Born at Aups (Var), January 8, 1839.
Taking of the habit at Montolivet, June 9, 1856.
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, July 16, 1857. (no. 439)
Expelled from the Congregation, August 29, 1860.
Édouard Constantin was born at Aups in the diocese of Fréjus on January 8, 1839. He began his novitiate at Montolivet on June 9, 1856 and made his oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, July 16, 1857. He then spent three years at the scholasticate of Montolivet. In his reports, Father Mouchette, the moderator of scholastics, initially found in 1857 that Brother Constantin “shows promise, his reports from the novitiate are good. He had made a vow of striving for perfection.” Later on, Father Mouchette always entertained some doubts about the honesty of this brother. For example, he wrote: “1858, he is generally regular in his observance and yet, he is often enough caught out. There is something in his demeanor which betrays dissipation when he is around certain individuals and he seems to adopt a different demeanor with others. Previously, I had already observed these symptoms which lead me to fear deceit on his part. 1859, I still harbour a painful doubt. I fear he is not being honest. I have not discovered in him any serious faults worthy of admonishment, but neither his prayer life, nor his regular observance are satisfactory. He seems to be play acting and fears to meet the gaze of the master... 1860, regular enough in his observance, however, he always seems to be ill at ease, a fact that leads me to believe that there is some disingenuousness in his conduct. His character is a little fickle, most often frivolous, and sometimes that of a dreamer. Dishonourably expelled on August 29. What a source of scandal this wretch was! He successfully played the role of the hypocrite all the time he was here.
But once he was informed of scholastic brother Constantin’s bad conduct during the summer vacations at Notre-Dame de Lumières, the Founder wrote in an August 26, 1860 letter to Father Mouchette:”I shudder with horror when I read about the criminal quality of this monster. How have you hesitated even an instant to dismiss immediately this wretch, who should not have remained a single hour in the holy house that he was profaning by his presence. Send him to me without delay. Perhaps it might be better to accompany him yourself so that he does not take off by another road. When he has come here, I shall dismiss him in disgrace. I don’t know how you could give communion to a criminal who was known to you otherwise than by confession alone. You should not have done it.” (Oblate Writings I, vol. 12, no. 1459, p. 194)
On August 29, Bishop de Mazenod wrote to the scholastics at Lumières: “Has Satan obtained leave in our community so that we have had to witness the horrible sacrileges that have been committed there? Yes, evil has been done in the land of the saints, for everybody is meant to be a saint in the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. And what evil! The profanation of sacraments, hypocrisy, treachery, apostasy, in a word, the height of criminality. One Judas was already too many, and we have met with two of them. Good Heavens! is this accursed race not yet extinct?” (Oblate Writings I, vol. 12, no. 1460, p. 194) In order to make reparation for the scandal, the Founder ordered that “for nine days the whole community will go down into underground chapel and recite there, aloud and arms in the form of a cross, the psalm Miserere mei Deus. The recitation of this psalm will be followed by the litanies of the Blessed Virgin, the Sub tuum and the prayer Defende.”
“If it were not for the care that I want to take in regard to health, I would have laid down a rigorous fast. Supply for this with some expiatory mortification.”
“During the entire course of the year, each day a communion will be made and offered by all the members of the scholasticate in turn as a form of reparation to our divine Master Jesus Christ whose honour has been offended and betrayed by those who belonged to us and have apostatized.”
“That is what my sorrowful heart inspires me for the time being. May God have mercy on us!” (Oblate Writings I, vol. 12, no. 1460, p. 195)
The souvenir of this scholastic brother was not immediately deleted. In the Personnel Register of 1862-1863, we find written under his name: “A young man of genius and talent. Subtle of mind, guileful, hypocritical. He showed that his heart was rotten and, two months after having received the subdiaconate [June 24, 1860], he had to be dismissed in disgrace in scandalous fashion.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, July 16, 1857.