D' Alzon, Emmanuel

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Founder of two religious congregations; b. Vigan (Gard), France, Aug. 30, 1810; d. Nîmes (Gard), France, Nov. 21, 1880. Emmanuel Marie Joseph Maurice d'Alzon was born of an aristocratic family. Influenced by Hugues Félicité de lamennais, he studied for the priesthood at Montpellier and Rome, and was ordained (Dec. 26, 1834). He became vicar-general of the Diocese of Nîmes (1835), preached extensively, and became responsible (January 1844) for the administration of the College of the Assumption, a secondary school that he sought to raise to university status to break the state monopoly on higher education. Until his death he continued to serve as college president and vicar-general. After taking the vows of religion privately (June 1844), he received episcopal permission to do so publicly, along with five teachers from his college, thereby inaugurating the assumptionists (Dec. 27, 1850), whose superior general he remained during his lifetime. In 1865 he was cofounder of the Oblate Sisters of the Assumption. Upon the suggestion of Pius IX he oriented his activities after 1862 toward Catholics of the Byzantine rite. D'Alzon was a friend of montalembert, ozanam, and veuil lot. His interest in Catholic journalism was evidenced by his collaboration in several publications. He attended vatican council i as theologian to Bp. Claude Plantier and labored vigorously for the definition of papal infallibility. As a spiritual director d'Alzon was very influential. His letters to Mother Marie Eugénie de Jésus, foundress of the Congregation of the assumption, are esteemed for their literary and spiritual excellence. An immense amount of d'Alzon's personal correspondence and many manuscripts of sermons and meditations survived him; some of them have since been published.

Bibliography: s. vailhÉ, Vie du P. Emmanuel d'Alzon, 2 v. (Paris 192734). s. peitavi, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 2:908913. s. salaville, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 1:411421. m. h. laurent, Dictionnaire de biographie française (Paris 1929) 2:370371.

[g. h. tavard]