Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Achille Desurmont
Ascetical writer, b. at Tourcoing, France, 23 Dec., 1828; d. 23 July, 1898. He attended first the college of the Jesuits at Brugelette, Belgium, and afterwards (1848) the theological college of Cambrai. Drawn to the religious state, he was received into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1850, made his profession the following year, and was ordained priest 24 Sept., 1853. His talent was at once recognised and he was appointed prefect of students and professor of theology, which offices he retained till 1865, when he became superior of the French province. He was a man of surpassing energy and an excellent organiser, his kindness winning him the affection and confidence of his subjects, whom he directed with prudence and fatherly firmness. Under his care subjects and foundations multiplied; the congregation spread into Spain for a second time, and he made foundations in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia in South America. Forced to transfer his numerous religious from France to Holland, he so communicated to others his own spirit of faith and confidence that in all their troubles not one of his subjects failed him. On his return to France he soon organized missions and retreats as before. In 1887, he was given the important work of Apostolic visitor to the Little Sisters of the Poor. As a preacher few surpassed him in the retreats he gave to priests and religious all over France. At the age of seventy he was again nominated provincial. Although in poor health, he set to work with his wonted activity, but the result was a complete break-down. He wrote much and well. He was the founder (1875) of the ascetical review, "La Sainte Famille", and a constant contributor to it. His works are edited in three series: 1. Vie Chrétienne. — "L'Art d' assurer son Salut"; "Le Credo et la Providence"; "Le Monde et l'Evangile"; "La Vie vraiment chrétienne"; "Dévotions de l'âme chrétienne"; "Le Vén. Passarat et les Rédemptoristes". 2. Vie Religieuse. - "Exercises Spirituels" (Retraites). - "Renouvellements spirituels" (Retraites); "Conversion quotidienne et retour continuel à Dieu" (Retraites); "Une Vertu pour chaque mois de l'année"; "La Vie vraiment religieuse"; "Manuel de méditations quotidiennes". 3. Vie Sacerdotale. - "Dieu et la parole de Dieu"; "Discours et plans de retraites ecclésiastiques"; "L'esprit Apostolique"; "L'art de sauver les âmes"; "La charité sacerdotale" (Paris, Libraire de la "Sainte Famille", 1907-8).
La Sainte Famille (1898), 450; Archives Congr. SS. R.