Educator; b. Thuret, near Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme), France, June 14, 1805; d. Saugues (Haute-Loire), France, Aug. 13, 1862. Bénilde was the name in religion of Pierre Romançon. From 1817 to 1820 he attended the school in Riom conducted by the christian brothers, and then he entered the novitiate of this congregation after being refused admission in 1819 because of his short stature. He taught at Aurillac, Limoges, and Clermont-Ferrand until 1842, when he was assigned to a school newly opened in Saugues. There he spent the remainder of his life as head of the school and superior of the religious community. Under his direction the school became noted for its large number of vocations to the priesthood and brotherhood. Despite his unprepossessing appearance, Bénilde had little difficulty in exercising authority over boys. During his externally uneventful life, his reputation for sanctity became widespread. His sanctification came through the perfect accomplishment of everyday duties, as Pius XII pointed out on the occasion of Bénilde's beatification on April 1, 1948.
Feast: April 4.
Bibliography: g. rigault, Un Instituteur sur les autels: Le bienheureux Bénilde (Paris 1947). a. j. liddy, Chalk-Dust Halo: Life of Blessed Benildus (London 1956). l. salm, Brother Benilde Romançon, FSC: The Teacher Saint (Romeoville, Ill. 1987).
[w. j. battersby]