Randanne, Father Jean Blaise
1864, August 11
Date of Birth: 1793, July 1
September 6, 1864
Fathers and Very Dear in Our Lord:
No Memorial Card is Available
Because a number were away from the seminary during the vacation, I did not feel any pressure about getting out immediately after my election that circular letter you are expecting from me. But sad news which I have received does not allow me any longer putting off a beginning to our communication.
Father Randanne, director of the minor seminary at St. Charles, recently succumbed to a sickness about which I had already been informed.
I did not personally know this venerable confrere, but what I often heard said made me more and more wish I had had his acquaintance. He was a man of God, a real Sulpician, unstintingly attached to his vocational duty, pious, simple, hard-working, wise, holy. I can do no better in limning his portrait than to copy out here the obituary notice that Father Dubreuil, Superior of the major seminary of Baltimore, sent me.
“Father Jean Blaise Randanne was born at Allagnat (Puy de Dome) on July 1, 1793; studied Philosophy at Clermont-Ferrand where he entered on November 1, 1814, and was ordained priest in May 1817. Shortly after, he decided to accompany Father Damphoux, who was on the point of returning to Baltimore; he reached there with him and Father Deluol on October 24, 1817. He first spent some months at the Emmitsburg college to learn English; soon after, called by Father Tessier to St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, he worked there from that time on until its closing in 1852. He was specifically assigned to teach Latin, and he composed a still highly regarded excellent Latin grammar. For as long as our Fathers were involved in priestly work outside the seminary, Father Randanne enjoyed a high reputation as a confessor; upper class Catholic ladies were his penitents and he had a special grace for making them excellent Christians and doers of good-works. Father Randanne was not accepted into the Society until 1830, after the voyage Father Carriere made to Baltimore in 1829.
“After the closing of the college in 1852, he went to the minor seminary of St. Charles where he combined the treasurership and teacher of Latin. In 1863 he had to give up completely. His ill-health, which had occasioned his gradually giving up his offices, no longer allowed him any sleep. From then on, he passed his days in preparing for death. For eighteen months all he did was pray and suffer patiently. He did so in such a way as to edify everyone. Finally, on August 11th, he was found weak enough for administering to him what was called for. Fully conscious, he received in a very edifying way the last sacraments sitting up in bed. At ten o’clock at night he ceased living with no agony nor even premonitory sign of death. He had completed his 71st year last July 1st.”
A director of the seminary adds: “This holy old man died in the greatest of peace. . . . All who knew him speak of him with the utmost of respect. This is a great loss for St. Charles; for although he did no teaching for some months, he still rendered great service by his advice and by the example of his virtue.”
If priests who die such a death cause us to rue their absence, they nonetheless also cause us envy. They are the ones of whom it has been said: Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur. Let their memory cheer us and prick us to imitation. Called as we are like them, let us share the same aspirations. Let us bring ourselves, through imitation of their virtue, merit to share in the goodness of those who die a death precious in the eyes of the Lord.
Accept the assurance of the heartfelt attachment with which I am, Fathers and very dear in Our Lord,
Superior of St. Sulpice