Auger, Edmond

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Jesuit preacher and confessor of Henry III, effective in stemming Calvinist influence; b. Alleman, near Sézanne in Champagne in 1530; d. Como, Lombardy, Jan. 19, 1591. In 1550 St. Ignatius himself admitted Auger to the novitiate and formed him in the religious life. Auger was made professor of Latin, first at the Roman College and then at Perugia and Padua. Even before his ordination he began to manifest great talent for preaching. In 1559 Auger returned to France where with others he founded a college at Pamier and later another college at Toulouse. He taught at Pamier and Tournon. He preached with great naturalness, vigorously and cheerfully, in the most varied circumstances. He was hailed as the "Chrysostom of France," and was so able and gracious a preacher that he attracted even the Calvinists, whose heresy was then spreading in southern France. He had ardently and successfully devoted himself to counteract their influence. Having been captured by the Huguenots in Valence in 1562 and sentenced to death by burning, he addressed the onlookers while standing at what was intended to be his pyre and so won them that they demanded his release. To his preaching he added works of charity, visiting the sick, and comforting the prisoners. He was tireless in administering the Sacraments.

His French catechisms earned him the title of the "French Canisius." The first, a larger work, a summary of Catholic doctrine, appeared in 1563; the second, a smaller catechism published in 1568, was translated even into Greek. Both catechisms were reprinted and translated several times. Since they were written in the form of a dialogue and showed less erudition than the Canisius Catechism, they were useful for instructing children and uneducated adults. The catechisms confuted Calvinist doctrine without entering into polemics.

Auger became the first provincial of Aquitaine in 1564. He preached to King Charles. He became the chaplain of the Duke of Anjou. In 1574 when the duke became Henry III, Auger was made his confessor and preacher. Henry III appealed to the pope to have Auger remain at court, and only in 1587 was Auger authorized to leave. His attachment to Henry III aroused the hostility of the Leaguists. After the assassination of the king, Auger had to take refuge in Lyons and Tournon before leaving for Como where he died.

Bibliography: j. dorigny, La Vie du P. Emond Auger (new ed. Avignon 1828). f. j. brand, P. Edmundus Augerius, S.J. (Cleve 1903); Die Katechismen des Edmundus Augerius (Freiburg 1917). c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932; v.12, suppl. 1960) 1:632642; 8:1706. p. deslandres, "Le Pére Emond Auger," Revue des études historiques 104 (1937) 2838. h. joly, Dictionnaire de biographie française (Paris 1929) 4:504511. j. dutilleul, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 5:378383.

[r. b. meagher]