Gay, Charles Louis

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Ascetical theologian and spiritual writer; b. Paris, Oct. 1, 1815; d. Paris, Jan. 19, 1892. As a young man Gay led an indifferent religious life, but the sermons of Lacordaire began his conversion, and he decided to study for the priesthood. Ordained in 1845, he soon became extremely popular as a preacher and spiritual director. He based his direction on a clear exposition of Christian dogma, insisting that instruction must precede advice. He belonged to the Oratorian school of spirituality and followed the footsteps of Pierre de bÉrulle. Among his chief writings are De la vie et des vertus chrétiennes (2v. Paris 1874), of which 10,000 copies were sold in 18 months, and Elévations sur la vie et la doctrine de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ (2 v. Paris 1879). He was appointed vicar general of Poitiers and later auxiliary bishop and attended Vatican Council I as a theologian. In addition to his many books, several volumes of sermons and six of letters witness to his great influence on the France of his day.

Bibliography: g. liÉvin, Enciclopedia cattolica 5:1969. p. pourrat, Christian Spirituality, tr. w. h. mitchell et al., 4 v. (Westminster, Md. 195355) 4:493499. b. du boisrouvray, Mgr. Gay sa vie, ses oeuvres, 2 v. (Tours 192227).

[m. j. barry]