French Jesuit authority on the spiritual life; b. Châlons-sur-Marne, Oct. 30?, 1587; d. Bourges, April 5,1635. We know little about the ancestry and infancy of Lallemant. He was the son of a magistrate in the service of the king of France in the province of Champagne. He was sent as a boarding student to the Jesuit college at Bourges where he gave evidence of a precocious and solid piety.
He entered the novitiate at 18, and pronounced his solemn vows Oct. 28, 1621. He then became professor of philosophy and of theology, later master of novices and, of special importance, instructor of tertians, charged with the spiritual formation of the Jesuits making an additional year of novitiate after having finished their studies and before beginning their apostolic ministries.
Lallemant himself did not write, but one of his students gathered notes that were preserved, arranged, and published in Paris (1694) by Pierre Champion, SJ, almost 60 years after Lallemant's death. This book was entitled La Vie et la doctrine spirituelle du P. Louis Lallemant de la Compagnie de Jésus. It contains a biography, written by Champion, and an addition, made up of notes taken at the conferences of Lallemant by his disciple J. J. surin. Despite the difficult critical problems posed by such a manner of transmission and composition, we can regard the Doctrine spirituelle as the true thought of Lallemant.
In this work he insists on purity of heart, on docility to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Under the influence of the Spiritual Exercises he teaches the discernment of spirits, that is, the discovery of the action and of the will of God, recognized in everyday life through the movements of the heart. He insists as well on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and on union with Our Lord in prayer. He poses the classic problem of the relation between prayer and action. For him, prayer ought to lead to a disinterested contemplation, but it ought also to prepare for apostolic action, nourish it, and submit it to the light of the Holy Spirit. Action, on the other hand, ought to lead us to God and be a constant stimulus to prayer. This is an apostolic spirituality: prayer and action are the means of becoming a true apostle. "The final point of the highest perfection in this world is zeal for souls."
Lallemant inspired a double set of disciples: mystical writers, such as J. Rigoleuc and J. J. Surin; and heroic missionaries, such as Bl. Julien Maunoir and St. Isaac Jogues.
Bibliography: l. lallemant, La Vie et la doctrine spirituelle du Père Louis Lallemant (2d ed. Paris 1961), introd. and notes by f. courel. j. de guibert, La Spiritualité de la Compagnie de Jésus, ed. e. lamalle (Rome 1953), a sure and precise general view of Lallemant. h. brÉmond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment réligieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1911–36) 5:3–65. a. pottier, Essai de théologie mystique comparée: Le Père Louis Lallemant et les grands spirituels de son temps, 3 v. (Paris 1927–29). p. bouvier, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (Paris 1903–50) 8.2:2459–64. f. courel, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 1957–65) 6:753. j. jimÉnez, "En torno a la formación de la Doctrine spirituelle del P. Lallement," Archivum historicum Societatis Jesu 32 (1963) 225–292.