Born at Lesneven (Finistère), October 4, 1832.
Ordination to the priesthood at Quimper, December 21, 1856.
Taking of the habit at Nancy, February 1, 1857.
Oblation at Nancy, February 28, 1858. (no. 445)
Died at Paris, May 6, 1918.
François Chalmet was born on October 4, 1832 at Lesneven in the diocese of Quimper, son of Nicholas Chalmet and Marie Anne Vignioboul. He completed his secondary studies at the college in Lesneven and at the major seminary of Quimper where he was ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1856. He began his novitiate at Nancy on February 1, 1857. That is where he made his oblation in the presence of the Founder on February 28, 1858. In his notes on some scholastics, Bishop de Mazenod wrote: “Chalmet, of an exceptional perfection, as cordial and amiable as he is good.”
After his oblation, Father Chalmet remained at Nancy until 1864, initially as socius of the master of novices, then as novice master in 1862 and director of the residence of Notre-Dame de Sion in 1863-1864. From 1864 to 1918, he worked in the diocese of Paris as chaplain at the boarding school of Notre-Dame de Lorette at Saint-Mandé from 1864 to 1893. He was in charge of the General House chapel from 1893 until the expulsions of 1904 and heard confessions in the church of the Trinity right up until his death on May 6, 1918. Each year, Father Chalmet also preached a few retreats, especially to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux in France and in Belgium.
The author of his obituary wrote: “At Nancy as at Paris, he was the man of God and of souls. The man of God through a religious life of perfectly regular observance and of a charity with which no one ever found fault and a man of souls for his zeal and unshakeable devotion [...] All the Oblates agree that, at his profession, he must have added to the three vows of religion a vow to always be kind, gracious and alert to saying the kind of word that brought a smile to one’s lips and joy to one’s heart. This must have been true because he was so faithful in carrying out this program.” In announcing his death on May 9, 1918, Father J. Buffier added that our community life: “suffers the loss of an excellent heart who always knew how to shine a ray of sunshine into the darkest of moments [...] His robust constitution succumbed to a second bout of a kidney ailment that lasted hardly eight days.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, February 28, 1858; fifty letters to Father Fabre (1861-1892) and some ten others to some priests; typewritten obituary, 7 p.