Blanc, Father François Regis Remi
1860, March 9
Date of Birth: 1828, January 25
April 6, 1850
Fathers and Very Dear in our Lord:
No Memorial Card is Available
It is my duty to announce to you – all the more distressing because so unexpected – a death that our little Society has sustained, the death of Father Blanc, professor at the minor seminary of St. Charles near Baltimore.
Father François Regis Remi Blanc was born on January 25, 1828, at Ariens in the Diocese of Viviers. After his studies in a minor seminary, he began Theology in October 1849, at the Grand Seminary of Viviers where he was known for his piety and good character. In 1854 he applied for admission to the Society, asking to go to America and showing himself ready to undertake the humblest of assignments providing that he might live in community and under obedience. After his Solitude he was sent in September 1856 to the minor seminary of St. Charles, where he worked hard and rendered great service, taking classes of Latin, Greek, Algebra, History, Catechism, and supervising study-hall, recreation, and walks. He fulfilled all these offices with exemplary diligence, edifying all by his piety and humility. It is not hard to believe that this overwork contributed to hastening his death.
His health seemed better than ever when, in the middle of February, he caught a slight cold which seemed insignificant. But on March 1st pneumonia set in and it rapidly worsened. He suffered much and with great patience, prepared himself for death with great care and perfect resignation, received – fully conscious – all the sacraments with deep sentiments of piety, and gave his soul to God on Wednesday, March 9th at three o’clock in the afternoon as he had predicted the day before to the boys who were looking after him.
I ask for him the customary prayers and remembrances.
This untimely death prompts me to call to your attention the needs of our Baltimore houses. The minor seminary of St. Charles, established only a few years ago a dozen or so miles from Baltimore, richly deserves our awareness. It grants admission only to boys who exhibit some inclination to the priesthood, and they are from the beginning subject to formation in the duties and virtues of priestly living. Such training is all the more important in a country where even in Catholic homes there is little thought given developing priestly vocation. This house, under the direction of one of our American confreres, Father Jenkins, is imbued with an excellent spirit and enjoys a reputation that is attracting to it young men from many dioceses; the number of students has risen this year to 120 and the number seems likely to grow.
As a result, it has been necessary to enlarge the buildings – the construction – work has been done (and continues to be done) under the supervision of Father Faillon. Already a number of students from St. Charles have entered the seminary of Baltimore and have helped to improve there the spirit of the house. But at the same time those very numbers have enhanced the importance of the major seminary so that as a result the number of directors is insufficient for the work; they are too few and several are in poor health.
I have felt it necessary to go into such detail in order to influence you to pray that Our Lord will send the workers required to do the work which He has entrusted to us and also that on the occasion of making known to you the state of affairs; and also in order to influence you – without deviating from the traditions of our predecessors – to enlighten and guide those who might be thinking of joining our Society, those with a taste and aptitude for teaching and being directors in minor seminaries.
I renew to you the assurance of my very sincere and affectionate attachment.
Your thoroughly devoted in Our Lord
Superior of St. Sulpice
P.S. No doubt you are already aware of my intention to go to Rome to lay at the feet of Christ’s Vicar on earth the assurance of the sentiments of respect, obedience and devotion we entertain toward the successor of St. Peter. The confreres who have heard of my desire have been so pleased with it that I feel sure your prayers will follow me to the tomb of the Holy Apostles and to the shrine of Our Lady of Loretto (which I also intend to visit unless it be impossible). I recommend this journey to your fervent prayers that it may help my personal sanctification and be a source of blessings for our Society. I expect to sail from Marsailles on the Monday following Low Sunday.