Born at Vienne (Isère), March 9, 1811
Ordination to the priesthood in Grenoble, July 16, 1837
Taking of the habit in Marseilles, October 31, 1837
Oblation in Marseilles, November 1, 1838 (No. 77)
Died in Galveston, Texas, October 1, 1853.
Jean Fleury Baudrand was born at Vienne, diocese of Grenoble, France, on March 9, 1811, son of J. F. Baudrand and Madeleine Faure. He was ordained to the priesthood at Grenoble, July 16, 1837 by Bishop Philibert de Bruillard, a friend of the Founder and of the Oblates. He entered the novitiate on October 31, 1837 and made his oblation November 1, 1838.
He worked at Notre-Dame de l’Osier from 1838 to 1841. Bishop de Mazenod asked Father Guigues, the superior of this house, not to give Father Baudrand work “exclusively in service in the parish,” otherwise people in the diocese would think that one became an Oblate, not be preach parish missions, but simply to continue being a parish priest. In July 1841, Father Baudrand stated that he was in favour of accepting missions in Canada and, in October of 1841, he left with the first contingent on their way to Canada. In 1841-1842, he had his residence at Saint-Hilaire; from 1842 to 1846, he resided at Longueuil, from 1846-1848 in Bytown, in Longueuil from 1848 to 1850 and at the parish of Saint-Pierre-Apôtre in Montreal from 1850 to 1853.
Father Honorat communicated to the Founder that Father Beaudrand acquitted himself well as a preacher and was liked by the clergy, but he judged that he was too independent, not given to regularity and of a hypercritical spirit. In addition, Father Baudrand wrote to his confreres in France rather than to the Founder and found amusement in describing the misunderstandings that existed among the Oblates in Canada, especially between Fathers Honorat and Telmon. In a September 20, 1842 entry in his Diary, Bishop de Mazenod expressed his displeasure: “Things would improve in America if Father Baudrand was not fostering this internal division. Father Baudrand is a man of no education, without tact and endowed with very little virtue. He is sufficiently endowed with some talents, but he believes himself much more endowed than he is. He is especially taken up with the idea that the men from Dauphiné are superior to the men from Provence whom he is stupidly conceited enough to despise. He has fed upon this idea and, as a result of this ridiculous bias, discusses the shortcomings of Father Honorat, his superior, of the character of Father Telmon, etc., while he himself, instead of concentrating on acquiring the virtues that he lacks and especially the religious virtues of which he has not even a trace, uses his knowledge only to grumble, to sow discord, to complain even outside of the community, emphasizing the faults of his confreres according to what his imagination and his ill-natured heart portrays them. He is really doing the devil’s work in Canada and the damage he has done us is incalculable...”
In April of 1843, Bishop de Mazenod decided to recall him to France under the pretext that he would be representing the Oblates of Canada at the General Chapter. When Father Honorat received this letter, Father Telmon, the elected delegate had already left for France. In response to the insistence of Bishop Bourget, the Founder left Father Baudrand in Canada, but on August 10, 1843, he wrote the bishop: “You wanted to give Father Baudrand a respite. [...] Let’s exercise a bit more patience, then, even if he does not show more sincerity in his obedience. And if he does not break himself of the mania he has of wanting to judge everything and everyone, we will have to deal with it.” Did Bishop Bourget share this letter with Father Baudrand? On May 10 1844, Father Honorat announced that Father Baudrand had made a retreat, asked pardon for his actions and promised to change. In closing, he stated: “I consider this change of heart as being one of the greatest graces that God has granted us since we are in Canada.”
Father Baudrand, as well, wrote to the Founder and expressed his good intentions. Harmony and confidence began to reign and Father Baudrand was even appointed superior of the house at Longueuil in 1849-1850 before being sent to Saint-Pierre-Apôtre parish in Montreal. He would even have been appointed provincial in 1851 if it were not that Father Allard and Father Taché were appointed bishops. It was then the old man re-emerged and Father Baudrand “in unworthy fashion declared himself opposed to allowing bishops in the Congregation.” He even dared “to say out loud that democracy needed to be introduced into our institute.” (Mazenod to Tempier, June 24, 1851)
Father Jacques Santoni was the one who was appointed provincial and did not get along with Father Baudrand. In the beginning of 1852, he asked that Father Baudrand be expelled from the Congregation. Bishop de Mazenod opposed this course of action and, at the beginning of 1853, in order to remove him from Canada, appointed him superior of the seminary in Galveston where, in any case, the community made up of young priests needed a superior who was somewhat older.
Father Baudrand died of yellow fever on October 1, 1853 after an illness of four days. Father Parisot wrote: “After having renewed his vows, on the second day of his illness, he received the last sacraments with piety. His sincere piety, his great patience and perfect resignation amidst the most acute sufferings greatly edified all those present.” He was 42 years of age. His body was laid to rest opposite the cathedral in Galveston.
Sources and Bibliography
G.A.: Oblation formula, November 1, 1838; circular letter of Father
Casimir Aubert, undated. [October
Carrière, Gaston, Dictionnaire biographique des O.M.I. au Canada, Vol. I, 1976, p.51.