Born in Gardanne (Bouches-du-Rhône), France, December 23, 1790
Priesly ordination in1814
Joined the Missionaries of Provence, October1815
Left the Society in 1816
Died in Rians, December 26, 1835.
Auguste Icard was born at Gardanne, diocese of Aix, on December 23, 1790. He was the second of Jean-Baptiste Icard (a carpenter) and Marianne Negrel’s four children. He was baptized the day after his birth. He apparently did his secondary studies at Gardanne itself, tutored by his parish priest. He took his ecclesiastical studies at the major seminary of Aix from 1811 to 1814. Here he was a seminarian with François de Paule Henry Tempier and Sébastien Deblieu; he also became acquainted with the Abbé Eugène de Mazenod who was confessor to the seminarians there from the end of 1812 onwards.
The Abbé Icard began his priestly ministry as second assistant priest at Lambesc, near Aix. Here he was at work from July 1834 until he joined the Missionaries of Provence. He was the first to offer himself to the Abbé de Mazenod who, in the fall of 1815, was looking for collaborators to evangelize the country people of Provence. He also gave Abbé de Mazenod the names of the Abbés Tempier, Deblieu and Mie. His formula of adherence is dated October 1815. He resided in the house of Aix only for a few days in the first part of February 1816. In the meantime, he had probably preached the mission at Pignans with the Abbé Mie during December 1815 into January 1816. Together with the Abbés de Mazenod, Deblieu and Mie, he preached, from February 11 to March 17, 1816, the mission at Grans. The latter is considered to be the first official parish mission given by the Institute.
Right after the return from this mission, the Founder asked him to leave. In 1842, Bishop de Mazenod wrote in his Mémoires: “Could anyone imagine that the person who suggested the names of the first companions whom I chose, the person who presented himself to me in view of associating himself and them with me, turned out to be a miserable priest whom I had to drive away after our first mission, a person who never did free himself from his vile practices, who lived as a bad priest the few years he spent on earth, who died without the help of religion, unrepentant, accused of having put himself to death!” (Rambert I, p.164). Father Cosentino’s research confirms these serious affirmations.
From the spring of 1816 until 1832, the Abbé Icard remained in the diocese of Aix but without any assigned ministry, except as an assistant priest for some months at Martigues at the end of 1817 and at Saint-Césaire d’Arles in the beginning of 1818. In May 1818, he offered his services to the Minister of the Interior for the islands of Martinique or Guadeloupe. Canon Guigou, the Capitular Vicar of Aix, refused to approve this offer. In his letter of June 1, 1818, he wrote toe the Minister: “M. Icard is not fit for this ministry; he has no assignment at this time and Your Excellency will surely understand that there is a reason for this.”
In 1832, King Louis-Philippe named M. Claude Rey, of the diocese of Aix, bishop of Dijon. He took the Abbé Icard with him to Dijon, made him a canon and parish priest of Saint-Jean-de-Losne. He did not last a long time in this ministry. At 45 years of age, Canon Icard died unexpectedly at six o’clock in the morning of December 26, 1835, in the house of two of his friends at Rians, in the diocese of Fréjus.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.