Labadie, Jean de

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Founder of the Labadists; b. Bourg, near Bordeaux, Feb. 13, 1610; d. Altona, Feb. 13, 1674. He was educated by the Jesuits at Bordeaux, then entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained in 1635. As a teacher and preacher he gained considerable renown, and he was esteemed for his piety. However, he imagined himself to have visions and revelations and a call to reform the Catholic Church. He fell seriously ill and after recovering asked for and received permission to leave the Society of Jesus. As a diocesan priest he labored at Bordeaux, Paris, Amiens, and Abbeville. Finally, after a stormy career, he embraced Protestantism at Montauban on Oct. 16, 1650. The delight of the reformers at so illustrious a recruit seems to have been tempered when Labadie now tried to reform them. His failure here ended in the formation of a sect of his own about 1670. Labadie thought that man, through contemplation, would see all things in God. Thus the Scriptures are not necessary; rather the Holy Spirit will inspire man. Labadie rejected infant Baptism and denied the Real Presence in the Eucharist. He minimized the observance of the Lord's Day. The semicommunistic society of his followers died out about 1732.

Bibliography: g. frank, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, ed. s. m. jackson (Grand Rapids, Mich. 195154) 6:390392. l. marchal, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 8.2:238385.

[h. j. muller]