1. Ministerial Service

Born at Port-Brillet (Mayenne), April 13, 1824.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 20, 1849.
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 21, 1850. (no. 289)
Priestly ordination at Marseilles, June 29, 1851.
Died at Angers, October 26, 1884.

Alexandre Audruger was born in Port-Brillet, diocese of Laval, on 13 April 1824, the sixth and last child of Mr and Mrs Léon Audruger. Two of his brothers also embraced the ecclesiastical state. In 1849, he entered the minor seminary of Précigné (Sarthe), then studied philosophy and theology at the major seminary of Le Mans from 1841 to 1845. He also accepted to be private tutor in a family in Angers, then entered the Jesuit novitiate.

On November 20, 1849, he began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier where he made his oblation on November 21, 1850. The General Council admitted him to vows in their session of October 20 of that year. In his report of that session, the secretary general wrote: “Above average talent for preaching; sound judgment; piety, regular, suitable for teaching, but there is an element of sourness in his character which was why he was rejected by the Jesuits toward the end of his second year of novitiate with them. He has grown a lot since then. He was already admitted by a vote of three in favour and two against, those against were asking for a delay in order to test him further.”

He then finished his studies at the major seminary at Marseilles and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on June 29, 1851.

Ministerial Service

Father Audruger lived in several Oblate houses and preached constantly the length and breadth of France. He was initially a student at the “advanced courses” at Notre-Dame de la Garde in the summer of 1851. Subsequently sent to Notre-Dame de l’Osier in 1851-1852, he did not remain there because he set a bad example for the novices there. He was then given an obedience for Nancy where he remained until 1856. The Founder wrote to Father Charles Baret on November 29, 1852: “You will find there only Father Audruger who has not yet risen to the height of his vocation’s perfection. […] if he relapses into his uncontrolled tongue, do not be afraid as someone senior to him let him know that that is not what you have learned from us.” (Oblate Writings I, vol. 11, no. 1124, p. 107) We then find him at Talence in 1856-1859, at Paris in 1860-1863, at Angers in 1863-1866, as superior of Notre-Dame de l’Osier in 1867-1871, at Pontmain in 1872-1875 and at Limoges in 1876-1879. As provincial from 1879 to 1884, he lived in Tours. “In these various posts,” wrote Father Fabre, Father Audruger always showed himself to be a devoted Oblate and, to a certain degree, an austere religious. He was above all a priest and a man of regular observance.”

In 1850, the master of novices had noticed in Alexandre Audruger “an above average talent for preaching.” Father Audruger was indeed a genuine and tireless mission preacher. In his obituary, Father Fabre wrote: “Zeal, the essential quality of a man of the Gospel, burned in his soul, and his predilection, in conformity with the spirit of the Congregation, was for the poor and humble. He was one of our most active and busiest apostolic workers. He died as sixty years of age after a career where one can find neither break nor pause. […] Reverend Father Audruger’s oratorical talent was more given to soundness than to brilliance. A strict precision in doctrine, and rich theological substance enhanced all his speeches. The practical applications he made were always striking and chosen from the lived Christian experience. He knew how to adapt his comments and teach people…”

Father Audruger preached in practically every region of France. On January 1, 1876, eight years before his death, he wrote in his notebook the following summary of his work: about 78,500 absolutions and 8,080 sermons delivered (86 parish missions, 326 retreats, months of Mary, Advent and Lenten series, and individual sermons.)

In 1879, Father Fabre summoned him personally to the General Chapter and subsequently appointed him provincial of France-Nord. During his term as provincial, he published a few circular letters and a Directoire pour les missions à l’usage des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie[Directory of the Missions for the Use of the Missionary Oblates of Mary] (Tours, Mame, 1881, 186 pages). After four years, he developed a lesion of the heart. He resigned on August 6, 1884 shortly before his death with occurred at Angers on October 26 of that year.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.