Religious founder; b. Beignon (Morbihan), France, Dec. 6, 1767; d. Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre (Vendée), France, Dec. 28, 1841. He was a deacon when the French Revolution forced him to flee in exile to Jersey in the Channel Islands, where he was ordained (1792). He returned then to France and exercised his ministry amid the perils of the Reign of Terror. In 1805 he became pastor in Auray (Morbihan) and began reestablishing parish missions, recalling religious orders, providing welfare agencies, and opening schools. In conjunction with Michelle Guillaume he founded the Sisters of Christian Instruction of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois (1807). In the rectory he organized (1816) a community of teaching brothers that merged (1820) with another group established by Jean de la mennais to form the brothers of christian instruction of ploËrmel. His role in the foundation of the brothers of christian instruction of st. gabri el began in 1821 [see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 39 (1947) 240–241]. In 1839 Deshayes founded the Brothers of St. Francis of Assisi to conduct agricultural schools. This group fused in 1899 with the Salesians. After joining the montfort fathers in 1820, Deshayes served (1821–41) as superior general of this institute and of the Daughters of wisdom, both being foundations of St. Louis grignion de montfort. Deshayes also organized special institutions for the care of the deaf and mute. After his death an endeavor was made to establish a link between the first schools founded by St. Louis Grignion de Montfort in 1705 and the Brothers of St. Gabriel organized by Deshayes at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in 1821, thus making Deshayes the restorer rather than the founder of the Brothers. The Historical Commission of the Congregation of Rites studied the matter and in 1947 recognized Deshayes as the founder.
Bibliography: a. crosnier, L'Homme de la Divine Providence, Gabriel Deshayes, 2 v. (Paris 1917). a. laveille, Gabriel Deshayes et ses familles religieuses (Brussels 1924). Crosnier presents Deshayes as founder of the Brothers of St. Gabriel; Laveille, as restorer of the congregation.
[e. g. drouin]