Born at Drouville (Meurthe and Moselle), June 18, 1830
Ordination to the priesthood at Nancy, April 15, 1854
Taking of the habit at Nancy, May 9, 1857
Oblation at Nancy on May 10, 1858 (no. 458)
Died at Liège, June 20, 1905.
Gustave-Marie Simonin was born at Drouville in the diocese of Nancy on June 18, 1830. He made
his secondary studies at the minor seminary of Pont-à-Mousson and his major seminary
studies at the seminary in Nancy from 1849 to 1853. Still too young to be ordained to the priesthood, he taught for one year at the minor seminary. He was ordained to the
priesthood by Bishop Menjaud on April 15, 1854 and appointed assistant priest in the parish of Saint Vincent where one of his uncles was the parish priest. He began his novitiate
in Nancy on May 9, 1857 and made his oblation there on May 10, 1858. In his notes on some of the Oblates, the Founder wrote: “Simonin, well disposed and delighted, even when
it is a question of obeying. Excellent disposition especially, genuine dedication, filled with humility. Very learned, will be presented for teaching.”
Indeed, Father Simonin did teach philosophy at Ajaccio from 1858 to 1860. After one year at Notre-Dame de Sion in 1860-1861, he was appointed professor at the major seminary at Fréjus where he taught secondary courses in 1861-1862, Sacred Scripture from 1862 to 1865, then dogma until the seminary closed down during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. He spent 1870-1871 in Aix, then was sent to Nancy where he was master of novices from 1871 to 1876 and superior from 1877 to 1882. As superior, he preached a few missions, was director of the movement of the Servant Ladies and confessor for several of the priests in the city. He worked at Notre-Dame de Sion from 1882 to 1884. Too deaf to hear confessions, he received his obedience for the General House in Paris, given responsibility for the archives, the library and collaborator for the review Missions OMI. In this capacity, he wrote about one hundred obituaries (the greatest part of volume VI (1895) and VII (1899). He published a few works, among which were: Le S. de D. Charles Dominique Albini, o.m.i., a preparatory work for his cause of beatification, Paris, 1891, 141 p.; Notre-Dame de Sion, Notice historique et Manuel du pèlerin, Nancy, 1893, 342 p.; Chronique de Notre-Dame du Laus in Missions O.M.I, 1897, 1901, 1902, 663 p. According to Bernad, Bibliographie de Missions O.M.I (Liège, 1922, p. 81), Father Simonin had left several manuscripts, which today cannot be found, in particular: Tables analytiques des Missions O.M.I., 2 vols. (1862-1900), 486 p.; one Analyse de 481 lettres du Père Guibert (1823-1849), 200 p.; Chronique of the houses of Algeria, Billens, Nancy, Nîmes, Parménie, Romans, Quimper (c. 800 pages).
At the time of the expulsions of the religious from their houses in 1903-1904, Father Simonin was sent to the scholasticate at Liège where the eldest of his three Oblate nephews was treasurer. He spent the remainder of his days serenely in the infirmary, surrounded with attentive care and preparing himself for death in recollection and prayer. He died on June 20, 1905 on the 75th anniversary of his baptism.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula on May 10, 1858; handwritten notes for Notices nécrologiques; thirteen letters to Father Fabre (1873-1892), a few letters to Fathers Antoine, Delouche, Tatin, and about 70 to unnamed correspondents (1873-1889). Memorial of retreats, Paris, General House, 1887-1894, manuscript of 260 pages.
“Le R. P. Gustave Marie Simonin” in Notices nécrologiques O.M.I., Rome, 1939, vol. VIII, p. 611-616.