Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/414

This page needs to be proofread.


MISSION


3fi2


MISSION


taking the places, so far as they eouUl, which luul been, liclil by the Jesuits in tlie Levant anil in China (1782- 1783). Father Vigiuier, a Lazarist, took possession of the mission at t'onstantinople anil S May, 1785, another Lazarist, Father Raux, took possession of the mission of Pekin. At the outbreak of the French Rev- olution there were in France. Sjiain, Portugal, and the Palatinate alonK with the missions outside JMu-ope about one hundreil and lifty Lazarist cslablishnients. I'luliT the Rcvoluliciri. — l^ven before the Revolution in France many nations had been the prey of internal dissensions. In the first place nuist be mentioned Poland whose discords were leailing it to dismember- ment and ruin. In 1772, in the first partition of Poland, twelve houses of the Lazarists passed under foreign dominion, -Vustrian, Prussian, or Russian. The Polish houses which became Austrian disappeared before the exactions of Joseph II of Austria. The King of Prussia, who when taking his share of Poland had promised to respect religious institutions, soon began confiscating ecclesiastical property. Neverthe- less, in 1789 the Polish province of the Lazarists still numbered twenty-two houses. A second and a third division took place in 1793 and in 1795, among Aus- tria, Prussia, and Russia, leaving nothing of unhappy Poland. In the part that fell to Russia the Polish Lazarists constituted a new province called the Lith- uanian, remaining as far as possible in commimication wntli the superior general in Paris. The Polish up- risings of 1830 and 1863 drew down upon the Catholics the rigours of the Prussian and Russian Governments. The Lazarist houses at Culm, Gnesen, and Posen were suppressed by the laws of 1836. The houses in Russia, much more numerous, were destroyed by the Government in 1842 and 1864. It was only later, un- der the Austrian dominion, that the Polish Lazarists could reorganize. They have establishments on Austrian territory in Galicia and Bukowina. In the different states of Italy, where the princes of the House of Bourbon reigned, life was no longer an easy matter for religious communities. In the Kingdom of Naples they were forced under penalty of suppression to stop all intercourse with the houses of the community in foreign states and especially with the superior general. This state of affairs continued from 1790 till 1815. About 1789 the houses of the congregation in Italy were divided into two provinces: the pro\dnce of Rome with twelve houses and the province of Lora- bardy with fifteen houses which included the founda- tions at Barcelona, Palma, and Barbastro in Spain. In Paris on the day after the taking of the Bastille the mob made an attack upon the house of St. Lazare which was one of the chief religious establishments in Paris. The furniture was broken and thrown out of the windows, the priests and students were obliged to disperse. The missionaries returned and banded together there some days afterwards, but they had to separate again in 1792, and to abandon this house in which St. Vincent had lived and died, and which was the central house of the congregation. The other house of the Lazarists in Paris, the old College des Bons Enfants, became the scene of still more<lramatic events in 1792. On the second and third of Septem- ber of this year massacres occurred in different estab- lishments in Paris in which the Revolutionists had locked in the priests. The Aljljey, Carmel, and St. Firmin served as prisons. In the last house more than seventy priests were cruelly massacred, among others the Lazarist superior of the establishment. Father Louis Joseph Francois and his confrere, Henry Gruyer. The superior general of St. Lazare, Cayla, at the Assembly, refused the oath of the ("ivil Constitution of the clergy. Among the members of his congrega- tion several pviblished learned protests against it and all refused it except a few, three of whom after- wards became Constitutional bi.shops. A goodly number died martyrs to their fi<lclity to the Cliurch of


Rome. Some of these martyrs were Francois and Gruyer, massacred at St. Firmin in Paris, Matthew Caron, John Colin and John Gallois at Versailles. Many perished on the scaffold: Francis Hergon at Cahors, John Guibaud at Mans, Loiiis I layer at Niort, Francis Martelet at Besan(,'on. In addition, several .succumbed in prison: Nicholas Bailly, Paul Brochois, Victor Juliemie, and Angelus Bernard La- mourette, nejihew of the Constitutional bishop, or on theprison-.shipsof Rochefort and at the Isle Madame,

is John Janet and Nicholas Parizot; or at Sinnamari,

as Claude Cuin.

Such is the tribute which the Congregation of the Mission paid during the bloody Revolution. As a re- sult of the legislation concerning the Constitutional Church and the decrees of suppression of religious orders, all the establishments of the Lazarists in France were tlestroyed. At that time they had in France provinces comprising 78 houses with 824 members. Obliged to flee, the superior general, Cayla, took refuge in Rome, where he died 12 February, 1800. His death at a period w'hen the scattered members of the congregation could not come together to elect his successor, began an interregnum which was full of difficulties. There were vicars-general ; ordinarily two vicar.s-general governed simultaneously, one for the Lazarists in France and the foreign missions and as superior of the Daughters of Charity, the other had authority over the Lazarists of other countries. This provisional organization lasted until 1827, when a superior general was finally named. During these twenty-seven years the vicars general were as follows. On the death of the superior general, Felix Cayla, in 1800, Francis Brunet, his companion in exile at Rome and his assistant, was appointed vicar-general. Re- turning to France m 1804 Brunet lodged at the house of the Daughters of Charity and died there in 180G. Claude Placiard, his successor, who seemed destined for a longer career, died the next year after an illness of three days. He was succeeded by Dominic Hanon. The zeal with which the latter strove to maintain the authority which the superior general used to exercise over the Daughters of ( 'harity drew upon him the ani- mosity of the imperial power and he was imprisoned in the fortress of Fenestrelle. He did not regain his liberty until 1814 when he returned to Paris where he died in 1816. The ne.xt year he had as his successor Charles Verbert, who lived till 1819. On his death Charles Boujard was invested with the vicar-general- ship, like his four predecessors, and it was under his government, lasting about eight years, that the con- gregation succeeded in reorganizing, and noticeably increased. These five vicar-generals were French and resided in Paris. The Italian vicars-general residing in Rome were Dominic .^icardi from 1804 to ISIS and Antony Baccari from 1819 to 1827. Even under the provisional regime of the vicars-general, the work of preaching, of the seminaries, and of the foreign mission was gradually re-established. In France as early as 1819 Verbert saw gathered around him a considerable body of yoimg men and of ecclesias- tics already formed and could state that the Lazarists had houses at Amiens, Sois.sons, Sarlat, Montauban, Vannes, Valfleury, St. Etienne (Circular letters, II, 351). At the same period some of the houses in Italy that were suppressed by the Revolution reopened. There were six houses in Spain, six also in Portugal, counting the college at Macao which was a Portuguese possession. The province of Poland or of Warsaw numbered twelve houses. The Lithuanian province because of political circumstances had but little intercourse with the superiors of the congregation. The foreign missions had to suffer too from the critical conditions brought about by the Revolution in those countries whence they drew their supply of mission- aries. This period of expectation was followed by a period of expansion.