Born: Barcus (Basses-Pyrénées), September 22, 1829.
Took the habit: N.-D. de l’Osier, September 20, 1849.
Vows: N.-D. de l’Osier, September 21, 1850 (N. 280).
Priestly ordination: Natal, September 22, 1852.
Left the Congregation: 1856.
Julien Logegaray was born in Barcus, diocese of Bayonne, France, on September 22, 1829. After his classical studies he began his novitiate in Notre-Dame de l’Osier on September 20, 1849 and he took vows there on September 21, 1850. His behaviour aroused the admiration of Father Jacques Santoni, master of novices, who wrote constantly in his reports about the virtues of this novice. In February-March 1850 he wrote: “You could not even imagine the spirit of mortification, piety, regularity, which animates this young man. You have to look back to the to the lifetime of those good hermits about whom we hear such marvellous things to understand the extent of his virtue. He is the edification of the whole community.” In his report for June-August, he adds: “I believe I do not exaggerate by comparing his virtue with that of Saints Stanislaw Kostka and Aloysius Gonzaga. He has sufficient ability, good judgement, an excellent character. I present him for vows.”
The scholastic did one year of philosophy at Notre-Dame de l’Osier in 1850-1851. He then spent some months in the major seminary of Marseille. There also, he made a deep impression on the moderator of scholastics who wrote in July 1852: “Brother Logegaray, who left without doing any theology, during the few months he spent in Marseille, showed such a wonderful religious spirit, such devotion and such a great spirit of mortification that it is impossible not to see in his conduct and in his progress, the powerful and immediate action of God. The short time he spent with us was sufficient to promote a noticeable movement towards piety among his brothers and, as for myself, I must say that he did me an immense amount of good.” Bishop de Mazenod ordained him sub-deacon on September 20, and in November the scholastic left for Natal with Bishop J. F. Allard and Fathers J. B. Sabon and L. Dunne, and Brother J. Compin.
The missionaries arrived in Durban on March 25, 1852. Immediately, Bishop Allard sent an account of the journey to Bishop de Mazenod who informed Father Courtès, on August 18, that the bishop was not alarmed at the work which awaited him “any more than was his young companion, Brother Logegaray, who is anxious to reach the age when he can be ordained priest.” While studying English, he continued the study of theology under the direction of Bishop Allard who ordained him priest on September 22, 1852 or shortly afterwards. During the summer, Father Dunne and Brother Compin returned to Europe. Father Sabon ministered to the Catholics of Durban while Bishop Allard and Father Logegaray took care of the Catholics in Pietermaritzburg.
We know very little detail about the apostolic activity of Bishop Allard and his collaborator. The latter wrote to Bishop de Mazenod at the beginning of 1853. He passed judgement on his novitiate saying that “the master of novices (Santoni) was too much inclined to give a favourable judgement on them” and he was too much preoccupied with the parish of Notre-Dame de l’Osier and women’s confessions (See Mazenod to Father Richard in England, March 1, 1854). In a letter to Father Mouchette, on April 29, 1853, he says that he is ministering to 250 Catholics in the region and he sometimes journeys to the interior. . He visited the soldiers in Fort Napier. According to a Historic note 1854-1855, he “was about to devote himself to the study of Dutch, a language spoken by some Catholics in the town and by the majority of people in the countryside. “May God grant” the note continues, “that one day our little Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate will speak all the languages of the world.”
Julien Logegaray was the priest who spent most time in the company of Bishop Allard during those years and, no doubt, it was he who suffered most from the demands made by the bishop and, at least occasionally, he complained about it. The bishop wrote on the matter to the superior general who replied on January 11, 1855: “I am unable to express the pain I suffered on reading what you tell me about the eccentricities of Father Logegaray. We expected something quite different from this young missionary. He must have been led astray by thoughts of pride and self-satisfaction to cause him to fall so low. I intend to write to him … I shall also write to Father Barret and Father Gerard who must be sources of consolation for you. I flatter myself by thinking that their charity will cause them to give good advice to Father Logegaray to bring him back to the path of obedience and simplicity. . As for yourself, temper your natural severity, which is the product of your love for regularity, by greater kindness and condescendence.
At the beginning of 1856, probably in response to the letter from the Founder, Father Logegaray wrote a long document complaining about the bishop. This document and the letters of Bishop Allard were a cause of great concern to Bishop de Mazenod, who informed his council of what was happening. In the report of the meeting held on April 8 the secretary general wrote: “According to the various documents, it seems that this poor Father has reached a point where he is blinded by pride and at which there is no hope of healing him even by recalling him to Europe or by transferring him to another mission abroad…”
In fact, at this point Father Logegaray had already decided to join the French speaking Protestant pastors in Basutoland. For some months he had been in touch about this with William Campbell, a Presbyterian minister. He left Natal on August 5, 1856. He remained in Basutoland for two years and then went to Transvaal in 1858. Later he went to the district of Zambesi where he was killed. J. B. Brain, in her history of the beginnings of Catholicism in Natal, gives a number of explanations for this apostasy (pp.106-107). Bishop de Mazenod, on his side, deplores the Father’s pride (letter to Father Barret, April 23, 1856) but he believes that Bishop Allard is equally responsible for the departures at that time in Natal. He gives a clear account of what he thinks on November 10, 1857: “It must be admitted, my dear Lord Bishop, that your letters are always a source of misery. So far your mission has been a failed mission… What is particularly disturbing is that you have so many complaints about your fellow missionaries. In the presence of the Lord, examine your attitude to see if there is not something to be changed in your relations with them. It is the first time that there has been so much dissatisfaction. Everybody admires your virtue, but something is lacking so that their admiration may be combined with a feeling of attachment which facilitates obedience and sympathy…”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.