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Prominent Assumptionists
Fr. Étienne Pernet A.A. (1824-1899) PDF Print E-mail

Fr. Étienne Pernet A.A. (1824-1899)PROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST Fr. Étienne Pernet, one of Fr. d’Alzon’s first disciples and founder of the Little Sisters of the Assumption

Étienne Pernet was born on the July 23, 1824 at Vellexon, a small village in eastern France, into a Christian family, country people of humble background. His father was an agricultural laborer and also worked at the blast furnaces attached to the ironworks in the region. His mother, Magdeleine Cordelet was the village midwife. Étienne was the second of seven children, of whom only four survived.

As a child, he wanted to become a priest. He was fourteen years old when his father died. His personality was formed by his mother, a simple woman who was greatly loved in the village. In spite of the difficult financial situation they were in, his mother didn't place any obstacle in the way of his vocation and Étienne Pernet entered the seminary. He had a lively intelligence and a simple and anxious temperament.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 June 2017 16:21
Fr. Pierre-Fourrier (Leon-Felix) MERKLEN A.A. (1875-1949) PDF Print E-mail

Prominent Assumptionist Pierre-Fourrier (Leon-Felix) MERKLEN (1875-1949)PROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST Pierre-Fourrier (Leon-Felix) MERKLEN (1875-1949)

Scholar, Editor and Nazi Resister

One of Fr. Merklen’s colleagues wrote of him after his death, “He was a born leader. It was impossible to resist his charm any more than the optimism that flowed from his every pore.  Throughout his life he maintained a youth of spirit that continued to win over hearts. He was one of those rare individuals who was always able to see the big picture and seemed undaunted by failure or defeat and remained calm in the face of bitterness, pettiness, and calumny….like all those who are truly disciples of the Master he followed.  He trusted those who worked at his side and encouraged their initiative. He inspired confidence and it was as if his very presence made every project seem possible. At the darkest of moments during the Nazi occupation, when the editorial staff of La Croix was being denounced and he himself the object of Gestapo hatred, I can still hear him saying to us, ‘Take heart. Nothing will happen to those in the hands of Providence. The Church will ultimately triumph..."

Who was Leon-Felix Merklen? Born in 1875 in France in the Vosges Mountains, he followed in his father’s footsteps by first studying law (1891-1894) before entering the major seminary and eventually joining the Assumptionists in 1896, taking the name Pierre-Fourrier. He completed his theological studies in Rome culminating with a doctorate.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 June 2017 16:06
Fr. MARTIN JUGIE, A.A. (1878-1954) PDF Print E-mail

Prominent Assumptionist: Martin Jugie, Byzantine Expert and Marian Scholar (1878-1954)PROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST MARTIN JUGIE, Byzantine Expert and Marian Scholar 

He has been described as one of the leading Marian scholars of the 20th century and served as one of the major contributors to the definition of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII. His five-volume Theologia dogmatica christianorum orientalium (Dogmatic Theology of Oriental Christians) was considered to be the theological 'summa' of the religious thought of the Christian East, the culmination of an illustrious scholarly career.

Who was Martin Jugie? Etienne Jugie was born in the Limousin region of France on May 3, 1878. His early education took place at several Assumptionist minor seminaries until he entered the novitiate and made his first vows in 1895 taking the name Martin. He was sent to Jerusalem for his years of philosophy and theology (1896-1902) and already distinguished himself to the point that he was asked to teach Greek to younger brothers while he completed his own study of theology. In 1902, a year after his ordination, he was assigned to the Assumptionist house of studies in Phanaraki (part of Asian Istanbul), Turkey, where he taught Greek, dogmatic theology (his favorite subject), and Canon Law (1902-1914) and served for a time as director of the Greek minor seminary on site. He also contributed largely to a prestigious Assumptionist journal entitled Echos d'Orient.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 June 2017 16:08
FR. YVES HAMON, A.A. (1864-1925). “Minister of the Sea” PDF Print E-mail


The Assumptionists and the Ministry of the Sea

In December 1894 Fr. François Picard, the superior general, gathered twenty or so men of influence (ship-owners, maritime union chiefs, naval officers, newspaper journalists from the Bonne Presse) at the general house in Paris to reflect on what could be done for the 15,000 sailors who left France every year for seven or eight months on ships to fish on the high seas for cod near Iceland and Newfoundland.

The staff at weekly La Croix des Marins, founded by the Assumptionist Bonne Presse (now known as Bayard Press), was moved by their total isolation, insecurity (loss of dories in the fog, collisions, storms), excessively long hours of work, and deplorable hygienic conditions. Under the leadership of the Assumptionist Bailly brothers (Vincent de Paul and Emmanuel) the Ministry of Sea (MOS) was launched with the stated goal of “providing material, medical, moral, and spiritual support for those working in the deep-sea fishing industry.”

Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2017 12:19

First African/Congolese Assumptionist, Pioneer, Educator

Jérôme Masumbuko Tsongo-Ndara was born in the village of Kamituga in the province of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on September 20, 1934. His father had relocated his family to this mining region when he found work there as a nurse. Having completed his primary education, Jérôme entered the minor seminary in Musienene, where he first met the Assumptionists and stayed from 1947 to 1954, with a special emphasis in Latin, after which he attended the major seminary in Baudoinville (Moba), run by the White Fathers, for his philosophy studies from 1954 to 1957. For some time, the young Jérôme had been thinking about Assumptionist religious life, even though the Congregation had a firm policy of directing all vocations to build up the local clergy.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 January 2017 13:00
FR. MATHEUS VAN HERKHUYZEN, A.A. (1915-1973) PDF Print E-mail


Cause for beatification to be opened in the diocese of São João da Boa Vista (Brazil), 2017

Piet-Canisius Van Herkhuyzen was born in Nijmegen, Holland, on July 5,1915. He attended minor seminary with the Assumptionists at Boxtel, Holland and completed his novitiate at Taintegnies, Belgium in 1934, taking the name Matheus.

His superior during his early years of religious life described the struggles he had with his discernment to the point of leaving at least once before committing himself definitively to this vocation. His brother, Stefanus, entered the Assumptionists several years before him.

He undertook his philosophy studies at the Assumptionist seminary of St. Gérard (Belgium) and began his theology at Louvain (Belgium) before the invasion of the German army forced him and his brothers in religion to complete their studies back in Holland at Bergeyk, where, on May 31, 1942 he was ordained.

Fr. Patrick Van Der Aalst, A.A. (1921-2008) PDF Print E-mail

Fr. Patrick Van Der Aalst, A.A. (1921-2008)PROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST Fr. Patrick Van Der Aalst (1921-2008) Dutch professor, researcher, and specialist in Eastern Christian theology and spirituality

Antoon Van Der Aalst was born in Eindhoevn, Holland, on December 11, 1921. He lost both of his parents at an early age and was raised by a loving, adoptive family. Early on, when he attended an Assumptionist minor seminary, he showed little of the intellectual promise and enthusiasm that would later characterize his life. Making his first vows in 1942, in the middle of World War II, he took the name Patrick and went on to pursue his studies at the Assumptionist  house of philosophy in Bergejik. It was then that his intellectual life was to change dramatically. Having made his final vows, he was sent to the Assumptionist international  house of theology at Lormoy, France, where he took courses from some outstanding Assumptionist scholars (Siméon Vailhé, Fulbert Cayré,  Albert De Veer, etc.) and took advantage of an outstanding library. After his ordination in May 1949, Fr. Patrick gladly accepted an opportunity to spend three years at the Pontifical Oriental Institute  in Rome where he specialized in Byzantine Studies in view of working at the institute recently founded by the Assumptionists, Institut d’études byzantines et oecuméniques at Nijmegen, Holland.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 10:49
Fr. Daniel Olivier, A.A. (1927-2005) Reformation scholar, distinguished professor, ecumenist PDF Print E-mail

Fr. Daniel Olivier, A.A. (1927-2005) Reformation scholar, distinguished professor, ecumenistPROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST  Fr. Daniel Olivier, A.A. (1927-2005) Reformation scholar, distinguished professor, ecumenist

Daniel-Albert Olivier was born into a working-class family, one of four children, in the French town of Villabé, twenty miles southeast of Paris.  Afflicted with a bone disease that would affect his walking throughout life, Daniel had to undergo extensive medical treatment that delayed his entry into the Assumptionist novitiate until 1947; he made his first vows the following year.  After his studies in philosophy and theology, he was ordained in 1954 and was immediately assigned as a professor of English, Church history, and theology.

Impressed by his intelligence and application, his superiors encouraged him to begin a long period of higher studies in theology in 1956 which eventually led him to the field of his greatest passion, Reformation studies. He had the exceptional opportunity to spend two years studying Luther and his thought at the Institute of European History in Mainz (Germany) before returning to France where he earned a licentiate at the Catholic Institute of Strasbourg and his doctorate at the Catholic Institute of Paris in 1965.

The Assumptionist philosopher Marcel Neusch (1935-2015) PDF Print E-mail

The Assumptionist philosopher Marcel Neusch (1935-2015)PROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST The Assumptionist philosopher Marcel Neusch (1935-2015)

January 2, 2016

For many years professor at the Institut catholique in Paris and a specialist of St. Augustine, Fr. Marcel Neusch died on December 30, 2015 at the Assumptionist retirement community in Albertville (Savoie), France; he was 80 years old.

Discreet, affable, extremely kind, Marcel Neusch was appreciated by everyone who met him. And God knows how numerous they were! This Assumptionist religious, born in Dambach (Lower Rhine) on August 15, 1935, held many positions throughout his life.

Having entered the Assumptionist minor seminary in Scy-Chazelles (Moselle) in 1947, following in the footsteps of a brother and a cousin, then completing his novitiate in 1954 in Nozeroy (Jura), he was ordained a priest ten years later. He immediately took up a career teaching, first at the Assumptionist major seminary in Layrac (Lot-et-Garonne), then at the one in Valpré, near Lyon, even as he pursued higher studies. Appointed to be chaplain at the Collège d’Alzon in Nîmes, he took advantage of his new position to complete a thesis in philosophy at the Université de Toulouse (1971) and another one in theology (1992) at the Institut catholique de Paris (ICP). Shortly thereafter he was asked to go to the regional seminary in Avignon where he stayed until 1980.

Rev. George H. Tavard, A.A. (1922-2007) PDF Print E-mail

Rev. George H. Tavard, A.A. (1922-2007)PROMINENT ASSUMPTIONIST Rev. George H. Tavard, A.A. (1922-2007)

The Reverend George H. Tavard was born in Nancy, France and studied at the Grand Seminaire de Nancy and the Catholic Faculties of Lyons in France. He was ordained to the order of the Augustinians of the Assumption by the bishop of Metz, France, on 2 March, 1947, and held a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Lyons, 1949.

From 1949 to 1951 he lectured in theology at Capenor House, Surrey, England. In 1951 and 1952 he was assistant editor of Documentation Catholique in Paris. In 1953 he moved to New York City. He has since taught at Assumption College, Worcester, MA, Mount Mercy College (today, Carlow University), Pittsburgh, PA, where he chaired the theology department, Pennsylvania State University, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, from where he retired in 1990 as Professor Emeritus.

He was visiting professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Josephinum School of Theology, Marquette University, Hekima School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya, Regis College at the University of Toronto, and the Catholic University of America. He attended Vatican Council II as a "peritus conciliaris," named by Pope John XXIII, and consultant to the Pontifical Secretariat for the Unity of Christians.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 10:22
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