Recollections of My Youth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Recollections of My Youth.
Theology and the study of the Bible absorbed my whole time, and furnished me with the true reasons for believing in Christianity and for not adhering to it.  For four years a terrible struggle went on within me, until at last the phrase, which I had long put away from me as a temptation of the devil, “It is not true,” would not be denied.  In describing this inward combat and the Seminary of St. Sulpice itself, which is further removed from the present age than if encircled by thousands of leagues of solitude, I will endeavour also to show how I arose from the direct study of Christianity, undertaken in the most serious spirit, without sufficient faith to be a sincere priest, and yet with too much respect for it to permit of my trifling with faiths so worthy of that respect.

[Footnote 1:  A very graphic description of it has been given by M. Adolphe Morillon in his Souvenirs de Saint-Nicolas.  Paris.  Licoffre.]

[Footnote 2:  See the excellent memoir by M. Fonlon (now Archbishop of Besancon) upon Abbe Richard.]



The Petty Seminary of Saint-Nicholas du Chardonnet had no philosophical course, philosophy being, in accordance with the division of ecclesiastical studies, reserved for the great seminary.  After having finished my classical education in the establishment so ably directed by M. Dupanloup, I was, with the students in my class, passed into the great seminary, which is set apart for an exclusively ecclesiastical course of teaching.  The grand seminary for the diocese of Paris is St. Sulpice, which consists of two houses, one in Paris and the other at Issy, where the students devote two years to philosophy.  These two seminaries form, in reality, one.  The one is the outcome of the other, and they are both conjoined at certain times; the congregation from which the masters are selected is the same.  St. Sulpice exercised so great an influence over me, and so definitely decided the whole course of my life, that I must perforce sketch its history, and explain its principles and tendencies, so as to show how they have continued to be the mainspring of all my intellectual and moral development.

St. Sulpice owes its origin to one whose name has not attained any great celebrity, for celebrity rarely seeks out those who make a point of avoiding notoriety, and whose predominant characteristic is modesty.  Jean-Jacques Olier, member of a family which supplied the state with many trusty servitors, was the contemporary of, and a fellow-worker with, Vincent de Paul, Berulle, Adrien de Bourdoise, Pere Eudes, and Charles de Gondren, founders of congregations for the reform of ecclesiastical education, who played a prominent part in the preparatory reforms of the seventeenth century.  During the reign of Henri IV. and in the early years of the reign of Louis XIII., the morality of the clergy was at

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Recollections of My Youth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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