Berulle, Peter

, an eminent cardinal, was born in 1575, at the chateau de Serilli, near Troyesin Champagne, of a noble family, and. having embraced the ecclesiastical state, distinguished himself early in life by his piety and his learning. He got great reputation in the famous conference of Fontainbleau, where du Perron contended with du Plessis-Mornay, called the pope of the Huguenots. He was sent by Henry IV. to whom he was chaplain, into Spain, for the purpose of bringing some Carmelites to Paris, and it was by his means that this order flourished so much in France. Some time afterwards he founded the Congregation of the Oratory of France, of which he was the first general. This new institution was approved by a bull of pope Paul V. in 1613, and has always been reckoned by the catholics a great service done to the church. In that gregation, according to the expression of Bossuet, the members obey without dependance, and govern without commanding; their whole time is divided between study and prayer. Their piety is liberal and enlightened, their knowledge useful, and almost always modest. Urban VIII. rewarded the merit of Berulle by a cardinal’s hat. Henry IV. and Louis XIII. vainly strove to make him accept of considerable bishoprics on Louis’s telling him that he should employ the solicitation of a more powerful advocate than himself (meaning the pope) to prevail upon him to accept the bishopric of Leon, he said, “that if his majesty continued to press him, he should be obliged to quit his kingdom.” This cardinal came over with Henrietta | Maria, queen of Charles I. to England, as her confessor, to the court of which he endeared himself by the sanctity of his morals, and the extreme propriety of his behaviour, although his errand had afterwards its weight in encreasing the fatal unpopularity of the royal family. He died suddenly, Oct. 2, 1629, aged fifty-five, while he was celebrating the sacrament, and had just repeated the words, “bane igitur obiationem,” which gave occasion to the following distich:

"Cœpta sub extremis nequeo dum sacra sacerdos

Perficere, at saltern victima perficiam."

"In vain the reverend pontiff tries

To terminate the sacrifice;

Himself within the holy walls

The heaven-devoted victim falls."

St. Francis de Sales, Caesar de Bus, cardinal Bentivoglio, &c. were among his friends and the admirers of his virtues. An edition of his controversial and spiritual works, published in 1644, 2 vols. folio, was reprinted in 1647, 1 vol. folio, by father Bourgoing, third general of the oratory. His life was written in French, by the abbé Cerisi, Paris, 1646, 4to, and in Latin by Doni d’Attichi, afterwards bishop of Autun, 1649, 8vo, and lastly by Carrac-r cioli, Paris, 1764, 12 mo.1


Biog. Universelle.—Dupin.Moreri.—Perault’s “Hommes Illustres.”— Gen. Dict.—Seward’s Anecdotes.