Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family: Finding a place for the Eternal Rest of Frederic

by | Dec 16, 2023 | Formation

Before leaving for Italy in July 1852, Frédéric and Amélie visited the Church of the Carmelites in Paris. They sat near the chapel then called of the “Guardian Angels.” Amélie already knew that her husband was ill: he was diagnosed, along with his lung problem, with a severe kidney disease.

eternal rest frederic

Frédéric died in Marseille, when he returned from his trip to Italy. His body was taken, first, to Lyon, where his relatives wanted him to be buried in the family tomb at Loyasse Cemetery, where his parents laid. But Amélie was opposed, saying the express wish of Frédéric was to be buried amidst the young students of Paris, where he had spent much of his life.

Abbé Noirot, his teacher in infancy and youth, approved the idea. Mass “in the presence of the body” was celebrated in the Church of Saint Peter of Lyon, the same church where Frédéric made his first communion. His body was then transferred to Paris in a steamer, along the river Saone to the Seine. A funeral in Saint Sulpice was held, and all his friends, students, workers and poor of the neighborhood came to it.

His body provisionally rested in a chapel-crypt of the Church of St. Sulpice. Amélie wanted to take him to the Church of the Carmelites, but it was not easy, because his brothers wanted to bury him in Montparnasse. Father Lacordaire took part and gave permission, although the authorities did not allow lay people to be buried in churches. With influence of a friend of Frédéric who was a minister, it could be done, provided that it was in a hidden place of the Church and without any inscription, “for Napoleon III,” he said to Amélie, “has already denied this permission to very influential people.”

Frédéric’s remains were deposited next to the staircase leading from the convent to the Church. Amélie could not witness the burial, because it was forbidden for women to enter the convent… but they let her go later go secretly. Amélie asked, in 1855, a special dispensation of Pope Pius IX to go to pray at the tomb, entering through the convent garden. When, years later, the ban to bury lay people in churches disappeared, Frédéric’s tomb was finally settled in the crypt where he is now.

He is buried in the crypt under the church of the former Dominican convent of Saint Joseph of the Carmelites, under a fresco representing precisely the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” The church is next to the building in which, thirty years after his death, the Catholic Institute of Paris would be created.

Lacordaire provided that the following sentence was etched on the crypt: “Why look among the dead for One who lives?”

Want to know more about the crypt where Frédéric rests? Visit this article published in famvin few months ago.

Author: Juan Manuel Gómez,
vice-president, SSVP in Spain.

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    Anecdotes of the Vincentian Family



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