Historical dictionary  vol.: 1  let.: M

Martel, Claude François


Born at Vitrolles (Hautes-Alpes), July 8, 1807.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, April 8, 1846.
Perpetual oblation at Parménie, December 25, 1848 (no. 239).
Died at Talence, July 4, 1864.

Claude François Martel was born at Vitrolles in the diocese Gap on July 8, 1807. He entered the novitiate of Notre-Dame de l’Osier on April 8, 1846 at 39 years of age. He pronounced his first vows at l’Osier on May 13, 1847 and made his perpetual oblation at Parménie on December 25, 1848. In the June 28, 1848 report of the General Council, the secretary wrote: “The good qualities [of Brother Martel] to which Reverend Father Master bears witness in the report he has sent about him have caused him to be judged worthy of admission into the Congregation. First of all, he will make his five year vows and will be able to make his perpetual vows when his superior will judge that it is appropriate.”

Brother Martel initially lived at Parménie, a shrine and farm not far from Osier. “All of those who had contact with him at Notre-Dame de l’Osier and at Parménie where he usually stayed,” wrote Father Delpeuch, “will never forget the happy experience they took away from coming into contact with this brother, always smiling, always dedicated, always busy, humble, self-effacing, and bearing in his features the signs of ongoing mortification[...] He pushed almost to the point of indiscretion his love for penance, that inseparable companion of humility. For a long time all he had to sleep on were bare boards and he had a stone for his pillow. Neither the rigors of the cold nor the attacks of the painful illness, the terrible seeds of which he already bore in his body, nothing was able to stop him. It was still while he lived in Parménie that, during the summer, we saw him get up at the crack of dawn, enduring the demands of the heavy seasonal work and always strictly observing the Friday fast...”

After a short stay at Notre-Dame de Lumières, in 1853, he received his obedience for Talence. He acted as porter at the house there for eleven years until his death in 1864. Everyone appreciated his discretion, his prudence, his devotion to the poor and his fraternal charity. Father Delpeuch added this about him: “Not only was he a model in the community, but he was again like a precious cement which bound the brothers in the house into one mind and one heart. God alone knows all the good and the charity that this gentle and wholesome influence produced. All impatience ceased, all impetuosity gave way before his ever imperturbable serenity, before his ever beaming good humour...”

The brother’s illness began during the month of February 1864, culminating July 4 by this death surrounded by all the signs of predestination.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.

Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, December 25, 1848. Letter to the Founder from Parménie dated December 28, 1848, asking to be sent to the foreign missions.
“Frère Martel,” circular letter no. 21 from Father Fabre, July 9, 1864 in Notices nécrologiques, vol. I, Paris, 1884, p. 157-164.

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