A Brother Pioneer: Brother Pastoris, F.S.C. (1819-1874)

Brother Pastoris, F.S.C. (1819-1874)

Brother Pastoris (Jules J. Deville, 1819-1874), the austere and apostolic member of this pioneer band, was born in France on March 4, 1819. He entered the novitiate at Cluire-lez-Lyon at the age of twenty-three and received the religious habit on February 14, 1842. He spent only one year in New York, teaching a group of the smaller boys in the attic of the rectory on Howard Street.

The name of Brother Pastoris is particularly revered in Canada for the work he accomplished as Director of Novices from 1849 to 1858. He had been trained in France by Brother Jean Olympe, who became Superior General of the Institute in 1874. Brother Pastoris was skilled and successful in forming his novices according to the traditional methods of the Institute. In 1854, as Master of Novices, he was in charge of Brother Edward of Mary (Augustin Belanger, 1839-1930), who afterwards was connected with the novitiates of the United States as Director and Provincial for fifty-seven years. Of the 216 Brothers who died in Canada, during the first half century the Brothers were there, from 1837 to 1887, nearly half were trained by Brother Pastoris.

In 1858, Brother Pastoris volunteered for the missions in India. He held the office of Provincial there for ten years, until failing health obliged him to return to France. Five years later, in 1873, feeling himself sufficiently recovered, he asked to be assigned to the United States again and was appointed Director of Novices at Oakland, California. However, the ravages of Canadian winters and the burning heats of India had left their permanent imprint and brought him to an early death. He died on September 30, 1874, at the age of fifty-five, after thirty-two years of the religious life. He was the only one of the pioneers to be buried on American soil.

rother Angelus Gabriel, F.S.C., The Christian Brothers in the United States, 1848-1948: A Century of Catholic Education (New York: The Declan X. McMullen Company, Inc., 1950), 111.

 NOTE: In referring to Brother Pastoris as one of the “pioneers,” the author means that he was one of the first group of De La Salle Christian Brothers to work in the United States.

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