Cormier, Hyacinthe-Marie, Bl.
CORMIER, HYACINTHE-MARIE, BL.
Baptized Henri Marie; master general of the Order of Preachers (dominicans) and spiritual writer; b. Orleans, France, Dec. 8, 1832; d. Rome, Italy, Dec. 17, 1916. After the early death of Cormier's father, his mother took him and his brother Eugene to live near their uncle who was a priest. Both boys entered the junior seminary at Orleans, but Eugene died the following year. Shortly after Cormier was ordained a priest of the diocese of Orleans in 1856, he was received in the novitiate of the Order of Preachers at Flavigny by Father Henri lacordaire and given the name Hyacinthe. The Dominican community hesitated to profess him because of his health, but in 1859 when Cormier fell seriously ill, he was anointed and allowed to make his profession in the belief he had only days to live. He recovered and served the Dominicans for another 50 years.
As a professor of theology, he demonstrated a firm grasp of the faith. During the years 1866–74, he was the first provincial of the restored province of Toulouse, and again from 1878–82, served intermittently as prior in various convents. Cormier's administrative competence helped solidify the Dominican restoration begun by Lacordaire.
Beginning in 1891 Cormier served in generalate of the Order, first as socius to Master General Frühwirth (1891–96), then as procurator general until 1904 when he was elected the 76th master general. As master general (1904–1916), Cormier restored many suppressed provinces and erected new ones, including one in Canada and another in California. His time as master general coincided with the difficult period of modernism in the Church, and he promulgated a new ratio studiorum for the Order. In 1909 he established the international Angelicum University (now the Pontifical University of St. Thomas) in Rome and lent his support to the theological faculty of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. A noted spiritual director, Cormier was an esteemed confidant of St. pius x, prized for his intellectual honesty and compelling moral judgment.
Cormier practiced strict conformity to the Dominican Rule. Because he had been born on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, he had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. Despite his heavy schedule of teaching, writing, administering, and spiritual direction, he spent hours daily before the Blessed Sacrament.
Cormier wrote his doctoral thesis on the biblical rationalism of David Straus. Among his 171 printed writings examined during the beatification process were encyclical letters, biographies, and spiritual books, including cluding Instruction des Novices (Paris 1880) and Quinze entretiens sur la liturgie dominicaine (Rome 1913).
Cormier died quietly in Rome at the age of 84 and was buried in the church adjacent to the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, Nov. 20, 1994.
Feast: May 21, the anniversary of his election as master general.
Bibliography: Acta Capituli Generalis Ordinis Praedicatorum 1920 (Rome 1920): 60–67. b. montagnes, ed., Exégèse et obéissance: correspondance Cormier-Lagrange (1904–1916) (Paris 1989). m. a. saladini, Il p. Giacinto M. Cormier, maestro generale dei Frati predicatori (Rome 1940). s. szabÓ, Hyacinth Marie Cormier, translated by c. g. moore (New York 1938).
[a. b. williams/
k. i. rabenstein]