Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ferdinand-François-Auguste Donnet

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 5
Ferdinand-François-Auguste Donnet

by Joseph Francis Sollier


A French cardinal, b. at Bourg-Argental (Loire), 1795; d. at Bordeaux, 1882. He studied in the seminary of St. Irenaeus at Lyons, taught at the college of Belley, was ordained priest in 1819, and, after some time spent at the Maison des hautes etudes founded by Cardinal Fesch, went to Irigny as pastor. From 1821 to 1827 he engaged in missionary work and then returned to Lyons to be made pastor of Villefranche. Appointed coadjutor to the Bishop of Nancy, 1835, he evinced such sterling qualities that two years later he was called to the archiepiscopal See of Bordeaux. During the forty-one years of his administration he showed a prodigious activity in every line of work, religious, social, and even material. To him are due the resumption of provincial councils; the restoration of many shrines like Arcachon, Verdelais, Notre-Dame de la fin-des-terres; the reconstruction of the Pey Berland tower, etc. Cardinal in 1852, and Senator of the Empire, he used his influence in favour of the pope, the liberty of teaching, and the repression of the irreligious press. At the Vatican Council he openly sided with the Ultramontanes like Plantier, Pie, etc. His affable disposition and cheerful character endeared him to his people, and few bishops have been loved and regretted as Donnet was. His eulogy was pronounced by Canon Laprie at the cathedral of Bordeaux, 1883, and by M. Boué at the academy of the same place, 1884. Cardinal Donnet's works comprise twelve volumes (8vo) of "Instructions pastorales, mandements, lettres, discours"; also "Lettres, discours et autres documents relatifs a la question romaine" (Bordeaux, 1865).

J.F. SOLLIER