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Lucas D’Achery

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Achery, LUCAS D’, a French Benedictine (Maurist), b. 1609 at Saint Quentin in Picardy; d. in the monastery of St. Germain des Pres at Paris, April 29, 1685. He was a profound student of medieval historical and theological materials, mostly in original manuscripts, to the collection, elucidation, and printing of which he devoted his whole life. He entered the Order of St. Benedict at an early age, was professed at the Abbey of the Blessed Trinity, Vendome, October 4, 1632, but his health soon obliged him to remove to Paris. He became a member (1637) of the monastery of St. Germain des Pres, and in his long sojourn of nearly fifty years scarcely ever quitted its walls. As librarian of the monastery he was soon acquainted with its rich treasures of medieval history and theology, and by a continuous correspondence with other monasteries, both in and out of France, he soon made himself a bibliographical authority of the first rank, especially in all that pertained to the unedited or forgotten writings of medieval scholars. His first important work was an edition (Paris, 1645) of the “Epistle of Barnabas“, whose Greek text had been prepared for the press, before his death, by the Maurist Hugo Menard. D’Achery’s “Asceticorum vulgo spiritualium opusculorum Indiculus” (Paris, 1645) served as a guide to his confrere, Claude Chantelou, in the preparation of the five volumes of his “Bibliotheca Patrum ascetica” (Paris, 1661). In 1648 he published all the works of Blessed Lanfranc of Canterbury (P.L., CL, 9). He published and edited for the first time the works of Abbot Guibert of Nogent (Paris, 1661) with an appendix of minor writings of an ecclesiastical character. In 1656 he edited the “Regula Solitaria” of the ninth-century priest Grimlaicus (Grimlaic), a spiritual guide for hermits. His principal work, however, is the famous “Spicilegium, sive Collectio veterum aliquot scriptorum qui in Galliae bibliothecis, maxime Benedictinorum, latuerunt” (Paris, 1655-77), continued by Baluze and Martene, to whom we owe an enlarged and improved edition (Paris, 1723). D’Achery collected the historical materials for the great work known as “Acta Ordinis S. Benedicti” but Mabillon added so much to it in the way of prefaces, notes, and “excursus” that it is justly accounted as his work. D’Achery was the soul of the noble Maurist movement, and a type of the medieval Benedictine, humble and self-sacrificing, virtuous and learned. Despite continued illness he was foremost in all the labors of the French Benedictines of St. Maur, and was the master of many of the most illustrious among them, e.g. Mabillon. His valuable correspondence is preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris.

THOMAS J. SHAHAN


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