Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade, (Périgueux, 8 April 1761 - Bordeaux, 22
January 1850) was a French Catholic priest who survived persecution
French Revolution and later founded the Society of Mary,
usually called the Marianists, in 1817. He was beatified by Pope John
Paul II on 3 September 2000 his feast day is celebrated on 22
The Marianist Family's other three branches—the married and single
men and women of the Marianist Lay Communities, the consecrated
laywomen of the Alliance Mariale, and the
Religious Sisters known as
the Daughters of Mary Immaculate—also look to Chaminade as a founder
1 Early life
2 The Revolutionary era
5.1 Miracle worker
5.1.2 United States
7 External links
Chaminade was born in 1761 in
Périgueux to Catherine Bethon and
Blaise Chaminade, in the former province of Périgord, now the
Department of Dordogne. He was the 14th child of deeply religious
parents. Three of his brothers became priests. Feeling called to serve
in this way as well, he entered a minor seminary in
Mussidan at the
age of ten. He was ordained a priest in 1785 for the local diocese.
The Revolutionary era
In 1790, after the start of the French Revolution, Chaminade moved to
Bordeaux. There he became an enemy of the state by defying the Civil
Constitution of the Clergy, which would have required him to take an
oath affirming the Revolution's secular values and disclaiming the
authority of the Roman Catholic Church. He secretly continued to work
as a priest, risking a possible death penalty. One of his allies in
this work was the
Venerable Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de Lamourous
(1754–1836), whom he later assisted in founding Bordeaux's
Miséricorde (House of Mercy) for "fallen women".
In 1795, when the national government sought to work with the
non-juring clergy, Chaminade accepted responsibility for supervising
the reconciliation of the clergy of
Bordeaux who had taken the
Constitutional Oath but wanted to make peace with the Catholic Church;
about fifty such priests completed their reconciliation with his help.
Coup of 18 Fructidor
Coup of 18 Fructidor by the
French Directory in 1797, he
fled the country and found refuge in Zaragoza, Spain, for three
While living there, he would regularly visit the Basilica of Our Lady
of the Pillar out of his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As a result of his prayer he developed a vision for restoring the
Catholic faith to France. To this end, he decided to build an
organization of both lay and religious Order members, taking her as
the model of a perfect disciple of Jesus.
When he returned to
Bordeaux in November 1800, he re-established the
Marian Sodality, which he hoped would promote the desecularization of
France by offering "the spectacle of a people of saints". He saw the
development of the young lay movement as the prime focus of his
mission. In this he was opposed by the traditionalist forces in the
Church, both clergy and lay, who saw the re-creation of the privileges
and institutions of the pre-Revolutionary Church as the true goal of
their restoration of the faith in France. In 1824 Chaminade published
a reply to that line of thinking in which he stated, "The levers that
move the moral world somehow need a new fulcrum."
The sodality spread to other cities, and the Vatican recognized his
efforts by appointing him
Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of
Bazas and later, in 1801, naming him an "Apostolic Missionary" to the
region, confirming their trust in him.
Some sodalitists wanted to make a more complete commitment to the
Church, so Chaminade, along with the
Venerable Adèle de Batz de
Trenquelléon (1789–1828), founded the Institute of the Daughters of
Mary Immaculate in
Agen in 1816. A year later, he founded the Society
of Mary at Bordeaux. Both religious institutes devoted themselves to
teaching. Chaminade sought to establish a network of schools to train
Catholic teachers, but this effort was checked by the 1830 Revolution.
However, both of Chaminade's religious institutes continued to grow:
the Daughters of Mary founded schools in south-western
educate rural women and the Society of Mary expanded in
spread to Switzerland (1839) and the United States of America (1849).
The last ten years of Chaminade's life were filled with problems of
health, finances and obstacles to his vision in the administration of
the Society. He was replaced in January 1846 as
Superior General by a
General Chapter, which he considered illegitimate, called by members
of the General Council of the Society, with the approval of the Holy
See. Partially paralyzed, he thereafter was left in virtual isolation
by the government of the Society.
Chaminade died in
Bordeaux in 1850, surrounded by members of the
Society he had founded, where his tomb is.
The process of inquiry for the cause of Chaminade's canonization was
opened in 1909, with testimony taken in
France and Spain, the locales
of his life until 1912. The cause was submitted to Rome by the
Marianists in 1918. Study on the matter continued until 1973, when
Chaminade was declared
Venerable by Pope Paul VI.
In 1995 the healing from lung cancer of Elena Otera, a resident of
Buenos Aires, was studied as a possible miracle to be attributed to
the intercession of Chaminade. After a positive conclusion in the
local inquiry conducted by the Marianist
Postulator of the cause, the
matter was referred to the Vatican for investigation. The medical
boards consulted by the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints finally
declared her healing as "scientifically inexplicable" in January 1999.
A review of the cause then took place by the theologians and bishops
of the Congregation. They voted unanimously in favor of declaring a
miracle that following October. This was approved by Pope John Paul
II, who beatified Chaminade in 2000.
A statue of Chaminade adorns the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
at the University of Dayton.
Rachel Baumgartner, then a high school student in St. Louis, Missouri,
in the United States, was diagnosed in December 1998 with Askin's
tumor, a kind of sarcoma. She underwent emergency surgery to have the
tumor removed, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. She was a
member of the Parish of Our Lady of the Pillar, founded and staffed by
the Marianists, and was chosen to attend the ceremony for Chaminade's
beatification in Rome in 2000. Early the next year the tumor was found
to have re-appeared in her bone marrow, for which she underwent a stem
cell transplant, which had a severe negative impact on her health. The
tumor was found to have re-developed between her heart, lung and spine
in November 2002.
Baumgartner was advised that no one had ever survived when this
occurred after such a transplant, and that she had only a few weeks to
live. After a year and a half, however, the tumor stopped growing
(which was the size of a small Nerf football) but had not damaged the
organs around it. In 2004 a noted surgeon removed the tumor, finding
that it had died with almost no treatment and was medically
unexplainable. Baumgartner, now married and named Rachel Lozano,
attributed this to the intercession of Chaminade. The Marianist pastor
of the parish referred this matter to the
Superior General of the
Society of Mary, who in turn requested that the local bishop, the
Archbishop of St. Louis, conduct a formal inquiry. The investigation
was concluded in July 2010 and forwarded by the Archdiocese and the
Marianists to the Vatican for judgment.
He would be very distant cousin of Albert Chaminade (1912-2009)
personality of Limoges.
^ Marianist Province of Meribah "Our Founder"
^ Garvin, John E. (1917). The Centenary of the Society of Mary.
Brothers of Mary. p. 26. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
^ a b c d e "Bl. William Joseph Chaminade". Vatican News Service.
Retrieved October 26, 2012.
^ Fleming, David Joseph, S.M., Father (September 3, 2000). "With
Blessed Father Chaminade toward our Future" (PDF). Circolare del
Superiore Generale (7): 62. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
^ Marianistes du Canada "Les neuf dernières années du bienheureux
^ Religieux Marianistes de
France "Les fondateurs: Chaminade"(in
^ Samaha, John, S.M., Brother (January 22, 2005). "History of the
Process for the Glorification of William Joseph Chaminade".
Missing or empty url= (help) Accessed October 26, 2012.
^ Brinker, Jennifer (July 29, 2010). "
St. Louis Woman's Cure Could Be
Miracle for Blessed Chaminade". AmericanCatholic.org.
Society of Mary Province of the United States
Chaminade College Preparatory School, St. Louis, Missouri
Chaminade High School, Mineola, NY
Chaminade University of Honolulu
Chaminade Julienne High School
Chaminade College Preparatory, Los Angeles, California
ISNI: 0000 0000 7243 7093
BNF: cb11895965t (data)