he made his first profession August 13, 1892 and his final vows on the same date a year later. He left Livry for Rome (1893-1897) where he got his doctorate in theology. Cardinal Parocelli ordained him to the priesthood at Saint John Lateran April 17, 1897. Father Jean-Damascène was very gifted for studies, and without showing it, had an amazing culture.

From alumnate to alumnate.

A great part of the apostolic life of Fr. Jean-Damascène was spent in formation at the alumnates. He began first of all at the cradle, Notre-Dame des Châteaux (1897-1899). Then he was asked to go to the Livry novitiate to present courses on the Gospels and the Psalms for the novices (1899-1900). In 1900, he had to leave French soil and found refuge at Bure (Belgium) from 1900 to 1902. From 1902 to 1906, he was named superior at Saint-Trond, then from 1906 to 1910 at Le Bizet. Between 1910 and 1918, he was at Ascona and Locarno in Switzerland, two temporary foundations having the advantage during this time of war to be situated in a country at peace. At the end of the war, he left Ascona for America: he became dean of discipline at the college in Worcester (U.S.A.) until 1926. Upon his return to France, he was named superior at Poussan (Hérault) from 1926 to 1928, and in 1929, became dean of discipline at the Saint-Louis de Gonzague College in Perpignan. He was once again a pilgrim as he made his way in 1930 to the college of Pontlevoy. In 1932, Davézieux (Ardèche) received him and Bishop Durieux did not hesitate very long to also name him pastor of the parish (1934).

Pastor of Davézieux during 20 years.

During the winter of 1936-1937, a severe pneumonia forced him to take a long rest. During the vacations in 1937, he was named superior of Vérargues (Hérault), but a delegation of parishioners went to see Bishop Durieux to retain him as their pastor. This convinced Fr. Gervais Quenard to let him stay at Davézieux. This double task was difficult for him, but he had to wait for the end of World War II to be relieved as superior (1945). He was then more free to give himself totally to his parish, although nearly 80 years old. In 1947, the parish, his former students, and numerous friends gathered to celebrate his golden jubilee as a priest. Fr. Jean-Damascène remained alert, happy, and youthful regardless of his advanced age. However, in January 1953, a bad bout of flu kept him bedridden in his room. In spite of his desire to continue serving, he had to leave the care of his beloved parish to his confreres until Easter. From July on, he kept running out of breath and his doctor openly expressed worries concerning his heart. From October (1953), the cold forced him to keep to the house and even to his room. The religious of the Davézieux house took turns to watch over him at night. He died in the morning of October 22, 1953 around 1:30, well accompanied by his religious brothers. The whole parish was present for the ceremony of his funeral. Father Jean-Damascène was buried in the Davézieux cemetery, in the vault reserved to the parish priests, next to his immediate predecessor, Reverend Vergier.

Addenda.

Before coming to Worcester, he had worked in the alumnates of France. He was severe but understanding, well liked and perfectly fair. He was named Dean of Men from 1920 to 1929 at Assumption Prep and College. He preached a daily meditation at mass at the Prep School and will be remembered for this.

He returned to France and continued working in the alumnates as Superior of Davézieux, then Vérargues.

With emotion on the occasion of a death.

“When I wrote to you yesterday, I had no idea that I would have to announce to you the death of Fr. Damascène today. Father got weaker from one moment to the other. It was very noticeable. But he still had the strength to get up. His speech was difficult, but he still made himself understood and he even joked. I went to see him at 1 a. m. today. Fr. Rudolphe [Van Asten] who was watching over him at the time told me that he was quite agitated. At 1:30 a. m. Fr. Jean-Régis Pharisier came to tell me that Fr. Damascène was dying. Fr. Jean-Régis prayed an Ave. Fr. Damascene murmured it in part but never finished it. A few seconds after, he was dead. His last illness and death were in the image or a fit conclusion to his life, I mean to say, holy and exemplary. Only God knows all the Aves he prayed. You could often see him walking in the hallways, even when it was dark, praying piously his rosary. It is while praying a last Ave that he died. It is with a maternal smile that the Virgin must have received him and presented him to God.”

(Fr. Marcel Ployon to Fr. Henri Bélard, Davézieux, 22-10-1953.)

Jérémie (Alfred Joseph) Douziech

1888-1974

Religious of the Province of Paris.

Forty years as a teacher.

Born March 12, 1888 at Sabès, a hamlet of Miquels in the commune of Rieupeyroux and district of Villefranche (Aveyron), Alfred Joseph Douziech was admitted to the alumnate of Miribel-les-Echelles (Isère) from 1901 to 1906. He received the religious habit at Louvain September 21, 1906 from the hands of Fr. Emmanuel Bailly and started his novitiate under Fr. Benjamin Laurès under the name of Brother Jérémie. He was professed September 21, 1907 under the direction of Fr. Antoine de Padoue Vidal. Fr. Emmanuel Bailly received his perpetual vows September 21, 1908. He followed the scholastic philosophy courses at Louvain (1908-1911) and did apostolic works for two years at San Carlo, Locarno (Switzerland) from 1911 to 1913. In 1913, he went to Jerusalem for theology. The Turks expelled the students and occupied the buildings in December 1914. Brother Jérémie finished his theology in Rome from 1915 to 1917 and was ordained a priest May 14, 1916 by Bishop Cepetelli. At this point in life, he began a long teaching career. We can follow the various stages: Miribel-les Echelles (1917-1921), Saint Guilhelm-du-Désert (Hérault) from 1921 to 1923, Poussan (Hérault) from 1923 to 1926, Assumption College in Worcester (U.S.A.) from 1926 to 1933 where his presence left some souvenirs. Desirous of being useful and using his strength in manual labor, he also took care of a chicken coop in one of the buildings. This earned him the name of ‘Pull-mann’. He situated and built a road suitable for autos linking with the main road. The students appreciated with humor his ‘American’ with a rouergat accent! In October 1933, he inaugurated the alumnate of Christ-Roi at Chanac (Lozère) where he found stability for 25 years. He was an exacting and tough teacher and led the promenades with legendary performances. Very particular concerning the schedule, he was cut out to be the bell-ringer after having very early stoked the central heating coal furnace and fed the pump that furnished water to the reservoirs of the dormitory. He didn’t neglect the care of the gardens or the farmyard animals. This proved very useful during the war. In December 1957, Fr. Jérémie had a cataract operation. The loss of his right eye put an end to his teaching career (1958).

Caretaker of Vérargues.

In September 1954, the Vérargues alumnate (Hérault) led its contingent of youths to Soisy-sur-Seine (Essonne). While waiting for the complicated sale of the buildings and park, Fr. Donat Teissier kept a small community there to maintain the property and help out in the neighboring parishes. In September 1958, Fr. Jérémie replaced him for the same reason. This work was terminated December 27, 1963 by the sale of the property. He went to Chanac for 8 months in 1964, and then spent a short time as chaplain for the Oblates of Mesnil-Saint-Denis (Yvelines) during the summer while waiting for the arrival of Fr. Rémy Kokel, and at that time went on to Lorgues November 9, 1964.

Last years at Lorgues.

Right away, Fr. Jérémie enjoyed Lorgues. He took long walks through the countryside, busied himself with the work that needed to be done at the house, and held on to his old job of bell-ringer, a job that he had been doing since 1906! His rigorous exactitude was maintained, even if he had to interrupt a retreat preacher. But his health got worse. His eyesight diminished; he could barely see the hands of his watch and rang for the meals too early. The thought of death haunted his days to the point that he asked at what time his funeral would be. He died on Saturday, July 13, 1974. His funeral was celebrated at Lorgues on Monday, July 15, presided by Fr. Aubert Danset.

Addenda.

Portrait.

Father Jérémie owes a lot as far as his character goes to his origins from Rouergue. He gets his sense of hard work and duty from there, as well as his ardor for physical labor and his endurance as a long distance hiker who goes it alone. He is faithful to his religious duties and devoted to the positions of service in which he has been named in the various houses. He doesn’t measure the cost for himself and never complains about the difficulties or tediousness of his obligations. He is rigorous and exacting, even to the point of caricature. He certainly loves his brothers and live-in companions, but he is not one of outpourings or gossiping. He hides easily behind a shell of quite unkind retorts that do not facilitate meeting others or dialogue. His robust faith is not open to liturgical novelties or ecumenical perspectives that abound after Vatican II. Almost to the end of his life, he celebrates mass alone and in Latin, assisting at that of the community once concelebrating has been reestablished. Feelings of anguish obsessed him when his good health left him. Patience and gentleness became his as ways of conversion.

Odilon (Claudius) Dubois

1886-1954

French religious of the Province of North America.

First years.

Claudius Dubois was born May 15, 1886 at Chilly, near Frangy in Haute-Savoie that is located in the region of Chablais proudly under the patronage of Saint Francis de Sales. At the age of 12, he entered the alumnate of Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoy) where he did his studies from 1898 to 1902. Having gone to Brian (Drôme) in 1901 to 1902, he returned to Châteaux to take care of his eyes (1902-1903). The house was closed following the expulsion, so he finished his humanities at Mongreno (Italy) from 1903 to 1904. He entered the Louvain novitiate September 18, 1904 under the name of Brother Odilon. He was chosen to be part of a small experimental group that would do their novitiate in Jerusalem under the direction of Fr. Léonide Guyo. He pronounced his first vows at Gethsemane October 24, 1905. In 1906, the Jerusalem novitiate was closed and he returned to Louvain. For a time he was a teacher at Vinovo where the Mongreno alumnate was relocated and went to Gempe (Belgium) where he pronounced his perpetual vows July 25, 1907 in the hands of Fr. Benjamin Laurès. The Elorrio alumnate needed him from 1907 to 1909. From 1909 to 1912, he did his philosophy at Louvain and from 1912 to 1914, his theology at Jerusalem followed by Rome in 1915 where he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Cepetelli May 3, 1915. Fr. Odilon, because of his bad eyesight, was dispensed from going to the front lines during the war but was instead affected to the postal control until July 1918. It was at Louvain that he finally finished his theology (1918-1919). After this vagabond existence, he would find a more sedentary life.

At Worcester during 35 years.

At the age of 33, Fr. Odilon was sent to teach in Worcester, U.S.A., where he stayed for good. He specialized in the teaching of Latin, history of liturgy, and religion. Dean of studies and discipline, sub-prior (1935-1945), and in charge of the Apostolic School, he realized that he represented more the past than the future of this institution, at times with an idealized and nostalgic representation of an imaginary time of the Golden Age. His dominant qualities were, however, recognized by all in his various assignments: precision, clarity, and rigor. He was demanding for himself since he redid his courses every year and willingly would change manuals to renew himself. He did not seek popularity with the students but rather perfection in tasks that were constantly redone. The American Assumption owes him the formation of many religious vocations to whom he inculcated a love of tradition. Early to rise, meticulous, and orderly, he liked to exchange with his confreres, sharing willingly in conversation and sharp anecdotes. He formed himself intellectually by solid reading and cultivated his passion for history. A champion for the ideas of l’Action française before its condemnation by Rome and not at all interested in sports, he remained quite a stranger in his surrounding milieu and spoke English with great difficulty. He was aware of being surpassed by the inevitable and necessary evolutions of life. When he finally agreed to consult a doctor, a high level of diabetes was discovered; this obliged him to a severe diet. In 1952, his right leg had to be amputated. With the help of an artificial leg, he was able to get back to his former activities. The tornado that struck the college found him in the chapel. He was only wounded a bit, thanks to the presence of mind of a brother who covered him. But the death of his life companion of 45 years, Fr. Engelbert Devincq, shook him up deeply, even though the Franciscan Sisters who received him during all the time that the college was being rebuilt were very attentive to him. He reintegrated the community only in March 1954 and was hospitalized in May. He died May 30, 1954 at the age of 68, alone, without a word or complaint. His funeral was celebrated June 2. He was buried in the small cemetery of the religious in Worcester next to Fr. Engelbert.

Addenda.

The Turks in Jerusalem and Damascus held Brother Odilon prisoner. He was released through papal intervention. He was nicknamed ‘woody Odillon’ and ‘the Old Buck’ by the students.

In 1937, when I went with my parents to enroll at Assumption, it was with Father Odilon Dubois that we met. He was Prefect of Studies of the High School. Because he realized that the Depression was still making it hard for people, he granted us a special price: $300 per year for board, room, and tuition. And he allowed my parents to pay monthly, because they could not pay in a lump sum. The Assumptionists were more interested in teaching boys rather than making money. So I am grateful to Fr. Odilon for this. Of course he was a tough man, for himself and others, not very lovable, and we students used to call him “the Old Buck.”… When he went to the hospital a couple of days before his death, the only book he took along was ‘L’Esprit de St. François de Sales.’… So in September 1898, he entered the first alumnate, Notre-Dame des Châteaux, which had been founded by Fr. d’Alzon on August 28, 1876. Even for a tough mountain lad like Claudius, the atmosphere was austere and hard, the food not of gourmet quality, the isolation great, the snow deep, and the alumnists were not pampered in any way. This may, in part, explain why Fr. Odilon was so tough later on.  He taught for two years (1907-1909) at the alumnate of Elorrio , diocese of Bilbao, in Spain.. But in December 1914, the Turks captured Jerusalem. They placed guards at all the doors of Notre Dame de France, so that the 35 Frenchmen there, including Odilon Dubois and Engelbert Devincq, were kept as hostages lest the Allied gunboats shell coastal ports. And in December the Turks expelled all of them as well as the 82-year old Canon Galeran (author of ‘The Sketches’, about Fr. d’Alzon) and brought them to Damascus. According to Fr. Polyeucte Guissard, the Assumptionists were released only after the intervention of the Pope. The religious then found their way as well as possible through Bulgaria, Greece, or Russia… For many years Fr. Odilon kept the written archives of the school, without which it would be impossible today to have any idea of the day-to-day life and development of the school. And as Dean and sub-prior, he was very well placed to know what was going on better than most of the men in the community. [Fr. Richard Richards, A.A., ASITWAS]

Fr. Odilon composed a chart for Latin conjugations to help the students learn better.

Father Odilon was a novice in Jerusalem, a scholastic in Louvain, and served in World War I as an infirmarian. Then, he spent all his life in Worcester, as a teacher of languages and history, serving also as dean of studies and dean of men in the Prep. He was an excellent teacher of languages, especially Latin, severe and feared by students. In his last years, he suffered terribly, having a leg cut off because of diabetes, going through the tornado, and seeing the school take a new direction of which he did not approve. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

The Assumption Years.

The Old Buck: 1951 by William Dupuis

It is an almost impossible task to single out one of the many teachers I had at Assumption as being the most outstanding. However, there was one who made an indelible impression one me – Father Odilon Dubois.

Father Odilon was French-born and had labored at Assumption since 1919. He had held a number of important posts at the school, but his forte was the teaching of Latin. No biography would really do justice to this monk whose very name evoked shudders and spasms of fear among even the most stouthearted students. So I undertake this task in the hope that some of my recollections may serve to show him as he was seen by one of his students and perchance by many others.

I was at Assumption for only a few weeks when I began to hear about Father Odilon, the “Old Buck”, from the upperclassmen. The tales they told made me happy to be a freshman. I began to fashion a mental picture of this tyrant who lorded it over his Latin classes with the eye of an eagle and the iron fist of an Attila the Hun! My illusions were shattered when for the first time I beheld the “scourge of Senior Latin”.

He was a small man, at the most, five feet in height, slight of build, whose somewhat oversized head resembled a smooth honey dew melon ringed with a border of white hair.  The good Father was evidently afflicted with poor eyesight for he sported a pair of spectacles whose lenses were the thickest I had ever seen. And behind those lenses were deep blue eyes, the real secret of his ability to strike fear into husky football players three times his size. Those eyes could twinkle, giving him the appearance of a cherubic elf, or they could project flashes of fire, paralyzing anyone within his gaze. His voice was rather deep and his exterior manner gruff and stern. He was accustomed to telling his students one humorous anecdote during the school year. It concerned an unnamed resident of Southbridge – a French-Canadian – who during the Prohibition had decided to concoct his own “home brew”. Unsure of the results of his efforts, he sent the sample of the brew to a Boston laboratory for analysis. When the report came back it assured the hapless fellow that his horse did not have diabetes!

When he recounted this tale to my class, we were so struck by the unaccustomed laughter of our teacher that we broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter for which we were reprimanded. Apparently only a measured amount of levity was permissible even when he told a joke. Oh, he smiled occasionally, particularly when he indulged in what the French call “jeux de mots”, or a play on words. He often took students’ names and created puns with them. Once when I had answered a rather simple question in Latin grammar in a stupid fashion, he quipped,  “Mr. Dupuis, ah, yes, the ‘well’ is really not very deep” – an allusion to the meaning of my name, “Puits” which can be translated as “well”.

For three years I dreaded being assigned to his senior Latin class. The fates that apparently enjoy tormenting men, ordained otherwise…. That first meeting with him in his class was unforgettable. We were all frightened - so frightened that when he asked me my name I stammered like a nervous suitor and felt like crawling into the nearest crack in the floor. I was never at ease in that class, and not a day went by that I did not dread walking into that room.

In the middle of that year, however, an event occurred that began a process of change within me – a change in my opinion of that man who caused so much grief to so many.

One day, as the end of the Latin period drew to a close, Father Odilon stopped the usual procedure and made a stern announcement. An unspecified number of students had apparently found the Eglogues of Virgil too difficult and had procured published literal translations which they were palming off as their own. A shudder raced from my head to my toes! I was one of those students! The use of “trots” was strictly forbidden, he continued, and he demanded that students who had them turn them in to him personally within three days.

I walked around for the rest of that day in a semi-conscious state. Dare I refuse to turn in the contraband material? Dare I face him? There was never any doubt that he knew that I had one of the forbidden translations – in fact, that never even entered my head. I could not determine which line of action would be the most difficult. Perhaps the French Foreign Legion?… No, I was still too young! I slept little and ate even less. Finally, on a Saturday afternoon, after a lengthy visit to the Chapel, I decided to take my courage in both hands, and face the lion in his den!

I must have walked to his room ten times before I could muster the fortitude to knock at his door. Maybe he wasn’t in… Oh, no… his voice came forth loud and clear: “entrez” – enter! My knees shaking, my heart pounding, my palms slippery with perspiration, I entered that room like a condemned man walking into the gas chamber!

There he sat, a sheaf of papers held in one hand, a pencil in the other. He merely nodded to acknowledge my presence, and then silence… deadly silence! It took me what seemed at the time like an eternity to find my voice. In staccato fashion I explained my visit and quickly handed over the criminal volume. He took it from me and placed it on a small table. His expression had not changed one whit! He gazed at me for a few moments and then in a tone that at once was forgiving and understanding, he complimented me on my honesty (he could have added courage) and explained the advantages of personal translations even though they might be inferior and often incorrect, I mumbled something and he indicated that the interview was over. I leaned on that door for a good three or four minutes trying to regain my composure. It was over with and it had not been nearly as disastrous as I had anticipated. What a relief!

The incident was forgotten until late May of my senior year. Customarily faculty members gathered at that time to discuss every student and to collectively fill out a character rating scale. Each pupil was scored on his piety, obedience, honesty, docility, etc. A member of the faculty happened to mention to me that I must have a great deal of influence with Father Odilon. I looked at him aghast. Me, have a “drag” with the “Old Buck”? Ridiculous! He persisted.

Apparently, when my name came up for discussion, it was Father Odilon who rose and proceeded to extol my virtues, insisting that I be given exceptionally high ratings in several categories, especially honesty. I couldn’t believe my ears! Why should he do this for me? Could it be connected in some way to the episode of the Latin translation?

Subsequently, I began to question my opinion of this man. I realized slowly that he was not a cold block of granite. He was, after all, a feeling human being like the rest of us. Perhaps he understood boys better than we had given him credit for.

My next encounter with him came in my freshman year of college. I was an assistant sacristan and one of my duties was to accompany the priest who took Holy Communion to sick members of the religious community. Father Odilon had just returned from the hospital where he had lost a leg as a result of diabetic complications. I remember entering his room. I was struck by how small he appeared lying in that bed. So small and so pathetic. I prayed for him and again realized the presence of his humanity… his suffering humanity.

He would later master his affliction and learn to walk again, a proof of his persistence and courage.

My last visit with him came on the day I was to leave for the Assumptionist novitiate in Canada. A death-dealing tornado had leveled my Alma Mater the previous month, and some of the older religious had taken refuge in a nursing home run by the Grey Sisters in Worcester. As the prospective novices entered his room, he greeted us warmly. For a few moments he gave us counsel on the religious life. Then we knelt for his blessing. I gazed at that face, scarred with age and dedication and I realized fully what he was and that what he had done had all been part of his personality, his response to what he was. Perhaps the stern appearance and the rigid behavior were his ways of dealing with his own frailties and weaknesses.

Almost a year later, on the last day of May 1954, I learned of his death. It was a time of mourning for me. In my own mind I recognized his courage in overcoming his physical handicap; his dedication to his religious life; his self-discipline and his genuine understanding. He was not a perfect man but I believe he tried to achieve what the founder of his order had wanted: he tried to be a good religious!

This was an important incident for me. It taught a vital lesson in human behavior and sensitivity. We can never judge a man by what is immediately apparent. Every man, every person, has many dimensions and unless we can penetrate into his or her very essence, we cannot truly know them. In reality, who but God can see into man and completely understand him?

Resquiescat in pace!

Cassien (Antoine) Dubost

1891 – 1954

Religious of the Province of Paris.

An energetic religious.

Antoine Dubost was born March 2, 1891, in Pulvérières, near Pontgibaud (Puy-de-Dôme).  He received his secondary education in the alumnates of Le Breuil (Deux-Sèvres) from 1903 to 1905, Calahorra, Spain, from 1905 to 1907, and Elorrio in Spanish Basque country, from 1907 to 1908.  He never lost his love for the Spanish language.  Holding his own against his parents who wanted him to go to the diocesan seminary, he entered the novitiate in Louvain, Belgium, September 8, 1908, under the name of Brother Cassien.  He took his first vows in Gempe the following year on September 8, 1909: “He is very intelligent and has an excellent memory; he is uncouth, rude, impatient, and in excellent health.” His final profession took place September 8, 1910, in Gempe.  He then studied philosophy (1910-14) and theology (1914-17) in Louvain where he was ordained a priest, May 20, 1917, by Cardinal Mercier.  At first, he was given teaching assignments in Bure (1917-18), Zepperen (1918-20), Vinovo, Italy (1920-21), Elorrio (1921-23), and Le Bizet (1925-31).  But this was not the calling of someone who, in his youth, had already been corresponding with missionaries in foreign countries, dreaming to follow in their footsteps.

New York.

In 1931, Fr. Cassien disembarked in New York City where he was appointed assistant priest at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe on West 14th Street.  He had no problems getting back to Spanish, which he spoke fluently after only a few weeks.  Appointed superior of the community in 1933, he was extremely active.  A talented organizer, just as comfortable celebrating solemn religious ceremonies as he was visiting his people or acting on stage, he motivated his people to follow his frenzied pace.  Rather independent and non-conformist, he did not like traditions or customs that interfered with his zeal.  His room looked like a campground that was open to anyone who wanted to enter.  It was impossible to count the dollars and other objects that were stolen from it due to the fact that he neglected to lock his doors and drawers.  In his bubbly zeal, the only thing that counted was inexhaustible and tireless activity.

Mexico.

After 15 years of good and loyal service, the Spanish parish in New York became too confining for his dynamism.   He had been dreaming for a long time of a Mexican foundation, especially since his return from a pilgrimage he had led to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.  His superiors granted him permission to carry out a plan he had devised to found a work in the Mexican capital.

Welcomed by the Augustinians Friars, he settled in the new neighborhood that was developing in San José Insurgentes.  Leaving no stone unturned in his search for money, he replaced the miserable chapel of Saint Joseph with a larger temporary chapel, while waiting for the moment when he could build a real sanctuary in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas.  He also foresaw space for parish activities and a rectory big enough to accommodate a community.  He built without having to borrow and without incurring any debts, thanks to the gifts he received. “When we Mexicans, who are rather inclined to indolence, see a priest as active and as hard-working as Fr. Cassien, we cannot but admire and help him.” The people’s admiration was surely considerable, because the buildings rose quickly from the ground.  A large crypt was built containing burial niches.  Unjustly slandered and envied, like all enterprising persons, Fr. Cassien even received a recall order that was fortunately canceled.  He did not live to see his work finished.

Overworked, he died January 22, 1954, at the age of 63, from cardiac arrest while on the construction site.  His funeral was celebrated by Fr. Henri Moquin, the provincial, on January 25.  His body, accompanied by more than 4,000 people, was temporarily buried in Pantheon Garden Cemetery until the crypt was finished.  His remains were then transferred there in April 1954.

Addenda.

He received the religious habit from Fr. Vincent de Paul Bailly. He was superior at Le Bizet from August 1925 to 1931. He was superior in New York (1933-1942) and treasurer of the Vice-Province (1934-1942). Curate in New York from 1942 to 1946, in January 1947, Fr. Cassien was sent to Mexico. Fr. Maurice Gagnon anointed him the day before his death. On May 8, 1993, his remains were transferred from a temporary grave to a niche in the Emperatriz de America church.

In August 1931, Fr. Cassian was sent to the United States and was assigned to our Lady of Guadalupe by the Provincial, Fr. Clodoald Serieix. He became superior there on February 23, 1934 until 1942, with dispensation from the Holy See for a third term. Then he continued on as curate from 1942 until 1946. He was treasurer of the North American Vice Province from August 1934 until 1942...

In 1946, it was decided that the Assumptionists would try to found a Mexican mission. As indicated by Fr. Bernard Guillet, he and Father Cassian were supposed to go to Mexico together after Cassian returned from Europe in September 1946. But a liner strike delayed Cassian in Europe and Bernard went to Mexico alone. Cassian arrived only in January 1947. But Fr. Cassian got down to business right away.

In a first letter from Mexico, February 11, 1947, Cassian explains how construction companies would give free land on which to build a church, knowing that a whole neighborhood would be built around it. At the time, Cassian was already chaplain to some nuns, and right across the street was a small chapel. It had come about thus: a Monsignor de la Cueva had wanted to build a large church in honor of St. Joseph, and had obtained the tract of land. But he and the archbishop did not see eye to eye and the monsignor left. The project was taken over by a Mr. Rafael Yglesias, brother of a Jesuit, who built a small chapel, but with the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico and Empress of America, a title given her by Pope Pius XII. An elderly retired priest said mass there on Sundays, but no one was satisfied with this situation.

Mr. Yglesias wanted the Assumptionists to take over the chapel. Father Romero, a Jesuit well known in the country, gave Cassian the idea of asking the Bishop for the chaplaincy of the Emperatriz chapel. He was to go to Father Garibay, Secretary General of the diocese. He was said to be a very hard man to get along with but was very influential with the bishop.  Fr. Cassian presented his petition. On a second visit, Fr. Garibay told him: “Father, your case needed an advocate and I myself became your advocate. You have the charge of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico, Empress of America.” The document of nomination was dated February 22, 1947, nine days after Cassian had presented his petition to the archbishop. The Assumptionist mission had really started. Bernard and Cassian took over the chapel on March 21. The pastor of the parish of Mixcoac remained very friendly.

Fr. Cassian had visited the construction company and they returned some of the land they had taken back. The diocese wanted Cassian to purchase additional land and he set about doing that. The Superior General, Fr. Gervais Quenard, named Cassian Superior in Mexico, July 4, 1949. Fr. Wilfrid Dufault renamed him for a second term, September 4, 1952.

Of course the Mexican mission had its problems. Fr. Cassian lacked the funds needed to buy land (at $15. a square meter) and to build a rectory and a large church. But he managed to do so by calling upon benefactors he’d known in New York and others he’d cultivated in Mexico. A Mexican doctor said, “We Mexicans are rather inclined to indolence, but when we see a priest as busy and hard-working as Fr. Cassian, we can’t help admiring and helping him.” So Fr. Cassian built a rectory, started the church crypt without going into debt.

Fr. Cassian’s very success brought him problems from people who were jealous. Evil things were reported to the archbishop who asked that Cassian be recalled. But fellow religious and parishioners rallied around him and protested to the archbishop who countermanded his order. The whole incident caused Fr. Cassian great pain.

Fr. Cassian had problems with religious personnel. A brother who had been sent had to leave for reasons of health. Two young priests sent as curates never gave satisfaction. It was not until Fr. Maurice Gagnon arrived that Fr. Cassian had a real helper he could trust.

Father Cassien came to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1931, and served there seventeen years both as curate and pastor. Then, at his own request, he became the founder of our parish in Mexico. He first built a small church and then a rectory, while he lived in a dilapidated house. Then he started to build the actual church of Our Lady Empress of America. Making it a point to build only as funds came in, without incurring a debt, he did not live to see it completed. The plans had been chosen through a contest among architects. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

He taught at Le Bizet 1917-1918; was at Arras 1923-1924; taught at Le Bizet 1924-1925 and was Superior at Le Bizet from 1924 to 1931.

Report on the founding of “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” October 1947.

The chapel “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Reina de Mexico y Emperatriz de America” was given over to the Assumptinonists by the Archbishop of Mexico with the projection of a church and a residence to be built that would serve as a Sanctuary and parish church. This was only at the stage of a project.

This chapel is situated in a beautiful section in the South of the city of Mexico in the process of being developed.

Address: Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Parque del Conde 37, San Jose Insurgentes (Mixcoac), Mexico, D.F.

Address: Telegraph: Santuario Guadalupe, San Jose Insurgentes, Mixcoac, Mexico, D.F.

History.

Two or three years ago a Monsignor wanted to build a church in honor of St. Joseph. He obtained a large property from an exploitation company and the foundations were installed. After difficulties, the Monsignor backed out. The company took back part of the land that had been granted.

A Mr. Iglesias, brother of a well-known Jesuit, conceived the project of building on this site a Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico and Empress of America, a title mentioned in a talk by the Holy Father, Pius XII on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the old church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A committee was organized and a modest chapel built. But then everything was stopped! The archbishopric, interested in the project put the chapel in the care of the pastor of a large parish of the area. This parish was in the process of being divided. The pastor sent an old priest there for Sunday worship and was accused of using the revenues for his church instead of reserving them for the project of a sanctuary.

Several religious congregations had asked to be given the chapel, but up to that point the Archbishop had refused. The Dames of the Sacred Heart having just opened a boarding school next to it asked for a chaplain.

Father Cassien had just arrived from Mexico after the young Father Bernard Guillet and was looking for a possible foundation. He met Fr. Romero, vs. and this priest persuaded Mr. Iglesias to place the shrine under the care of the Augustinians of the Assumption. Fr. Cassien prepared a report and brought it to the secretary of the Archbishop, a man who was usually hard to approach. This secretary, moved by Divine Providence, became the postulator for our cause and in a few days, on 23 February, he told Fr. Cassien that he had been named by the Archbishop as chaplain to the chapel in question. Frs. Cassien and Bernard were able to get to work at once.

Official granting.

June 24, 1947, the Archbishop signed the document conferring the Sanctuary to the Assumptionists. Here is the text from a photocopy: “Because of the present religious needs of the Archbishop of Mexico and the zeal of the Rev. Frs. Augustinians of the Assumption that we knew through references, and that we now confirm through experience, with our whole will we decide to cede and do cede to that Congregation or Rev. Fathers actually represented here by Brother Cassian Dubost, A.A., the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico and Empress of America, situated in the colony of San Jose Insurgentes of this city and we authorize them to acquire the necessary land for the same Sanctuary and the Congregation for the greater glory of the Lord and His Holy Mother and the good of the faithful. With great pleasure we bless them.” Mexico, D.F. 24 June 1947, Luis Maria, Arch. of Mexico. The very same day, his excellenncy gave a written permission to Fr. Cassien to ask for gifts for the construction of the Shrine and encouraged the faithful to help this work.

Apostolate.

In his last letters Fr. Cassian speaks of a parish. The document of the Archbishop only speaks of a Sanctuary. I still have no explanation concerning this. The chapel is very frequented. The faithful of the area are very devoted. There are many confessions. The Fathers have to have long confession sessions in the neighboring boarding schools and communities. Fr. Cassian has already had to refuse a lot of ministry. One knows that Mexico lacks priests. Communions took place at the chapel this summer with 1000 to 1200 every 15 days. The Fathers organized a St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Action, and the children’s catechism, etc.

There are two priests and soon there will be a lay brother (in October) for this foundation. It is not enough. Fr. Cassian has to spend much time organizing the collections for the Sanctuary and has to leave a  lot of ministry to his companion.

Material needs and resources.

One must know that any property or building affected to worship belongs to the government. Fr. Cassian feels that there is no great risk in that as long as the government remains “tolerant”. There is the advantage of exemption from income taxes.

Father Cassien came to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1931, and served there seventeen years both as curate and pastor. Then, at his own request, he became the founder of our parish in Mexico. He first built a small church and then a rectory, while he lived in a dilapidated house. Then he started to build the actual church of Our Lady Empress of America. Making it a point to build only as funds came in, without incurring a debt, he did not live to see it completed. The plans had been chosen through a contest among architects. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

André (André-Gustave) Dumont

1907-1982

Religious of the Province of North Belgium.

A man of character.

André Gustave Dumon was born August 4, 1907 at Roulers (Roessaelare), Belgium. According to his personal notes, he did his primary studies in France at Angoulême (Charente) for one year, then Melun (Seine-et-Marne), four years, and Laeken (Belgian Brabant), two years. His secondary studies were done at the alumnates of Zepperen (1922-1926) and Sart-les-Moines (1926-1928). He took the religious habit at the Taintegnies novitiate October 30, 1928 under the direction of Fr. Aubain Colette and with the name Brother André. He made his first profession November 1, 1929:

“ A very robust, stubborn, and personal Brother who presents himself as he is, willful and decided for the mission.” After his philosophy at Saint-Gérard (1929-1930), he went to Louvain for theology where he was accepted for perpetual profession November 1, 1932 and ordained a priest March 6, 1936. According to his personal file, Brother André spent a year in the apostolic house of Kapelle-op-den-Bos (1931-1932).

A missionary to the Congo.

After his priestly ordination, Father André volunteered for the mission of the Congo where he went to 5 posts from 1936 to 1946. Judged to be quite original, too personal, and not a community man, he seemed quite disappointed by this missionary experience that he had so strongly desired, and as soon as the war ended, he returned to Europe. Father André was not deficient in qualities, however. He was intelligent and cultured from much reading, but was handicapped in his apostolate by a difficulty on how to be in contact and dialogue with the natives. After several years, this was to become an obstacle involving his own temperament.

Round trips between Colombia, North America, and the Congo.

His desire for missionary life did not vanish. He asked to go to Colombia as soon as he got back from Africa. From 1946 to 1948, he was sent to the mission of Cali where he met confreres who, it was whispered, were ‘exiles’ there, because of their collaborationist feelings during the war. In 1948, a revolution took place in Colombia that was serious enough that three religious, among whom was Fr. André, who feared for their life. Since they were quite fluent in Spanish, they asked to go to North America. They were very qualified for the Spanish parishes in New York. In 1954, possibly because he was disappointed or tired, Fr. André returned to the Congo. He volunteered for the foundation of Luofu where a solitary life didn’t deter him. In fact, in that same year, the Assumption accepted to man small posts quite dispersed like Luofu, Lukanga, and Lubango. Fr. André went from Luofu to Lukanga where he painted his office blood red and finally went to teach Math at E.T.S.A.V. In 1960, the year of independence for the Congo, he returned to Colombia. Lacking in communication, he didn’t always communicate the reasons to his confreres concerning the deep reasons for his zigzag decisions. Be it as it may, from 1960 to 1967, Fr. André taught at the college in Bogota, Colombia. At the age of 60, he decided to definitely return to Belgium, after 35 years of missionary work on various continents. Since he had not reached the age to receive his pension from the Belgian government, he served as chaplain at the handicapped persons center in Vlerenbeek where he spent 4 years. In 1972, he lived with the Louvain community. He took advantage of this time to enrich his intellect, having kept a great love for reading. He died at Louvain of a heart attack in a very unexpected and sudden manner, March 14, 1982, at the age of 75. His funeral was celebrated March 18 followed by the burial in the cemetery of Park Abbey.

Addenda.

Fr. André was ordained a priest by Bishop Carlon de Wiart at Louvain 6 March 1936.  After having been a professor at the novitiate for 3 months in 1948-1949 in Sillery, Quebec, he was a curate at the parish on 14th St. in New York 15 March 1949 after having been transferred to the Province of North America on 8 September 1948. He was elected 2d counselor in the summer of 1949 and affiliated to the North American Province in 1950. For a priest who was used to living in the Congo and Colombia, the wintry climate of the novitiate in Quebec was most difficult for him. He also had a missionary spirit and found himself in a house of formation. While in Canada, he did ministry in Coaticook, replacing the pastor of St. Jean Chrysostome parish.

Fr. André wrote from Coaticook 18-2-49.

It will be three weeks that I am here and I like it a lot. Last week, I visited, confessed, and brought communion to some thirty sick and old people. I’ll do it again in two weeks. I also have to teach catechism to the girls of the grade school and boarding school. There are also confessions each week at the boarding school, and this week, since it is the First Friday of the month and the beginning of Lent, will be quite busy. I am glad of that. I am very pleased with the pastor who is a fine man. The curate is a former religious incardinated in the diocese since three years… He’ll be named pastor in the middle of the year…

I gave a conference yesterday on our missions in the Congo to the parishioners and next week I’ll do the same for the 250 boarders of the Sisters.

On the choice of a province.

“I have just learned that we have been integrated to the Provinces of our origin, but since Belgium has two, they made the mistake of placing me in that of the South, whereas I am Flemish. Here, they told us that nothing would be done for those who belonged to the Province of South America, but that we would be notified in time when something would be done later on. I protested to Fr. Raymond [Besseling], to Fr. Augustinus [Van Engeland] and Fr. Gerard Istace, as I respectfully do so to you [Fr. Wilfrid Dufault] so that I can be attached to the Province of North Belgium. Here all goes well. If you were to believe some people, Colombia is on the edge of a revolution, but I never knew it to be so. We have just started the school year with 679 students, although our new building has not yet been occupied. I never thought that I could enjoy teaching but in fact I have a passion for Math and my students easily pass their university entrance exam.” André Dumon

Marius (Marius-Louis) Dumoulin

1887-1972

French religious of the Province of North America.

A Savoyard on the roads of the Assumption.

Marie Louis Dumoulin was born July 11, 1887 in a small Savoy village of the massive of the Bauges, La Compôte, in the diocese of Chambéry where the altitude, climate, and ancestral traditions all contribute to the formation of robust bodies and healthy souls. At the age of 11, he was admitted to the alumnate of Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoy) where he spent 4 years (1897-1901) under the direction of Fr. Théodore Defrance, a former Carthusian who had become an Assumptionist. From there he went to Brian (Drôme) to finish his humanities (1901-1903). In the summer of 1903, at the age of 16, he entered the Louvain novitiate where he took the religious habit October 18 and the name of Brother Marius. At the end of his canonical year of novitiate, he pronounced his simple vows October 18, 1904. From 1905 to 1908, he studied philosophy, again at Louvain where he made his perpetual profession June 7, 1907. He was asked to teach in an apostolic house, Bure, from 1908 to 1910. He then returned to Louvain to study theology from 1910 to 1912. His third year of theology took place at Jerusalem where he was ordained to the priesthood July 13, 1913, and the last one in Rome (1913-1914). He was now ready for an apostolate. His first ministry was at Vinovo (Italy) as assistant master of novices of Fr. Léonide Guyo. In 1915, he taught literature at Ancona (Switzerland). The year 1916 saw him mobilized as a stretcher-bearer and his devotion on the battlefield earned him a citation in 1917. He was taken prisoner March 28, 1918 at the time that he was going to get some wounded men, when he stopped to give absolution to a comrade who had been mortally wounded and spent his time in Hanovre. He would only be freed January 6, 1919 after 9 months of difficult captivity.

A half-century in America, Latin teacher.

After a time of rest in his family, the superiors sent him to the college in Worcester, U.S.A. where he arrived January 6, 1919. He was named to the first year high to teach the young students basic Latin. A conscientious and remarkable teacher, he was able to get the students to like the subject matter that was a bit dry for youngsters who at times were tempted to only consider the more useful subjects. One of his merits was to inculcate in young minds a certain enthusiasm for these drills, at times austere, of declensions, exceptions, and vocabulary lists that were foreign to the spoken language of these students. He initiated them to the art of themes and versions. As an experienced teacher, he knew the value of repetition, drills, and corrections that, just like drops of water erode a stone, finish by conquering. He didn’t get excited; he was very patient, and with his familiar smile he would start over year after year the difficult training for beginners, almost during 50 years. It was because he loved the youth that he was able to bring to his daily work the necessary desire, perseverance and application. He also knew that in education, all ages were important and that the beginners should not be neglected so as not to handicap the following years of the young students… On June 2, 1957, he was able to sing proudly the mass of Pentecost and celebrate in the midst of the students and the members of the college community his 50 years of religious life. For him, faithfulness was lived in his style of religious and priestly life as well as on the professional level of teaching. In 1963, there was a new celebration for his 50 years of priestly life.

It was at the college in Worcester that he died July 25, 1972 at the age of 85 and was buried there.

Addenda.

As a teacher, Fr. Marius did not fit the picture given in the above text. He was constantly impatient with the students as he went through his daily drills of declensions and conjugations and would use a loud tone of voice. Outside of the classroom, he was a totally different person. He would always be willing to help the student who asked for help and he willingly spent time tutoring the students. In the summer, he enjoyed going to Baker Lake, the summer villa of the Assumptionists. [editor]

While serving in the military, he received the Croix de Guerre for extreme bravery. In 1918, he was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war at Fuchsberg and Hemsted. During 22 years, he did weekend ministry in an Italian parish, St. Tarcisius church, in Framingham.  In 1951, he was decorated by France with the Palmes Académiques for his efforts to spread the French culture.

When Thomas Aquinas died at the age of 49, he left behind him a theological monument, which has kept him famous for 8 centuries. Closer to us, John Kennedy died at 46 after having become the head of the most powerful nation the world has ever known and his name, immortalized the world over on monuments of all shapes and dimensions, has been inscribed in the history of the world. We could establish a long list of men who have died young and have left behind a reputation for greatness.

Father Marius was 85 on the 11th of July. That means that his active life was fully twice as long as that of the men I have just mentioned. Yet it is perhaps safe to predict that no significant monument will immortalize his name. He leaves behind him no recognized reputation for greatness and school children will never hear of him in their history courses. We can go still further: even those of us who knew, and, yes, loved him, will soon forget him… only to occasionally recall his memory in our nostalgic moments. And when we go, even that will disappear. And is it worth mentioning that the work to which he dedicated his fifty productive years has itself already preceded him out of existence. In the universal context of cosmic history, we would have to say realistically that he was an obscure Latin teacher in a small New England school. The only flamboyance in him was that of his temper and the fear he inspired in his students. And even that gave way to a mellowness, which made of him a pleasant man to be with. Yet, before concluding to the futility of these 85 years, I would like to confront them with the gospel message, which we have just heard.

Father Marius spent 50 years as a Latin teacher in a small school. His courses were minutely prepared and scrupulously delivered. He spent ever so much time in preparation and hours correcting the interminable papers of high school students. He wanted so badly for them to learn that he would add still more time coaching weaker and willing students. Somehow, even though he was no great Latin scholar, can’t we hear the Lord say to him: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater.”

Father Marius leaves no children to continue his name and insure him that kind of continued existence. His was a life of celibacy… not just a sort of global and sloppy celibacy, but a celibacy, which he cultivated carefully and delicately. He seemed fearful – excessively so it seemed to us – even to demonstrate feeling or attachment to anyone. But the totality of his commitment was sparkling and clear. In fact, he seemed to have regained or retained a kind of original innocence, which would have made any truly colored conversation seem incongruous in his presence. Of course, he was French and the “sel gaulois” could never be totally alien to him: “You have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater.”

Father Marius leaves no great fortune for his heirs. In fact, I slept in his room last night, and I would suspect that it will not take long to liquidate the few things that are left there. His poverty, too, was unbending. Saint Augustine says that it is preferable to need less than to have more. There is no doubt that, on that score, Father Marius would put me and, if you allow me to pass judgment on you, most of us to shame. There was a starkness to his poverty… but a starkness which freed him from undue preoccupation with material goods. “You have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater,”

Headstrong as he could be, Father Marius nonetheless did as he was told. He was obedient to the letter of the law; of that there is no doubt. We all recall how he asked permission of Father Rodolphe to see “The Song of Bernadette”… we perhaps recall also Father Rodolphe’s answer. Father Marius lived also a spirit of obedience and, if you will permit me a personal memory, I would like to illustrate his spirit of obedience by a letter, which he sent me almost 3 years ago when I became Provincial. A man his age might well have resented that such a responsibility be entrusted to a young man half his age. His letter, which I carried around with me for a long time, was a moving witness to his ready and enthusiastic spirit of obedience. And when it became clear that we would have to close the Prep School, I went to talk about it to him in his room. He accepted it with deep sadness but no rebellion, expressing only his regret that I would have to carry this heavy burden. “You have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater.”

Father Marius was a man of prayer. Here again, he was neither a visionary nor, at least as much as the eyes can see, a great mystic. We never saw him lifted off the ground. His was the simple prayer of a man relating to his God. Yet we should not be fooled into thinking that his prayer was purely vocal. It was certainly personal too. When the little chapel in the Salisbury Street house was being organized, the Blessed Sacrament changed places a few times. On one occasion, Father Marius entered after a change had taken place. As he prepared to make his reverence, he discovered that the Blessed Sacrament had been moved, and, not knowing that he would be overheard, he muttered: “Where did they put Him now?”… For him, a humble man of prayer, Christ was someone. “You have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater.”

I guess that what I am trying to say is that Father Marius is not nor will not be ever a famous man. He was a humble and a good teacher who worked arduously and scrupulously for his students. He was a dedicated and holy priest and religious who performed no spectacular deeds but was faithful to his calling in its every detail. Confronted with the gospel, we are compelled to think that herein lays real greatness, though it is not always perceived: in faithfulness to small things… a good lesson for all of us. Father Marius taught us this lesson by his very life, and that is great teaching. We cannot be too grateful for this lesson.

And so, there is no doubt in my mind that, in the peaceful and serene joy of his encounter with the Lord, Father Marius has already heard the eternally comforting words: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.” Amen.

[Funeral homily by Fr. Joseph Loiselle, Provincial, July 28, 1972.]

The Germans aimed to separate the armies one from the other. In fact, after 3 days the British were in full retreat and the Germans had advanced 40 kilometers. To fill this gap, the French command sent some divisions, with orders to hold at all costs. We were among these troops, and after a bit of maneuvering around Lassigny (Oise), on March 27 at midnight, my regiment held a definitive position right opposite the Germans.

Early in the morning we were heavily shelled and soon had a wounded soldier to bring to the regimental-aid post. There we found the dressing station completely destroyed by another shelling. And all around were signs of recent fighting, with the bodies of French soldiers from several regiments lying here and there along the side of the road.  For the moment there was a menacing calm.

It took us a bit of time to discover where our aid-post now was. We left our wounded man there and went back to where we had left our Company. Another shock. No soldiers anywhere around except a courier who told us the position had been deemed untenable and that the Company had taken position behind a railroad embankment not far away, right opposite the Germans where solid shelters could be built and machine guns set up.

So we went back single file along the trench that led to the aid-post we had just left. There, the first man in file turned and whispered: “The Germans are there.” And he turned to flee. The second stretcher-bearer soon followed him, and the third. Realizing that there was still a chance to escape, I was the last to go, dragging the stretcher behind me. We took a road leading to the embankment that I mentioned, following the ruts between the roadway and the slope. We kept our heads down because bullets started to whistle around our ears. A few steps in front of me ran a comrade, father of a family, aged 33. We had not run 20 steps beyond the trench when I saw him fall on his face, without a word, without a cry… I thought he had tripped and I was about to run past him shouting, “Hurry, the Germans are very near.” I noticed that his helmet had been pushed aside and I saw a wound in the back of his head, from which came blood and brain. Death had been instantaneous. In a flash my duty was clear; I had to stop and give this comrade a last absolution. When I got up to resume my flight, I noticed that the other stretcher-bearers, much younger than I, had reached the embankment and were jumping to safety on the other side. But I still had a half-mile to go, over flat land, with bullets whistling overhead. The Germans were coming down the trench we had just left. I had no way to escape except by counting on the possible mercy of the Germans. I just thought this when some German soldiers appeared at the end of the road. I raised my arms in surrender. They did not shoot, and one of them made me a sign to advance. Crouching, I ran up to them. I was their prisoner.”

[ANA June-July 1999 by Fr. Richard Richards, A.A., 25-26.]

Jean (Jean-Joseph-Marie) Falhun

1932-1982

Religious of the Province of France.

Formation in the Province of Bordeaux.

Jean Joseph Marie Falhun was born December 27, 1932 at Tréglonou (Finistère). He did his secondary studies in the alumnates of Saint-Maur (Maine-et-Loire) from 1944 to 1947 and Cavalerie (Dordogne) from 1947 to 1950. He entered the Pont-l’Abbé d’Arnoult novitiate (Charente-Maritime) where he took the religious habit September 28, 1950 and pronounced his first vows September 29, 1951. Fr. Tournellec described him as follows: “Jean Falhun is superior to his novitiate companions by the extent of his knowledge. He is an intellectual, delicate, and a bit of timidity hinders his conversation in the first contacts. Of agreeable contact, he is also capable, because of nervousness, of making biting remarks. He spent some time in hospital with an intestinal flu, of an undetermined nature.” Brother Jean then did his philosophy studies at Layrac (Lot-et-Garonne) from 1951 to 1953. Military service kept him for two long years spending the greater part in Algeria (Bou-Hamama). He returned to Layrac for his theology, was admitted to perpetual profession (July 1, 1957), and ordained a priest May 23, 1959 by Bishop Johan. “A religious who is a hard worker, gifted, pious, and sufficiently docile, he devoted himself to teaching catechism and shows a clear desire for an apostolic life”. After a pastoral year at Lyons (1959-1960), Fr. Jean was named by his provincial to teach in the alumnates and colleges of the Province of Bordeaux.

From Bordeaux to Jerusalem.

During 13 years, Fr. Jean was devoted to teaching: English teacher at Cavalerie in Dordogne (1960-1965), then Sainte-Barbe at Toulouse (1965-1967) in the Haute-Garonne. In 1967, armed with a double licentiate in English and history, he left for the college in Worcester, U.S.A. where he stayed three years (1967-1970). The Saint-Sauveur college of Redon (Ille-et-Vilaine) where the Assumptionists and Eudists worked together, after the closing of Saint-Maur, was the last stage in his teaching career (1970-1973). The Bible was always a passion for Fr. Jean. His next stop was Jerusalem where he received and guided pilgrims during three years (1973-1976). With the collaboration of Sami Awwad of Terra Santa, he produced an album, “Cette terre de Dieu” (This Land of God), and a slideshow in English, then in French. In September 1976, he returned to France. There was question of another period in Rome under Fr. Pierre Touveneraud, but finally pastoral ministry won out and he went to Angoulême (Charente).

La Rochelle.

In December 1977, he was named to the parish of Tasdon at La Rochelle (Charente) in the railroad sector. Frs. Marcel Lelièvre and Marcel Bizien, his companions there, retraced this short period of the life of Fr. Jean. “While working in the Tasdon parish, Jean continued, with the Association of Our Lady of Salvation, to lead groups of pilgrims to Israel and other countries. He was part of the diocesan team for permanent formation, happy to share his experiences with other brother priests, and took part in Bible study groups at La Rochelle and the Poor Clares. All appreciated his conviction, his fire, and his desire to better know the One who gave meaning to his life”. A regular of “Bretons de La Rochelle”, the ‘Escale’ Association, and the military chaplaincy of which he became responsible in December 1981, he also accepted, on the eve of his hospitalization, to work in alphabetization at the Foyer des Cordeliers. On October 18, 1982, he returned exhausted from a pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal. On October 31, he was hospitalized in intensive care. He died on Saturday, November 6, 1982 at the age of 50, of a violent heart embolism. His funeral was celebrated on Tuesday, November 9 and on the 10th, his body was buried in the cemetery of his native country, Tréglonou, where his old mother of 84 years still lived.

Addenda.

Fr. Jean was visiting Assumption Prep School and decided to go as a tourist to New York City. The religious cautioned him to be careful and avoid certain sections, but this was to no avail. Off he went in civvies and camera slung on his shoulder. He was mugged and his camera was stolen. Fr. Jean had quite a learning experience from his visit to New York City. In Layrac, he would be called the ‘walking encyclopedia’ because of his vast knowledge.

His military service was served in Germany, Algeria, and Tunisia from November 1953 to December 1955. Jean’s graduate studies were done in Bordeaux and Toulouse. His published works were: “La guerre navale aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles” and “Trafalgar et la Marine anglaise aujourd’hui”. Fr. Jean was Vicar Substitute at St. Mary Nativity Church in Raceland, Louisiana from 6 July 1970 till 27 July 1970.

Written in the rush of a departure.

“Here is a quick note and no doubt clumsy that I am writing in a bus bringing me to a solemn first communion that I am preaching in Lot-et-Garonne. This is to tell you how quickly I must write. Upon coming out from having passed a certificate in history at Bordeaux just a few hours ago, Fr. Jointer [Provincial of Bordeaux] is sending me to Greece for a cultural training period. Since I am going through Rome, I can’t help but stop. That is what I’d like to do, certain of your understanding permission and the hospitality of Tor di Nona [Rome]. I would like to arrive at Rome on Friday, 29 June [1962] around 12;50- but this is the schedule of last years’ trains- and stay with you till 3 July. Would you be willing to help me with this trip by contacting the Father Superior [Fr. Albertus Boeckhorst]? I most likely will need to change some money. Excuse me for writing so late”.

(Fr. Jean Falhun to Fr. Alphonse Picot 23 June 1962, Saint-Joseph (Cavalerie-Prigonrieux.)

Letter to Jean Falhun by the Provincial of North America dated 27 April 1967.

Dear Fr. Jean,

Welcome to the province, but I would like to explain the situation to you to the best of my ability so as to avoid useless deceptions.

I see three possibilities.

1-       At Assumption Prep School in Worcester as French professor for youth aged 15 to 18. You could most likely take courses in Boston, but not in a concentrated manner – perhaps one day per week. Worcester is a city with some 2,000 inhabitants, where our relations with the Protestant clergy are excellent, but where occasion for ecumenical studies are non-existent more or less – Boston is about 70 km away.

2-       At the Seminary of Cap-Rouge near Quebec where you would teach English to French Canadians. I have no knowledge of ecumenical study possibilities in the Province of Quebec, but I suppose that there is not much available. This in an intercommunity seminary where 15 Congregations form a Consortium on the level of humanities and philosophy.

3-       If these two posts would give you too few occasions for personal studies that you would want to do, you would be welcome at the Provincial House in New York City, from where you could follow, courses at the Protestant Union Theological seminary, near our residence. I also think that Fr. Tavard could be of great help to you.

I would appreciate a rapid answer – quicker than mine! – in order to permit us to prepare the obediences for next year.. Fraternally in Our Lord., Provincial of North America.

Bernard Walstan (Harold-T.C.) Farrow

1889-1973

Scottish religious of the Province of England.

Before his life at the Assumption.

Harold Thomas Carter Farrow was born April 30, 1889 at Alby (Norfolk), England, to a Scottish family. He did his secondary and graduate studies before he knew the Assumption: York Place, Brighton (secondary schooling), Southampton University (1920-1921). He became a qualified and certified teacher. His personal information file notes several positions: a primary school in London and St. Brendan’s secondary school in Bristol under the direction of the Irish Christian Brothers. As an officer of the British army during the First World War (1916-1919), he traveled the European continent from France to Russia. He knocked at several doors before meeting the road to the Assumption, since he was desirous in 1925, at the age of 36, to begin his road toward the priesthood and religious life. During 1925, he was received at Le Bizet as a postulant and teacher.

Formation years at the Assumption.

Under the name of Brother Bernard-Walstan, Harold took the religious habit at the Taintegnies novitiate April 29, 1925. Fr. Savinien Dewaele, master of novices, was quite disconcerted by this strange novice, a bit solitary, stubborn in his ideas but generous, who was admitted to his first profession (April 30, 1926). “Brother Bernard is a person that must be taken as he is, although he is lacking on many points. His age, the fact that he is a convert, and his former life make a deep transformation quite difficult, but he will be able to be of some help in an apostolate adapted to his aptitudes,” remarked Fr. Sidoine Hurtevent. His formation was continued at the scholasticate of Louvain where he was perpetually professed April 30, 1928 and ordained a priest April 20, 1930. He said that he had a lot of difficulty to adapt his intellect to scholastic formulations.

Missions limited to the province of France and then England.

Since he was part of the Province of Paris, Fr. Bernard was sent to the vicariate of North America to serve in the two parishes of New York staffed by the Assumptionists. In 1937 he retuned to England where he continued to work in parish ministry, notably at Newhaven. From a note he wrote to Fr. Gervais Quenard in 1947, one can understand his difficulties of adaptation to the English Assumption: “I send you my petition and request to obtain from you my integration into the Province of North America. I have already begun steps to become a naturalized American citizen. I have been in England since 1937, but I do not wish to be part of the new English Province. I know Spanish and I don’t want to lose my French. Since 31 years now, I am a Catholic, baptized in France during the First World War at Montreuil-sur-Mer. I have been a religious for 22 years and a priest for 17. I spent 7 years in New York and 5 in Charlton. I present my request with trust in your judgment”. Because of his health, in 1956, it was suggested that he take a chaplaincy in a mental home for children. [The Directory of Religious indicates as a residence or community to which Fr. Farrow was attached during these years, the parish of Newhaven. We deduce that he did not leave England, regardless of his desire to transfer to America.] In December 1961, Father Bernard had to abandon all pastoral activity and was sent to the convalescent home at Lorgues (Var) in France. His artistic soul was happy in the old town of Lorgues. He enjoyed walking early in the morning through the old streets and the places yet asleep, and liked to sit on a boundary stone or a rustic bench with his pad and crayons in hand to sketch a façade, a fountain, or a picturesque scene. There was no lack of these. Several times, linking the useful to the enjoyable, he set up a stand with his paintings for the charity bazaar of the parish of Lorgues. The last years of his life were difficult. He could barely walk, but he continued painting. He died on a Sunday morning, March 11, 1973 in his 84th year, and was buried the next day.

Addenda.

Presentation of Fr. Bernard.

“Fr. Bernard is a late vocation: he is a serious priest, devoted with a quite original character. He is now 65 years old. He has a good influence in Newhaven and Peacehaven. Last year he was very sick and has not totally recuperated. He started feeling tired in his ministry at Peacehaven because of the distance and variable weather. Fortunately Divine Providence gave us a chaplaincy at Stroud Gloustershire where he will be fine. The understanding with the Directress of the Nursing Home and the Provincial has only begun to evolve. After Christmas, we shall make a definite contract so that Fr. Bernard may start his functions without waiting on 22 September 1956. I submit this case to you, Father General, to obtain the permission or a dispensation from common life for Fr. Bernard since, because of his ministry, he will live outside the community. Fr. Bernard will remain attached to Newhaven”.

(Fr. Austin Treamer, Provincial of England to Fr. Wilfrid Dufault, 5 September 1956, London.)

Aymard (Jean-Baptiste) Faugère

1881-1955

Religious of the Province of Paris, first Provincial of Paris (1923-1929).

From house to house.

Jean-Baptiste Faugère was born at Tulle (Corrèze), March 6, 1881. He did his grammar school at the Breuil alumnate (Deux Sèvres) from 1895 to 1898, then at Saujon (Charente-Maritime), a continuation of Laubat from 1899 to 1890. At the end of his humanities, he chose to enter the Assumption. As a result of the dissolution of the Congregation (1900), the Livry novitiate was transferred April 28, 1900 to Gemert (Holland) in a former house of the Jesuits. It was there that he took the habit under the name of Brother Aymard September 8, 1900. His novitiate, because of its transfer August 7, 1901, was finished at Louvain. He made his first profession there September 8, 1901. At that time, he was sent to Le Breuil as a teacher and treasurer (1901-1905), but with an interruption for his military service at Tulle (1902-1903). At Breuil, the prosecutor of Melle accused him as well as Fr. Alphonse Cadoux, the superior, of being part of a non-authorized Congregation. Two fines of 7 francs settled the condemnation. After his perpetual profession at Louvain July 9, 1906, Brother Aymard was sent to Rome where he did his philosophy and theology (1906-1911). He earned the degrees of doctor of philosophy (1909) and bachelor of theology (1910) and was ordained a priest June 10, 1911.

The apostolic life of a responsible and convinced religious.

Fr. Aymard began his apostolate at Montpellier (Hérault) where he was in charge of youth clubs (1911-1912). In 1912, he left for the U.S.A. to Worcester where he stayed two years as teacher and treasurer (1912-1914). When war was declared, he was called back to France and called up for military service from August 1914 to March 1919. From 1919 to 1923, he returned to Montpellier, this time as superior. This was the point of departure for his receiving responsibilities. As a result of the division of the Congregation into Provinces, he was chosen to be the first Provincial Superior of Paris. Everything had to be created. This was quite a task since, at the same time, he was named pastor of the Saint-Christophe de Javel parish in Paris. He finished his mandate as Provincial in 1929, but remained pastor of Javel until 1951 when he was laid low by illness. The Province of Paris took in Lille to Perpignan and included the vicariates of North America and England. In this hexagon, the Assumption was indebted to him for the construction of the new college of Nîmes, the resurrection of Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais), the setting up of the alumnates of Poussan (Hérault) and Davézieux (Ardèche), and the residence for late vocations at Saint-Denis. He did not forget the Anglophone mission that he visited regularly and to which he gave a remarkable stimulus. As a pastor, he was a remarkable administrator. He saw to the construction of the Saint-Christophe church that he oversaw energetically. This was realized without grants or official subsidy, but thanks to an extensive chain of contributions on the part of benefactors. He launched original subscriptions: that of the gas can, that of the stones, and that of the half stones… A man of intrepid faith and total disinterestedness, gifted with a facility for improvisation from simple outlines, Fr. Aymard spoke clearly and with a concrete sense of the realities of practical life. He liked to preside the major liturgical celebrations with an imposing bearing and surrounded the organizing of the worship with a whole series of social works: schools, youth center, dispensary, and a social secretariat for the Women’s League… A fervent animator of the national pilgrimage to Lourdes, Fr. Aymard was esteemed as a confessor and preacher by numerous religious families. In 1951, diabetes and tuberculosis forced him to rest at Lorgues (Var). He died from an embolism January 21, 1955 at the age of 74. His funeral was celebrated the next day at Lorgues. A solemn religious service was also held in his memory at Paris, quay of Javel, January 26, in order to permit his former parishioners to associate themselves to the prayers and mourning of the Assumption.

Addenda.

Father Aymard spent two years in Worcester as treasurer, teacher, and sub-prior, from 1912 to 1914. After the First World War, he was stationed at Montpellier, in southern France, doing parish work, until the provinces were created in 1923. He became the first Provincial of Paris, of which both North America and England were a part (1923-1929). At the same time and until 1951, he was pastor of St-Christophe de Javel, a large parish in Paris, where he built the actual church. At that time, it was a parish for industrial workers in an automobile plant. With a shift in population, it has now become a parish of well-to-do people, and for some reason, we have given it up to take on more pastoral work among the poor in Pierrefitte, another section of Paris. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Rediscovery of Lavagnac (1920).

The Dean of Montagnac invited me to assist at the confirmation given by Cardinal de Cabrières on 5 July [1920]. I very readily accepted since this gave me the opportunity to visit the land on which is situated the Lavagnac chateau… The Countess of Puységur [niece of Fr. d’Alzon] and Mrs. de Rodez-Bénavent, her daughter, insisted on bringing me to the chateau. I spent a wonderful evening in this princely residence that remained just as Fr. d’Alzon had known it. These ladies were thoughtful in installing me in the Father d’Alzon’s room, with the holy water fount that decorated the bedspread of Mr. Henri d’Alzon. On Tuesday, 5 July, I celebrated mass in the chapel of the chateau, in front of Mary Help of Christians, confidante of the young d’Alzon, the night preceding his escape to the Montpellier seminary. Then I prayed the rosary in ‘the alley of the Fathers’ or ‘alley of the Breviary’, so contemplative. You know that Mrs. de Puységur’s brother, Dom Emmanuel [de Quinsonnas], became a Carthusian, having renewed the adventure of Fr. d’Alzon… Dom Emmanuel is at the Pise Charterhouse”.

(Fr. Aymard to Fr. Maubon, 10 July 1920.)

Basile (Jean-Marie) Filaire

1886-1945

Religious of the Province of Paris, at the service of the Vicariate of England.

Recapitulative notice.

Jean-Marie Filaire was born at Sembadel, a small commune of the district of La Chaise-Dieu (Haute-Loire) March 29, 1886. He did his secondary studies at the Miribel-les-Echelles alumnate (Isère) from 1899 to 1904 and entered the Assumptionists September 18, 1914, the day that he took the habit at Louvain (Belgium). He received the religious name of Brother Basile. Professed for a year October 18, 1905 in Jerusalem, his first posting was to teach at Le Bizet (1906-1909) where he pronounced his perpetual vows August 15, 1907. His ecclesiastical studies were done at Louvain (1909-1912), Jerusalem (1912-1914), and Rome (1915-1916) where he was ordained a priest May 3, 1915. Exempted from military service, he was sent to teach at Miribel from 1916 to 1919, then to Worcester (U.S.A.) in 1919. Having chosen the Province of Paris set up in 1923, he was involved exclusively in the works of the Anglophone mission. His dates of service indicated his itinerary: teaching at Worcester (1919-1923), parish ministry in England: Charlton (1923-1925), Brockley (1925-1929), Newhaven (1929-1932), Brockley (1932-1935), and Charlton (1935-1945). He died January 15, 1945 and was buried in Charlton.

Chronicle of a death in a time of war.

The circumstances of the death of Fr. Basile Filaire in England give us an idea of the living conditions of that time: [According to the Directory of Religious 1945-1946, there were three members of the Assumptionist community of Charlton in 1945: Frs. Benoît-Labre Caron, Colmcille O’Pacanaïm, and Malachy Corbett. At that time, there were 8 communities in the vicariate of England: Hitchin (college), Nottingham (college), Lagford Budville (novitiate and house of studies), London: Bethnal Green (parish), Brockley (parish), Charlton (parish), Newhaven (parish), and Rickmansworth (parish)].

“Fr. Basile suffered for several years from low blood pressure. On Monday, January 15 [1945], he and Fr. Colmcille went for tea to friends in the neighboring parish of Lewisham. He was fine and seemed happy. After a game of cards and dinner, he and his companion took the road back to Charlton. That night, the cold was quite bitter and snow covered the earth. To top it all off, the Fathers missed the last bus. Faced with the perspective of an hour’s walk on an upgrade hill, Fr. Basile, already chilled by the cold and fatigue, slowed down his pace and seemed stressed. He asked Fr. Colmcille who had to celebrate mass the following morning to go on ahead while he would follow at a slower pace. They separated at 22:45. Five minutes after, a passer-by found Fr. Basile lying unconscious and dying in the snow. He fetched an ambulance and Father was taken to the morgue of Deptford. During this time, Fr. Colmcille returned to the rectory, but, having the night watch, he went to the passive defense post. Besides, Fr. Benoît-Labre [Caron], instead of sleeping in his room, went to the church basement, next to the furnace, to be more sheltered from the V1s. That was why no one answered the phone calls of the police. They only found Fr. Benoît-Labre at 2 a.m. and announced the sad news. By a strange and happy coincidence, Fr. Colmcille found in his pocket, while looking for a piece of paper to write down the card game scores, an envelope addressed to him, but having a cherub in the name of Fr. Basile. He had passed it to him while playing cards and that was how they were able to identify Father when they picked him up in the snow. Fr. Basile was a sadly missed religious. During the nine years that he had spent as curate at Brockley and 10 years as superior at Charlton, he had shown a sustained devotedness and was of an equal and kind humor with a solid piety and good spirit of initiative. His quiet, peaceful, yet firm manner pleased the faithful enormously”.

Addenda.

Father Basile spent several years at Assumption in Worcester where he was truly appreciated. This was in the early 1920s and earlier. He then went to England, was curate at Newhaven and Brockley, and pastor in Charlton. He was a very kind man, always interested in promoting vocations, and many of them, in England, are due to his attention. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

News from Worcester.

“The last ones to arrive at the college have only begun to get used to the climate and the countryside. Last November, it was almost already winter; no grass in the meadows, no leaves on the trees, but a cold wind and soon the snow came. Until April, there was only one color in the country: the whiteness of a deep snow covering. Now comes the month of May. The snow disappears and the beautiful days begin. Since about ten days now, there is a complete change of scenery: it is spring with its leaves and flowers. Nobody is angry because of this change; the students know how to appreciate it especially. From now on, they find college life bearable. The marvelous baseball games and tennis matches make them forget all the past miseries and give them the patience to get through the rest of the year. The studies are not the winner in this, but only the faculty complains about this. It is especially baseball, the national game, which is the favorite. It consists of only 18 players divided into two teams. However, several games can take place at the same time since the property is large enough for this…”

(Fr. Basile Filaire.)

Hermès (André) Fuchs

1888-1960

Alsatian religious of the Province of North America.

Thanks to Fr. Césaire Kayser.

Born at Saint-Hippolyte (Haut-Rhin) November 26, 1888 under the German regime, André was the 9th of 13 children. One of his sisters became an Oblate of the Assumption. Fr. Césaire Kayser introduced him to the Assumption. André began his secondary studies at Saint-Trond, pursued them at Zepperen (Belgium) from 1902 to 1906, and finished them at Taintegnies from 1906 to 1908. “Of an average intelligence and a bit slow, young André works with great application and gives such an attention to minor details that he always gets honorable grades in his classes”. August 28, 1908, under the name of Brother Hermès, he took the religious habit at Louvain and spent one month in the solitude of Gempe. “A novice who is very calm and avoids noise and publicity through timidity of character or modesty, he is open and trusting in spiritual direction. Of a bit of a melancholic nature, he shows excellent dispositions from a religious viewpoint. His family situation is very poor and divided. This incites him to prayer and trust in God”. Serious, of an impeccable neatness, discreet, and meticulous, Brother Hermès made his first vows August 29, 1909 and his perpetual vows August 28, 1910 at Gempe. He went to Louvain for three years of philosophy (1910-1913). In September 1913, Brother Hermès arrived at the college in Worcester (U.S.A.) where, because of a shortage of personnel during the war, he remained 6 years as a monitor (1913-1919). In 1919, he returned to Louvain for his theology (1911-1922) and was ordained to the priesthood July 23, 1922 at the age of 34.

In the New World.

In 1922, he crossed the Atlantic once again to resume his functions as monitor at the college in Worcester. Strict, demanding, but never unjust, he willingly accepted this ungrateful ministry and filled his free time with some ministry in the nearby parishes. In 1932, Fr. Hermès was sent to the Bergerville novitiate (Quebec), next to the convent of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc where he met Fr. Marie-Clément Staub, Alsatian like himself and ardent apostle of the Sacred Heart. As treasurer at the novitiate, he begged with the daring of a veteran, had the chapel and the façade of the house repainted, and developed the farm and the gardens. In 1939, he was sent back to Worcester as treasurer. In 1942, he returned to the banks of the Saint-Lawrence to become the chaplain of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc. The Quebec bishop named him to the pastoral care of immigrants. His knowledge of English and German made this apostolic task much easier for him as he spent long hours on the quays of the river. A gifted preacher, he celebrated the liturgy with great dignity. In 1954, Fr. Hermès was named superior at the Beauvoir Sanctuary. A man of heart and great faith, he developed the fervor of a religious life that was more community oriented, while opening the shrine to collaboration with the priests of that sector. He gave himself over to the pastoral ministry of pilgrimages attached to the shrine, diffused the spirituality and the cult of the Sacred Heart, and left a deep imprint on the hill where he was known as ‘the saint of the mountain’. Under his guidance, the sanctuary witnessed a great growth. In June 1959, he asked to be relieved as superior. From the month of December on, he was confined to his room and celebrated mass seated in his wheelchair. In April 1960, many health problems declared themselves. His breathing became difficult and his tension too high. April 26, 1960, on the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, after having received communion, he died peacefully. His funeral was celebrated April 29 in the chapel of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc. It was presided by Fr. Armand Desautels, superior of the college in Worcester. In the assembly were many representatives of the various religious communities where Fr. Hermès had preached retreats. He was buried in the small cemetery at Bergerville-Sillery.

Addenda.

He was also chaplain for Empress Zita of Austria.

Father Hermès, an Alsatian, came to Worcester as a scholastic to help fill the void created by French religious returning to serve in the armed forces. This was from 1913 to 1919. Finally, he was able to return to his theological studies and his ordination to the priesthood. Then, back to Worcester, where for many years he was a full time monitor, strict and just. Later, he was stationed in Quebec as chaplain to the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc, and preached a great deal during that period. From 1954 to 1959, he was Superior at Beauvoir. He was buried in our cemetery in Quebec. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Some memories.

“I remember the Sunday morning classes of Christian doctrine, the religion courses in High School, German classes in college that we named ‘Der Lehrer Fuchs’… With his real commitment in accepting positions that kept him in the lower ranks, his constant humor that never let us suspect the least interior turmoil on his part, he lent himself to being accused of willful indifference. But having known him, as much as his modesty permitted, I can say that a supernatural serenity tempered in him a German base of tender sensitivity…

I remember his work as a monitor in the study hall and the dormitory. I remember the night when, Peter, slipped away from his bed and met Father who stopped him with his arm and, frightened, cried out with all his strength: ‘Help! They are killing me!’

I remember the art he had being able to supervise alone and with perfect mastery 125 youths. We studied. The atmosphere wasn’t tense; he was calm and temperate and steady, encouraging our intellectual efforts. He had barely finished the prayer when he would walk around the study hall…”

Bernard Mongeau, M.D. Sherbrooke, QC, 8 November 1958.

I presently have under my care at the Hotel-Dieu of Sherbrooke, Reverend Hermes Fuchs, the present superior of Beauvoir.

At the time of his hospitalization, he was having heart problems with a certain cardiac asthma. These pathological states are now under control. In the course of his hospitalization, the Reverend Father started throwing-up and we didn’t know why. A first set of X-Rays of the stomach showed a gastric ulcer for which he was treated and has now almost completely disappeared.

The throwing-up was not related to his gastric ulcer, and even though the ulcer has almost totally disappeared, the patient still throws-up. We cannot explain this by any organic state. We mention a possible psychological state whose origin is still unknown and that is difficult to justify. Notwithstanding all of the treatments given to date, we have not been able to control them. The special circumstances and the character of each episode of throwing-up make us strongly think that the psyche of the patient plays a role in this but we are unable to be more specific as to the cause or the prognostic (temporary or permanent state?).

We feel that this patient would gain from a rest period away from the hospital and away from his usual milieu. It is clear that his cardiac condition is still present and that is why I suggest that the patient be in convalescence where medical attention is readily available.

Letter from Fr. Hermes to Fr. Henri Moquin, Provincial, dated 1 June 1955.

Please excuse my tardiness in answering your letter of 23 May. We had a confirmation: 23 children. Msgr. Cabana, just as all of the visitors, liked the decorations of the sanctuary. …Do not worry about my health. When one does one’s work with love and not animosity, the health profits from it. I have problems finding a bishop for the feast of the Sacred Heart. Bishop Cabana had suggested Cardinal McGuigan already in January. He is busy as well as 6 others to whom we wrote. And yet we still have hope. … I often think of the “Monument” that I would like to erect to the Sacred Heart. All of our friends think this is a grandiose and fine idea. Bishop Cabana told me not to get into debt. That is my firm intention.  I’ll speak to you about this when you visit here… The Sacred Heart will be like a spotlight on top of our hill, a spotlight of love…

Francisco (F.-Felipe) Garcia Gonzalez

1867-1955

Spanish religious of the Province of Paris.

One of the first Spanish A.A.

Born April 30, 1867 at Selga de Ordas in the province of Leon (Spain), Francisco-Felipe did his primary studies in his native village. He then went to various private schools for his secondary studies: Rioseco de Torpia (1880), Vega de Arienza (1881-1882), and the college of San José (1883-1884). He finished his humanities at the Saint-Augustine alumnate at Nîmes (Gard) in France from 1885 to 1887. He got to know the Assumption through the Osma novitiate set up in Castille from 1880 to 1886. He entered the Livry-Gargan novitiate where he took the religious habit September 29, 1887 under the name of Brother Francisco and pronounced his first vows September 29, 1888. His second year of novitiate took place at the Du Breuil house (Deux-Sèvres) where there was a group of philosophers and theologians. While there, he went rapidly through the advanced studies. He did a year of philosophy, pronounced his perpetual vows (November 11, 1889), and did two years of theology (1888-1889). His 3d and final year was spent at Livry where he was ordained a priest August 14, 1891. Right from his time of novitiate under the guidance of Fr. Emmanuel Bailly, he revealed himself to be exactly what he would remain until his death, a wholesome religious. His master of novices esteemed him the best of his year: regularity without fault, a meticulous exactitude, an absolute obedience, and mortifications inspired by the severe mysticism of his compatriots. For months he wore on his arm a chain with iron points that penetrated so deeply into his flesh that a doctor was needed to remove it! This was an exaggeration that was more admirable than imitable showing an extraordinary fervor, but an example that did not risk becoming contagious! Fr. Francisco received his first obedience to the Karagatch alumnate, founded in 1872 in a suburb of Adrianopolis (Bulgaria) where Fr. Galabert established himself in 1869. Fr. Francisco remained there only one year, from 1891 to 1892.

In the New World.

The Chilean mission founded in 1890 by Fr. Stéphane Chaboud was prosperous, but incessantly asked for reinforcements. Fr. Francisco was sent there in 1893, since he spoke Castillian. Having arrived in Chile, he was at first named to the first alumnate set up at Mendoza. It was abandoned after 4 years and would go through many resurrections thereafter. As part of the group of missionaries during 14 years, in the company of a confrere, Fr. Francisco toured the zones of Salitre preaching missions from March to June. He created much enthusiasm. The missionary on horseback, wearing a poncho, preached, confessed, and lectured with a zeal that many Chilean pages echoed: “Fr. Francisco preaches a lot, confesses even more, and rests from his apostolate discussing politics”. He discussed with conviction and wanted to have the last word. When someone was certain to hold the truth, there was no reason not to be intransigent! In 1911, Fr. Francisco was sent to Los Andes and in 1912 to Rengo, as curate of Fr. Théophile Durafour. But the Spanish parishes of New York needed him. In 1913, Fr. Francisco was transferred to the Northern hemisphere where he joined, at the Our Lady of Esperanza parish, a former companion, Fr. Adrien Buisson, until 1948. It was with tears that he left Chile where he left his heart. He assured an assiduous ministry in the confessional and visited the sick. In 1948, at the age of 80, he went to rest at Assumption College in Worcester integrating himself very quietly into this community, taking advantage of the sermons and conferences that were given. He became the permanent man of prayer, rosary in hand the whole day long, as he walked in the park. Fr. Francisco was not a sullen old man. Playful, spiritual, understanding innocent jokes, he had something of the rock of Gibraltar. From his origins, he kept the integral Catholicism that weathered all changes or novelties. When he was no longer able to celebrate the Eucharist, because of his blindness, he said that he preferred to die! He celebrated his diamond jubilee as a priest! By a miracle, he was spared in June 1953, when a tornado devastated the college and which he barely noticed, thinking that it was ‘a draft of strong wind’.

With Fr. Odilon Dubois, he was temporarily housed with the Franciscan Sisters. Bit by bit infirmities took over. As a diabetic, he followed a severe treatment. His legs could no longer carry him and he went from place to place in a wheel chair. In 1955, he went to hospital several times because of irregular heartbeats. He died on Sunday, July 23, 1955, at the age of 88, quietly, without any effort, and without bothering anyone. He was buried January 26 in Worcester next to Frs. Odilon and Engelbert in the small cemetery of the property. ‘Open to an immense dawn from the other side of the tombs, the eyes that we close still see’.

Addenda.

During the tornado, Fr. Francisco was in his wheelchair in the elevator and didn’t realize what had happened.

Father Francisco left a saintly reputation in Worcester, where he died after going through the tornado. He came to the Congregation at Osma, in Spain, thinking that he was applying to the minor seminary of the Augustinians. Once he realized his mistake, he decided to stay at the small alumnate we had created near the novitiate. He was an enthusiastic missionary in Chile from 1892 to 1912 and then was curate at Our Lady of Esperanza from 1912 to 1948, particularly appreciated for the confessions he heard. He aged as graciously as a man can at Worcester from then until his death.  He was a man of the strict rule, of continual prayer, and of a childlike obedience. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A vocation by contagion.

“On 14 August 1951, Fr. Francisco celebrated his diamond anniversary of ordination to the priesthood at Assumption College in Worcester. Born in 1867, he is therefore 84 years old. It was almost haphazardly that he got to know the Assumption.  In 1883 the novices of Osma under the care of Fr. E. Bailly went on a long pilgrimage on foot to the shrine of St. James of Compostella. In all of the places where they passed, the local people admired them for the way they carried themselves and their piety. At Leon, the Assumptionist pilgrims attracted the attention of the young Francisco Garcia and captivated him. At the time, he was a Latin student in a high school of the city. It was love at first sight. A few weeks later, the father brought his son to the Osma novitiate. Adrien Buisson is his mentor: he liked to say how his student, a fanatic partisan of the sed contra, wanted to correct him on the meaning and the pronunciation of certain words… In the Orient he had problems with a Turkish policeman who tried to seize his cowl but the brave hidalgo was the winner. Fr. Francisco would rise each day at 4:30; he had already read the complete Bible 3 times”.

As a good religious, he accepted their decision and moved to the College campus in Greendale. Right away he meshed into that community. Knowing he was somewhat slow, he’d leave sooner so as not to be late for a community exercise. He insisted on taking his meals in the refectory with all the other religious, not wanting to require someone to bring him his meals.

His days were free but they were busy. He would make 20 or 30 visits to the chapel daily, and was rarely seen without his rosary beads in his hands. He once told his Superior: “I pray a lot, but I pray badly. I pray for the Congregation, for the Pope, for friends and benefactors.”

He suffered greatly when finally his Superiors forbade him to say the Mass. His eyesight had become so bad that he’d have to read the missal with a large magnifying glass. In the middle of the night, at midnight or three a.m., he’d wake up his neighbors and complain that no one had come to help him dress so he could go to mass. That’s the only complaint anyone ever heard him make. Father Armand Desautels said of him that he was the great contemplative soul of the house, and certainly, by his prayers, brought many graces to the community.  [ANA , ASITWAS, August-September 2000. Richard Richards,a.a., 17-18]

Marie-Alexis (Arthur) Gaudefroy

1881-1945

Religious of the Province of Paris.

Through mounts and vales.

Arthur-Henri Gaudefroy was born December 20, 1881 at Ligny-Thilloy in the Pas-de-Calais. He was first a student of the Taintegnies alumnate (Belgium) from 1892 to 1896, then at Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais) for humanities from 1896 to 1898 under the direction of Fr. Edouard Bachelier. He entered the Livry-Gargan novitiate September 4, 1898 and took the habit under the name of Brother Marie-Alexis. His first profession was held September 8, 1899 at Livry. His second year of novitiate took place at Notre-Dame of Jerusalem. He pronounced his perpetual vows September 8, 1900 at Mount Carmel, above Haifa, at that time a region situated in the Syrian province of the Turkish Empire. After two years at Jerusalem, Brother Marie-Alexis was sent as a teacher to Karagatch, on the steps of Adrianopolis in European Turkey (1902) and to Varna, a Bulgarian port on the Black Sea. In 1904, he went to Rome to study theology at the Minerva. He was ordained a priest December 21, 1907 by Cardinal Respighi. His qualities of seriousness, piety, and love of regularity and the liturgy marked him for a choice place at the novitiate of Louvain, which was the only one at that time for the whole Congregation (1908).

Director of formation at the novitiate.

Fr. Marie-Alexis followed the novitiate in all of its peregrinations: from Louvain to Gempe (1908-1912), Gempe to Limpertsberg to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (1912-1918), Louvain (1917-1918), Saint Gérard (1919-1921). The stay at Luxembourg especially marked him strongly, with all of the problems because of the war and the dispersion to the farms. But he found a practical way to escape the routine thanks to photography. His snapshots served especially to illustrate L’Assomption and make it a very distinguished magazine. During the food shortage, he became ingenious: making shoe polish and tooth paste and setting up a repair shop. However, he excelled even more in the teaching of liturgy and in its concrete application during the ceremonies. Meticulous, at times tending to excesses in observances by trial and error, he backed up with a lot of regularity the various Masters of novices in function, Frs. Antoine de Padoue Vidal, Léonide Guyo, and Rémy Kokel… Fr. Marie-Alexis only stayed two years at Saint Gérard. In 1921, he followed the young professed to the Taintegnies philosophy house of studies for a period of six years (1921-1927), but with an unfortunate year as superior at the Arras alumnate (1923-1924). Recourse was made to his help in setting up the Quebec novitiate (Bergerville) from 1927 to 1932. He had some difficulty in adapting himself to the New World where everything did not fit in exactly with his habits and the traditions of the old continent. He crossed the Atlantic to take back his position as ‘socius’ at the novitiate of Les Essarts (Seine-Maritime). In the solitude of the Normandy forest, he once again took up his secret fabrication of substitute products (1932-1945). It was during this period that he composed, more out of a sense of hagiography than historical precision, short biographical notices of the deceased religious of the Congregation. During World War II, Fr. Marie-Alexis withdrew to Arras. Threatened with a loss of eyesight, but always regular and edifying as a novice, before the liberation he came back to Les Essarts where the novitiate was able to install itself, coexisting with the alumnists of Soisy-sur-Seine. He died on Friday, July 20, 1945 at 64 years old after a few very difficult days of illness and several angina attacks. His body rests in the cemetery of Les Essarts, next to Fr. Jean-Antoine Garde who died in 1930 and Brother Auguste Durand deceased in 1944.

Addenda.

Father Marie-Alexis was the first Master of Novices in Quebec in the late 1920s. The rest of his life he spent as Assistant Master of Novices for the Province of Paris at Les Essarts, near Rouen, and Lisieux, in Normandy. He was less a man to impose a rule than to show by his example the observance of the rule. He was a man of prayer and kindness personified. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

A man with a thousand resources.

“Fr. Marie-Alexis was formerly an outstanding photographer. But the war and his vision forced him to give up photography. As the infirmarian of the house, he could teach many things to specialists as far as knowledge of drugs and medicines are concerned.  An industrious cobbler, he was able to repair shoes and slippers in the worst state. A do-it-yourselfer with a thousand resources, he repaired watches, patched up bicycles, replaced windows, got door locks in working order, took care of power failures, etc… In short, he was the jack-of-all-trades to whom one could ask anything and whose cell was an infirmary, a workshop, a rendezvous for all that was going wrong in the community. The radio took refuge in his cell and he was the talking newspaper during the war. It was in his cell, since there was no other place to do so, that one got a cup of coffee, herbal tea, or even a nip on special days. As you can see, his person as well as his cell had become common property at the service of everybody”.

(Fr. Louis de Gonzague Martin, Les Essarts, August 1945.)

He was assistant master of novices and sub-prior at Taintegnies before going to Canada after the expulsion of the religious from France in 1927. He arrived in Sillery 18 February 1927. This house had not been built to be a novitiate although it was quite new. In August of 1928, 8 new rooms were added above the chapel. Fr. Tranquille Pesse was the superior and treasurer (1873-1940). On 30 December 1926, Fr. Réginald Bonnet writes that there are 6 postulants, one being a choir brother and on 29 May 1927, Fr, Marie-Alexis states that there are 13 members in the community: 4 priests, 1 lay brother, 1 choir novice, and 7 lay brother postulants. In 1931, the last year that Fr. Marie-Alexis was in Sillery, there are 10 members in the community with 2 novices, one being a choir novice. (Les Assomptionnistes au Canada, Yves Garon, a.a. , Sillery, 1977 , 40-41)

Isidore (Hippolyte-Emile) Gayraud

1874-1958

Religious of the Province of Bordeaux.

Assumptionist  family.

Hippolyte Emile Gayraud was born April 4, 1874 at Trémouilles (Aveyrin) in a family that gave three of their sons to the Assumption, the future Frs. Herménégilde, missionary in Turkey, Isidore (our Hippolyte), missionary to Chile, and Léandre, missionary in Rumania. Hippolyte did his secondary studies in the alumnates of Roussas (Drôme) from 1885 to 1886, Notre-Dame des Châteaux (Savoy) from 1886 to 1888, and Nîmes (Gard) from 1888 to 1890. He became a novice at Livry from 1890 to 1892 and had taken the habit August 6. He chose the religious name of Brother Isidore. Fr. Emmanuel Bailly presented him for profession as one of the best novices, excellent child, intelligent, full of faith and desire, pious, and docile. He made his perpetual profession August 6, 1892. He went to Rome for his ecclesiastical studies and obtained a double doctorate. For the defense of his thesis in theology, he first presented very ably the opposite thesis to that taught by his professor, Fr. Bucceroni, then declared to the dumbfounded jury: “I gave you the opposite thesis to that which you expected. You were not able to stump me. Therefore it is not so bad after all. Now to pacify you, here is the thesis that was taught us!” He was proclaimed unanimously a doctor with the highest distinction. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome April 16, 1897.

Jerusalem, Worcester.

After a few months of teaching at the college of Nîmes (1897-1898), Fr. Isidore went to teach philosophy at the scholasticate of Toulouse (1898-1899) in Haute-Garonne. When this institution closed its doors because of the expulsions of 1900, he left for Jerusalem to teach the same subject. His clear and solid courses are well remembered. Too bad for the person who objected and was corrected firmly and judiciously! In 1902, Fr. Isidore received a new obedience for North America to serve in the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York. In 1904, he was chosen to organize with Fr. Thomas Darbois an alumnate that would quickly change to a college (Worcester). He was the one who built the first grotto of Lourdes: gifted with herculean strength, he carried in his arms huge stone blocks that no one else could even lift. Fr. Isidore remained 8 years at Worcester as a teacher and treasurer.

To Chile, Valparaiso, Talcahuano, and Santiago.

In 1911, Fr. Isidore received an obedience for South America. He arrived at Valparaiso October 9 where the Assumption had just taken over the parish of Los Placeres, situated regardless of its name in a disfavored slum, cerros where the poor installed their ranchos. Fr. Isidore became the first vice-pastor of the new Esperanza parish, and set up its first church in a store while waiting for the construction of a real church. In 1917, the alumnate of Rengo, near Rengo, was reorganized: Fr. Isidore was called upon to teach basic Latin to the young students. In 1919, he was asked to take over a parish of Talcahuano (1919-1924) at a critical moment when an epidemic of exanthemata typhus was rampant. It took the lives of two religious, Frs. Claudius Pavillet and Louis Deltour. Fr. Isidore built a church dedicated to All Saints in the Arenal quarter. He was also ill, although he had a strong constitution, and had to take a long period of recuperation. In 1924, Fr. Isidore was sent to Santiago where he would stay, except for a few interruptions, until his death in 1958. He was chaplain for the Little Sisters of the Poor. In 1931, he became treasurer, replacing Fr. Victor Duquesne. He proved to be an austere manager of the material interests of the community, concerned with living in poverty. In 1940, a community was established in the Gulf quarter serving as a novitiate and scholasticate. Fr. Isidore, with a double doctorate, was named superior, treasurer, and teacher (1941-1942). He spent a year as a replacement in Valparaiso (1943), came back to the Gulf (1944), did another interim at Rengo (1945), and returned to take his place at Santiago. From 1945 to 1955, Fr. Isidore continued to help with many services but his health deteriorated: his legs, deformed because of phlebitis, could barely carry him; his hands could no longer serve him and his kidneys made him suffer greatly. At the start of 1958, his weakness only augmented. He died July 15, 1958, at 88 years old, without bothering anyone, just as he had lived, in Santiago. The funeral was celebrated July 16th, feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Fr. Isidore was buried at Santiago. Fr. Régis Escoubas could write that with Fr. Isidore, the heroicity of virtues is not a replastering of the final hours, but the crowning point of a life that was a total gift of self.

Addenda.

Father Isidore, after obtaining doctorates in philosophy and theology, taught philosophy in our scholasticates of Toulouse and Jerusalem. In 1902, he came to New York and was the first superior at Assumption in Worcester, much against his will. Relieved of that burden the following year, he remained in Worcester until 1911 and is a legendary figure among the alumni of that period. Transferred to Chile, he became pastor of the then new parish at Valparaiso, now one of our most interesting houses in that country. The priests were freed for the apostolate among the poor because the material aspects of the parish were taken care of by a committee of lay business and professional men. Later, he was Master of Novices at the novitiate of El Golf, a suburban area of Santiago. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Talcahuano, 1919.

My personal souvenirs of Fr. Isidore go back to the time when we were at Talcahuano, the main military port of Chile. The dirtiness of its streets and the vices of its inhabitants had earned it the reputation as ‘the sink of the country’. And yet, not all was rotten. On this dunghill one could still find good souls. In 1912, the religious found a church and a rectory in a sad state of abandonment and indescribable filth. Rubble accumulated in the back of the church covered the baptismal fonts that had become inaccessible. The spiritual dimension was in an even more sad state. The only priest in charge of the parish had a cloth business that he owned with his brothers. In 1919, the parish was decimated by an epidemic of typhus. Fr. Isidore was sick during 40 days, but he overcame the illness by shots of camphored alcohol [This is a genus of salt-worts of the Midi of France the leaves of which smell of camphor.] and ether to sustain the heart He had gone to preach a mission to the fishermen of Las Tumbes. Since he was robust, he didn’t get excited too easily. He was brought back to the community after two days of travel by boat. I put him in the room left by Fr. Pavillet after his death from typhus; the temperature oscillated between 35C and 42C…”

Eugène (Eugène Léon René) Giraud

1871-1939

Religious of the Province of Bordeaux, missionary to Chile.

Fraternal souvenirs.

In 1939, Fr. Julien Julien (1872-1958) wrote to Fr. Ernest Baudouy who was in charge of the composition of the ‘Letter to the Dispersion’: “Here is a bit of information concerning Brother Eugène Giraud, recently deceased in Chile. Brother Eugène came to the Assumption as a late vocation. Around 1896-1897, he entered at Montfort (Yonne).  (Mausoleum, Rengo, Chile)

I think that it was because he was not doing too well in his studies that he asked to become a lay brother and did his postulancy in this house. When I arrived here in 1898, he was no longer here, but his memory remained very much alive with the religious brothers as well as the Catholic community of the surroundings. They said that he was a hard worker, devoted and very resourceful. He had kept good memories of Montfort and François Ier where he had been sacristan. He made efforts to find late vocations. He remained there after the religious had left during the dispersion of 1901. He even was able to save the whole cellar of François Ier and transported everything to the various houses of the religious that had stayed in Paris. I believe that he didn’t get along too well with Rev. Schall who was in charge of the chapel of Our Lady of Salvation. In 1902 or maybe the spring of 1903, he spent 2 or 3 months at Louvain and left from there for New York where he was according to Fr. Charles Vermesch in 1904. He was sent to Chile at the end of 1904 or perhaps even 1905.

Biographical reconstituting together.

Eugène Giraud was born at Chauvigny (Vienne) 21 December 1871. We know nothing about his youth. He did his military service at Oran (Algeria) in a Zouave regiment (1892-1895). Then came a period of time as a monitor in an orphanage run by the Salesian Fathers. He hoped to learn enough Latin for priestly studies, but this did not materialize. He next went to the house for late vocations at Montfort (Yonne) where Fr. Rémy Commun received him. In September 1898, he entered the novitiate for lay brothers at Livry. In 1900, he was assigned to serve the community of François Ier Street and remembered having served mass for Fr. Picard. In January 1903, he was at Louvain (Belgium). On 31 March of the same year, Fr. Emmanuel Bailly brought him to New York. Brother Eugène pronounced his first vows 8 September 1904. It was on 18 December 1904 that he left from Marseilles, again with Fr. Bailly, for South America. At the beginning of 1905, he arrived in Chile and was named to the Rengo house. He made his perpetual profession there in 1908 in the hands of Fr. Théophile Durafour.  In the course of his 34 years in Chile, he went to the various houses of the mission: everywhere he showed forth his devotedness and his resourcefulness. This underscored what was written in his military dossier: “Eugène Giraud will be a great male nurse, submissive and very docile.” In 1920-1921 Brother Eugène takes care of the religious with typhoid fever resulting in eruptions of the skin at Talcahuano. Fr. Marie-Alfred Goettelmann remembered that in 1935 Brother Eugène went each day and sometimes twice a day from Mendoza to Rengo by foot to the hospital where he visited Father in the hospital with anthrax. It was in 1936 that Brother Eugène was sent to Conception to the San Juan of Matha parish. In 1937 he became paraplegic. He wanted to be useful nevertheless, so he wrote up a general listing of the baptisms of the parish. A terrible earthquake ravaged the city of Conception on 24 January 1939 that destroyed the church and the convent. Brother was alone in his cell and thought that his end had come. On 12 April 1939, he was taken to Mendoza by ambulance. He suffered a lot from many open bedsores. He died in the early morning of 4 September 1939. He was buried in the mausoleum of the Rengo parish, next to Fr. Célestin Huff who died 10 July 1938.

Addenda.

From the archives in Chile, we learn that Brother Eugène Giraud was a student for late vocations at Montfort where he took the religious habit in 1897 and then spent three years at the novitiate in Paris. He pronounced his first vows in September 1904. His sister Ms. Marie Giraud lived at Chauvigny. His name in the world was Eugène Léon Giraud-Denis. He was baptized on December 29, 1871 and was born in the Canton of Montmorillon in the diocese of Poitiers. His parents were Xavier Giraud and Rose Armandine Denis.

He did three years of military service in Algeria at Oran. He was a Zouave for a year and then spent two years as a nurse and still had 13 days left to finish his two years. He took the religious habit from the hands of Fr. Théophile Durafour and also made his perpetual vows on 4 May 1908 in his hands at Rengo on the feast of St. Monica.

Bro. Eugène spent one year in New York (1903-1904) and then spent the rest of his life in Chile. He had many skills. One of the most appreciated was the care he gave to the sick.

Talcahuano, 1922.

“Since you left Chile I never wrote to you since I didn’t have the time to do so. There are the sick to care for: Frs. Claudius, Louis Deltour, Marie-Ange, and Isidore. I spent many nights without sleep! You can add to this the work of the house that had to be done, with 4 times as much work because of the to and fro that very ill religious need and that you cannot leave alone. I am in charge of the material things of the house: bedding, dispensary, kitchen, buying, and maintenance of the church as well as keeping the books of the parish. Here things are going as well as possible given the conditions in which we live. We don’t have too much work: people are buried without going through the church. But during the year we had 1,305 baptisms. On Sunday, mass was celebrated for all the sailors and the officers in formal dress. The anniversary of the battle of Iquique was celebrated. Lately I saw in the ‘Noël’ of April an ad for ‘Notre Paroissien très complet’ (a missal for the faithful) edited by la Bonne Presse. Would you be kind enough to pay a subscription for me? With all of the sick, we had large bills from doctors, medicines and burials. You can add to that the hole that Fr. Jeandel made in the funds: This will give you an idea of our financial state.”

(Bro. Eugène to Fr. Joseph Maubon, 30 May 1922.)

Armand (Jules, Joseph, Ghislain) Goffart

1887-1980

Belgian religious of the Province of North America.

A short biography.

Jules Joseph Gislain Goffart, brother of Fr. Zénobe, was born at Leignon, in the Belgian province of Namur, June 4, 1887. He was the 7th of 12 children. Fr. Pierre Descamps received him at Bure as a postulant October 15, 1895 with the remark: “Jules is a good youth: timid, scrupulous, who cries easily if he is scolded too strongly. He arrived at the alumnate in 1901”. Under the name of Brother Armand, Jules took the religious habit at Bure, an alumnate that had been founded the preceding year, near Grupont. Fr. Marie-Clément Staub received him at the novitiate for lay brothers at Gempe (1906-1908) and sent a report full of praise for his first profession: “ I can only say good things about Brother Armand. During all of his stay at the novitiate, he has been the model of the brothers, as far as piety, work, docility, and good spirit are concerned. He did and will do a lot of good. It is truly a consolation to be able to present such lay brothers to the Congregation”. Brother Armand pronounced his first vows October 15, 1908 at Louvain. Very quickly, he was sent to serve at the college in Worcester, U.S.A., where he would remain his whole life. He arrived September 4, 1909, and was placed under the guidance of Fr. Omer Rochain who presented him for perpetual profession in 1914, after 6 years of annual vows. He made his perpetual profession June 5, 1915 in Worcester. Brother Armand was named to the college (1909-1970), and then went to the community residence (1970-1980). He died there May 7, 1980 at the ripe age of 93. His funeral was celebrated May 10. He worked in almost all of the trades: assistant treasurer, infirmarian, printer, head of the kitchen, and storekeeper. He had some noteworthy character traits: teaser and grumbler, quick to answer and full of humor, nervous and hard worker, tendency to criticize, enjoyer of good cigars, but always available and fraternal.

Fraternal echoes after a half-century of service.

In 1959, Brother Armand celebrated his double golden jubilee of religious profession and presence at the college. Fr. Roland Leroy evoked in the following manner the long stay of his confrere: “Brother exercised in our walls almost every trade, from the kitchen where he presided over the ovens in the heroic times to the wine cellar where he reigned alone or almost. In charge of the infirmary, he always gave a maternal care to the sick students or the aspirant sick, protecting them from the revenge of the deans or teachers in case they fell too often in the same situations. Concerning the religious, he preferred to be on the defensive and kept them in tow in order to avoid relapses on their part and/or convalescences that were too prolonged. ‘You have a cold? It will pass. Do as I do; blow your nose!’ But Brother, it is chronic! ‘Come on, get going! I’ll see you later’. And the patient would leave mumbling. He is not easy, this Sugar (In fact, he is called ‘Sugar” or ‘Lil’ Boss’ by all). However, those who know him always finish by getting what they want. When he was younger, Brother Armand developed the infirmary, installed in the attic storeroom, on the 4th floor. With the help of Brother Arthur and two devoted volunteer students, Deshaies and Rancourt, Brother Armand printed up sheets with the monthly grades, programs for performances, menus for banquets, all artistically composed, etc. His banquets have always enjoyed a very deserved reputation for their quality and the timely order of the service. The religious sisters, under his direction, served menus worthy of the greatest occasions and for the reception of eminent members of the Church hierarchy, diplomats, and military personnel. During the spring, summer, and fall, he found the time to clean, water, and plant the flowerbeds and care for the property of the School. In community life, he is a live wire, always ready to answer those who tease him or have complaints that are more or less justified, often just to make him talk. His quick replies hit the nail on the head and put a lot of joy in the religious. His easy manner and know-how, his opportuneness, his thoughtfulness and good manners with visitors, alumni, and new students earned him great attachment, manifested not only in words, but in ribbons, diplomas, decorations, and souvenirs. In short, everyone admits and proclaims all that the community, the alumni, and the present students owe Brother Armand”.

In fact, Brother Armand received several marks of esteem and appreciation: in 1934, he became a Knight of Leopold II. In 1959, the college-dining hall was named the ‘Goffart Dining Hall’. In 1975, he was awarded the “Médaille Grand Prix” by La Société Historique Franco-Américaine in Boston.

Addenda.

He was in charge of summer maintenance: refurbishing and painting. Brother Armand was in charge of purchasing, especially for the kitchen. After his shopping sprees in Worcester, the summer workers would wait for him to come back with sweets. One of his great joys was to smoke cigars. Bro. Armand became an American citizen in 1922.

“I have built you a dwelling, a place to live forever.”(1 Kings 8:13-21) This is the way King Solomon stood and prayed before the God of Israel, in the city of Jerusalem that his father, David, had built. The city was strong and beautiful. But there was no house for the Lord. It was Solomon who was to build the first temple, magnificent in beauty. On the day of Dedication, he prayed to Yahweh: “I have built you a dwelling, a place to live forever.”

This year, Assumption College celebrates its 75th anniversary. In the year of that anniversary, Brother Armand died. This morning, it’s easy for us to picture him standing before his Lord and saying in his humble and proud way: “I have built you a dwelling, a place to live forever.” Ninety-two years, even seventy-five years, make a man old. Seventy-five years only mark the beginning of an institution. Brother Armand was already beginning his religious life in Belgium when Assumption College was founded. And Assumption College was only five years old when Brother Armand was told by the Superior General: “You will go to Greendale, Canada, my son.” I’ve often wondered about the validity of such an appointment. But, Brother Armand came anyway.

Today, as we bid farewell, we all sense the importance of his role in the history of Assumption College. I would like for us to ponder a question together this morning: What is it that gives life to an institution? To do this, let us join Jesus and His disciples in the Temple and be with them and learn from what happened and from what was said. Jesus and His disciples are looking at the same things but seeing them differently…

We have to be impressed that, for over 60 years, Brother Armand did all kinds of work at the College and the Prep School. He proctored, he kept the house clean, he did the buying, he took care of the kitchen, he bossed people around. Of course, he did his very best to keep the Fathers humble. Today we compare him with the widow of the Gospel and we say with Jesus: “He did more than all the rest.” We do this without denying the greatness of those who came before and after him.

Only 4 months ago we were in this chapel, admiring another man who had given his life for the College. We marveled at all he had done in the life of the students. It isn’t because we look at the contribution of one man today that we forget that of another. It’s the same coin with two sides that these two Assumptionists had in common. Each in his own way had taken hold as precious the wisdom of God. While the one taught in the classroom and the other ran up and down corridors, both were reaching out to the same students with the same wisdom. How could this be? It is because they both loved the same God, they both loved the same truth, and they both loved the same youth..

I suppose that when Jesus had finished His lesson He hoped that His disciples would understand. But we have to doubt that this was so. Their response is to jump to something else: “Did you notice the size of these stones? The size of these buildings?” Jesus’ response is cold and realistic: “There is going to be a day when there won’t be a stone left upon a stone. It will all crumble.”

These words are real for us who have lived the history of Assumption College. We know how fast quick can be! We know how dusty proud towers can become. The disciples say nothing… After a while, they ask the question that weighs heavily upon them: “When? When is all this going to take place?”

… Brother Armand, in his long life, had many nicknames, and it is marvelous how his nicknames follow his life story. When he was very busy and took care of everything, he was called ‘Ti-Boss.’ When he slowed down, his final responsibility was the Candy Store. Then, the students called him “Sugar.” … Behind the nickname was a penetrating insight into the person. The students had understood what this man had always been, what it was he had remained, and how it was that he had grown. Of his sweetness we have all tasted.

… Brother Armand had little book knowledge, but he knew God. Brother Armand, who loved many people and had countless friends, loved God. And Brother Armand, in his example of this full life, gave us the picture of someone who served. [Funeral homily by Fr. Edgar Bourque, Provincial, May 10, 1980]

Worcester Telegram, Friday, May 9. 1980.

Brother Goffart, at Age 92, An Assumptionist for 75 years

Brother Armand Goffart, A.A., 92, known by alumni of Assumption Preparatory School and Assumption College as “petit boss” and “Brother Sugar” died Wednesday night in St. Vincent Hospital. He lived at the Assumptionist Home for Retired Religious Brothers, 246 Salisbury St. He joined the Augustinians of the Assumption in 1905. Brother Armand saw Assumption Preparatory School’s first class graduate in 1912 and the last class in June 1970.

A native of Laignon, Namur, Belgium, Brother Armand came here in 1909.  He had served as assistant treasurer and steward at the school, and as a chef who ran the kitchen, was gardener, printer, and director of the student summer cleanup crew.

He took his first vows when he was 21, and took perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in 1915. The dining hall at the school was named in his honor in 1959. In 1934, the Belgian government made him a Knight of Leopold…

Assumption Preparatory School Alumni Association.

Bro. Armand Goffart, a man of roguish temperament, is a religious who radiates love. Love, which generously beams forth as a friendliness toward whomever he has had to contact in the line of his many duties. Love, which for 60 full years has lived in the service of the young People of God at Assumption as an ardent disciple of Martha, without whom Jesus might have gone hungry.

Love, which as a true follower of d’Alzon, has been straightforward, generous, and self-effacing. Love, that has made Assumption the better for his having given it to us.

For Christian Love, Assumption is grateful and it is with fraternal affection that, on this 27th day of April, in the year of Our Lord 1969 and in the 65th year of this institution, we, the Alumni of Assumption Preparatory School do proclaim you

Bro. Armand Goffart, A.A., Honorary Alumnus and member of the Hall of Fame.

We already know the brilliant service of Bro. Armand Goffart as general steward, infirmarian, printer, major-domo, and servant of the servants of God. Our little Belgian deserved that his merits be pointed out to the ambassador of his country and that a request be made that he receive a decoration…

Bro. Armand Goffart is a religious of the Assumption. He was born at Leignon (Namur Province) 4 June 1887. Our Congregation, even though it was founded in France, is spread throughout the world and has many Belgians as members. Assumption College has almost always had Belgians among the faculty. Bro. Armand is one of them.

In September, it will make 25 years since his arrival in Worcester. In the house, which is the rendezvous for all those who speak French in New England, he is a most appreciated factotum. Many meetings, conferences, and banquets took place here and he took part in their organization.

He is nicknamed the “good little Belgian”. Little, he is so by his size, but he is big by his heart and the moral qualities that reflect on his country. He loves his country deeply and as Frenchmen, we love him in the same way…

Let me also add, even though this does not add anything to his personal merits, that his father, an old man of 86, served his country in 1870 as a border guard; one of his brothers, an invalid of the World War, died after being wounded and having been decorated 8 times; a second brother is assistant chief at the Secretariat of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and has received 9 Belgian and foreign decorations; a third brother serves the Baron Carton of Wiart, former minister of Foreign Affairs who was also decorated 5 times. That is not all. A fourth brother is a missionary in Chile and Vicar-Provincial of our Order in South America; a fifth brother is a missionary in Algeria. One of his cousins, a spy for Belgium during the World War, was arrested by the Germans and so brutalized that he died soon after.

[Fr. Crescent Armanet, A.A., Superior from L’Assomption, June 1934, 150-151.]

Here is a menu for the banquet served 19 October 1968.

Macédoine de fruits rafraîchis au vin de Samos

Hors d’oeuvres variés

Consommé velouté au tapioca

Bouchée St. Hubert

Omelette au Rhum

Filet mignon flanqué de Champignons

Sauce nature

Pommes mimosa

Jardinière

Pâtisserie

Glace en belle vue

Café

Cigare

Admirable and Holy Words Pronounced by Bro. Armand Goffart during the Last Days of his Life to Rev. E. Zender.

1.       I am indifferent to all: that they praise me or scorn me, I don’t care.

2.       My only happiness is to live in union with Jesus, rest on his heart, abandon myself to His holy and adorable will.

3.       When I needed someone, I prayed my Guardian Angel and the person would come immediately.

4.       All, yes all for God! Some tell me, you will be cured; others say, soon you will no longer be alive; it doesn’t matter to me, as long as I do the will of my God.

5.       I love God not because of the countless things Jesus Christ has done for me, but for Himself, for Him alone because He is infinitely loveable.

6.       I willingly sacrificed all; I want to suffer greatly; I want to die to go and be united to Jesus in heaven.

7.       I saw my dad, my good dad this afternoon; I am happy because he bravely offered his son in sacrifice to God. Oh! I am certain that God will console them, bless them, reward them. Oh! How happy I am now to die.

8.       I had been here several days and not used to isolation; Finding myself in my chair, I felt very lonesome; I got up, took my crucifix and squeezed it tightly in my hands, then on my heart and immediately I felt strength, calm, peace, and happiness come back into my heart.

9.       When I will no longer be able to receive communion, I’ll place my dear crucifix on my heart.

10.    It is holy Eucharist that always helped me suffer bravely, that always consoled me in my sufferings, Happy the souls that receive Communion well and often. It is Holy Communion that sustains our good sisters in their devotedness.

11.    With the crucifix in one hand and the rosary in the other, I fear nothing.

12.    Regardless of all my sufferings and the perspective of dying soon and so young, I explode with joy like St. Paul.

13.    I am very sad not to be able to say my rosary any more; I recite it mentally and in part. This devotion to the Blessed Virgin by the rosary that obtained for me precious graces especially that of conforming myself in all things and everywhere to the Holy will of God.

14.    I enjoyed music a lot; now, it is indifferent to me; I must detach myself of all and attach myself totally to God.

15.    To suffer in God and for God is here below the most sublime happiness.

16.    The Pastor of Leignon and the Curate came to see me; they spoke of the parish; I listened and that was all. Everything remains indifferent to me; I must only occupy my mind with God.

17.    I would like to die tomorrow, the feast of St. Joseph or March 25. May the will of God be done!

18.    While holding his crucifix firmly: The wounds of Our Lord were big and deep. He was not in a bed like me: Do I have the right to complain? Oh no, my God, may Your holy will be done in me!

19.    Since my good dad and my beloved mother told me that they had made the sacrifice of their child to God, I am stronger, happier to die.

20.    I can no longer pray or prepare myself for Holy Communion. I say: “My God, I give myself totally to You. I firmly believe and I love You with all my soul.

The devil wants to tempt me, but I remain calm and strong because Jesus is in me and with Jesus, I fear nothing.

Speech by Bro. Armand on the Occasion of his 60th Anniversary of Profession Banquet.

Here is another day that the Lord has given for the last days of my pilgrimage here below. You have just thanked Our Lord with me for the many graces that have been given during my 60 years of profession. After my silver jubilee, my golden jubilee, I now arrive at my diamond jubilee. May God be praised! According to our custom, upon leaving the chapel we meet for a celebration and that is normal. Did Our Lord do otherwise at Cana where the excellence of His wine brought joy to the hearts beyond all expectations?

We have come together to rejoice. It is understood that all here present expect a speech from me. So as not to bore you, I wrote down on paper what I thought I should say to you. Do not worry, I’ll read my little text loudly.

(He then went on to thank many people who had come to the celebration.)

Michel-Ange (Michel) Gomez

1901-1996

French religious of the Province of South Belgium.

A man, a century, four continents, a thousand ideas.

It is difficult to write the life of this religious, unless we only signal the major events in his life.

Michel Georges Gomez was born at Ascq (Nord) November 17,1901. He entered Le Bizet (Belgium) in 1913 to start his humanities. But war forced him to pursue his studies at Marcq-en Baroeul, in Lille, at the Jesuit college of Saint-Joseph. In 1919, he returned to the Assumption at the alumnates of Zepperen and Vinovo (Italy). He took the habit September 24, 1920 at Saint-Gérard and made his first vows there September 25, 1921 under the name of Brother Michel-Ange. He taught two years at the Saint Augustine college at Philippopoli-Plovdiv (Bulgaria). He returned to Belgium at Taintegnies for his philosophy that he finished at Louvain (1924). At that time, he was sent to Rome (1925-1929) and obtained a licentiate and doctorate in theology. Perpetually professed November 1, 1926, he was ordained a priest July 7, 1929.

A brilliant and worried teacher (1929-1951).

After two years at Saint-Edme in Sens (1929-1931) and a year at Pontlevoy (1931-1932), he taught at the Nîmes College (1932). At that time, Fr. Michel-Ange belonged to the Paris province. Dynamic, a hard worker, and demanding, he prepared at the same time a licentiate in Letters at Montpellier. Haunted by a desire for eremitic life, he went for a trial period to the Carthusians (Beaulieu-les-Fontaines, 1932-1934). He then taught once more at the alumnate of Chanac (1935-1936) where his severity was a problem, then at the college of Saint-Louis in Perpignan (1936-1945). He elaborated a plan to reform the pedagogy. In 1946, he was taken up with the desire to be a missionary: quite unstable, he exhausted all of the houses of the province of Paris (Les Essarts, Clairmarais, Saint-Denis, Montéchor). Intelligent but unstable, Fr. Michel-Ange gave the impression of living several lives at once.

Under all latitudes, in a hotchpotch of initiatives.

In September 1948, he obtained his exclaustration for the diocese of Lille. Two years later, he asked to be reintegrated and in 1951 he was transferred to the province of Bordeaux. He was then sent, according to his wish, to Latin America in mission country: Argentina (Santos Lugares), Chile (Valparaiso, 1952), and Eugenopolis in Brazil (1954-1962) with an indult to be detached to the interior missions. In 1962, he was in the northern hemisphere teaching at Bury in the province of Quebec (1962-1965), then again in Brazil where he taught English (1966-1968). He returned to France for pastoral services: Fumel, Chaville (Carmel). In 1971, he wanted to improve his English to go and make a foundation in Ireland. He went to Gosselies in Belgium, desirous of taking language courses at Mons, but never took these courses. The provincial of South Belgium, Fr. Pierre Charon, regularized his situation by obtaining his affiliation (1980). He remained 20 years at the college Saint-Michel, always pursued by many projects: pedagogical, agricultural, third world, linguistics. They were a reflection of his life: eclectic, at times esoteric, but always original. In 1978, he published a ‘Living Way of the Cross’ in French with reproductions by René de Cramer. Vegetarian, tireless reader, self-taught for all, including his medicines, he thought that the climate at Lorgues would be better for his painful articulations. He asked for his transfer. He arrived there September 14, 1991. He started working once again on editing projects, while telling anyone who wanted to listen that he was well cared for in this ‘five-star death house’. He ended up dying there on Sunday, September 15, 1996. He was buried ‘next to his Fathers’ September 17, putting an end to an existence that had been quite original, always in motion on the geographical level as well as that of ideas, with an unchallenged generosity, but with a fecundity of projects that was at very least embarrassing.

Addenda.

Fr. Michel-Ange got his Licentiate in Letters from the University of Montpellier in France in June 1942 and also certificates in Latin, Greek, French, and the Philology of these three languages. His Doctorate in Theology was from the Angelicum in July 1929 with a written thesis on Saint Augustine. On Saturday, 31 March 1962, Fr. Michel-Ange Gomez arrived in New York. While at Bury, he went “twice to Lake Elgin where I lived as an Iroquois while paddling my canoe on the lake.” (Letter dated 12 July 1963.) An option concerning our charism

“The preparation of the Holy Year [1975] is centered on the return to our sources, concretely for our General Chapter to try to define the ‘Charism of Fr. d’Alzon’. This is a useless exercise. As a living form of the action of the Holy Spirit, the charism is basically indefinable. As all living things, it acts especially by contagion. The action of Fr. d’Alzon’s charism is very perceptible in his immediate disciples: Picard, Bailly, Pernet. The best biographers have already delimited this. But after that, we have the fog. Our ideal is to be simple footsoldiers as working Assumptionists, like Fr. Jean de la Croix Laurent, who died in 1923. In my eyes, he lived this out the best. The stamp that Fr. d’Alzon printed in his spiritual sons made me feel this charism. At the time, I pressured Fr. Saint-Martin to publish his souvenirs concerning our old Master. At the request of Fr. Alype Pétrement, it would seem that he wrote a short memoir. What happened to it? The theme of the charism is the ‘cream pie’ of the 31st general congregation of the Jesuits (1965-1966). It was a disappointment according to Fr. Aucagne himself…”.

(Fr. Michel-Ange.)

Letter from Fr. Michel-Ange Gomez to the North American Provincial dated 5 November 1982 from Bury, Quebec.

My very Reverend and dear Father,

From our meeting during your canonical visitation, the most encouraging impression that I retained is that you are preparing with the greatest disinterestedness the bases for a future Canadian Province and a Mexican Province. A great hope surged up in me: that of a key role in Brasilia. It was in your hands for some time concerning a Spanish foundation in Brazil in 1959. It was dropped. Since the creation of Brasilia, this has become the center of gravity for Brazil replacing Rio de Janeiro. A quick glance at a map shows that this would be a fine starting point for any mission. Brasilia is close to “Sertao Goiano”, barely 800 km. from the regions that I used to travel in since 1957. Further on is the Amazonian region, almost untouched. The Amazon basin starts there since the site of the new capital was marvelously chosen as it sits on the high-plateau where 4 large rivers start… This high Plateau of Brasilia is the healthiest of Brazil being situated at 1100 and 1200 meters. Missionaries could rest and recuperate there. (Whereas, the coastal region, especially Rio de Janeiro, is hot and humid and quite depressing.) These few details are certainly sufficient for you, Reverend Father, since you have already dealt with analogous problems for the mission of Mexico. I am sure that you can appreciate the importance of having an Assumptionist parish right in Brasilia – [without even mentioning the financial benefits that the parish could eventually bring to the mission.]

Polyeucte (Firmin, H. - J.) Guissard

1891-1965

Religious of the Province of South Belgium, transferred to the Province of North America.

Curriculum vitae.

Firmin Henri Joseph Guissard was born September 27, 1891 at Mousny-Ortho, in the province of Luxemburg. He pursued his secondary studies at Bure (1902-1905) and at Taintegnies (1905-1907). September 11, 1907 was the day that he took the religious habit at Louvain under the name of Brother Polyeucte and then made his first vows September 12, 1908. Professed perpetually September 12, 1909 at Gempe where he did his second year of novitiate, he studied philosophy at Louvain (1909-1912) and while there, taught cosmology and psychology (1912-1913). Taintegnies kept him to teach rhetoric for a year (1913-1914) and during World War I, he did his military service in the Belgian army (1914-1919) in health services. He returned to Louvain to study theology (1919-1921) and went to Worcester (U.S.A.) from 1921-1929 where he taught philosophy, political economics, pedagogy, and jurisprudence. From 1929 to 1937, Fr. Polyeucte lived in Brussels where he preached, accompanied pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and collaborated with La Croix. From 1932 to 1937, he was second counselor and professor of moral theology at Louvain; from 1937 to 1940, he was superior, professor of moral theology and political economics at Louvain. From 1941 to 1946, he was a preacher at Manage. From 1946 to 1950, he was transferred to the Generalate Works in Paris. Finally, from 1950 to 1965, he was transferred to the North American Province where he devoted himself as a professor at the college in Worcester. He died in Worcester December 19, 1965 at the age of 74 after a trying period during the whole summer of 1965 when he had double pneumonia and a series of edemas from which he did not heal. So punctual all his life, he lost his memory of places and situations and could barely write legibly. His death was peaceful, without an agony, like that of a lamp that goes out, worn out after a long usage. Fr. Polyeucte was buried in Worcester.

A professor with talent.

Fr. Polyeucte left the souvenir of an admirable teacher, admired by his students, knowing how to encourage them. He was also a writer who loved his Congregation, a preacher, and a Christian humanist. Sensitive and thoughtful, with a humor that came into play when he moved his lips, he was an untiring worker in the service of the Kingdom.

The following text was pronounced in memory of Fr. Polyeucte in the church of Ortho, on Saturday, January 8, 1966. Its report is by Fr. Richard Maas. Fr. Polyeucte is the uncle of Fr. Lucien Guissard.

The tolling for the dead, played by the buglers during the consecration, the ‘Brabançonne’, after the absolution chant, reminded us of the special place that his tiny country had in Fr. Polyeucte’s heart. After the religious ceremony, the priests in attendance were invited to the rectory, where Reverend Paulus received them. The choir of the church at Ortho is decorated with paintings. Behind the altar, above a wide series of crosses with the words ‘Pax, Lux, Via, Vita’, is found a scene that Fr. Polyeucte must have contemplated and meditated upon during his final days in Belgium, he who loved so dearly his native land, with all that it hides of tenacity and deep Christian faith. The Trinity is represented, and from the cross of the Son presented by the Virgin of the Assumption, the mediatrix, rays shoot out and one of them rests on the paten that a young priest shows us. ‘Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem’: these words written next to the scene that dominates the whole altar, are they not the faithful summary of the whole life of Fr. Polyeucte? Undoubtedly he remembered all that he owed to the Virgin. He, whom we often met, rosary in hand, without any doubt, remembered his own ordination to the priesthood, but he also must have expressed his thanks for having kept during his whole life a freshness with a youthful heart and a spirit that was familiar to us. He abhorred mediocrity in all its forms, yet knew how to encourage the minutest good will. He had the desire to see his religious family grow. May he help generosity to bloom in the heart of many youths and transmit to others the deep qualities that he had here below!

A remarkable figure because of his superior intelligence, his passion for work, an esteemed lecturer, a prolific writer, Fr. Polyeucte reaped abundant admiration, praises, and gratitude.

Addenda.

Fr. Vincent de Paul Bailly received Brother Polyeucte’s vows in 1909. He was ordained August 7, 1921. During his military service, he was mustard gassed and received the Croix de Guerre. Fr. Polyeucte also taught French literature and sociology at Assumption College. He wrote a history of the Assumptionist alumnates and another book on the centenary of the Assumptionists.

Around 1964, as we went by the open door to his room in Alumni Hall, we could see Fr. Polyeucte puffing away on a big cigar. He had meticulously prepared all his classes (in philosophy or French literature) and was now relaxing by doing some light reading. He loved detective novels, especially those by Agatha Christie. Maybe he felt a special attraction for her famous Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot, because Father Polyeucte too was Belgian.

Trying to tell the story of Father Polyeucte briefly is impossible, simply because he did so many things for so many years. But let’s try… Father Polyeucte came to the United States for the first time in 1921. At Assumption College, he was professor of philosophy, political economy, pedagogy, and jurisprudence, from 1921 to 1929. He was then called back to Europe. He was called upon to preach, to lead pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and to collaborate at La Croix. From 1932 to 1937, he taught moral theology at Louvain. From 1937 to 1940, he was superior at Louvain and added political economy to the courses he taught. He was a preacher, 1941-1946, and the worked at the Oeuvres Généralices, 1946 to 1950, as literary critic for La Croix. In August 1950, he was transferred to the United States again, where he taught philosophy and French literature until his death, December 19, 1965.

From the above dates and places, we can conclude that Father Polyeucte’s life was busy and varied. To his war service in World War I he added the fact of having the house of which he was the Superior blown up in World War II. He was a teacher and a preacher. He wrote a number of books: ‘Portraits Assomptionists’ (short biographies of early Assumptionists);  ‘Histoire des Alumnats’ (a large volume on the minor seminaries of the Assumptionists); ‘Un siècle d’histoire Assomptioniste’ (the centenary of our foundation in 1950; ‘Life of Father d’Alzon’; and a ‘History of the Antonian Sisters’ (who were the College cooks in Greendale). Father Polyeucte’s French was impeccable, even if it was somewhat florid and hyperbolic, and sometimes given to the puns that francophones seemed to love so much. With a smile on his face, he would assert that he had sung the Easter Vigil, ‘Exultet’, ‘hundreds of times.’ His command of the language was so great that he once told a college student that he would that evening speak for an hour and say nothing. And he did just that.

Father Polyeucte’s memory was legendary. An alumnus, Paul Ducharme, once wrote how he and three seniors of Assumption College were talking to Father about the power of concentration and the faculty of memory. They dared him to prove it. They gave him a little known play by Corneille entitled, ‘Rodrigue’, about 2,000 verses long. “Give me two hours,” said Father Polyeucte. Two hours later he started reciting the 2,000 verses as if he were reading from the text. The seniors were deeply impressed.

After the tornado of 1953, Father Polyeucte taught many of the graduate courses in French literature, at 1010 South Main and on the new Salisbury campus. For his many years of teaching French literature he was awarded the Chevalier des Palmes Académiques by the French government. He often lectured in the auditorium of the Maison Française, using slides, but especially calling upon his encyclopedic knowledge of French civilization.

Fr. Polyeucte loved punctuality, and consequently, walked very fast, for example, going from Alumni Hall to the Taylor dining hall. He walked with his twisted gait, which caused the students who saw him rush to nickname his “Sidestep.” Fr. Polyeucte was above all else a model of piety and regularity. His preaching was effective because anyone could see that he lived what he preached. He was an exemplary religious and a zealous priest.

[ASITWAS, ANA, February-March 1999, 3-4, by Fr. Richard Richards, A.A.]

Letter from Fr. Armand Desautels, Provincial to Fr. Istace, 13 January 1966.

As you well know, Fr. Polyeucte came a first time to the United States in 1921. He started teaching 1st year high: French, Latin, history and religion. The following year, he taught philosophy until he left in 1929.

I was never his student during those years, but I was in the house from1922 to 1928, and left for the novitiate after my 2nd year of college. However, among his students were Fr.General and Fr. Henri. He was – naturally, we had echoes -- the same teacher that we had later at Louvain, with the same spirit, the same verve, the same way of exaggerating. But his courses were solid, and I don’t know any alumnus of Worcester who didn’t keep a good souvenir of his classes.

He confessed a lot. He and Fr. Léocade Bauer divided up almost all of the students if I remember well. He also preached a lot, and had in this field the same reputation that he later had in Brussels. In fact, when I preached at his funeral, I had to start by saying that I would be extremely simple, and that this was necessary since the contrast would have been too great if I had tried to be eloquent. After 40 years, one remembers few sermons; and yet, I remember very well one of his, dealing with the star of the Magi. This had an influence on my vocation. He preached very often at the College, especially on the First Fridays of the month. He also went on parish ministry every weekend.

When he returned in 1950, he became professor of French literature for the juniors and seniors of the College, and in the evening, for the externs who came for the Master of Arts courses. He was always brilliant, clear, loved by the students, among whom were many sisters. If he had a fault in his teaching, it was to explain too much – and there are faults that are more serious than that one – and to be too fluent for the weaker students. He taught his classes as a priest, judging all of the authors presented according to his faith. One only has to read his articles in the Worcester magazine ‘l’Assomption’ to see that this is so. He really enjoyed the evening classes.

He never missed a class, even when he had to drag himself to it. Because of his infirmity, he was sometimes driven so that he would not fall on the ice or because of the snow. He read a lot, and wrote every day. In fact, in his next to last attack, when it looked like he would recuperate, he told me that he knew full well that he would not be able to teach again – and yet he did teach again – but that he could always read to help his successor.

Until 1963, he was a councilor for the community, always seeking peace. He was the spiritual director for many religious, and in this way helped us a lot. He was the confessor of the bishop of Worcester who wanted to preside at his funeral.

Like Fr. d’Alzon, he died used up. He went through two wars as you know, plus the tornado in 1953. Since a few years, we could see him getting weaker day by day. We had lightened his teaching load, but we never wanted to stop it – that would have broken his heart. He often spoke of death, especially on the occasion of religious that he had known. But it was always with a great serenity. I have rarely seen such serenity when faced with death. It came out when I administered him during his next to last stroke.

In his last days, he kept losing his memory and would stop in the midst of a class. He was very aware of this. A week before the end, he was brought to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester. We always thought that he had a heart condition, and he was treated for that, and it was the strength of his heart that prolonged his life by several days. He died in his sleep, very peacefully.

Marcellin (Charles Emile) Guyot

1840-1924

French religious.

A traveling apostolic missionary.

Born June 18, 1840 at Neuville (Meuse), Charles Emile Guyot, after his primary schooling at Comercy, went to the minor seminary of Verdun for his secondary studies. It was also in the diocese of Verdun that he studied philosophy and theology at the major seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood May 21, 1864. At first, he was named curate in a Verdun parish, then pastor at Auzéville-en-Argonne and Bonzée (1864-1876). Fr. Picard received him at the novitiate in Paris December 11, 1876. Fr. Charles Emile took the name of Father Marcellin, pronounced his first vows in December 1877, and his perpetual vows December 21, 1878. He spent a year at the orphanage of Fr. Halluin at Arras (Pas-de-Calais), then in 1878-1879, two years at Paris (1879-1881), before consecrating his dynamic apostolate to the Eastern mission. He was often on conference or collection tours in various places. He arrived at Adrianopolis in November 1881, accompanied by Mrs. Germer-Durand who had become Sister Marie-Cécile. His obediences were varied and itinerant: Adrianople (1881-1883), Constantinople (1883-1884), Paris (1884-1890), and Constantinople (1890-1892). Then Fr. Marcellin was part of the founding team for the mission in Louisiana in the U.S.A. (1892-1899), an experiment of evangelization in the black milieu. This was followed by a new stay in Paris (1897-1898). The police searches of 1899 found him at the Notre-Dame de Consolation alumnate at Laubat (Charente-Maritime) where his originality, never lacking, expressed itself in comical scenes: he showed his American citizenship papers to the police. Fr. Marcellin then went to Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais) from 1900 to 1901 before being assigned to the nascent mission in England: London-Bethnal Green (1901-1903), and Charlton (1903-1914). At the start of World War I, he went back to the European continent and found that he was stranded at Louvain (1914-1919). After the conflict, he was off once again: San Remo in Italy (1919-1920), Gemenos, near Marseilles (Bouches-du-Rhône) where he served as chaplain of an agricultural orphanage (1920-1921), San Remo (1921), the novitiate at Notre-Dame de Lumières (Vaucluse) in 1921 and 1922, and finally Notre-Dame de France in Jerusalem, where he found a bit of stability: He received pilgrims and became a guide for the archeological digs of the future church of Saint Peter of Cock-Crow. He died there at the age of 84, February 22, 1924 and was buried in the vault of Saint Peter of Cock-Crow.

A first class originality.

Besides very real virtues, everything in the life of Fr. Marcellin is marked with a stamp of originality that borders on strangeness, and when it is pointed out to him, he is the first to laugh about it. I still see him, at the beginning of the war, arriving from Louvain with verbal instructions from Fr. Emmanuel Bailly for the Fathers of Taintegnies. Fr. Marcellin was dressed in a strange way, clergyman style: a long white beard, close-fitting garment too small for his size, a huge top hat. The travelers took him for a Prussian spy and, at their request, the stationmasters stopped the train three times between Brussels and Tournai to ask for his papers. Smiling and like a good Frenchman, he showed his honorary American citizenship papers obtained because of his devotedness as a missionary in America. And when he came face to face with the civic guards that blocked the road near the alumnate, but who, on my recommendation, let him pass, I said to him: “Truly, Father Marcellin, you are really dressed in a strange attire!” He answered me without blinking: “ That’s it, you are just jealous!” [According to Fr. Edouard Bachelier.]

Addenda.

In 1892, Fr. Marcellin Guyot (1840-1924) came to Canada, sent by Fr. Picard, to foster pilgrimages on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress of 1893 in Jerusalem. He went back in the summer of 1896.
[Les Assomptionnistes au Canada, Yves Garon, A.A., 1997, 12.]

The resistances of a bishop

“I saw Msgr. yesterday. At first, our meeting was gracious, them cold, then sharp. I was not surprised. I expected his pleasantness. Nevertheless, he did not sway me. After all kinds of nice things on those desiring to live in community, I heard things about your religious that he did not name but that I perfectly recognized by his transparent allusions; on your society that he treated as republican where there was no leader and in which everyone did whatever they wanted. He said that it was the rendezvous for men who were expelled from everywhere. Nevertheless, I had only named you as Augustinians, but that was sufficient for him to understand fully. He lifted his hand to indicate that I not insist. He then added that he would not permit me to go for a trial period with you and the day that I left his diocese, it would be the end. I would no longer belong to him and I would not be taken back. No doubt, he thought that he would scare me, but I told him very politely that having the occasion to definitely enter into religious life, I requested that he let me go and give me an exeat”. (Fr. Marcellin to Fr. Picard.)

Yves (Yves-Marie-Pierre) Hamon

1864-1925

Religious of the Province of Bordeaux.

Founder of the Apostolate of the Sea.

Born in Pleumeur-Goutier (Côtes-du-Nord) March 21, 1864, Yves-Marie-Pierre Hamon first studied for the diocesan clergy.  After receiving his primary education in Pleumeur-Goutier (1869-80), he went to Fr. Féron’s apostolic school in Avranches (Manche) from 1884-87 and entered the major seminary in Poitiers (Vienne).  He then asked to become an Assumptionist.  Fr. Picard gave him the religious habit in Livry-Gargan (Seine-Saint-Denis) December 8, 1888, under the name of Brother Yves.  Annually professed December 8, 1889, and perpetually professed December 8, 1890, he studied theology in Le Breuil (Deux-Sèvres) from 1890 to 1894, while teaching at the alumnate at the same time.

Ordained a priest in Luçon December 23, 1893, Fr. Yves was assigned directly by Fr. Picard in February 1895 to the chaplaincy of the Apostolate of the Sea that had just been created. [To support this special apostolate, the Bonne Presse in Paris created in 1894 La Croix des Marins (1894-1914) and in 1898 the short-lived La Croix des Terres-Neuves (1898-99).] Sent immediately to the Island of Saint Pierre and Miquelon with Fr. Belin from Saint Servan, Fr. Yves founded, organized and directed the “Family Home,” which grew and developed little by little, and whose purpose was to offer seamen a spiritual center where they could rest, recover, correspond with their families and friends, and enjoy a social life on land.

As soon as he returned to France for a rest from this first maritime campaign, Fr. Yves was sent to Madagascar as a military chaplain aboard the Notre-Dame-de-Salut, which the French government had just chartered as a hospital ship.  In March 1896, Fr. Yves left again for the North American shores on the Saint-Pierre.  The boat was shipwrecked on May 30.  Rescued with difficulty along with the crew, Fr. Yves managed to reach the “Family Home.”  He spent the following winter visiting sailors on the Breton coast. He left again for the fishing banks in March 1897 and later that year accompanied a pilgrimage to the Holy Land at Christmastime. He continued his ministry in Newfoundland throughout 1898-99, touring the French shore, visiting fishermen, improvising religious ceremonies, and bringing spiritual comfort to this mobile population.

In 1900, he was appointed military chaplain to the Red Cross in China, which won him the silver medal of the French Red Cross.  In 1901, he once again took up his ministry to seamen, but this time in Iceland where he established and operated another “Family Home” in Fas-Krudjord until 1906.

Fr. Yves then spent the next five years in England (1906-11), exercising his ministry and perfecting his English.   From 1912 to 1913, he returned to the “Family Home” on the Island of Saint Peter and Miquelon.  The strain of this tiring life obliged him to return to a life on land: in England, at Bethnal Green (1913-20), and in Bourville (Seine-Maritime, 1920-24).  Doctors were not able to stop the progression of his diabetes.  After a pilgrimage to Lourdes in August 1924, Fr. Yves retired to Tréguier (Côtes-du-Nord), next to his native country. Despite the very devoted care he received, Fr. Yves died there January 5, 1925, and was buried in Tréguier.

Fr. Yves was one of the first religious to be assigned to this new specialized Apostolate of the Sea, which owes him its existence, operation, and development.  His Breton background, his dedication to the humble, his dislike of all comfort, his fascination with adventurous and even dangerous situations, and his physical strength permitted him to carry out a difficult and often ungrateful task toward these sailors who had adopted him and who had great trust in him.  The annual bulletins of the Society for the Apostolate of the Sea, from 1896 to 1913, published the reports he drew up of his activities.  On reading them, one senses the supernatural spirit that underpinned all his actions and the constancy of his apostolic zeal to bring spiritual help to the forgotten milieu of Breton fishermen on the shores of Newfoundland and Iceland.

Addenda.

There took place the very same year of 1896, but especially in 1899, other contacts of the Assumption with Canada, contacts of another type: Fr. Yves Hamon came to Newfoundland, first accidentally and then voluntarily; at the time, Newfoundland was a British colony and only became a Canadian province in 1949. We can at least mention these contacts. In March 1896, the schooner Saint-Pierre, a hospital ship belonging to the Overseas Works of the Assumptionists sank near Cap Sainte-Marie, in the south of Newfoundland. Fr. Yves Hamon was on board and was taken in at Placentia, in Pleasant Bay. Three years later, Fr. Hamon visited all the places where French fisherman stayed, on the west coast of Newfoundland and the nearby islands. [Les Assomptionnistes au Canada, Yves Garon, A.A., 1997, 13.]

Father Yves is identified with the Apostolate of the Sea. He first organized at least 2 “foyers” for seamen, one of them at Marseilles. In the 1890s we were the owners of two ships, used primarily for pilgrimages to Jerusalem. They became hospital ships for seamen. Thus, the “Notre-Dame de Salut” (later rebaptized the “Étoile”) undertook several voyages, and Father Yves accompanied them to Madagascar, to the isles of Saint Pierre et Miquelon, to Iceland, and Newfoundland. He was in the shipwreck when we lost the “Saint-Pierre,” and two more ships were purchased, named the “Saint Pierre” and the “Saint Paul.” He spent several years in England, continuing the Apostolate of the sea. We still have the foyer at Marseilles, and recently Fathers have become active in the seamen’s apostolate, in England and New York, where Father David Hennessy is doing some work. (Notes by Fr. Armand Desautels.)

Presentation.

“After having prayed God for a long time to enlighten me concerning my vocation and having consulted with my spiritual director, I believe that there would be dangers for me to be in the secular clergy. In order to protect myself and to work more efficiently for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, I wish to enter into an active religious Congregation. I had already thought of this, but my final decision came during the retreat at the beginning of the year. Not knowing any that could better answer my plans than the one that you are in charge of, I ask you to admit me to your novitiate as soon as possible: I am anxious to enter. I am 24 years old since 21 March. I am exempt from military service having a brother in the military. I did my humanities at l’Oeuvre apostolique of Avanches. From there I entered theology last 25 February at the Major Seminary of Poitiers. But having received neither dimissory letters nor exea, I still depend on the diocese of Saint-Brieuc where I was born and where my parents live. I also want to tell you that I have not yet had the joy of entering the clergy ranks”.

(Y. Hamon to Fr. Picard, 1888.)

Apostolate of the Sea.

Fr. Yves Hamon, a compatriot of the Breton fishermen to whom he would minister, was completely at home working with humble, hardy folk. His disdain for comfort, his adventurous spirit, and even his prodigious physical strength admirably equipped him for his task, which he began less than two years after his ordination. His first project was a sailor’s home on the island of St. Pierre (of St. Pierre and Miquelon). During the winter, an off-season for fishermen, he would visit them at home in France, preaching missions and even closed-retreats. To accommodate his fishermen, he added a chapel to his Sailor’s home, where they could worship without the constraints, which they felt in the local churches. But religious authorities resented what they considered an intrusion and competition. The Pope personally intervened to grant Fr. Yves whatever authorizations were needed. Still the clamor did not die down; even the French Chamber of Deputies became involved.  To let the storm subside, if I may be permitted this figure of speech, Fr. Yves was sent to China, of all places, as military chaplain with the Red Cross, for six months. When he was reassigned to the Apostolate of the Sea, it was in Iceland. He worked there from 1901 to 1906, and again founded a Sailor’s home, in Faskrudsfjord. Fr. Yves certainly got around the world. From 1906 to 1920 he served in England, except for two seasons back in Newfoundland. In 1912 and 1913, his robust health ruined by many years of work in harsh climates, he became a semi-invalid in his last years. In his conversations he continued to recall his picturesque voyages to Newfoundland, Madagascar, and China. One day, years ago, a friend remarked to me, “Join the Assumptionists and see the world. ” In Fr. Yves Hamon’s case, this was all too true. (The Assumptionists by Richard Richards, A.A., 82-83)

 

READ MORE - Part 2



[1] Saint Gérard de Brogne has his feast on October 3.  This Belgian monk first received military training as a page for the Count of Namur.  He was even sent on a special mission to the court of France in 918.  He entered the Benedictine abbey of Saint Denis, was ordained a priest, and returned to Belgium to found a new abbey in the Brogne area.  He died in 959.  The Abbey of Saint Gérard de Brogne passed to the Assumptionists in 1919.  It first became a novitiate, then a scholasticate for approximately 50 years.  The Assumptionists gave up the abbey in 1974, but returned to Saint Gérard two years later, to the Priory of Our Lady of Grace which was being given up by the Bernardine Sisters.  The Priory was given a twofold purpose: to be a house of hospitality (retreats and various meetings) as well as a retirement home for senior or handicapped religious.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2011 09:08
 
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