The first book on the Institute, Histoire de l’Institut Saint -Gabriel, was written by Canon Blain and published in 1897. Albert Blain had been taught by the Brothers in Chatellerault and lived with them at the school for the deaf in Poitiers from 1876. As a young priest he suffered from laryngitis and his Bishop, Bishop Pie, said to him, “Now that you are dumb, I am going to send to a school for the deaf and dumb.” He stayed there 42 years. He admired the Brothers and dedicated his 500-page book to them.

The second book appeared in 1926 in the series of booklets (140 pages) Les Ordres religieux published in Paris; its title was Institut des Freres de Saint-Gabriel autrefois dits du Saint-Esprit [formerly called of the Holy Spirit]. Br. Benoit-Marie, an Assistant General and a believer in the apostolate of the written word, wrote a great deal and could not fail to write a book on his Institute. He co-authored this with Br. Anastase but their names did not appear on the front cover.

The third book was published on 5 June 1946, a year before the canonisation of Montfort. The General Administration wanted to clarify the origins of the Institute for the public at large; the task was entrusted to a well-known writer, Gaetan de Bemoville, who added to his twelve books on the founders of religious orders a 380-page book, Grignion de Montfort, apotre de /’ecole [the Apostle of the School], et les Freres de Saint-Gabriel.

These three books were very well written and follow the same plan: the life of Montfort (more elaborate in the third book), the general history of the Institute, a presentation of its works (wide-ranging in the first two, focussed on some examples in the third) and, in the first and third, a reminder of the Gabrielite spirit and teaching methods.

The fourth book, Histoire des Freres de Saint-Gabriel by Br. Louis Bauvineau (Rome, 1996) was longer and carried more illustrations than the previous ones, with a total of 620 pages. The general history was integrated into those of various geographical areas, and as it was meant to be comprehensive it ends with 100 pages of appendixes by Br. Michel Morfin.

Brothers engaged in formation in Africa and Asia have added books adapted to their own audience to the four mentioned above. In India Br. Lawrence Joseph published A short history of the Brothers of St Gabriel (310-page) in 1993. In Senegal Br. Bernard Guesdon published a very good 64-page duplicated A4 booklet in 1999, Les Freres de Saint-Gabriel, de saint Louis-Marie a l’an 2000.


Jun 05

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