Lhomme, Father François
1860, October 27
Date of Birth: 1794, November 13
November 26, 1860
Fathers and Very Dear in Our Lord:
No Memorial Card is Available
It is with heartfelt sorrow that I write to announce to you the loss which we have just suffered in the death of Father Lhomme, Superior of the Seminary of Baltimore. For him I ask of you the prayers and remembrances customary in the Society.
Father François Lhomme was born on November 13, 1794, at Brionde in the Diocese of Le Puy. He entered the Seminary of Issy on October 18, 1823, and became known for his regularity, his piety, and his spirit of mortification. After finishing his course and making his Solitude, he left in 1827 for Baltimore, where he worked for thirty-three consecutive years. For a long time, he conducted various classes in the college connected to the seminary, but mainly he was in charge of the office where, especially at certain times, business matters were quite complicated. He always managed things with a great deal of order and common sense, and at the same time with such courtesy as to win the regard and approval of the business men with whom his duties brought him in contact.
Father Deluol, Superior of the Seminary of Baltimore returned to France toward the end of 1849, and Father Lhomme was named in his place in 1850. He soon proved himself a model of regularity and an encourager of good order. He contributed in great measure to the improvement which took place especially after the closing of the college: he had been strongly in favor of that step which has been fully justified by its happy results. As a consequence of that suppression and of the opening of the minor seminary at St. Charles (founded some years previously), the major seminary has been enabled to undergo a rather noteworthy development and it is tending more and more to become, as it were, a regional seminary for a number of dioceses in the United States. The unceasing example of faith, of religion, of humility – indeed, of self-denial – which Father Lhomme constantly gave made a deep impression for rousing emulation in the clergy of the growing [American] Church. He was also a good counselor, endowed as he was with clarity of mind and sound sure judgment. The Archbishop praised him to the skies for the assistance he lent in the diocesan administration, and several religious communities with which he had dealings always evidenced toward him a boundless confidence and a trust without limits. Hardworking and jealous of his time, he found the means of doing what would have kept more than a few others busy.
For some years advancing physical weakness had occasioned quite a bit of worry. He himself, seeing that he could no longer carry out all that his position required, had several times asked to be relieved. When relief was not forthcoming, he carried on up to the last in doing all he could for the sake of the community. He left off offering Mass only a few days before his death when his strength was all but gone. The last weeks of his life were spent entirely in prayer. In his room he made the Stations of the Cross every day. Finally, after receiving the last sacraments in a greatly edifying manner, he gave his soul to God on October 27th with no distress.
His funeral was held on the 30th, and an impressive tribute of respect and veneration was given to the beloved deceased by the clergy and laity.
The Archbishop hurriedly returned a considerable distance from where he was on a visitation; and before the absolution, he delivered a eulogy on Father Lhomme. All the clergy of the city, save one ill priest, were present. All the religious communities of the city were represented by several members – several priests came from quite a distance. The body was carried to the grave by the dean of the clergy, by the president of the Jesuit College, by a Redemptorist, and by the Vincentian Superior. There was a large turnout of the faithful. The church was crowded, and the body was escorted to the grave by a procession of fifty or sixty of the most prominent Catholics and by a good number of well-known Protestants.
Father Lhomme’s death leaves a great void in Baltimore. Let us pray the Lord to raise up worthy workers who may be able and willing to work in that section of His Church so interest-arousing and so full of promise; workers who may come to have it said of them what a fervent Religious said of Father Lhomme: He was a genuine model for the clergy.
Without trying to force vocations [where they are not readily discernible], I urge you nonetheless to use the occasion of Father Lhomme’s death to publicize what is perhaps not sufficiently understood in our seminaries: all the good that is to be done in Baltimore both at the minor seminary of St. Charles (of which I have treated in a previous communication) and at the major seminary which seems called upon to render outstanding service to the American Church and to bring to fruition forthwith the good that Father Emery foresaw when he opened it.
Accept the renewed assurance of my very sincere and affectionate attachment.
Your thoroughly devoted in Our Lord
Superior of the Priests of St. Sulpice
P.S. I take this opportunity to tell you of a new mark of esteem which has just been received from the Holy See for our seminaries.
By a rescript of September 25, 1860, His Holiness, Pope Pius IX, has granted for ten years a hundred-days indulgence, applicable to the souls in Purgatory to all faculty, students and other ecclesiastics of the aforesaid seminaries [of St. Sulpice] now and for the period specified living in these seminaries who, according to custom and after the morning office visit the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist reserved in the chapel of their seminary for some time and there pray for harmony among Christian rulers, for the abolition of heresy, and the glory of Holy Mother Church.
You will communicate this to the Fathers and students, and you will strive to encourage more and more the observance of so praiseworthy a custom.