Born at Marseilles (Bouches-du-Rhône), April 6, 1823.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, October 31, 1847.
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, March 18, 1848.
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 1, 1848. (no. 214)
Died at Talence on March 19, 1881.

Joseph Vincent Roullet (GA)

Joseph Vincent Roullet was born in Marseilles on April 6, 1823. Inscribed in the Marseilles cathedral choir school while still a child, he sang the praises of God and served Mass in the cathedral. He then made his classical studies at the minor seminary and, from 1843 to 1847, studied philosophy and theology at the major seminary under the direction of the Oblates. He always showed himself to be diligent in his work, faithful in following the rule, a good classmate and especially a prayerful seminarian. After having received the diaconate, he entered the novitiate of Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 31, 1847. When he sent him to the novitiate, Bishop de Mazenod wrote to Father Vincens: “I hope that all the new novices you have received resemble the good deacon (Roullet) whom I send you; we would then be well endowed.” (Oblate Writings I, vol. 10, no. 953, p. 191)

In the month of March 1848, the Founder called Brother Roullet to Marseilles to be ordained to the priesthood on March 18. In the October 2 General Council, 1847, he was admitted to vows with this simple observation: “Good under every aspect.” Immediately after his oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on November 1, 1848, he received his obedience for Marseilles as director and liturgy professor at the major seminary. In the autumn of 1850, he was sent to Le Calvaire, with the particular responsibility of the orphanage of Nazareth, then he was appointed as chaplain to the prisons in July of 1854.

In September 1857, the Congregation accepted to take on direction of Fr. Allemand’s youth movement and the Founder entrusted this work to Father Roullet who would have Father Augier as his socius. From the time of Fr. Allemand’s death in 1836, this movement had been struggling as a result of the conflicts between successive directors, Abbés Bérengier and Brunello, and the lay people who made up the board. A gentle conciliatory man, Father Roullet got along well with the members of the board and won the affection of the young people. The sense of loss was unanimous when, in December of 1862, he was sent to Aix and then, on February 23, 1863 appointed provincial of Midi and superior of the community of Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseilles. In this regard, Father Fabre wrote: “Endowed with a sound judgment, of a dilatory and prudent nature, attentive not to hurt people, very mistrustful of self, he could appear irresolute in his decisions. No one more than he was aware of what he was lacking to measure up to the demands of his so important functions.” He submitted his resignation on September 1, 1865 and accepted the post of master of novices at Notre-Dame de l’Osier.

At the General Chapter in Autun in 1867, Father Roullet was appointed vice-director general of the Holy Family of Bordeaux, replacing Father Soullier in that role since Father Soullier had been called to be first assistant general for the Congregation. That is where he displayed the full range of his gifts and virtues: preaching to religious women, hearing their confessions and giving them spiritual direction, visiting their projects. This was work he carried out with zest and joy for ten years. He was much appreciated by the religious women and they showed their gratitude to him, especially during his long illness.

Indeed, upon his return from preaching a retreat at Royaumont in December of 1877 he suffered a cerebral stroke which left him paralyzed in his left side. He remained at Talence until the appointment of his successor, Father Anger in 1879. He then spent a year with the Oblates in Bordeaux; then, during the expulsions, once again the Sisters of the Holy Family at Saint-Pierre of Talence extended to him their hospitality. It was there he died on March 19, 1881.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.