Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of Bl. Pierre Bonhomme

Facts

Feastday: September 9

Birth: 1803

Death: 1861

Beatified By: 23 March 2003 by Pope John Paul II


Pierre Bonhomme (1803-1861), Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary. He was born on 4 July 1803 in Gramat, France. As a child, Pierre showed an inclination for study, a deep piety, and generousity to his parents and sister. He felt called to be a priest from an early age and was attracted to a life of simplicity and poverty.

He completed his studies at the Royal College and entered the major seminary of Cahors in November 1818. On 23 December 1827 he was ordained a priest. From that time, he demonstrated an extraordinary ability to help others, both spiritually and materially. While still a deacon, he opened an elementary and middle school for boys. In 1831 he opened a school to prepare students for the major seminary. He also founded the spiritual group "Children of Mary" for young girls in Gramat, convinced of the need to give youth both human and spiritual guidance when there was nothing else of the kind for them in the area.

Shortly after his appointment as parish priest of Gramat, Fr Bonhomme came into contact with the wretchedness and neglect suffered by so many of the poor, elderly and sick. He longed to help them and was undaunted by the scarcity of the available means. He urged "his young people" to visit them, bringing material aid and spiritual comfort. A little later, Fr Bonhomme received permission to establish a home for the needy. He understood that to run this charitable institution a religious congregation was indispensable, and that its members must be women who would give all of themselves for the good of the poor and the suffering. He believed that the young members of the "Daughters of Mary", so generous in the gift of themselves and in love for God, might have this vocation. It was this that inspired Fr Bonhomme to found the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary in Gramat. They were dedicated to educating children and to providing assistance to the poor, sick, elderly, deaf-mutes and the seriously mentally and physically disabled.

Hortense and Adèle Pradel and Cora and Mathilde Roussot, all of whom lived in Gramat, became the first members. They felt called to be consecrated to God in his service, and began their formation under Fr Bonhomme and at several religious institutes in Cahors.

Fr Bonhomme continued his parish activity and was known for the many missions he preached in nearby Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne. He acquired a reputation as a gifted preacher, converting many and attracting other young women to his newly-founded congregation. Scorching heat and bitter cold did not deter him from preaching with the same zeal to save souls. He had a special devotion to Our Lady of Rocamadour, in Gramat, and through her sought the strength and inspiration he needed. On one occasion, while preaching a retreat he completely lost his voice. It was through prayer to Our Lady of Rocamadour that he received a miraculous cure, recovered his voice and was able to go on speaking.

In 1836, Fr Bonhomme made a brief retreat in the Trappist monastery of Mortagne, feeling the need to discern God's will for him in deeper prayer and reflection. He felt a growing desire to become a Carmelite, and to found a Carmelite community in Gramat. However, the Bishop of Cahors did not accept this proposal and encouraged him to continue his missionary activities and to collaborate with the group of newly-established diocesan missionaries in Rocamadour. Fr Bonhomme obeyed and threw himself into this new project with all his energy and enthusiasm.

In 1848, during a mission in Lot, Fr Bonhomme was once again unable to speak; but this time he was obliged to give up preaching and a disease of the larynx was diagnosed. The priest did not despair; he trusted in God's providence and believed that this would afford him the opportunity to dedicate himself to the flourishing congregation he had founded; it already had 61 religious members in various communities in the rural parishes who were dedicated to educating children and caring for the sick. In 1844, Fr Bonhomme sent a community to serve a psychiatric hospital in Leyme and paid frequent visits to "his daughters" there to encourage them in their difficult mission. In 1856, he opened another community in Paris, dedicated to serving "mentally ill, convalescent poor" persons.

His own disability, due to the disease that deprived him of his voice, made him particularly sensitive to the disabled, especially deaf-mutes. In 1854 he opened a school for deaf-mute children in Mayrinhac-Lentour, Lot, and in 1856 he sent sisters to Paris to found a home for deaf-mutes.

In his last years, Fr Bonhomme devoted all his time and energy to forming the sisters and to writing the Rule of his institute which he put under the protection of Our Lady of Calvary, who became Mother and Model of the Congregation.

Fr Bonhomme died in Gramat on 9 September 1861. Today the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary consists of 250 religious who work in France, Brazil, Argentina, Guinea, Ivory Coast and the Philippines.

Biogrpahy Provided By: The Vatican


Bl. Pierre Bonhomme Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

68.

Image of St. Barbara

St. Barbara

Barbara lived in the 4th century and brought up as a heathen. A tyrannical father, Dioscorus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for that purpose. Here, in ... continue reading

69.

Image of St. Angela Merici

St. Angela Merici

When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was aware that Clement VII was offering her a great honor and a great opportunity to serve when he asked her to take charge of a ... continue reading

70.

Image of St. Bridget

St. Bridget

St. Bridget arrived in Ireland a few years after St. Patrick. Her father was an Irish lord named Duptace. As Bridget grew up, she became holier and more pious each day. She loved the ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Anselm

St. Anselm

St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor APRIL 21,A.D. 1109 IF the Norman conquerors stripped the English nation of its liberty, and many temporal advantages, it must be owned that by their ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Jude Thaddaeus

St. Jude Thaddaeus

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Rita

St. Rita

St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. Instead they arranged a marriage for her. Rita became a good wife and mother, but ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Peregrine Laziosi

St. Peregrine Laziosi

Peregrine Laziosi was born of a wealthy family at Forli, Italy, in 1260. As a youth he was active in politics as a member of the anti-papal party. During one uprising, which the Pope sent St. Philip ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' in September 2015.

A Patron Saint for California

By Justin Soutar

During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 7:51--8:1
51 'You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:3-4, 6, 7, 8, 17, 21
3 You are my rock, my rampart; true to your name, ... Read More

Gospel, John 6:30-35
30 So they said, 'What sign will you yourself do, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 21st, 2015 Image

St. Anselm
April 21: St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor APRIL 21,A.D. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter