(In religion DOM SEBASTIAN).
Abbot of Cîteaux and Abbot-General of the Order of Reformed Cistercians, b. at Bouchain, Department of Nord, France, 12 Oct., 1839; d. in Rome, 18 Aug., 1904. Of a pious and studious disposition, he made rapid progress in the usual branches of learning, under private tutors and at both the petits and grands séminaires of the Archdiocese of Cambrai. Feeling an attraction for both the clerical and military calling, he hesitated long and was for some time professor in the college at Tourcoing, before making his final choice of a state of life. However, at the appeal of Pius IX, he put off the soutane for the pontifical uniform, serving in the pope's army from 24 Aug., 1860, until 20 Sept., 1870, having risen to the rank of major. After the dissolution of the pontifical army, he served his native country during the Franco-Prussian War, receiving the medal of the Legion of Honour for bravery, particularly on the fields of Patay and Le Mans. His service completed, he laid aside all further military ambition to enter the Trappist Monastery of S. Marie du Mont. After he profession he was sent to Rome to complete his ecclesiastical studies, was ordained priest, 31 March, 1877, and finally made doctor in theology in 1880. Returning to his abbey, he was sent to found a monastery at Tilbourg, in Holland, whence he was recalled to fill the office of prior at St. Marie du Mont, and afterwards (1883) elected its abbot. In 1887 the choice fell on him to succeed to the abbatial chair of Septfons and become vicar-general of the congregation of Rancé. He had long had the desire of seeing the three congregations united in one order, and it was principally due to him that this was effected in 1892. In recognition of this he was elected the first "General of the Order of the Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe". After untiring efforts he succeeded in recovering possession of Cîteaux, the cradle of the order, and making it anew the mother-house, himself becoming its abbot, after resigning that of Septfons (1899). His deep learning and unceasing labours, as well as his tried fidelity, gave him great influence at the Roman Court, where both Pius IX and Leo XIII showed him constant signs of esteem and appreciation, particularly by assigning to him various important missions.
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