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Henri-Dominique LACORDAIRE

French Henri-Dominique LACORDAIRE

born Jean-Baptiste Henri LACORDAIRE

French ecclesiastic, preacher, journalist and political activist

Source :  Paul DUGIED

Born: on May 12, 1802 in Recey-sur-Ource, France
Died: on November 21, 1861 in Sorèze, France


The son of a former doctor in the French navy, Henri Lacordaire was brought up in Dijon by his mother, Anne Dugied, the daughter of a lawyer at the Parliament of Bourgogne who was widowed at an early age, when her husband passed in 1806. Henri had three brothers, one of whom was the entomologist Jean Théodore Lacordaire. Although raised in the Catholic faith, he slipped away from it during his studies at the Dijon Lycée. He went on to study law, seemingly destined for a soliciting career. He distinguished himself with his oratory abilities within the Society of Studies in Dijon, a political and literary circle uniting the royalist youth of the town. It was there that he discovered the ultramontane (designating Catholic partisanship of Papal supremacy) theories of Bonald, de Maistre, Félicité de Lamennais. Under their influence Lacordaire was slowly weaned from the ideas of the encyclopedists and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, while still retaining a profound and sincere love of freedom, which is to say Liberalism, as expressed in the revolutionary ideals of 1789.

In 1822 he left for Paris, to complete his legal training. Thanks to the support of President Raimbourg, a family friend, he was able to stay with Monsieur Mourre the Procurer General. Although too young by law to plead, the rule was over-ridden and he successfully argued several cases in the Court of Assizes, kindling the interest of the great liberal lawyer Berryer. However, despite his prospects for a brilliant career, he became bored and felt isolated in Paris, whose distractions scarcely impressed him. At the end of a long period of doubt and questioning, he re-embraced Catholicism in the spring 1824 and soon decided to become a priest.

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- Category Priest, nun, rabbi, imam...