Born at Bédée (Ille-et-Vilaine) June 21, 1836.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 20, 1857.
Oblation at Montolivet, January 19, 1859. (no. 477)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, June 24, 1860.
Dispensed from vows, December 22, 1871.
Auguste Corbin was born at Bédée in the diocese of Rennes on June 21, 1836. After one year of theology, he entered the novitiate of Notre-Dame de l’Osier on November 20, 1857 and made his oblation at Montolivet on January 19, 1859. In sending him to Marseilles, in a September 23, 1858 letter, Father Vandenberghe, the master of novices, wrote to the moderator of scholastics: “I think that you will be able to make of him an excellent candidate. He has a prayer life, talent and character. All of that needs fine tuning, but the basic elements are good. There is in his character an element of pride, of haughtiness and of over sensitivity that virtue does not always master, but the virtue in him is genuine. We could develop it toward becoming a little more generous. He is also lacking a little in serenity and in poise. You know that he underwent an operation to correct a hydroceles. This illness was a drain on his morale as well. Unfortunately, he will have to undergo another operation...”
In the few lines he dedicated to an assessment of scholastic brother Corbin in 1859 and 1860, Father Mouchette expressed himself in this way: “A fiery temperament, he feels things keenly. Entirely dedicated to God and his duty. He could easily lose his focus. His generosity is considerable [...] Very good, a very keen individual, fiery of imagination and heart.”
After his ordination to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on June 24, 1860, Father Corbin initially taught philosophy at the major seminary of Marseilles in 1860-1861, then, canon law from 1861-1862. From 1862 to 1869, he taught history and eloquence at the major seminary of Fréjus.
During the siege of Paris conducted by the Germans in 1870, he was chaplain of a battalion and lived with a family who were his friends. During the period of the Commune, he had to flee the capital city in May of 1871 and went back to the community of Oblate priests at Royaumont. It was from there, it seems, that he requested to be dispensed from his vows. His case was examined in the September 11, 1871 as well as the January 12, 1872 sessions of the General Council. On January 12, the secretary wrote in the session’s report: “The council saw no legitimate cause in this request, which, nevertheless, will be forwarded to Rome so that the Sovereign Pontiff can decide for himself. It is the council’s judgment that, in view of the character of the individual, we should not try to keep him in the Congregation.” Father Corbin had already written to Rome. The rescript from the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars bears the date of December 22, 1871. The Latin text of the document summarizes the reasons adduced by Father Corbin for asking for his dispensation: ill health, distaste for community life and living by a rule in the wake of the events of the war and the Commune, etc.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, Montolivet, January 19, 1859; two letters to Father Fabre (1863 and 1871), a few letters to an assistant general (1867-1871), copy of the rescript from Rome, December 22, 1871.