Born at Pernes (Vaucluse) on June 4, 1823
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on March 15, 1846
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on March 19, 1847 (no. 171)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, September 23, 1848
Expelled from the Congregation on April 8, 1856
Dispensed from his vows on April 22, 1863.

François-Xavier Xavier Michelier was born at Pernes, in the diocese of Avignon, on June 4, 1823. He entered the novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on March 15, 1846 and made his oblation there on March 19, 1847. He was admitted to vows by the General Council session of February 22, 1847. The report of that session has this to say about him: “Brother Michelier came to us from the major seminary of Avignon where he was considered one of their good students. His conduct at the novitiate was marked by regular observance. While his disposition is a bit high strung and superficial, it is happy enough. His talents are above average. His novice master would have liked to see a little more fervor and prayer life in this novice in the last months of his trial period. Nevertheless, he feels confident in presenting him for his religious profession.”

After finishing his theological studies at the major seminary of Marseilles, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on September 23, 1848 and immediately sent to Nancy as treasurer and to undergo training for preaching under the direction of Father Dassy. On December 31, Father Dassy wrote to the Founder that Father Michelier has done nothing “and does not seem at all disposed to write sermons.” He was then sent to the major seminary at Ajaccio in the beginning of 1849 as professor of eloquence. In the autumn of 1850, when the minor seminary opened, he taught philosophy and eloquence to the major seminarians. Since he was ill and resting at Vico in the spring of 1851, Father Paul Pasqualini replaced him as philosophy professor. From the autumn of 1851 on, Father Michelier became seminary treasurer while at the same time teaching eloquence and church history. Father Magnan, superior of the seminary, wrote often to the Founder and expressed his appreciation for the work and the help he received from Father Michelier. He would, nevertheless, liked to have seen him have a deeper prayer life and be more regular in his observance.

In 1854, on the occasion of the opening of a church school at Vico under the direction of Father Dominique Luigi, Father Michelier was sent to teach the humanities. However, on June 25, 1855, Father Magnan asked the Founder to withdraw Father Michelier from Vico. “The matter is pressing,” he wrote, “and there would be some danger if he remained here.” Having called him back to Marseilles, Bishop de Mazenod obliged him to make a retreat at Montolivet and urged Father Casimir Aubert, the provincial, “not to spare this Father the reprimands he merits, and also to refuse him to go and put in an appearance in his hometown.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1850-1855, Oblate Writings I, vol. 11, no. 1279, p. 275)

He was sent to Aix where, without warning, he left “to go take some rest in his hometown” and remained there for three months without giving any sign of life and without answering a letter from Father Courtès. In the General Council session of December 3, 1855, it is stated that this priest “has amassed more than enough transgressions to merit being expelled,” but mercy was made to prevail and the guilty party was informed that he would be pardoned if he returned to Aix. He responded by sending a formal request to be dispensed from his vows, “a demand he bases on his allegation of poor health.” April 8, 1856, Bishop de Mazenod called a session of his councillors. The decision was made to expel Father Michelier “in view of his scandalous conduct during the latter time of his stay in Corsica […] and his entirely irregular conduct since his return to the continent.” Dispensation from his vows would be sent to him after an eight day retreat in an Oblate community. Father Michelier refused to accept this condition. It was only in 1863 that he requested from Father Joseph Fabre a dispensation from his vows. Following a decision of his council on April 22, 1863, Father Fabre granted him his dispensation.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.