Born at Les Échelles (Savoie), January 1, 1827
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, March 12, 1847
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, March 13, 1848 (no. 194)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, June 29, 1851
Expelled, May 25, 1866.
Claude Tissot was born in Les Échelles, in the diocese of Chambéry, January 1, 1827. After finishing secondary schooling and his philosophic studies at the royal college of Chambéry, he entered the novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on May 12, 1847 and made his oblation on May 13, 1848. At the General Council session of April 17, 1848, he was admitted to vows. The report of the sessions proceedings expressed the desire to have seen in him more “native ability.” Nonetheless, they judged “he possessed all the necessary elements to one day make himself useful in the sacred ministry.” He studied theology with the scholastic brothers at the major seminary of Marseilles and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on June 29, 1851.
He almost always stayed at Le Calvaire in Marseilles. Here, however, community life was a constant trial for him. For this reason and in order to better prepare him for preaching, in 1855-1856, he was sent to Father Martin at Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. In a January 8, 1855 letter, Father Martin wrote to Father Casimir Aubert that he had preached with Father Tissot. Father Tissot, he said, “was well educated and well mannered.” Father Tissot, however, found the task of writing sermons very difficult and did not want to go out preaching missions without being sufficiently prepared to make a good impression. Consequently, he suffered a great deal from boredom and insisted on returning to Marseilles. In a January 4, 1856 letter, Father Martin asked the Founder to keep Father Tissot at Bon Secours until Easter and added that he had qualities which would have made him very useful at the shrine. “He has a very significant ministry as a confessor. His conduct is prudent and he is well mannered, a quality that is not negligible in a community like ours.”
In 1858, Father Tissot could not get along with Father Dassy, the superior at Le Calvaire, and was sent to Aix. His case was discussed in the General Councils session of May 13, 1859, but no decision was taken in his regard “even though we are quite aware of his feelings and the little stock we must place in his perseverance.” He went back to working at Le Calvaire from 1861 to 1865. The review, Missions, made mention of him every year when they listed the Advent or Lenten series and the retreats preached by the priests from that community.
Because of a “change in his health status,” he spent the winter of 1865 at Notre-Dame de Bon Secours as guardian of the shrine. He was then sent to Aix. It was while he was there that the General Council in their session of May 25, 1866 took the decision to expel him from the congregation because “for a number of years already, this priest has made statements showing little affection for his vocation and for the congregation. [he] allowed himself to be carried away by his natural impetuosity to the point of forgetting himself completely in regard to his confreres and was guilty of offering physical violence [...] At the same time, he maintained an attitude of completely unacceptable insubordination with regard to his superior whom he dared to insult in a manner that Father Rambert felt duty bound to denounce this violent and unworthy conduct to Reverend Father Provincial...”
Father Tissot has already requested and obtained a pastoral charge in the diocese of Chambéry.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, May 13, 1849; a June 16, 1866 letter to Father Fabre requesting dispensation from his vows; a few other letters of recommendation in 1847 and 1866.