French Jesuit and founder of the famous collection of "Lettres édifiantes et curieuses", one of the most important sources of information for the history of Catholic missions, b. at St-Malo, Brittany, 25 November, 1671; d. at Paris, 5 March, 1708. He entered the Society of Jesus on 25 November, 1671. As professor of philosophy and especially while procurator of the FrancO-Chinese mission, he sought in a series of admirable papers to awaken the interest of the cultivated classes in the great work of Christianizaing Eastern Asia. In 1697 appeared at Paris his "Lettres sur les progréz de la religion à la Chine". Apropos of the violent literary feud then in progress concerning the so-called "Chinese Rites ", he published among other things "Histoire de l'édit de l'empereur de la Chine en faveur de la religion chrétienne avec un éclaircissement sur les honneurs que les Chinois rendent à Confucius et aux morts" (Paris, 1698); and in the year 1700: "Lettre à un Docteur de la Faculté de Paris sur les propositions déférées en Sorbonne par M. Prioux". Under the same date there appeared in Paris the "Histoire des Isles Mariannes nouvellement converties à la religion chrétienne". The second part, translated into Spanish by J. Delgado, is found in the latter's "Historia General de Filipinas" (Manila, 1892). In 1702 Père Le Gobien published "Lettres de quelques missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jésus, écrites de la Chine et des Indes Orientales"; this was the beginning of the collection soon to become celebrated under the title of "Lettres édifiantes et curieuses écrites des missions étrangéres par quelques missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jésus". The first eight series were by Pére le Gobien, the latter ones by Fathers Du Halde, Patouillet, Geoffroy, and Ambrose Maréchal . The collection was printed in thirty-six vols. duodecimo (Paris, 1703-76), and reissued in 1780-81 by Fathers Yves, de Querbeux, and Brotier in twenty-six vols. duodecimo, unfortunately omitting the valuable prefaces. New editions appeared in 1819, 1829-32, and 1838-43. One abridgment in four vols. octavo, was entitled "Panthéon Littéraire", by L. Aimé Martin (1834- 43). A partial English translation came out in London in 1714. The publication incited the Austrian Jesuit Stöcklein to undertake his "Neuer Welt Bott" (about 1720), at first considered merely a translation, but soon an independent and particularly valuable collection (five vols., folio in forty parts) substantially completing the "Lettres Edifiantes" (see Kath. Missionen, 1904-05).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online