Dominican canonist, theologian, religious founder; b. Lyons, France, May 4, 1824; d. Bourg-en-Bresse, Aug. 2, 1904. Meynard was ordained in 1849 and was pastor of Pélussin (Loire) in the Diocese of Lyons until 1855 when Lacordaire's influence led him to the Friars Preachers at Flavigny. During his early years as a Dominican, he preached missions until ill health forced him to abandon the pulpit in 1856. He restored the priories of Carpentras and Poitiers. In 1860 Meynard founded the congregation of Third Order Dominican Sisters at Bourgen-Bresse for the care of the sick. He spent his last 19 years of life as their chaplain. His final year was one of severe physical and spiritual trial: because of misunderstandings, his spiritual daughters snubbed him and sought his departure. He bore this trial with patience, offering his last sufferings for the Church and his Order.
He did some writing in the field of Canon Law but his chief interest was in spiritual theology. He wrote the following works: Traité de la vie intérieure (2 v., 1885) and Catéchisme de la vie chrétienne intérieure et religieuse (1894). His teaching on the interior life is notable as a 19th century continuation of the Thomistic tradition as derived from Thomas de Valgornera. Meynard differed from most Thomists, however, in holding the widely accepted distinction between ascetical and mystical theology: to the former he ascribed the study of a soul's progress toward perfection with the ordinary helps of grace; to the latter, the extraordinary acts and phenomena of the interior life. He also considered infused contemplation an extraordinary grace.
Bibliography: Annales Domincaines 1 (1904) 465. p. pourrat, Christian Spirituality, tr. w. h. mitchell et el., 4 v. (Wesminster, Md. 1953–55) 4:506–508.