Dumont, Father Paul Constant
1893, May 18
Date of Birth: 1857, June 19
May 28, 1893
Fathers and Very Dear in Our Lord:
No Memorial Card is Available
I recommend to your prayers Father Dumont who was director at the Seminary of the Catholic Institute of Toulouse and whom the Good God has taken from this world to call him to Himself.
Father Paul Constant Dumont was born at Clecy of the Diocese of Bayeux on June 19, 1857. He made his secondary studies at the minor seminary of Lisieux, and in 1878 he entered the Seminary of Sommervieu to pursue there his course of Philosophy. His character soon revealed itself. He was a pious young man, reliable, and ready to learn. He had a little mark of singularity which was not so bad – under a surface at times a bit rough one soon found a heart full of charity, a seriousness of purpose. His piety was so active that it often spilled over into his conversation; and, at the same time, he had with his confreres relationships so engaging that everyone liked to be in his company, so engaging that no one stopped listening when he spoke of God.
We cite two traits which show: first, the simplicity of his faith; and second, the courage he had for overcoming whatever might be an obstacle to the good he might be called upon to do.
When he was first allowed to wear the cassock he regarded as an important feast the day on which he vested himself in the garb of a cleric; he wanted to celebrate by lighting up his room; at length, throwing his lay c1othes on the floor he trampled them underfoot while reciting psalms expressing the happiness of a soul which detaches itself from the world to be with God.
He had a speech problem, a kind of stammer, which might later have interfered with his priestly duties. He neglected nothing to correct it. He prepared a list of difficult words which he pronounced aloud several times a day. Success crowned his effort: he could read, speak, and later teach without embarrassment and without in any way creating difficulty for those listening to him.
When he had finished Philosophy, he came to the Grand Seminary of Bayeux where he received Holy Orders and gave evidence of higher virtue indicative of his coming priesthood. He was placed after his ordination at Honfleur to fill the duties of curate. Two years later, although he was exercising this ministry successfully, he wanted a calmer life and he asked [to be allowed] to follow a bent which inclined him to devote his life to the formation of the clergy in the Society of St. Sulpice; he was given leave to do so. He first spent a year at the Seminary of Paris to better examine his vocation and to strengthen himself academically. He was admitted to the Solitude in 1886. One of his confreres told us: “Father Dumont’s piety constantly grew. His charity, characterized by the most likeable good nature, made him the magnet of his fellow-Solitaires. Perhaps he overdid bodily mortification. His already undermined health suffered privations which his humility too long tried to hide; but his ever-ready willingness for sacrifice inspired him to offer himself for work in America, and he was sent to Montreal.”
He stayed only two years in Montreal. He was first given a class in the minor seminary, but he was seen after some months to need relief, and it was decided that it would be even better for his health if he were to be sent to Baltimore. It was at that time that he wrote to one of his friends these lines which we love to quote because they so well reveal his soul: “I am going to work at St. Charles and to try to do God’s will there. I have Our Lord; I have excellent confreres, all to help me and to encourage me. Am I not the spoiled child of the best of Fathers? Pray for me that my nature be not rebellious, and that I give to Our Lord whatever He asks of me.”
A year later we called him back to France (1889). He spent the winter and part of the [next] year at Amélie-les-Bains in a climate better for him. As he felt considerably better and as he deeply desired to live in the midst of his confreres, we gave him semi-retirement at the Seminary of the Catholic Institute of Toulouse (1891). His health seemed to improve somewhat, so much so that he voluntarily agreed to a suggestion made to him that he replaces, for the sake of the Institute’s students, a professor of English; and he filled the role zealously for some months.
This dear confrere’s life at Toulouse was quite modest and unpretentious. He seemed habitually recollected, minding his own business, and striving to live the life of Our Lord. That was the resolution he had taken and had written down in his notes: “To stop myself from time to time during the day and ask myself if I am living the life of Jesus...to rouse myself to carry out my duties with care to keep and increase that life in me ... to unite myself often with Our Lord living in me, with His Spirit, with His dispositions.”
The liveliness of his faith showed itself in the respectful attitude he had in the presence of the Holy Tabernacle, in the care with which he celebrated Holy Mass, in the reverence which he bore toward the priestly character. In this matter, he had made some very edifying resolutions such as these found in his notes: Sometimes to bless and gaze at my hands while saying, “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum”…in greeting our Fathers when encountering them in the corridor to make an act of faith in God’s presence in them by grace.”
He was noted for having a great love of the rule. Whenever his health permitted, he faithfully attended all the exercises, and he asked the fewest permissions.
Always in pain, he never complained. A few days before his death he wrote to a friend: “A long life is not a must. Fiat voluntas Dei. Blessed be Our Lord and may He make me grow in His love – that is the essential thing. Love what is good yourself, namely, that Good Jesus, and continue to bear with me and to love me; a little in Him and for Him.”
Whenever he was undergoing a more painful attack, he kissed his crucifix or pronounced the holy names of Jesus and Mary.
After the Easter recess, the lung trouble which afflicted Father Dumont noticeably worsened; the doctor, however, had no uneasiness and he gave assurance that the life of the patient was in no danger. All the while Father Superior was thinking that it would be rather prudent to prepare this dear confrere for the sacrifice which the Good God would be asking of him sooner than he supposed; on that premise he was therefore of a mind to suggest going to confession. It was a wise notion; for a little while after that sacrament was received there ensued a new, unexpected seizure; obviously he was to be anointed. And some moments after, he breathed his last. That was Thursday, May 18th, about eight o’clock in the evening.
The funeral of the deceased holy man was celebrated on Saturday in the chapel of the Institute. The Father Superior of the Grand Seminary chanted the High Mass. The Bishop-Rector gave the absolution. The teachers and clerics of the Institute, the directors and the students of the Grand Seminary, two Vicars-General, and some members of religious communities of the city assisted at the ceremony.
It is certainly fitting for us to apply to our deceased brother the words of Holy Scripture. Consummatus in brevi, explevit tempora multa. Let us pray for him and let us ask Our Lord for all of us – for each of us – the grace of living in such purity of spirit and of heart, in such loyalty to Holy Church and to the work of our little Society that we may appear before Him in humble and filial trust when it may please Him to call us. Let us place this prayer under the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin.
Accept, Fathers and very dear Confreres, the expression of my affectionate regards.