Born at Grand Fougery (Ille-et-Vilaine) on October 2, 1825
Taking of the habit at Nancy, March 9, 1848
Oblation at Nancy, March 10, 1849. (no. 244)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, April 1, 1850
Died at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, July 7, 1858.
Pierre Julien Amisse was born at Grand Fougeray, diocese of Rennes on October 2, 1825. He entered the novitiate of Nancy on March 9, 1848 and made his oblation March 10, 1849. During his novitiate, Father Santoni, the master of novices, wrote of him: “Brother Amisse is not doing badly. He does have a prayer life and good will. The only thing lacking is his health. I hope that we shall be able to make use of him.” He made one year of theological studies at the major seminary of Marseilles and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on April 1, 1850.
At the General Councild session of January 4, 1850, he had already been appointed superior at Buffalo, since he was considered “a capable young man, brimming with good qualities.” Arriving at Buffalo during the course of the summer along with Father Molony, he only stayed there two weeks. The parish he was supposed to have taken over was already staffed by a Scottish priest. In September of 1850, he received an obedience for the francophone church of Rochester, offered by Bishop Timon, but there, too, the Oblates did not end up exercising their ministry.
Consequently, Father Amisse was called to Montreal where he worked at the parish of Saint-Pierre-Apôtre until 1853. That year, he received his obedience for England as superior of the house in Liverpool. He was already there in December of that year. The Founder wrote him a letter dated May 1 to urge him to establish regular community life in that house and to cut down on its spending. After having reviewed the situation, on February 27, 1854, Father Amisse informed Father Casimir Aubert that he was unable to function as superior at Liverpool. His English is too limited. Moreover, there is need to build a house and a church there and he did not feel capable of doing that. If they insisted on leaving him there, he would leave the Congregation and join the Trappists. In another letter to Father Aubert dated May 17, 1854, he does seem to accept his situation and give some details on the building project.
He soon fell ill. The climate of England was totally injurious for him. He was called to Marseilles at the beginning of 1855. In June he was sent to Notre-Dame de l’Osier where he was an edifying presence in the community for two years. In a March 25, 1857 letter to Father Vegreville in Canada’s north, the Founder said: “Alas, we are still on the point of losing the perfect Fr. Amisse whom you knew well. What a model of perfection! What edification he gives at l’Osier among those novices, who are already so fervent! But what a sorrow it is to lose so good a brother!” (Oblate Writings, I, vol. 2, no. 231, p. 143)
July 11, 1858, Father Vandenberghe announced the death of Father Amisse which occurred July 7. He said Father Amisse “was almost totally deprived of the use of his lungs.” He added that the deceased had been a constant source of edification during his entire illness. July 20, Bishop de Mazenod wrote to Father Bellon in Bordeaux communicating to him the news of Father Amisse’s death: “People die holy deaths in the Congregation. What a saint this dear Father Amisse who rose to Heaven after having, during his life and long illness, aroused the admiration of all who had the good fortune to be living with him!” (Oblate Writings, I, vol. 12, no. 231, p. 1381, p. 98 and 99)
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Three letters to Father Casimir Aubert (1853-1854); letter of Father Aubert to the Oblates, July 11, 1858.