Born at Nice (Sardinian territory, Italy), May 25, 1835.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, September 16, 1852.
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, September 17, 1853. (no. 353)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, May 29, 1858.
Left the Congregation in 1887.
Eugène Audric was born in Nice on May 25, 1835. On September 16, 1852, he began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier where he made his oblation on September 17, 1853. He began his scholasticate at the major seminary of Marseilles in 1853-1854 and continued his studies at Montolivet right up until 1857. In his reports on the scholastic brothers, Father Mouchette wrote a few lines each year about Brother Audric. He considered him immature, unhappy with himself with a few doubts about his vocation, but he had a prayer life, was regular in observance of the rule, gentle and got along very will with his confreres.” In 1857, he wrote: “Excellent religious, filled with virtue, gentleness and good will. At present, duly strengthened against a too great lack of self-confidence. He left Montolivet in an excellent frame of mind.”
Eugène Audric was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on May 29, 1858. Already when he was a deacon in 1857-1858 and then as a priest in 1858-1859, he was enrolled as a student at the “advanced courses.” He taught philosophy at Montolivet and, occasionally, functioned as secretary for Bishop de Mazenod and the provincial of Midi.
In 1859, he received his obedience for Vico where he remained until 1881, initially as an ordinary missionary, then as superior of the house during his last years in Corsica. He preached many parish missions with good results. The review Missions often mentioned these missions and, in 1875, published a letter from the parish priest of Albitreccia written on October 26 to thank the superior who sent him Father Audric: “This excellent religious,” he wrote, “with this eloquence flowing from the heart which only religious feeling could produce, caused to rain down on my people the most abundant heavenly blessings. His wholly Gospel preaching stirred the hearts of those whose hearts were harder than stones, caught up in bloody enemities and inveterate partisan conflict. I can truly say that, in my parish, Father Audric was a living Gospel...”
From 1881 to 1886, he lived in Aix, then at Notre-Dame de Lumières from 1886-1887. At Aix, initially he was chaplain to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, but soon took up functioning as a mission preacher. Father Célestin Augier wrote in 1886: Father Audric preached “practically every place and he never says: “I have had enough.”
At the beginning of 1887, he requested to be allowed to join the Trappists. He had nothing against the Oblates and they had nothing against him. But, he admitted that his bent was always to desire the monastic life. This explained the doubts he had about his vocation during his years as a scholastic. In addition, in his notes on some scholastics, the Founder had written about Eugène Audric: “No aversion for mission preaching, but that is not his bent. His thinking in joining the Congregation was to seek his sanctification free from the influences of the world.” Through the intermediary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Father replied that he was to remain an Oblate. Initially, he was unhappy with this response and claimed that the Propaganda was influenced by a letter from the General Administration in this vein. He planned to insist on getting a dispensation. In the meantime, he requested to be assigned to the parish of Goult near Notre-Dame de Lumières. (General Council sessions of January 11, March 22 and 29, 1887) He subsequently obtained permission to join the Trappists, but did not remain with them. He, then, wanted to be readmitted to the Congregation, but on October 8, 1888, the General Council refused to accept him in spite of the recommendation of two priests.
March 9, 1898, while he was chaplain to the Little Sisters of the Poor at Grasse, he wrote to Father Nicolas who advised him to rejoin the Oblates with a dispensation from residing in community. “The ordinary title of Oblate without the advantages of the religious life would benefit me much more than the title of bishop “in partibus” without having a diocese to administer, without having faithful to bless, etc. If I want to rejoin the Congregation, it is simply to practice and regularity in humble fashion.” He then wrote to Father Cassien Augier, elected Superior General in 1898, to ask to be admitted, stating that he was ready to redo his novitiate. On June 12, 1898, the General Council refused to readmit him to the Congregation.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Personnel dossier: Oblation formula, September 17, 1853; seven letters to Father Fabre (1875-1887) and four other letters (to bishop de Mazenod, to Fathers Vandenberghe, Vincens and Nicolas); Manuscript section: Life of Father Albini, Aix, 1884; ms not found; typewritten copy, 142 p; personal diary, 1893, 97 p. (Memoir of his vocation, his first years in the priesthood and his life as mission preacher in Corsica).