Cardinal Pierre De Bérulle (1575-1629)

Cardinal Pierre De Bérulle (1575-1629) October 2, 2009

Born to a distinguished family in Champagne, from an early age he was interested in the conversion of Protestants. After entering the priesthood he was made chaplain to King Henry IV. He helped bring the Carmelite nuns (of the Reform of St. Teresa of Avila) into France. In 1611 de Bérulle founded the Congregation of the Oratory in France on the model of the one formed some years before by St. Philip Neri at Rome. While heading the Oratory, he was also actively employed in the public affairs of the time; for example, in the arrangements for the marriage of Charles I of England with Henrietta of France, sister of Louis XIII. Pope Urban VIII in 1627 rewarded de Bérulle’s services to Church and State by creating him a cardinal. Two years later de Bérulle died while saying Mass. His disciple, St. Vincent de Paul, said of him: “He is one of the most saintly priests I have known”, and his friend St. Francis de Sales declared: “He is everything which I should desire to be myself”. Cardinal de Bérulle left several works, the remarkable qualities of which led Pope Urban VIII to call him the Apostolus Verbi incarnati. ” One of his biographers, Father Cloysenet, has said: “He wrote the books at his leisure and weighed each word”, and the biographer adds very justly that the reader is rewarded for his trouble, for “it is impossible to read them without feeling oneself filled with love for our Saviour Jesus Christ“.
(From the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia)
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