Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Antoine le Gaudier

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 6
Antoine de Gaudier

by Paul Debuchy


A writer on asectic theology; b. at Château-Thierry, France, 7 January, 1572; d. at Paris, 14 April, 1622. About the age of twenty he entered the Society of Jesus at Tournay. Later on he was rector at Liège, professor of Holy Scripture at Pont-à-Mousson, and of moral theology at La Flèche. In these two last-named posts he was also charged with the spiritual direction of his brethren, and showed such an aptitude for this branch of the ministry that he was named master of novices and tertians. His appointment to these offices shows that Gaudier, since he died at the age of fifty must have evinced an early intellectual maturity and an exceptional talent for the guidance of souls. In the discharge of his various functions, he found an opportunity of developing before a domestic audience the principal matter of asceticism, which he elaborated little by little into a complete treatise. The eagerness shown to possess his spiritual writings led him at last to publish them. There then appeared successively in Latin; "De Sanctissimo Christi Jesu amore opusculum" (Pont-à-Mousson, 1619), translated into English by G. Tickell, S.J. ("The Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ", Derby, 1864); "De verâ Christi Jesu imitatione"; "De Dei praesentiâ"; "Praxis meditandi a B.P. Ignatio traditae explicatio" (Paris, 1620). There are French translations of these four works. After the death of Father Gaudier all his spiritual works, both printed and unedited, were collected in one folio volume under the title "De naturâ et statibus perfectionis" (Paris, 1643), a better edition in three octavo volumes being later supplied by Father J. Martinow, S.J. (Paris, 1856-8). While this great treatise is of special interest to Jesuits, since it is primarily intended for their instiute, it is regarded by enlightened judges as one of the most beautiful and solid monuments of Catholic asceticism. The whole of the speculative part is of general interest, and the practical part, with the exception of rare passages, is equally so. It contains a thirty days' retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, which has been separately edited several times since 1643. The great value of the work is heightened by the fact that Gaudier had personal intercourse with the immediate disciples of the saint.

Paul Debuchy.