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Ch. Daniel's book review

Voici une recension parue dans la revue The Catholic World (New York) de la traduction du livre du Père Charles Daniel, sj. Cela montre, s'il en était besoin, l'écho qu'ont eu à l'étranger les drames de la Commune et, plus précisément, le martyr du Père Alexis Clerc, dont toute la vie fut, depuis sa conversion jusqu'à sa mort héroïque, exemplaire.



LIFE OF FATHER ALEXIS CLERC, S.J., SAILOR AND MARTYR. By Rev. Father Charles Daniel, S.J. New York : D. & J. Sadlier & Co. 1880.


Alexis Clerc cover (red).jpg

We have read through this life of Father Clerc and have found it most interesting and edifying. It depicts the career of a man of our own day who had to contend with the most adverse influences, but who, being faithful to the inspirations of divine grace, overcame them all and obtained at last the martyr's crown.

Father Clerc reached the age of thirteen under the influence of a devoted and pious mother, but the religious impressions derived from her were soon smothered by the infidelity and hatred of religion prevailing in the state schools, to which he was sent by his father. After graduating at the Polytechnic he chose a career in the navy. For a little while he led a rather reckless life, like the rest of the midshipmen with whom he was thrown, but the sight of the heroism and self-sacrificing life of some French missionaries to the Gambier Islands in the South Seas aroused him to more noble thoughts, and then, after a long and difficult struggle of some years between these and the evil influence of former habits and irreligious companions, he finally emancipated himself from the slavery of vice and devoted himself henceforth to the service of God with his whole heart. He found his happiness in the exact performance of his duty as an officer, in studying the works of St. Thomas, and in the exercise of much prayer and communion with God. His piety was not sour or morose ; on the contrary, he appears to have been uniformly cheerful, and with a playful, innocent humor which made him a universal favorite with his associates in the navy. In this way he was the means of many conversions, and several of his companions, like himself, renounced their worldly prospects to devote themselves to a religious life.

The grace of God kept leading Father Clerc higher and higher, until, after ripe and mature deliberation, he came to the irrevocable determination to quit the navy and join the Society of Jesus. Then he practised for some years the virtues of humility and obedience in a way to edify all his companions, though hidden from the eyes of the world. God, as a reward for his faithfulness, selected him for martyrdom. He was shot, in company with the Archbishop of Paris and other eminent ecclesiastics, by the Communists in their rage when the city of Paris was taken from them. One cannot peruse this life without being strongly moved to follow Father Clerc's example. Father Daniel has faithfully collected the incidents of his life, many of his letters and the testimonies of the friends who knew and loved him, and has thus given us a most interesting biography which will well repay any one who will read it.


A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science
Vol. XXXII. October, 1880, to March, 1881,

(pp. 719-720)

New York: The Catholic Publication Society Co., 9 Barclay Street, 1881.
Copyright, 1880, by I. T. HECKER.


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