Jean-Jacques Olier

Jean-Jacques Olier

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Jean-Jacques Olier

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Jean-Jacques Olier (1608–1657) was a French priest and the founder of the Sulpicians.

Early life

At Lyon, where his father had become administrator of justice, he made a thorough classical course under the Jesuits (1617–25); he was encouraged to become a priest by St. Francis de Sales, who predicted his sanctity and great services to the Ccatholic Church. He studied philosophy at the Collège d'Harcourt, Paris, scholastic theology and patristics at the Sorbonne. He preached during this period, in virtue of a benefice with which his father had provided him, adopting the ambitious style of the day; he also frequented fashionable society, causing anxiety to those interested in his spiritual welfare. His success in defending theses in Latin and Greek led him to go to Rome for the purpose of learning Hebrew so as to gain éclat by defending theses in that language at the Sorbonne. His eyesight failing, he made a pilgrimage to Loreto, where his official biographies attest not only to a cure, but also a complete conversion to God. For a time he meditated the Carthusian life, visiting monasteries in Southern Italy; the news of his father's death (1631) recalled him to Paris. Refusing a court chaplaincy, with the prospect of high honours, he began to gather the beggars and the poor and catechize them in his home; at Paris he collected the poor and the outcast on the streets for instruction, a practice at first derided but soon widely imitated. Under St. Vincent de Paul's...
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