Louis of Besse

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Capuchin pioneer of the social apostolate; b. Bessesur-Issole, France, Oct. 17, 1831; d. San Remo, Italy, Oct. 8, 1910. Before entering the Capuchins (1851) as alumnus of the Paris province, he was called Alphons Eliseus Chaix. After his ordination (1858) he dedicated himself to the service of the working people. In order to foster their cause and protect their interest he instituted societies and popular banks and founded also the periodical Union économique. He followed as an ideal the Bl. bernardino of feltre, concerning whose life and social activities he wrote two volumes: Le B. Bernardin de Feltre (Tours 1902). At the same time he was interested also in spirituality. In this field he wrote, among other works: Éclaircissement sur les oeuvres mystiques de S. Jean de la Croix (Paris 1893), which was translated into English under the title Light on Mount Carmel (London 1926); La Science de la prière (Paris 1903). The persecution of the religious orders (1903) forced him into exile.

Bibliography: hilaire de barenton, Le P. Ludovic de Besse, 2 v. (v.1, Paris 1913; v.2, Arras 1935). Lexicon Capuccinum (Rome 1951) 994.

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