Born at Viviers-en-Charnie (Mayenne), January 13, 1836.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 3, 1854.
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 4, 1855. (no. 399)
Ordination to the priesthood at Blois in February 1861.
Died at Autun, December 10, 1870.
Stanislas Couasnon was born in Viviers-en-Charnie in the diocese of Mans on January 13, 1836. He made his secondary studies in a boarding school, then at the minor seminary of Précigné from 1850 to 1853. After a year of philosophy at the major seminary of Mans, he entered the novitiate of Notre-Dame de l’Osier on November 3, 1854 and made his oblation there on November 4, 1855. He was admitted to vows in the September 25, 1855 session of the General Council with the observations that “this novice, without being more than averagely endowed, does still present very sufficient assurance both in the area of virtue and of his studies. His conduct during his entire trial period was wise and edifying. He always displayed excellent dispositions toward religious life.”
He immediately began studying theology at the scholasticate of Montolivet. In his reports, Father Mouchette, the moderator of scholastics, wrote:”1855, good health. I do believe he is scrupulous or almost so since his oblation. Excellent for everything, a little timid because of being too concerned to do well, filled with good will. Gentle in character, likeable. 1856, I do not really know what to say about him. He is perfect in everything except with regard to docility with regard to his conscience. In this regard, he is committing folly. The means I have adopted is to get him to relax and to wait until God enlightens him.”
His too intense imagination, his scrupulosity, his striving for perfection led him to lose his mind. In the spring of 1856, Father Mouchette brought him to Notre-Dame de l’Osier, then to the convalescent home of Saint Robert near Grenoble. The scholastic brother’s family came to get him, but were compelled to send him to a convalescent home in Mans. He recovered, was admitted to the major seminary of Blois and ordained to the priesthood in February of 1861. Assigned as assistant priest in a parish in the diocese, he continued to request that he be readmitted to the Congregation. In 1862, Father Fabre consented to have him come back and sent him to Vico as a professor. There, under the direction of Father Mouchette, the superior, he made a second novitiate and his oblation at Autun on June 4, 1863.
Father Couasnon remained in the Oblate community of Saint John in Autun from 1863 to 1870 and preached missions. In his obituary, Father Fabre wrote: “In Burgundy, he was a mission preacher filled with fire and appreciated everywhere. He brought to his apostolic work a conscientious preparation, and especially a soul fortified and nourished by the exercises of community life. His ministry produced considerable fruit.”
In 1870, when the Oblate houses of Autun were occupied by the Garibaldians, an epidemic of small pox broke out. While visiting the sick, Father Couasnon was stricken and, within less than two days of illness, he died in the prime of life at 34 years of age, a martyr to charity.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, l’Osier, November 4, 1855 and Autun, June 4, 1863. Letter from Father Couasnon to Father Fabre, April 24, 1863 and letter to Father Martinet, May 11, 1870.
“Le père S. Couasnon,”, Circular letter no. 52 of Father Joseph Fabre, September 20, 1871 in Notices nécrologiques O.M.I., vol. II, Paris, 1869-1874, p. 158-165.