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Antoine Anselme

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A celebrated French preacher, b. at l'Isle-Jourdain in the Comté d'Armagnac, 13 January, 1652; d. at Saint-Sever, 8 August, 1737. His father was a distinguished surgeon. Anselme studied at Toulouse and became a priest. As a child he was called the "Little Prophet," because he would repeat with appropriate gestures sermons which he had heard only once. The sobriquet clung to him up to his death. After his ordination he preached in Toulouse, and the Marquis de Montespan was so delighted with his eloquence that he made him instructor to his son, the Marquis d'Antin, and brought him to Paris. Père Anselme's eloquent sermons there soon procured him such repute as a sacred orator that parishes wishing to secure him had to do so two or three years in advance. In 1681 the French Academy chose him to deliver before it the panegyric on St. Louis. Two years later (1683) he preached at Court. Mme. de Sévigné in one of her letters (8 April, 1689) speaks in warm praise of his intelligence, eloquence, charm, and devotion. He became a member of the Academy of Inscriptions in 1710. He died at the age of eighty-five, in the Abbey of Saint-Sever which Louis XIV had given him in 1699. Father Anselme's writings are some odes printed in the "Recueil de l'Académie des Jeux Floraux de Toulouse "; "Panegyrics of Saints and Funeral Orations at Paris in 1718" (3 vols. 8vo., with his portrait); "Sermons for Advent, Lent, and Various Occasions" (Paris, 1731, 4 vols. 8vo., and 6 vols. 12mo.); divers dissertations inserted in the "Memoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions" from 1724 to 1729.


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