Bérulle, Pierre de

(1575–1629)
   Theologian, Order Founder and Cardinal.
   De Bérulle was born in Sérilly, France. He was educated at the Sorbonne and was ordained to the priesthood in 1599. In 1611 he founded the French oratory. This was inspired by the Oratory of St Philip neri, but differed in that it was a centralised organisation governed by a Superior-General. Its primary function was to train priests and to increase the respect of the laity for the priestly office. To this end, a group of secular priests lived together in community, but without vows. As a spiritual director, de Bérulle had considerable influence in the French court. Hoping for the conversion of England back to Catholicism, he was involved in the marriage negotiations between King Charles I of England and the French princess Henrietta Maria. His spiritual teachings were spread through his books, the best known of which were his Discours de l’Etat et de la Grandeur de Jésus, which was much used by Jacques bossuet. He was made a Cardinal two years before his death in recognition of his influence.
   E.A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1997).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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