Biography

Father Michel-Jean-Alexandre Guillaume was born on February 20, 1871, at Trémouille-Saint-Loup, France. For secondary school he went to a college of the Marist Brothers in Brot (1882-1886) and to the diocesan College of Saint-Pierre de Courpiére (1886-1891). As a candidate for priesthood, Alexandre Guillaume entered the Major Seimary of Clermont-Ferrand in 1891. Because of his fragile health, he was dismissed from the seminary in 1893. A year later he was accepted in the Seminary of Fréjus, where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 1897.

Only a few weeks later, on July 23, 1897, Alexandre Guillaume entered the novitiate of the Missionary Oblates of Mary immaculate in N.D. de l´Osier. During the novitiate, on September 29, he was sent to Mission of Ceylon, today Sri Lanka. There he finished his novitiate and pronounced his religious vows on October 24, 1898.

From 1898 until his death in 1951 he worked as a missionary for the archdiocese of Colombo. During these 53 years he had eleven assignments. As a pastor, he took care of his parishioners. As a missionary, he preached the faith and established, in various places, the necessary ecclesiastical structures.

Fr. Guillaume´s greatest treasure was his spiritual life. He shared it especially with the candidates for priesthood and with religious. From 1901-1902, and from 1910 to 1917, he was the director of the minor seminary of the Colombo Archdiocese. From 1943 to 1949 he worked as a spiritual director at the Oblate Scholasticate in Colombo. During all these years he was the confessor for different sisters’ congregations.

In 1927, at the age of 56, he wrote to an Oblate in France: “The years in Ceylon made my heart and the long beard of a missionary white. But my heart is young, full of affection for and loving.” It was exactly that which people felt. He became a spiritual father for many, especially for priests and religious.

Fr. Alexandre Guillaume died on May 21, 1951. As during his lifetime many people counted on his prayers, so, after his death, people in Sri Lanka continue their devotion to the Servant of God Alexandre Guillaume. The Holy See granted the “nihil obstat” to open the diocesan inquiry in 1986. The petitioner of the cause is the Archdiocese of Colombo.