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the influence of Lamennais, Père d'Alzon, though educated in Gallican principles, was one of the first to act on this new teaching.
According to the views which he had adopted, many a lesson of heresy was then taught in the sanctuaries of France. He determined to break wholly away from such teaching, to pursue his studies at Rome itself, and to receive ordination there. This would be nothing very remarkable now-a-days; but then it was quite unprecedented. Only one French priest, the celebrated Mabillon, had attended the last Papal Jubilee, and he had gone to Rome not expressly for that purpose, but for study. The French bishops had long since ceased to cross the Alps on a visit to Rome. The Abbé d'Alzon went with one companion. On his return, after having been ordained sub-deacon the 14th, deacon the 21st, priest, December 26th, 1834, all within three weeks, his bishop, one of the Confessors of the Revolution, affected to doubt the authenticity of these orders, and exclaimed: "The Pope would be better employed in teaching the catechism to the little gamins on the banks of the Tiber!" But the Père d'Alzon had embraced, as the aim of his life, the leading France back to Rome, and the making Rome and the Pope the basis of French society: "Pierre, c'est le Christ." The attempt seemed like madness: it was so alien to all the ideas of France of that day. "The man is crazy!" was the almost universal cry. But, nothing daunted, he pursued his aim in all possible ways, in every conceivable form. Again and again he tried to found a college for training
French clergy in Rome;-a college which, after several partial failures, has been established by Leo XIII. in 1893, thirteen years after the death of the first promoter. He with Dom Guéranger zealously advocated the introduction of the Roman Rite, superseding all the Provincial Rites of France; using, in his own establishments, the same Office as the Pope. Whatever religious question stirred the mind of France, he was sure to make his voice heard thereon, and his action felt, treating every subject from the extreme ultramontane point of view. He fought by the side of Lamennais and of Montalembert for free religious education, and was the last priest in ecclesiastical dress who visited Lamennais. One of the greatest and most constant efforts of his life was a crusade against the University of France and its teaching; and one of his great successes was the founding of the College of the Assumption at Nismes, before the monopoly of the University had been legally abrogated. He quickly saw the growing power of the press in the formation of public opinion, and started several reviews and journals, one of which became afterwards L'Univers, the most powerful organ which the extreme clerical party in France ever possessed. He was the fast friend of Louis Veuillot, who became its editor after 1842, and who attacked with caustive invective every sign of liberalism among the bishops or clergy of France. It was not the journalism alone, but the whole of the licentious and free-thinking literature of France that he assailed. In face of la mauvaise pressebad literature he would set up la bonne presse,
good literature. Of the three newspapers which the present Société de la Bonne Presse publishes, La Croix (Sept. 1, 1895) claims to have a circulation of 500,000 daily, and is still increasing; La Vie des Saints, a weekly publication, has 250,000; while the circulation of the Pélérin, Les Questions Actuelles, Les Contemporains, Les Echos d'Orient, and other periodicals, must be very great.
But the exertions of Père d'Alzon were by no means confined to literature. When the news came of the invasion of the Papal States by Garibaldi, in 1867, he at once formed a company of Papal Zouaves, from volunteers of his college at Nismes. Within a week, 65 were enrolled; the number being subsequently raised to 170.1 Soon afterwards we find him foremost amongst those who urged Pius IX. to convoke the Vatican Council, and to declare the dogma of the Infallibility; while his disciples were chosen by Pius IX. as missionaries in the work of uniting the Bulgarian Church to Rome, and in the first mission to Constantinople for the union of the Eastern Churches with Rome, which is one of the chief fields of action of the Assumptionist Fathers.
Perhaps, however, the greatest and most unexpected of all his triumphs has been the revival of pilgrimages in France. These had almost ceased, except among the peasantry of certain provinces;
1 The white heat of enthusiasm-shall we say fanaticism? -with which these recruits fought may be estimated by the fact that they sent home the brains of one of their number who fell at Mentana, and the skull of another, killed on the walls of Rome, to be buried in the founder's tomb, at the foot of the altar.
and even there it was sometimes hard to say whether the pilgrimage was really made, and the devotion offered to the Christian saint, or to some vague, traditional memory of an older superstition or faith. Mlle. Eugénie de Guérin, a thoroughly pious woman, brought up in clerical and religious circles, whose brother was a pupil of Lamennais, wrote, even in 1837, of pilgrimages, as "remnants of an antique faith; the time for them is now past; the spirit of them is dead in the hearts of the multitude"; and this was the general opinion. These pilgrimages the Père d'Alzon set himself to restore, recognizing the advantage of the new modes of locomotion for this end. His attention was directed first of all to the pilgrimages to Rome, especially the official episcopal visits, and the visits at the Jubilees. Both these had fallen into disuse; both have been successfully revived. Every French bishop now pays the customary visit to the Pope within three years after his consecration; many repeat it triennially. There is scarcely any new religious work, of charity, of devotion, associations, societies, sisterhoods or confraternities, that does not make a pilgrimage to Rome to receive the papal blessing. Since 1882, annual pilgrimages have been made to Jerusalem, and they are now repeated twice or thrice a year. These are almost wholly the work of the Assumptionist Fathers, originated by the Père d'Alzon, and are carried on by their own steam vessels. Yet all this is as nothing compared with what has been accomplished in France itself. Lourdes has become a rendezvous for almost the whole Catholic world; and the
pilgrimage to Lourdes is only one of many. An almanack published by the Society of St. Augustin gives the number of places of pilgrimages to the Virgin alone at 1,253; and the number of pilgrims as amounting to 28 millions. This would be the entire available population of the country, were it not that certain pilgrims renew their visits ten or twelve times a year, and is of course an exaggeration. Still, if we take into account the number of sanctuaries other than those of the Virgin, such as the Churches of the Sacré Coeur at Montmartre, and at Paray-le-Monial, the Pardons of Brittany, the many popular shrines of the Magdalen, of St. Michael the Archangel, and other saints locally revered, the numbers, while excessive, denote a change almost too great to have taken place within the life of one man. Yet the change has been wrought, and the movement is still on the increase.
We can understand and sympathize to a great extent with the campaign carried on by Père d'Alzon and others, against the merely secular teaching of the University of France, against the irreligious press, and the non-religious lay schools of France. But it is somewhat startling, especially when we remember that it was before the days of laicalization and expulsion of the Sisters, to find him denouncing the hospitals in unmeasured terms. "Down with the hospitals!" he cries. As a countersystem he founded Les Petites Sœurs de l'Assomption, to nurse the poor at their own homes. This Sisterhood has had great success, and is a most useful and meritorious institution. By the influence