Louis de Bras

From Vincentian Encyclopedia
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Louis de Bras was born on August 10, 1678 in Montdidier. In 1697, in the age of nineteen he entered the Internal Seminary in Paris. It was recognized then, that his spirit of maturity was well beyond his age. After ordained priest he taught ecclesiastical science in seminaries in Toul, Saint Flour and Tours. In the latter place, he was a Superior for some thirty years developing his knowledge of Canon Law as much as archbishops regarded him as an oracle.

On March 6, 1747 the General Assembly elected Louis de Bras the eighth Superior General and the seventh successor of St. Vincent de Paul. He was appalled be the election but accepted it humbly. Fourteen years of his generalate is considered a golden age of radiation in a fruitful regularity of good quality. During these years 668 seminarians and priests as well as 290 took vows in the Congregation. Thirteen houses were founded: five in Poland, six in Italy and two in France.

When archbishop of Paris, Christophe de Beaumont, learned of his death he said, he had just lost the largest church in his diocese. He acknowledged Fr. de Bras as a great superior leading his community greater wisdom. Among the qualities his contemporaries recognized were two beautiful flowers: his tendency to indulge, within normal limits, to his subordinates, and his passion for the poor - he engaged all his personal abilities, found very respectable, to alleviate the miseries. When he was exhausted, he felt that his presence on earth was useless because he could not help the unfortunate.

Louis de Bras died in Maison-Mère at 9:45 in the evening on August 21, 1761 in the age of 83 and 64 in vocation.