Born at Lesparre (Gironde), May 19, 1833.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, January 24, 1857.
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, January 25, 1858. (no. 446)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, June 27, 1858.
Died at Toulouse, March 19, 1911.
François Cantillon de la Couture was born on May 19, 1833 at Lesparre in the diocese of Bordeaux. He began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on January 24, 1857 and made his oblation there on January 25 1858. When presenting him to the General Council for promotion to vows, Father Vandeberghe, the master of novices, wrote on December 19, 1857: “Brother François Cantillon de la Couture born at Lesparre (Gironde) completed all his theological studies at Toulouse and has received the sub-diaconate. He has received a very good education and, without being endowed with above average talents, he does possess a mind which grasps ideas quickly and is an educated man. His vocation has never been shaken. He is good hearted and a virtuous person, with a character that is forbearing enough. I have always had to rebuke him about being too sure of himself and of his own judgment. He could be more generous and more self-effacing. He is about what he was at the beginning of his novitiate. In him, virtue is mingled with self-love. He has constantly enjoyed good health, although for a long time he was fragile. In short, I think this brother will be a useful and sufficiently edifying candidate.”
After his oblation, scholastic brother Cantillon lived at l’Osier until the spring of 1858 because he was teaching some classes to a few novices who were in their last year of classical studies. He subsequently spent a few weeks at Montolivet and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on June 27. He did not make a good impression on Father Mouchette, the moderator of scholastics, who wrote: “His opinions are not supernatural enough. My impression is that they must have flattered him; he really thinks he is somebody!”
After his ordination, Father Cantillon was sent as a mission preacher to Limoges where he remained until 1873. He often went to help out the priests at Talence, Autun and Marseilles. From 1873 to 1903, he was superior at Notre-Dame d’Arcachon where he was in charge of the parishioners and the pilgrims while at the same time preaching missions and retreats. When the Oblates had to leave this parish because the religious were being chased out, the archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Lécot, appointed Father Cantillon honorary canon of the cathedral. On July 20, 1902, he wrote him a letter to thank the Oblates for their ministry: “No one more than myself will miss your ministry, so energetic, so prudent and always devoted, just the kind of service one could expect of good and fervent religious. You had acquired popular affection to an extraordinary degree because people found in you so much goodness, so much Gospel charity, so much uprightness of spirit and so much enthusiasm for the moral advancement of everyone.”
After 1903, the name of Father Cantillon no longer appeared in Missions O.M..I., It seems he lived on in the Bordeaux area where the Oblates, scattered into various parishes and private homes, formed a religious district. He died at Toulouse on March 19, 1911.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, January 25, 1858; about 80 letters to Father Fabre (most of them are not dated) and about ten letters to some other Oblates.