Fournet, André Hubert, St.
FOURNET, ANDRÉ HUBERT, ST.
Cofounder of the Daughters of the Holy Cross of st. andrew; b. Maillé, near Poitiers, France, Dec. 6, 1752;d. La Puye, near Poitiers, May 13, 1834. Born of well-todo and pious parents, Fournet reacted to the heavy religious atmosphere of his home with a certain irreverence and frivolity. While studying law and philosophy at Poitiers, he enlisted in military service and had to be brought out by his parents' influence. He was sobered by the counsel and example of his uncle, Jean Fournet, a dedicated and holy priest of the poor parish of Hains. He studied for the priesthood and was ordained (1776). After a brief curacy with his uncle he became vicar of the small church of St. Phèle (1779) and parish priest of St. Pierre (1781) in Maillé. Fournet was respected for his conviviality and his generosity to the poor, but his own parish house was run with austerity. He refused to take the oath required by the civil constitution of the clergy but ceded the church (September 1791). He continued to minister, saying Mass in homes, fields, and barns. His bishop, however, compelled him to flee to Spain in 1792. Fournet returned secretly to Maillé in 1797 and said Mass in a barn. He was continually hunted by the republican police and had some narrow escapes—once even posing as a dead man. After Napoleon became first consul, Fournet began to minister openly, but the unsettled religious conditions led to his assuming a much wider pastoral responsibility than before the French Revolution. Some churches around Maillé were suppressed; some priests apostatized, and others joined the petite Èglise. In 1797 Fournet had become acquainted with St. Jeanne Élisabeth bichier des ages. He suggested that she establish a religious community to provide care for the sick and to educate the poor. He wrote the rule for the Daughters of the Holy Cross of St. Andrew. In 1820 he retired as parish priest of Maillé and moved to La Paye to direct the growth of the community. He was beatified on May 16, 1926, and canonized on June 4, 1933.
Feast: May 13.
Bibliography: l. rigaud, Vie du bon Père André-Hubert Fournet (2d ed. Poitiers 1885). j. saubat, André-Hubert Fournet, 2 v. (Poitiers 1924–25). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 25 (1933) 417–428. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, 12 v. (Paris 1935–56) 13:122–130. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 2:303–305.
[t. p. joyce]