Duvergier de Hauranne, Jean
DUVERGIER DE HAURANNE, JEAN
Abbé de Saint-Cyran, whose writings, friendship with Cornelius O. jansen, and influence on Antoine Arnauld and port-royal contributed to the rise of jansen ism; b. Bayonne, France, 1581; d. Paris, Oct. 11, 1643. Duvergier (known more generally as Saint-Cyran) studied theology at the Jesuit College in Louvain under Leonard lessius and Cornelius lapide. With his fellow student Cornelius Jansen he retired to his family estate near Bayonne to make a methodical study of Scripture and the Fathers, especially St. Augustine (1611–16). He was ordained a priest (1618), and later created abbé de Saint-Cyran (1620), but lived in Paris. He became an intimate friend of bÉrulle, whose book Les Grandeurs de Jésus he defended against the Jesuit François Garasse (1626). He was thus closely associated with the beginnings of the French Oratory.
When Richard Smith (1568–1655) was appointed vicar apostolic for England, Saint-Cyran gained European fame under the name of Petrus Aurelius by defending Smith against the Jesuits Edward Knott (1582–1656) and John Floyd (1572–1649), thereby giving wide publicity to Bérulle's ideas on the priesthood and the superiority of the secular over the regular clergy (1632). He made more enemies by defending Agnès Arnauld's Chapelet du Saint Sacrement (1627) and by his great success as a spiritual director. His open stand against the policies of Cardinal richelieu and the extremism of his theology, which demanded perfect contrition for valid reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Richelieu advocated the sufficiency of attrition), led to his imprisonment at Vincennes (May 14, 1638). Public opinion regarded him as a martyr. In prison Saint-Cyran continued his spiritual direction by letters and the visits of his penitents, among whom were magistrates, ladies of rank, priests and the superiors of monasteries, and his fellow prisoner, the German General Enkevort. He was freed on Feb. 6, 1643, shortly after Richelieu's death.
Saint-Cyran had close links with the visitation nuns and had helped to found their house in Poitiers. Among his published letters is one addressed to Jane Francis de chantal. Better known are his links with Port-Royal and the Abbesses Angélique and Agnès Arnauld. Their nephew Antoine Lemaître was the first solitary to retire near the monastery under Saint-Cyran's influence (1637). Most important for the subsequent history of Jansenism is his spiritual guidance of their youngest brother, Antoine Arnauld, who visited him at Vincennes (1638). Saint-Cyran's letters to Arnauld prove that he encouraged him to write De la fréquente Communion. He saw its success in 1643 and the first attacks on its doctrine. No evidence connects him with Jansen in the composition of augustinus (1640).
Saint-Cyran's importance lies not in his dogmatic theology, but in his spiritual doctrine, which is to be found mainly in short treatises, such as Théologie familière (1639), Le Coeur nouveau (1642), Vie d‘Abraham, De la Pénitence (1962), and in his letters of direction, some 150 of which were published after his death (1645 and 1647), and almost as many of which remained unpublished until 1962. Like Bérulle he insists on the dignity of the priest and is the first to have compared a priest to the Virgin Mary, saying that he is superior to the angels because he "produces and forms" the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, hence the necessity of vocation.
The Abbé de Saint-Cyran has much in common with Francis de Sales, whose person and teaching he venerated, when he views charity as the essence of piety; salvation to be worked out in the world by means of special graces for each state of life; obedience to grace; and the importance of a spiritual director. He recommends in particular what he calls the "beggar's prayer," showing God our defects without words. The influence of Jansenism, however, appears in his insistence on the small number of the elect, predestination without regard to merit, deferment of absolution (though here he claimed to follow Charles borromeo), and for some of his penitents, a spiritual renewal (renouvellement ) that involved abstention from Communion for some weeks or even months. His Lettres chrétiennes et spirituelles (1645) influenced both pascal's theology and, through John wesley's translation (1760), Methodist piety.
The contradictions in his teaching often can be ascribed to his concern for the individual soul. His deep spirituality is reflected in his motto, suivre Dieu.
Bibliography: j. duvergier de hauranne, Oeuvres chrétiennes et spirituelles, 4 v. in 12 (Lyon 1679). j. orcibal, Saint-Cyran et le Jansénisme (Paris 1961); Les Origines du Jansénisme, 5 v. (Louvain 1947–62); Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart, et al. (Paris 1912–) 14:1216–41. h. brÉmond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment réligieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1911–36) 4:36–175. l laporte, La Doctrine de Port-Royal, 2 v. in 4 (Paris 1923–51) v. 1. l. cognet, Les Origines de la spiritualité française au XVII e siècle (Paris 1949). c. constantin, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 1903–50) 4.2:1967–75, bibliog.