Garnier, Father Antoine

1845, March 16

Date of Birth:  1782, April 18

March 17, 1845

No Memorial Card is Available

Father and Very Respected Confrere: 

We have just undergone the most touching sorrow with which we could be afflicted, we are orphan-children, we have lost our very dear and respected Father. God called him yesterday from this world to go to a better life. Antoine Garnier, Superior General of the proto-Seminary of St. Sulpice, was born on April 18, 1782, at Villiers-en-Pleine previously in the Diocese of La Rochelle, now in the Diocese of Poitiers. He made his studies at Niort with the Oratorians.  In 1782 he came to Paris and secured a scholarship in the community called the Robertins. Ordained priest in 1788, he went to live with M. Lourdet, professor at the College de France to study oriental languages under him. He made such rapid progress in this study that M. Lourdet called him to the attention of Paris’s Archbishop de Jaigne and obtained for him a subsidy from the Assembly of the French Clergy. He was sent then to the Seminary of Lyon where he taught during the year 1790. In 1791 he was selected to accompany Father Nagot who was on the way to open a seminary in Baltimore. With great zeal for twelve years he exercised his ministry in the United States, giving himself simultaneously to study and to the formation of seminarians. In 1803 he was recalled by Father Emery to the Seminary of Paris to teach Holy Scripture.

Father Duclaux, Father Emery’s successor in 1811, named Father Garnier as second in command of the seminary. In 1826 Father Duclaux resigned and Father Garnier was elected by the General Assembly to succeed him. What particularly made him outstanding – as you well know – were: an absorbing study and deep knowledge of Holy Scripture, on which he had written scholarly treatises; a broad knowledge of Hebrew and Oriental languages; a tender and touching piety; a bottomless devotion to the Society; a constant zeal to preserve its spirit, its traditions, its customs; a deep regard for our Fathers; a paternal kindness toward directors and seminarians. Worn out by long and severe suffering, he bore them with much patience and resignation, praying to God without let-up and giving a good deal of edification by pious ejaculations and converse with the Lord whom his faith made present to him. A week before his death, he emphatically requested the last sacraments for himself and received them with evidence of the liveliest piety. He rendered his soul to God on March 16th at ten o’clock in the evening. Let us offer for him the prayers and the Masses customary for Sulpician Superiors-General.

Please accept the expression of the respectful affection with which I am, Father and very respected confrere,

Your very humble and devoted servant,