Fouchais (Ille-et-Vilaine), November 29, 1830
Taking of the habit in N.-D. de Sion, September 7, 1857
Oblation in Montolivet, January 19, 1859 (no. 472)
Ordination to the priesthood in Marseilles, July 21, 1859
Died in Chilaw, May 8, 1876.
Pierre-Marie Boutin was born on November 29, 1830 in Fouchais, Saint-Malo-de-Phily in the diocese of Rennes. After studying theology for two years at the major seminary of Rennes, he took the habit at Notre-Dame de Sion on September 7, 1857 and made his novitiate in Nancy. In notes on the novices, Fathers Guinet and Berne who were novice masters in 1857 and 1858 characterize him as “always without reproach with regard to his prayer life and virtue […] but always giving grounds to doubt his ability with frequent lapses in tact and lacking good form in his speech.” In July of 1858, Father Vincens, the provincial, met him and “was very much in his favour.” Father Berne subsequently wrote: “That is a great load off my mind.”
Brother Boutin studied theology for one year in 1858-1859 at Montolivet where he pronounced his vows on January 19, 1859. Father Mouchette, the moderator of the scholastic brothers, found him to be “very good, prayerful, zealous” and added, “he is not very gifted, but he is humble.” Bishop de Mazenod ordained him to the priesthood on July 21 and sent him to England. Father Boutin spent three years at Leith and in Liverpool. He received his obedience for Ceylon in the month of August 1862 and left with Bishop Semeria on September 7.
He first learned the Tamil language and then worked at Mannar, Pesalai, Kurunegala and Marawila. In each of his missions, he left behind a monument to his zeal: the school of the Good Shepherd at Mannar, that of Saint Anne at Kurunegala and several schools at Marawila. In a brief obituary on Father Boutin, Father Jesuthasan Philip wrote: “He was a man endowed with serious qualities and humble tastes, a man who did a lot of work and made little noise.”
He died at Chilaw on May 8, 1876. In a letter to the Oblates of Ceylon, Bishop Bonjean, vicar apostolic of Jaffna, wrote on May 15: “This holy missionary leaves behind him the sweet smell of all the sacerdotal virtues, religious and apostolic […] His fourteen years working in the missions were for him none other than a constant martyrdom due to a constitutional illness he brought with him from Europe.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
G. A.: Oblation formula, letter to Father
Fabre in 1872; notes of the masters of novices and Father Mouchette.
Missions O.M.I., 1863-1880, passim.
Fabre, Joseph, o.m.i., “Circular letter no. 81”, 11 October 1876, in Notices nécrologiques O.M.I., vol. 3, Paris 1879, p. 296-297.
Philip, Jesuthasan, o.m.i., “R. F. Peter Maria Boutin, o.m.i.”, in Our Tribute, Vol. I, Colombo, 2001, p. 74-75.