Born at Eyguières (Bouches-du-Rhône), July 9, 1819
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de Lumières, December 3, 1844
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, December 8, 1845 (no. 152)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, December 23, 1848
Dispensed from his vows in August of 1861.
Henri Lancenay was born at Eyguières, in the diocese of Aix, on July 9, 1819. He began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de Lumières on December 3, 1844 and made his oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on December 8, 1845. After studying theology at the major seminary of Marseilles, he was ordained to the priesthood in Marseilles on December 23, 1848.
He was immediately sent to Le Calvaire in Marseilles where, from 1848 to 1852 and from 1857 to 1858, he ministered to the faithful who came to the chapel. At the same time, he acted as chaplain for the Ladies of Nazareth and their students. He then taught moral theology at the major seminary of Ajaccio from 1852 to 1856. Father Magnan, the superior, mentions him rather often in his correspondence with Bishop de Mazenod. In a May 3, 1852 letter, he says that Father Lancenay did not enjoy good health, but “accomplishes with zeal what he does do. He is sometimes a little moody, but this is fleeting and stems from his nerves being on edge.” The students held him in high regard because of his virtues and his talents. On February 7, 1854 he mentions him again. “Father Lancenay has a touch of sourness in his character, nor is he lacking in confidence in the soundness of his own judgment. All of this combined with nerves that are on edge make that from time to time his company is less than agreeable. All the same, he possesses qualities that I am happy to acknowledge. He carries out his teaching role with energy and enthusiasm and he does make himself sufficiently available for the various tasks in the seminary.”
In 1856-1857, he replaced Father Charles Bellon as superior of the major seminary at Romans where he remained only one year. Indeed, Bishop de Mazenod, upon learning that Bishop Lyonnet, the newly appointed bishop of Valence, was in negotiations with the Jesuits to have them take over direction of the seminary, withdrew the Oblates from this seminary which they had been directing since 1853. After one year at Le Calvaire, Father Lancenay was appointed professor of moral theology at the scholasticate of Montolivet where he taught during the academic years of 1859-1860 and 1860-1861.
In 1861, for reasons unknown to us, he obtained a dispensation of his vows from Father Tempier and was given the humble pastoral charge of Négrel in the diocese of Aix. He regretted doing this, and, on November 9, 1861 begged Father Tempier, the Vicar General, to readmit him to the Congregation. In the Personnel Registry, we read: “This favour was not granted him.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, December 8, 1845. Some thirty letters especially to Father Bellon and to Bishop de Mazenod from 1849 to 1861.