Born in Sorbon,
Ardennes, France, 20 September 1824
Took the habit in N.-D. de 1’Osier on 26 August 1853
Oblation in N.-D. de 1’Osier on 27 August 1854 (No. 371)
Priestly ordination in Marseilles, on 8 June 1856
Died in Lys Marie, Sicklinghall, on 30 August 1857.
Jacques Robert Jules Bouquillon was born in Sorbon, in the diocese of Reims, on 20 September 1824. He was a soldier for seven years before studying in the Reims minor seminary and doing a year of philosophy in the major seminary. He began his novitiate on 26 August 1853 in Notre-Dame de 1’Osier, where he made his oblation on 27 August 1854. The General Council had admitted him to vows on the preceding 10 August. We read in the minutes of the meeting: “During the whole time of his novitiate his piety and good will never flagged for a moment. The novice master’s monthly notes all say the same thing and always entirely in his favour. They consistently show him to be wholly mature, with a solid virtue, accomplished obedience and regularity, a happy temperament and great generosity. He has a special attraction to the foreign missions. His ability without being in any way out of the ordinary is quite sufficient...”
He began theology in Montolivet in 1854-1856. Father Mouchette, the scholastics’ formator, wrote in his 1855 notes that Brother Bouquillon has an “iron temperament, but is overly animated and tense in his work, his health suffers... his health is worsening, for he abuses it... he is very regular, goes straight towards his goal but over-exerts himself.” In 1856 Father Mouchette notes that he “remains every inch a soldier except for the uniform” and adds that “his health is really bad, it is time for his studies to come to an end.”
Bishop de Mazenod ordained him priest on 8 June 1856 and sent him to the Sicklinghall scholasticate. He was to learn English. He did some local ministry. On 30 December 1856 the General council designated him for the St. Boniface mission but noted, in the 18 May 1857 meeting, that he was in no state to leave. Already by February 1857 he was bedridden, unable even to distribute the Ashes on Ash Wednesday.
In the course of his visit to the British Province in 1857 the Founder wrote Father Soullier from Sicklinghall, the site of the novitiate: “Alas! I also find our good Father Bouquillon who is ripe for the Heaven for which he sighs. There is nothing more edifying to see. Heroic thoughts they are which flow without effort from his fine soul. I have received nothing but benefits, he told me, from the Congregation and I have not been able to render her any service. I feel happy to die in her bosom. I was ready for the combat but the good God takes me before the danger begins. Although in a desperate state, he keeps perfect composure and I assure you he constantly gives proof of his presence of mind, of his piety and of his attachment to the Congregation of which he will be yet another protector in Heaven...” ([2 August 1857). And he wrote Father Tempier from Edinburgh: “... Good Father Bouquillon is coming to his end, succumbing in his bedroom where I visited him several times a day, as much to console him by my presence as to edify my self with his admirable sentiments... They are taking great care of him spiritually as well as corporally. He receives communion very often. Several times a day a Father or Brother comes to read to him. He assures me that he does not suffer but it is impossible to take any food and he is becoming hydropsic in addition to his incurable illness of stomach.” (5 August 1857).
He died and was buried at Lys Marie, Sicklinghall on 30 August 1857 at the age of thirty-two.
Sources and Bibliography
G.A.: oblation formula, letter from Fr. Casimir Aubert
announcing his death; reports of master of novices 1853-1854 and
scholasticate formator 1854-1856.
Codex historicus Lys Marie, Sicklinghall, 4 September 1856 (arrival of Father B.), 25 December 1856, 25 February 1857, 1 and 4 August 1857: Bishop de Mazenod sees him several times during his 1857 visit.
Oblate Writings I, Vol. 3, passim.
Vie Oblate Life, 59 (2000), pp.281-291.