Oratorian spiritual writer; b. Paris, Mar. 18, 1585; d. Paris, Oct. 28, 1662. Born of a noble family, Bourgoing was the curé of Clichy until 1611, at which time he resigned that position in favor of Vincent de Paul and became one of the first six priests of the Oratory founded by Pierre de bÉrulle. He taught in various seminaries, including those of Paris, Rouen, and Nantes, and preached extensively in Auvergne, Brittany, and Lyons. In 1626, at the request of the archbishop of Malines, he went to Flanders and established Oratorian houses in Louvain, Maubeuge, and Mons. He preached the funeral oration for Cardinal Bérulle at Louvain, and then presided at the assembly of the Oratory that elected Charles de condren as Bérulle's successor.
Bourgoing returned to France in 1630, and on Condren's death in 1641, became the third superior general of the Oratory. He initiated vigorous regulations for his community and drew up a plan of studies for seminaries. His subordinates criticized him for his authoritarian manner, and the assembly of 1661 indirectly reproached him for accepting the office of confessor to the duke of Orleans by legislating that no superior could accept a position at court. Nevertheless, the prosperity of the Oratory under his direction proved his wisdom and competence as an administrator.
In 1656 he suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered, and after 1660 his health and spirit failed. Bousset preached the funeral oration for Bourgoing. A close disciple of Bérulle, Bourgoing was a fierce opponent of Jansenism and one of the leading figures in the religious renaissance in France in the 17th century. A prolific writer, he published many works of piety that went through numerous editions and were translated into other languages. Among his principal works are Lignum vitae (Mons 1629), Institutio spiritualis ordinandorum (Paris 1639), Méditations sur les vérités et excellence de Jésus Christ (6 v. Paris 1636), and Exercises de retraites (4 v. Paris 1648). He edited the works of Bérulle as well as other collections of homilies on the gospel and meditation on the Blessed Virgin and the saints,.
Bibliography: c. e. cloyseault, Généralats du P. François Bourgoing, 2 v. (Paris 1880) 2:1–26. l. batterel, Mémoires domestiques pour servir à l'histoire de l'Oratoire, 5 v. (Paris 1903–11) 2: 285–329. a. molien, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire. (Paris 1932–) 1: 1910–15. e. levesque, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912–) 10: 226–228.
[j. t. kelleher]