Gabriel Deshayes was born on 4 December 1767 in Beignon, not far from Montfort-sur-Meu, the birthplace of St Louis Marie de Montfort, in Brittany. He studied for the priesthood in Saint-Malo and Dinan, but, when the time came for his ordination to the priesthood, the French Revolution was already under way, and he had to be ordained in secret, in Jersey, by the Bishop of Tréguier, who had fled there from the Revolution. Returning to France, Father Deshayes ministered clandestinely in various places in Brittany. When the revolutionary persecutions began to wane, he was appointed parish-priest of the parish of Saint-Gildas in Auray, in the diocese of Vannes. There, in 1812, he became better acquainted with the Missionaries of the Company of Mary, and with the Daughters of Wisdom, who had established a community in Auray to care for deaf and dumb people under the guidance of Father Deshayes. While he was parish-priest in Auray, Father Deshayes was also instrumental in the founding, along with Michelle Guillaume, of the Sisters of Saint-Gildas (Sisters of Christian Instruction). In 1819, he founded, with Jean-Marie de la Mennais, a new congregation of teaching Brothers, the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Ploërmel.

Meanwhile, in the community of the Missionaries of the Company of Mary, Father Supiot had been Superior General since 1792, but by 1806 he was feeling very tired and wished to resign. Father Duchesne was appointed as his assistant, and became virtually the Superior General in 1810, when Father Supiot was relieved of all administrative responsibilities. Father Duchesne's formal election as Superior General took place in 1816, two years before the death of Father Supiot on 12 December 1818. Perhaps suspecting that his own death was near (he suffered from a heart disease), in 1820 Father Duchesne invited Father Gabriel Deshayes, who had already shown an interest in joining the Company of Mary, to come to Saint-Laurent to be his assistant. Then he died, somewhat unexpectedly, on 22 December 1820. Immediately the members of the Company of Mary and of the Daughters of Wisdom invited Father Deshayes to become their new Superior General. After obtaining the permission of his bishop, Father Deshayes accepted, and was officially elected as such on 17 January 1821, at the age of 54. He was to hold this post until his death in 1841.


About the Author:

The author of this book is Bro. Lawrence Joseph S.G. from the Province of Yercaud, India. He is specialized in the life and ministry of St. Montfort and the history of the Congregation. He has authored a biography of Montfort for the public and one for students. He has written the history of Indian Provinces and of Coonoor Novitiate and of Eachinkadu Novitiate, the biography of Fr. Deshayes and that of Blessed Marie Louise Trichet.

Rev. Fr. Gabriel Deshayes

  • Paperback | English

    By (author) Br. Lawrence Joseph



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