Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Jacques-Charles de Brisacier

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 2
Jacques-Charles de Brisacier

by Pierre Auguste Fournet


Orator and ecclesiastical writer, b. at Bourges in 1641, d. at Paris, 23 March, 1736. At the age of twenty-five he entered the Society of the Foreign Missions at Paris, and devoted seventy years of his life to this great work. The scion of a rich and distinguished family, son of the collector-general for the Province of Berry, endowed with a remarkable talent for preaching, chaplain in ordinary to Queen Marie-Thérèse, wife of Louis XIV, he might have aspired to high ecclesiastical honors. Many bishoprics were offered to him. He refused them all, however, in order to remain in the Society of the Foreign Missions of which he was elected superior in 1681. He filled this office for eight terms, but as the rule of the Society is that no one shall be elected superior for more than three consecutive years, he filled this charge alternately with Louis Tiberge. He was also one of eight of its members who in 1698 composed the rules for its government which are still in force.

Madame de Maintenon asked him to become the associate of Bourdeloue and Fénelon, in compiling the regulations for the school of Saint Cyr, which she had just founded. So pleased was she with his wisdom and judgment that she asked him again, in connection with Bourdeloue and M. Fronson, superior of Saint Sulpice, to give his opinion on the books of Madame Guyon and upon Quietism. On this point, however, the director of the Society of the Foreign Missions did not agree with the views of Fénelon. He took a very prominent part in the discussion on Chinese ceremonies. After having asked the advice of Fénelon and Bossuet on this question, Brisacier did not hesitate to declare himself of an opinion different from that of the Jesuits. The Bishop of Meaux wrote him three letters on this subject (30 August, 1701; 8 and 12 September, 1701). Brisacier, however, did not wait for these letters to declare himself. On 20 April, 1700, he published a pamphlet entitled " Lettre de MM. des Missions étrangères au Pape, sur les idolatries et les superstitions chinoises, avec une addition à la dite lettre, par MM. Louis Tiberge and Jacques Charles de Brisacier". Brisacier pronounced the funeral orations of the Duchesse d'Aiguillon and also of Mlle de Bouillon, both benefactresses of the Foreign Missions.

LAUNAY, Histoire generale de la societe des Missions etrangeres (Paris, 1894); Histoire de Fénelon, XI, 293.

A. FOURNET