A Sulpician, Father Bernard PITAUD, has just published in French another book on one of his preferred topics, Madeleine Delbrêl (1904-1964), the French author, poet, and mystic, whose cause for sainthood is underway. The title is Madeleine Delbrêl, des rencontres décisives, Bruyères-le-Châtel, Nouvelle Cité, 2017 (273 pp.). It assembles previously published articles, revised and augmented, for the present publication.
Father Gilles FRANÇOIS, who is the postulator for the cause of Madeleine Delbrêl and who has collaborated with Father Pitaud on other works on her life, wrote the preface for this book. He points out how Pitaud’s research moves the understanding of Delbrêl’s life and holiness another step. In this book, the author shows how several encounters with important ecclesial figures of her day helped to shape Delbrêl’s thoughts and actions. It provides a window into her social activism and the complex situations surrounding the French worker priest movement before Vatican Council II. The main figures the book explores, especially through keen interpretation of letters with Delbrêl, are Cardinal Pierre Veuillot, Father Gaston Fessard, Father Jacques Loew, Father Joseph Lorgeril, and l’abbé Henri Godin.
This is the fourth volume Father Pitaud has published on the topic. His studies have greatly enriched the background and precise details of Delbrêl’s life and have helped place her in the proper context to understand her holiness and her appeal to many today.
Father Pitaud is former Provincial Superior of the Province of France and currently is conducting research on the two Superiors General who immediately succeeded the Sulpician founder, Father Jean-Jacques Olier (1608-1657). Father Pitaud’s critical biography of Father Olier will be published in the coming months.
The Society of the Priests of Saint-Sulpice congratulate Father Pitaud and thank him for rendering a great service in the memory of this remarkable lay woman.