Brottier, Daniel Jules Alexis, Bl.
BROTTIER, DANIEL JULES ALEXIS, BL.
Priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; b. La Ferté-Saint-Cyr (near Beaugency), Diocese of Blois, France, September 7, 1876; d. St. Joseph Hospital, Paris, France, February 28, 1936. Brottier felt called to the priesthood from his childhood. In 1887 he entered the minor seminary of Blois where he proved to be a brilliant student and an entertaining friend. In 1892 he began his study of philosophy at Blois's major seminary. After his ordination as a diocesan priest (October 22, 1899), he taught at the college of Pontlevoy. Feeling a call to the missions, he joined the Holy Ghost Fathers at Grignon-Orly (September 26, 1902), professed his temporary vows (September 30, 1903), and was sent to Saint-Louis, Senegal, Africa.
During his time in Senegal (1903–11), he demonstrated a special concern for orphans, helped found an organization for the education of girls, and published the first Catholic monthly in West Africa (1906), which ceased when he returned to France in 1911. In France, he raised the money to build Dakar's cathedral (consecrated February 2, 1936) in honor of those who had died in Africa for France. His bravery as a military chaplain in the Twenty-Sixth Infantry during World War I was rewarded with five citations, the Croix de Guerre, and the Legion of Honor medal. Brottier attributed his survival to St. thÉrÈse de lisieux, in whose honor he built a chapel at Auteil (1925). In 1923, the archbishop of Paris chose Brottier to administer the Orphan Apprentices of Auteuil, founded by Abbot Roussel in 1866. He undertook this work with zeal, and the number of orphans in his care rose from 175 to 1,408. Brottier was beatified by John Paul II on November 25, 1984.
Feast: February 28.
Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 78 (1986): 486–89. Au Sénégal: sûr les traces du père Brottier: jubilé de la Cathédrale du Souvenir Africain, 1936/1986 (Paris 1986). g. g. beslier, Le Père Brottier (Paris 1946). p. croidys, Le père Brottier, serviteur ardent de la charité (Paris 1945). c. garnier, Ce père avait deux ames (Paris 1956); Le père Brottier: hier, aujourd'hui, demain (Paris 1981). j. gosselin, Daniel Brottier: visages et reflets (Paris 1989). L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 50 (1984): 2,12.
[k. i. rabenstein]