Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Peter Hasslacher

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Preacher; b. at Coblenz, 14 August, 1810; d. at Paris, 5 July, 1876. He was one of that band of missionaries from the Society of Jesus whose fruitful labours throughout Germany, from Freiburg to Berlin and Danzig, reawakened and strengthened the country's Catholic forces after the stormy year of 1846. Hasslacher's youth was somewhat tempestuous. As a medical student in the university in Bonn, in 1831, he identified himself with the German student movement, which was looked upon as revolutionary; and he was compelled, in consequence, to undergo seven years confinement at Berlin, Magdeburg, and Ehrenbreitstein. During these years he underwent a spiritual change, and in particular, by studying the Fathers of the Church, stirred his mind with theological knowledge; after his liberation he entered, in the spring of 1840, the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, at St.-Acheul, France. He was ordained to the priesthood, on 1 Sept., 1844, and then preached with much success in the cathedral at Strasburg, until the year 1849. It was at this time that the popular missions were inaugurated in Germany; but Hasslacher's delicate health could not long withstand the physical exertions entailed; and this apparent difficulty and disadvantage led the zealous-heated missionary into the field of activity which was particularly his own, namely, the conference. This he himself explains in a detailed letter (Deutsches Ordensarchiv) written from Bad Ems to his provincial in 1860. He gave conferences in all the larger cities in the Rhine and Westphalia. His strength failing, he was sent in 1863 to conduct, in Paris, the St. Joseph's Mission for German Catholics; but even this labour became after ten years too much of a tax on his physical powers so that he was compelled to abandon it and to take up similar but lighter duties at Poitiers. After a year he was brought back, very ill, to Paris, where he died.

Hertkens, Erinnerungen an P. Hasslacher (Münster, 1879), with numerous letters and twenty-three sketches for lectures; the author makes use of Beda Weber, Cartons aus dem deutschen Kirchenleben (Mainz, 1858, 451 sqq.; Hasslacher's a letter on his lectures is not used in these works; many corrections and supplementary data, therefore, must be borne in mind in its connection; this criticism holds also for the articles in the Kirchenlex. and the Allgem. Deutsch. Biographie.

N. SCHIED