Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of Bl. Pierre Bonhomme

Facts

Feastday: September 9

Birth: 1803

Death: 1861

Beatified By: 23 March 2003 by Pope John Paul II


Pierre Bonhomme (1803-1861), Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary. He was born on 4 July 1803 in Gramat, France. As a child, Pierre showed an inclination for study, a deep piety, and generousity to his parents and sister. He felt called to be a priest from an early age and was attracted to a life of simplicity and poverty.

He completed his studies at the Royal College and entered the major seminary of Cahors in November 1818. On 23 December 1827 he was ordained a priest. From that time, he demonstrated an extraordinary ability to help others, both spiritually and materially. While still a deacon, he opened an elementary and middle school for boys. In 1831 he opened a school to prepare students for the major seminary. He also founded the spiritual group "Children of Mary" for young girls in Gramat, convinced of the need to give youth both human and spiritual guidance when there was nothing else of the kind for them in the area.

Shortly after his appointment as parish priest of Gramat, Fr Bonhomme came into contact with the wretchedness and neglect suffered by so many of the poor, elderly and sick. He longed to help them and was undaunted by the scarcity of the available means. He urged "his young people" to visit them, bringing material aid and spiritual comfort. A little later, Fr Bonhomme received permission to establish a home for the needy. He understood that to run this charitable institution a religious congregation was indispensable, and that its members must be women who would give all of themselves for the good of the poor and the suffering. He believed that the young members of the "Daughters of Mary", so generous in the gift of themselves and in love for God, might have this vocation. It was this that inspired Fr Bonhomme to found the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary in Gramat. They were dedicated to educating children and to providing assistance to the poor, sick, elderly, deaf-mutes and the seriously mentally and physically disabled.

Hortense and Adèle Pradel and Cora and Mathilde Roussot, all of whom lived in Gramat, became the first members. They felt called to be consecrated to God in his service, and began their formation under Fr Bonhomme and at several religious institutes in Cahors.

Fr Bonhomme continued his parish activity and was known for the many missions he preached in nearby Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne. He acquired a reputation as a gifted preacher, converting many and attracting other young women to his newly-founded congregation. Scorching heat and bitter cold did not deter him from preaching with the same zeal to save souls. He had a special devotion to Our Lady of Rocamadour, in Gramat, and through her sought the strength and inspiration he needed. On one occasion, while preaching a retreat he completely lost his voice. It was through prayer to Our Lady of Rocamadour that he received a miraculous cure, recovered his voice and was able to go on speaking.

In 1836, Fr Bonhomme made a brief retreat in the Trappist monastery of Mortagne, feeling the need to discern God's will for him in deeper prayer and reflection. He felt a growing desire to become a Carmelite, and to found a Carmelite community in Gramat. However, the Bishop of Cahors did not accept this proposal and encouraged him to continue his missionary activities and to collaborate with the group of newly-established diocesan missionaries in Rocamadour. Fr Bonhomme obeyed and threw himself into this new project with all his energy and enthusiasm.

In 1848, during a mission in Lot, Fr Bonhomme was once again unable to speak; but this time he was obliged to give up preaching and a disease of the larynx was diagnosed. The priest did not despair; he trusted in God's providence and believed that this would afford him the opportunity to dedicate himself to the flourishing congregation he had founded; it already had 61 religious members in various communities in the rural parishes who were dedicated to educating children and caring for the sick. In 1844, Fr Bonhomme sent a community to serve a psychiatric hospital in Leyme and paid frequent visits to "his daughters" there to encourage them in their difficult mission. In 1856, he opened another community in Paris, dedicated to serving "mentally ill, convalescent poor" persons.

His own disability, due to the disease that deprived him of his voice, made him particularly sensitive to the disabled, especially deaf-mutes. In 1854 he opened a school for deaf-mute children in Mayrinhac-Lentour, Lot, and in 1856 he sent sisters to Paris to found a home for deaf-mutes.

In his last years, Fr Bonhomme devoted all his time and energy to forming the sisters and to writing the Rule of his institute which he put under the protection of Our Lady of Calvary, who became Mother and Model of the Congregation.

Fr Bonhomme died in Gramat on 9 September 1861. Today the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary consists of 250 religious who work in France, Brazil, Argentina, Guinea, Ivory Coast and the Philippines.

Biogrpahy Provided By: The Vatican


Bl. Pierre Bonhomme Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

42.

Image of St. Monica

St. Monica

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was ... continue reading | shop

43.

Image of St. Mary Magdelene

St. Mary Magdelene

She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the name 'Magdalen' because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her ... continue reading | shop

44.

Image of St. Martin de Porres

St. Martin de Porres

St. Martin de Porres was born at Lima, Peru, in 1579. His father was a Spanish gentleman and his mother a coloured freed-woman from Panama. At fifteen, he became a lay brother at the ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Cornelius

St. Cornelius

Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope to succeed Fabian in an election delayed fourteen months by Decius' persecution of the Christians. The main ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day
September 2014
S M T W T F S
123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese of Lisieux

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians. Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Alphege

St. Alphege

Bishop and prophet, called "the Elder" or "the Bald." Also known as Elphege, he was the bishop of Winchester, England. There he ordained St. Dunstan. A holy prophet, Alphege is ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Peter Chanel

St. Peter Chanel

In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day - April 28) The protomartyr of the South Seas, St. Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. His intelligence and ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of The blessed Cyprian suffered martyrdom on 14 September, under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, but in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever. Amen.

Pope Cornelius and Bishop Cyprian are Examples for this Age of Martyrs

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge. Let us be armed with a great ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
12 For as with the human body which is a unity ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:11-17
11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 16th, 2014 Image

St. Cornelius
September 16: Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter