Born at Thodure (Isère)
Taking of the habit in N.-D. de l’Osier, June 16, 1843
Oblation in N.-D. de l’Osier, July 16, 1844 (No. 123)
Left the Congregation.
This Oblate has left little trace of himself in the Oblate archives. He was born at Thodure in the diocese of Grenoble. He probably was a junior at the minor seminary of Notre-Dame de Lumières. In a May 15, 1841 letter, Father Honorat mentions some “Bouvier brothers” as being juniors. He began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on June 16, 1843, but, it seems, he studied philosophy at the major seminary of Marseilles for the 1843-1844 school year. In May of 1844, the Founder sent him back to l’Osier and at the same time wrote to Father Vincens: “Brother Bouvier was impatiently waiting the completion of his philosophy to place himself under your direction and properly complete his novitiate. You may judge if he applies himself in earnest. I did not present him to the council because I understood that there might be difficulty in getting him approved.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1843-1849, Oblate Writings I, Vol. 10, No. 841, p.67)
Brother Bouvier made his oblation on July 16, 1844. He subsequently left the Congregation, but repented and asked to repeat his novitiate. The Founder agreed to accept him back and sent him to Father Dassy in Nancy with this recommendation: “Dear Father Dassy, I am sending to the novitiate a young man in whom I am interested: Bouvier whom you knew at l’Osier. I explained his situation at length to Father Santoni; I will not repeat myself here. To put an end to any new examination, I made it known that it was I who was admitting him. I have every reason to believe that he will so conduct himself that I will not have to repent for having given in to his persistent requests. I beg both of you to take good care of this good child whose conduct has been exemplary in the interval from his leaving to the return I am granting him.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1843-1849, Oblate Writings I, vol. 10, no. 950, p. 187)
Brother Bouvier was still at Nancy in February of 1848 and did not entirely measure up to Father Dassy’s expectations since the Founder wrote him on the 12th of that month: “I would be glad, should you see Brother Bouvier, to recommend especially to him in my name that he not give any reason whatsoever for a complaint against him.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1843-1849, Oblate Writings I, vol. 10, no. 966, p. 210) In the month of April 1848, because of the revolution, Brother Bouvier was sent to l’Osier. A few days later, Bishop de Mazenod communicated to Father Vincens that Brother Bouvier, still a novice, would soon leave for Canada in the company of Father Léonard. He added: “His brother also wants to go very much but I do not know what they can do with him in Canada. He imagines that he can serve as a catechist, I cannot promise him that they will consider him competent. But if he resigns himself to being purely and simply a Brother, that will be fine.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1843-1849, Oblate Writings I, vol. 10, no. 974, p. 221) In a letter to Father Faraud, May 10, 1848, Bishop de Mazenod reaffirmed that “Fr. Léonard, with the two Bouviers whom you knew, one a clerical and the other a lay brother, will embark with one or two others also at Le Havre towards the end of the month...” (Letters to North America, 1841-1850, Oblate Writings I, Vol. 1, No. 95, p. 193) From that time on, there is no mention of them, not even in the otherwise very complete work of Father Gaston Carrière, Dictionnaire biographique des Oblats de M.I. au Canada.
Yvon Beaudoin, O.M.I.
G.A: Oblation formula, N.-D. de l’Osier, July 16, 1844.