Bernard, Claude

, called Father Bernard, or the Poor Priest, was born December 26, 1588, at Dijon, sou of Stephen Bernard, lieut.-gen. of Chalons-sur-Saone. He had a lively imagination and wit, which, joined to a jovial temper, made him a welcome guest in all gay companies. Going to Paris with M. de Bellegarde, governor of Dijon, he gave himself up to public amusements, and all the vanities of the age, making it his business to act comedies for the diversion of such persons of quality as he was acquainted with but at length he grew disgusted with the world, and devoted himself wholly to relieving and comforting the poor. He assisted them by his charities and exhortations to the end of his days, with incredible fervour, stooping and humbling himself to do the meanest offices for them. Father Bernard having persisted in refusing all the benefices offered him by the court, cardinal Richelieu told him one day, that he absolutely insisted on his asking him for something, and left him alone to consider of it. When the cardinal returned half an hour after, Bernard said, “Monseigneur, after much study, I have at last found out a favour to ask of you When I attend any sufferers to the gibbet to assist them in their last moments, we are carried in a cart with so bad a bottom, that we are every moment in danger of falling to the ground. Be pleased, therefore, Monseigneur, to order that some better boards may be put to the cart.” Cardinal Richelieu | laughed heartily at this request, and gave orders directly that the cart should be thoroughly repaired. Father Bernard was ever ready to assist the unhappy hy his good offices, for which purpose he one day presented a petition to, a nobleman in place, who being of a Very hasty temper, flew into a violent passion, and said a thousand injurious things of the person for whom the priest interested himself, but Bernard still persisted in his request; at which the nobleman was at last so irritated, that he gave him a box on the ear. Bernard immediately fell at his feet, and, preenting the other ear, said, “Give me a good blow on this also, my lord, and grantmy petition.” The nobleman was so affected by this apparent humility as to grant Bernard’s request. He died March 23, 1641. The French clergy had such a veneration for him as often to solicit that he might be enrolled in the calendar of saints. In 1638 he founded the school of the Thirty-three, so called from the number of years our Saviour passed on earth, and a very excellent seminary. Immediately after his death appeared “Le Testament du reverend pere Bernard, et ses pensdes pieuses,Paris, 1641, 8vo, and “Le Recit des choses arrivees a la mort du rev. pere Bernard,” same year. The abbé Papillon also quotes a work entitled “Entretiens pendant sa derniere maladie.” His life was written by several authors, by Legauffre, Giry, de la Serre, Gerson, and Lempereur the Jesuit. This last, which was published at Paris, 1708, 12mo, is too full of visions, revelations, and miracles, to afford any just idea of Bernard. 1

1 Lavocat. Biog. Univ, Marchavd*