Berthier, Guillaume François
BERTHIER, GUILLAUME FRANÇOIS
Jesuit spiritual writer and teacher; b. Issoudun, France, April 7, 1704; d. Bourges, Dec. 15, 1782. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1722 and taught philosophy at Rennes and Rouen and theology at Paris. From 1745 to 1749 he published volumes 13 to 18 of the Histoire de l'Église gallicane begun by J. Longueval. As editor of Mémoires de Trévoux from 1745 to 1762, he maintained a spirited defense against the caustic attacks of Voltaire and the Encyclopedists. Upon the suppression of the Jesuits in France in 1762, he became court librarian and tutor to the sons of the dauphin (the future Louis XVI and Louis XVIII), but after 18 months he was forced to join other Jesuits in exile in Germany. While there he refused an invitation from Maria Theresa to take up residence in Vienna, for he preferred to devote himself to study and meditation. After the accession of Louis XVI in 1774, he returned to France and spent his remaining years in retirement at Bourges. His works were published posthumously by Y. M. Querbeuf. They include Les Psaumes traduits en français avec des notes et des réflexions, with a biographical notice by Querbeuf (8 v., Paris 1785), which was frequently reprinted; Isaïe traduit en français avec des notes et réflexions (5 v., Paris 1788–89); and Reflexions spirituelles (5 v., Paris 1790).
Bibliography: c. sommervogel et al., Bibliotèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 vol. (Brussels-Paris 1890–1932; v. 12 suppl. 1960) 1:1377–86. e. lamalle, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912—) 8:954–955. m. viller, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, m. viller et al. (Paris 1932—) 1:1528–30. h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 vol. in 6 (3d ed. Inssbruck 1903–13); v. 1 (4th ed.1926) l 4.1:411–413.
[j. c. willke]