Born at Crest (Drôme), April 30, 1834.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, October 31, 1859.
Oblation at Montolivet, February 17, 1861. (no. 536)
Ordination to the priesthood at Autun, May 21, 1864.
Died at Notre-Dame de la Garde, August 1, 1891.
Joseph Auguste Trotobas was born at Crest in the diocese of Valence, April 30, 1834. He studied
at Marseilles and took part in the youth movement of Fr. Allemand which was under the direction of the Oblates. He began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 31, 1859 and made
his oblation at Montolivet on February 17, 1861. Father Vandenberghe, the novice master, saw in him little prayer life or good will, but many faults. When he sent him
on to the scholasticate, he wrote on September 25, 1860: “Nothing very perfect
in him; however, we should not despair of him: not very supernatural in virtue, prayer life based on sentiment and habit. He does want what is good; very narrow-minded in
his judgments, rather small spirited. I hope that you will find him suitable for the priesthood; as far as he is concerned, he will not refuse it. He is a bit of an enigma.”
At Montolivet in 1860-1862 and at Autun in 1862-1864, the moderator of scholastics always judged him harshly. This is how he summarized his thinking in the Personnel Register of 1862-1863: “Good enough spirit, but appears to be lacking in prudence. A bit feminine in character, too preoccupied with appearances. He has a taste for celebration and displays, a too great facility of excusing himself from exercises of the Rule. Will need to be watched over and guided… A bit of pride in his talent, which, for all that, is rather meagre.” In spite of these not very flattering judgments about him, he was ordained to the priesthood at Autun on May 21, 1864 and immediately sent as a mission preacher to Notre-Dame de l’Osier where he preached retreats and missions constantly and with good results. In 1868, he received an obedience for Autun. He only stayed there one year. He then obtained permission to go live near his widowed mother and his sick grandmother. In order to help them out financially, he took up preaching in the dioceses of Valence and Grenoble.
Upon the death of his mother in 1882, he returned and took up again his life of mission preacher at Notre-Dame de l’Osier. He fell ill (lumbago and sciatica) during a mission at Sète (Hérault) in 1886. The medical doctor advised him to seek a milder climate. He was then placed at Notre-Dame de la Garde in 1888. He continued to preach in various places and did ministry with the pilgrims at the shrine. He died at Notre-Dame de la Garde on August 1, 1891.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Three letters to Father A. Martinet (1868-1869) and two to Father M. Sardou (1882)
“R. P. Auguste Trotobas” in Missions O.M.I., 52 (1914), p. 524-527.