(Haute-Garonne), France, May 3, 1834.
Took the habit: N.-D. de l’Osier, October 31, 1857.
Vows: Montolivet, January 19, 1859 (N. 474).
Priestly ordination: Marseille, July 21, 1859.
Died: Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S.A., April 16, 1907.
Joseph Rieux was born in Toulouse on May 3, 1834. After one year of theology in the seminary of his hometown, he began his novitiate in Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 31, 1857. He continued his novitiate in Montolivet from February 1858. On sending him to Marseille, the novice master, Father Florent Vandenberghe, praised his virtues and wrote: “The big problem is his ability which remains to be seen.”
In Montolivet Brother Rieux continued his novitiate and studied theology. In February 1858, Father Antoine Mouchette wrote in his report: “Brother Rieux caused some doubts regarding his ability; there is a basis for those doubts, but he has so much virtue, candour and good will that I have not the shadow of a doubt that he may be admitted to continue. Besides, he has sound judgement; the memory is what is lacking.”
He made his vows on January 19, 1859 and was ordained to the priesthood on the following July 21. He received his obedience immediately for Texas and by December he was already in Brownsville. An entry in the Personnel Registry for 1862-1863 sums up the opinion of his formators in these words: “Outwardly simple, modest, and timid. Modest appearance but somewhat embarrassed. Quite a good health. He is a happy character, calm and very pious. Ability average; practical judgement very good.
In his dossier in the General Archives there is a list of his obediences: November 1860: Matamoros; 1866-1880: Nuestra Señora de Agualeguas, in Mexico; 1880: Rio Grande City; 1884-1907: Eagle Pass. The report made by Father Vandenberghe in 1880 says that Fathers Jean-Marie Gaye and Rieux are again in the shrine of Nuestra Señora de Agualeguas in spite of the “odious reign of the Freemasons” which forced the Oblates to abandon their missions in Mexico. “They remain unmoved, like sentinels in their outposts, protected by the Holy Virgin and by fame of their virtues and, until now, the revolution has respected them”.
Father Rieux died in Eagle Pass where he was the devoted and faithful assistant of Father Rigomer Olivier” (Missions OMI, 36 , p. 317).
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
G. A.: oblation formula; about ten letters
from Madame Rieux, two letters to Father Mouchette and one to Father Fabre.
Missions OMI, 1862-1907, passim.
Doyon, Bernard, o.m.i., The Cavalry of Christ on the Rio Grande, Milwaukee 1956, 252 pages.