Born at Cuillé (Mayenne), September 7, 1831
Taking of the habit at N.-D. de l’Osier, September 7, 1852
Oblation in N.-D. de l’Osier, September 8, 1853 (No. 349)
Ordination to the priesthood in Marseilles on June 24, 1855
Died in Ottawa, April 28, 1903.
Prosper Boisramé was born at Cuillé in the diocese of Laval in France on September 7, 1831, son of Jeanne Bréjouin and Jacques Boisramé. After his secondary studies at the minor seminary of Précigné and one year of theological studies at the major seminary of Mans, he began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on September 7, 1852 and made his oblation there on September 8, 1853. Father Gustave Richard, master of novices in September-November 1852, judged him very favourably. On September 7, he wrote: “Prosper Boisramé… has studied one year of theology. He is a good student in his class: very good will, solid capabilities without being brilliant, ecclesiastical virtues to a good degree, good character, joyful, open. The superior of Mans spoke well of him.”
Father Vandenberghe, his subsequent novice master, did discover some faults in him. He summed up his impressions in the notes which he sent on to Bishop de Mazenod on August 24, 1853, before Brother Boisramé’s oblation: “He has consistently been a model of piety and of regular observance. Once he had learned to love the religious life, with great heart, he embraced all its practices and all its principles. He has a great desire for perfection, but he seems a bit too hasty to me, a fact that renders him at times superficial and rather unsettled. It is also this almost excessive zeal of this brother that has given him an unbending, harsh character. He could take offence rather easily and, since he is not lacking in shrewdness, he finds negative things without too much trouble. On the other hand, he is good and charitable, although there is a little conceit and self-complacency, which lowers him in the estimation of some people. He works hard at correcting his faults. He is not lacking in talents; his abilities are more solid than brilliant. He enjoys a robust health that enables him to easily endure wear and tear. His attraction to foreign missions has been ongoing…”
Brother Boisramé made his scholasticate at the major seminary of Marseilles in 1853-1854 and at Montolivet in 1854-1855. Father Mouchette, moderator of scholastic brothers, found him “excellent in every regard,” and wrote in 1855; “I would almost say of him that he is too good. We must restrain him. There was nothing he left undone with regard to his development and growth as soon as he believed it useful. He does show some awkwardness in his prayer life and a little mawkishness.” Bishop de Mazenod ordained him to the priesthood in Marseilles on June 24, 1855 and sent him to teach in the major seminary of Fréjus.
Father Boisramé spent his life in the houses of formation, especially as novice master. A professor in Fréjus in 1855-1856, at the scholasticate in Montolivet in 1856-1857, master of novices in Sicklinghall from 1858 to1861, at Glen Mary in 1861 to 1863 and at Belmont House, Stillorgan from 1863 to 1868. In the report of his canonical visit of Glen Mary in 1862, Father Robert Cooke, the provincial, wrote: “I am always happy to visit this house. The peace of God reigns here with all its pleasures. It is Reverend Father Boisramé who is simultaneously superior and master of novices.”
Father Boisramé was master of novices at Nancy from 1868 to 1870 and, after the 1870 war, he taught moral theology and Sacred Scripture at the scholasticate in Autun from 1871-1873; then, he received his obedience for Canada where he remained until his death. He was initially moderator of scholastics and professor of moral theology at the university of Ottawa in 1873-1874. He returned to Ottawa toward the end of his life as chaplain for the mother house of the Grey Nuns from 1894 to 1897 and at the Good Shepherd Nuns in 1893-1894 and from 1897 to 1899.
He often gave conferences to religious women and preached a few retreats, especially to the priests of the Province Nord of France in 1870 and the clergy of Saint Albert in 1895. Notably, he wrote, Méditations pour tous les jours de l’année à l’usage de la Congrégation de Missionnaires Oblats de M.I., Tours, 3 volumes, 1887. In a letter to Father Joseph Fabre dated March 24, 1887, Father Louis Soullier, Assistant General, asked for permission to publish this work which he described as follows: “The work which I am happy to submit for your approval was born of a great love for the Congregation. It is a family heirloom, which responds to a genuine need and makes up for a real deficiency. For too long we have lived off the substance of others. Excellent though that may be, it always feels strange to us. Our Holy Rules are not their inspiration; the spirit that is special to us would not be able to find there its congenial element that it needs. The time has come for us to wean ourselves away from a state of dependency that is not without its disadvantages. That is what Father Boisramé has sought to do.”
In his obituary for Father Boisramé, Father Pierre Pépin summed up his appraisal in these words: “To be good, to be prayerful, to be holy, that is what Father Boisramé was. That is the reputation he left among us after having confirmed it without fanfare but not without authentic living.”
Father Boisramé died at Ottawa on April 28, 1903. He was buried in the cemetery of Gatineau among a great many other of his Oblate confreres from the Ottawa-Hull area.
Sources and Bibliography
G.A.: Oblation formula; about 300 letters
Missions O.M.I. 1862-1903, passim.
Pépin, Pierre, o.m.i., “Le R. P. Prosper Boisramé”, in Les notices nécrologiques, province du Canada, No. 32, Vol. II, p.34-38.
Carrière, Gaston, o.m.i., “Boisramé, Prosper”, in Dictionnaire biographique des Oblats de M.I. au Canada, Vol. I, Ottawa, 1976, p.111, with bibliography.