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Gabriel Gerberon

A Benedictine of the Maurist Congregation; b. Aug. 12, 1628; d. March 29, 1711

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Gerberon, GABRIEL, a Benedictine of the Maurist Congregation; b. at St-Calais, Department of Sarthe, France, August 12, 1628; d. in the monastery of St-Denis, near Paris, March 29, 1711; educated by the Oratorians at Vendome; became a Benedictine in the monastery of St-Melaine, at Rennes, December 11, 1649; studied theology in the monastery of Mont St-Michel; ordained priest in 1655; and taught philosophy and theology in the monasteries of Bourgeuil, St-Denis, and St-Benoit-sur-Loire until 1663. His departure from the Scholastic method of teaching theology, and his leaning towards Jansenism, influenced his superiors to relieve him of his professional duties. In 1663 he was sent to the monastery of La Couture, near Le Mans, and three years later, to St-Germain-des-Pres, where he devoted six years (1666-1672) to the care of souls and to literary pursuits. In 1672 he was sent to the monastery of Argenteuil, and in 1675 he was appointed subprior of the monastery of Corbie. Here he openly opposed the encroachments of Louis XIV in ecclesiastical and monastic affairs, and when it became known that he was the author of the second volume of “L’Abbe commendataire” (Cologne, 1674), a work which severely condemned the abuse of setting commendatory abbots over monasteries, the king ordered his arrest (1682). Gerberon escaped the hands of the law by fleeing to Brussels, thence to Holland, where he lived a few years under the assumed name of Augustin Kergre. In 1690 he returned to Brussels, and, in union with Quesnel and other Jansenists, wrote numerous pamphlets in favor of Jansenism. On May 30, 1703, he was arrested at, the command of the Archbishop of Mechlin, who intended to give him over to his monastic superiors. Louis XIV, however, imprisoned him at Amiens (1703-1707) and at Vincennes (1707-1710). After retracting all his Jansenistic errors, Gerberon was set free, and returned to the monastery of St-Germain-des-Pres, April 25, 1710. He deeply regretted his errors, and died a repentant son of the Catholic Church.

Gerberon was one of the most prolific writers of the Maurist Congregation. Tassin (loc. cit. below) ascribes one hundred and eleven works to him, many of which, however, are spurious. Of the sixty-one works ascribed to him by de Lama (loc. cit. below), the following are the most important: “Apologia pro Ruperto Abbate Tuitiensi” (Paris, 1669), in which he proves against Salmasius and other Protestants that Abbot Rupert of Deutz held the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence; “Histoire generale du Jansenisme” (Amsterdam, 1700), 3 vols.; “Acta Marii Mercatoris” (Brussels, 1673); “Histoire de la Robe sans couture de N. S. Jesus-Christ, qui est reveree dans l’eglise des Benedictins d’Argenteuil” (Paris, 1676). His chief Jansenistic work is entitled “Le Miroir de la Piete chretienne” (Brussels, 1676). He also edited the works of St. Anselm: “S. Anselmi opera omnia, necnon Eadmeri monachi Cantuar. Historia Novorum et alia opuscula” (Paris, 1675).

MICHAEL OTT.


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