Annat, Francis

, confessor to Lewis XIV. was born at Rouergue, in 1590. He became a Jesuit in 1607, and professed the fourth vow in 1624. He taught philosophy at Toulouse six years, and divinity seven; and having discharged his duty in each of these capacities with great applause, he was invited to Rome, to act as censor-general of the books published by the Jesuits, and theologist to the general of the society. Upon his return to his own province, he was appointed rector of the colleges of Montpellier and of Toulouse. He assisted as deputy of his province at the eighth congregation-general of the Jesuits held at Rome in 1645, where he distinguished himself in such a manner, that father Vincent Caraffa, general of the Jesuits, thought no person more fit to discharge the office of assistant of France, which had been vacant for some time. The ninth congregation gave him the same post, under Francis Picolimini, general of the society, upon whose death he was made provincial of the province of France. Whilst he was engaged in this employment, he was chosen confessor to the king 1654; and after having discharged this office 16 years, he was obliged to solicit his dismission; his great age having much impaired his hearing. Father Sotueil, from whom these particulars are taken, gives him the character of a person of great virtues, perfect disinterestedness, modesty, and humility; exact in practising the observances and discipline of his order; extremely cautious in using his interest for his own advantage, or that of his family; and of uncommon zeal for religion. “He was the hammer of heretics,” says he, “and attacked particularly, with incredible zeal, the new heresy of the Jansenists. He strenuously endeavoured to get it condemned by the pope, and restrained by the authority of the king. Besides which, he confuted it with such strength of argument, that his adversaries had nothing solid to reply to him.” There are many (says Mr. Bayle) whom father Sotueil will never convince in this last | point; but he seems to agree with him in the character of disinterestedness which he gives to Annat, who stirred so little for the advancement of his family, that the king is reported to have said, he knew not whether father Annat had any relations.

Father Annat wrote several books, some in Latin, which were collected and published in three vols. 4to, Paris, 1666; and others in bad French, mostly upon the disputes between the Jesuits and Jansenists. He died at Paris in 1670. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri.