Born: Monestiés (Tarn), France, on January
Took the habit: N.-D. de l’Osier, November 8, 1849.
Vows: N.-D. de l’Osier, November 9, 1850 (N. 288).
Priestly ordination: Marseille, April 3, 1853.
Died: Jaffna, Ceylon, April 14, 1895.
Auguste-Marie Rouffiac was born in Monestiés, diocese of Albi, France, on January 21, 1826. He began his novitiate in Notre-Dame de l’Osier on November 8, 1849 and took vows there on November 9, 1850. Before sending him to Marseille where he studied theology at the major seminary, the novice master, Father Jacques Santoni, wrote a report on October 15, 1850: “This novice has always behaved well. He seems to me to be a man of solid virtue. He is particularly distinguished by his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. His character is excellent, he has good judgement and ordinary ability. He will be quite successful in preaching.” In Marseille, Father Jean Marchal, moderator of scholastics, describes him as: “always calm, peaceful and somewhat ponderous. He has been punctual, submissive and applies himself to his duty in keeping with his character. His tastes are for physical work. He is sometimes quite cheerful, he composes and speaks quite well in public, but in spite of that, he seems somewhat pedantic and slow. He could be said to be phlegmatic. He is sensitive…”
Bishop de Mazenod ordained him to the priesthood on April m3, 1853 and immediately sent him to Ceylon with Father Victor Lacombe. In a letter of April 8, this is how he introduces him to Father Étienne Semeria: “The two subjects whom I am sending you … are angels.” Five months after his arrival in Ceylon, Father Rouffiac speaks Tamil sufficiently well to be put in charge of the mission in Valigamam. After that, during the period 1853 to 1894, he received eighteen obediences but his ministry was mainly in Valigamam (1853-1856, 1860-1863,
1875-1878), in Batticaloa (1856-1860, 1863-1869, 1882-1886), in Trincomalee (1870-1872, 1878-1882, 1886) and in Jaffna (1886, 1892-1894). He was in Mannar in 1894 when he developed a fever that proved to be fatal. He was transported urgently to Jaffna where he died on April 14, 1895.
The author of an article which was published in the Jaffna Catholic Guardian on April 20, 1895 wrote about Father Rouffiac that “in his relations with the parishioners, he was always at ease and interested, humorous and with anecdotes at will. He never missed an occasion to attract, instruct, and edify his parishioners. He was a good counsellor and judgement was reliable and based on long experience and an intimate knowledge of local affairs. As a result he was appointed an Episcopal advisor. This duty was conferred on him by Bishop Mélizan when he was Bishop of Jaffna. As a preacher, Father Rouffiac had mastered familiar Tamil and his sermons were practical, precise and adapted to his audience, from the most intelligent to the most ignorant.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
G. A.: oblation formula; manu notes.
Missions OMI, 1862-1898, passim.
Philip, Jesuthasan, o.m.i., “Rev. Fr. J.P. Augustus Rouffiac”, in Our Tribute, Vol. I, Colombo, 2001, pp. 194-196.