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Raymond Bonal

French theologian, founder of the Congregation of the Priests of St. Mary (1600-1653)

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Bonal, RAYMOND, French theologian and founder of the Congregation of the Priests of St. Mary (Bonalists), b. at Villefranche in Rouergue, August 15, 1600; d. at Agde, Herault, France, c. 1653. He studied classics and philosophy with the Jesuits at Cahors; theology and canon and civil law at the University of Toulouse, where he received the degree of Doctor in Theology in 1628. In 1632, he conceived the idea of organizing a community of priests in whose life and labors should be exemplified the spirit of St. Francis de Sales. With two other ecclesiastics, he began to lead a community life in a house near the church of Our Lady of Pity, Villefranche. He was soon joined by others, and in 1639 the parish of Foix in the Diocese of Pamiers was entrusted to his community, which a few years later opened a seminary at Villefranche with Bonal as its director. In 1650 he organized a seminary and college at Toulouse and, having gone to Agde with a similar purpose, in 1653, fell a victim to an epidemic. The congregation founded by Bonal was approved in 1665 by Pope Alexander VII, and in 1678 by King Louis XIV. For lack of subjects, however, the seminaries confided to the Bonalists languished and were successively handed over to the Congregation of the Mission. After a little more than a hundred years of existence, the congregation itself was absorbed by the Lazarists.

Raymond Bonal published a “Cours de theologie morale” the 8th edition of which is dated, Paris, 1685. This course, which was followed in the Sulpician seminaries at Toulouse, Valence, Thiers, and elsewhere, was translated into Latin by Pierre Laur (Toulouse, 1674), under the title “Theologia Moralis R. Bonalis”. Another work of Raymond Bonal, “Explication litterale et mystique des rubriques” was published at Lyons in 1679.

F. V. NUGENT


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