OLIER, Jean-Jacques. Écrits sur la sainte Vierge, éd. Critique par Bernard PITAUD, suivie d’une note sur Théologie, mystique et spiritualité chez M. Olier [Writings on the Blessed Virgin. Critical Edition by Bernard PITAUD, Followed by a Short Essay on Father Olier’s Mystical and Spiritual Theology]. Mystica vol. 14; Paris: Honoré Champion, 2020. 262 p.

We wish to point out a review of the critical edition by Father Bernard Pitaud of the Writings on the Blessed Virgin by Jean-Jacques Olier, in the Revue Mabillon [2022], an international journal of the history of medieval and modern religious life and spirituality.

The author of this glowing review is Daniel-Odon HUREL, an historian of Modernism and a specialist in Benedictine monasticism. Starting from the observation of Marian devotion which always characterized the spirituality of Jean-Jacques Olier, Mr. Hurel analyzes the editorial work of Father Pitaud, who sought to bring together scattered texts on the Virgin Mary produced by the founder of the Society of Saint Sulpice.

Pitaud begins this editorial work starting from the autograph manuscript No. 9 preserved in the Archives of Saint Sulpice in Paris. This manuscript, compiled in the 19th century, already aimed to bring together several autograph texts by Father Olier on the Marian mysteries: the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of the Virgin, the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, the Annunciation, the Visitation, Calvary, and the Assumption. The second part of this same manuscript refers more to the place that the Sulpicians granted to Marian devotion in their interior and community life. This critical edition therefore represents a set of 35 texts dedicated to the Virgin Mary, embellished with historical and theological notes allowing a better appreciation of their meaning and context.

The work concludes with a study in which Father Pitaud analyzes the maternal and filial dimension of the relationship between Jesus and Mary in the realization of the mystery of the Incarnation. It also does not forget the nuptial dimension of this relationship, which manifests itself particularly in the mystery of the Cross, where the Mother of Christ also becomes the Mother of all humanity.

Neither does Father Pitaud overlook a psychological dimension to Olier’s teaching. The conflictual relations that Mrs. Olier had with her son Jean-Jacques are not unrelated to the fact that the latter turned very early to the Virgin Mary. Olier, who was destined for a priestly vocation and the formation of clergy, saw in the person of the Virgin a true spiritual mother.


ecrits sur la sainte vierge olier pitaud


Translated by Ronald D. WITHERUP, P.S.S.