Born at Notre-Dame de l’Osier (Isère), March 18, 1830.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, October 31, 1849.
Perpetual oblation at Le Calvaire, November 1, 1853. (no. 357)
Died at Bestin, Belgium, April 18, 1903.
Henri Mante was born in Notre-Dame de l’Osier in the parish of Vinay in the diocese of Grenoble on March 18, 1830. He began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 31, 1849 and pronounced his perpetual vows at Le Calvaire in Marseilles on November 1, 1853. On October 20, 1850, the General Council admitted him to annual vows based on the report of Father Martin, the superior of Notre-Dame de Bon Secours and, on October 16, 1853, he was admitted to perpetual profession at Le Calvaire, sent there by Father Martin to be checked out by Father Casimir Aubert. The secretary general wrote in his report of the session: “Without being endowed with any outstanding qualities, he does possess all the qualities to make himself useful in the Congregation and to faithfully fulfill the duties of his calling.”
It does seem that he initially worked at Notre-Dame de Bon Secours from 1850 to 1853. The day after his oblation, he received his obedience for Notre-Dame de Lumières where he remained until 1857 or 1858. In 1858 and 1859, we find him once again at Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. On February 16, 1859, Father Honorat, the superior, wrote to Father Casimir Aubert that Brother Mante was a good worker and was put in charge the kitchen and the outbuildings. He also took care of the animals, the garden and acted as porter. He asked permission to bring in his young eleven-year-old brother to help him in this work. This, Father Honorat wrote, would be a help to the family; they had just lost a legal battle in court and were compelled to leave their ancestral home. The following August 28, Father Honorat announced that he had sent the child back to his family. At l’Osier, the child was accompanied by his brother who could no longer remain at Bon Secours. He wasted food in the kitchen, treated people gruffly at the door, and without the superior’s knowledge, had allowed women to sleep in the house, etc. In 1862, Brother Mante was sent to Notre-Dame de Lumières.
It is difficult to determine where he lived and worked for a few years. His name appeared for the first time in the review Missions O.M.I. in 1876. At that time, he was at Saint-Andelain and Father Mouchette, the superior, wrote that he was satisfied with the performance of brothers Mante and Aubertin “whose dedication gives us the advantage of not having to hire outside help and enables us to live a regular life: garden, vineyard, vegetable garden, furniture, everything is in good order.” Brother Mante was living at Angers when the community was forcibly expelled from that house in 1881. He was in Autun in 1887 and 1889 where he “worked the garden with tireless enthusiasm, runs errands and sometimes does the cooking.” (Missions O.M.I., 1887, P. 67) He was also gardener and handyman at the novitiate in Angers in 1892 and he remained there right until the forcible expulsions of 1903. During his last years in this house, he was struck by paralysis. At the beginning of April, 1903, along with the novices, he was sent to Bestin in Belgium. Shortly after his arrival there, he died on April 18 as a result of a cold and a new attack of paralysis. His funeral rites were celebrated on April 21. He remains were laid to rest in St. Joseph’s cemetery in Bestin.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Birth certificate, March 18, 1830; oblation formula at Le Calvaire, November 1, 1853; letter from the superior of Montmartre to Father X, November 19, 1878.