Maunoir, Julien

Maunoir, Julien a learned French ecclesiastic, was born Oct. 1, 1606, in the province of Saint-Georges de Reinthembault, diocese of Rennes. At the age of twenty he entered the Order of the Jesuits at Paris, and finished his studies at La Fleche. A professorship in the College of Quimper was offered him, but he preferred to preach, and accordingly entered the ministry. He studied the dialect of Brittany, began to travel over the country, and displayed so much zeal in his preaching that his health became impaired, and he was obliged to resume the career of teaching, which he followed at Tours. After having been ordained at Nevers, he consecrated the remainder of his life, according to a vow that he had made, to the evangelization of Brittany. For forty-two consecutive years Maunoir labored for the accomplishment of his project. Unmoved by the injury and violence with which his devotion was often repaid, accepting or imposing on himself the rudest privations, traveling on foot, with a wallet on his shoulders, and carrying only the clothing and nourishment absolutely indispensable, he visited successively and repeatedly nearly all the parishes in the dioceses of Cornovaille and Leon, the islands of Ouessant, of Molene, of Sizein, etc., without mentioning a great number of localities in the other dioceses of Brittany, and everywhere his preaching was attended with success. He died Jan. 28, 1683, at Plevin, near Guincamp. In accordance with his expressed desire, he was buried like a pauper, but later a statue was erected to him in the church of Plevin. With the triple object in view of understanding thoroughly a language so indispensable to himself, of purifying it from the mixed dialect used by the preachers of the times, and of generalizing the learning of the language, Maunoir aided in the promotion of the colleges of Quimper and of Morlaix, where the language of Brittany was generally used. The same motives actuated him in the composition of the following works, which have been adopted by all the ecclesiastics of the country: Canticon spirituel hac instructionon profetabl evit quisqui an hent da vont d'ar barados (Quimper): — Vita S. Corentini, Aremorici; Cosopeti (Quimper, 1685, 12mo, et al.); far from being written in Latin, as father Southwell and Le Long have supposed, this life is composed of 766 Breton verses: — Le Temple consacre a la passion de Jesus-Christ, in Breton, prose and verse (Quimper. 1679,1686, 8vo): — Le sacre College de Jesus divisi en cinq classes, ou l'on enseigne en langue Armorique les legons Chretiennes, avec les trois clefs pour y entrer. These and other works of this character are curious in a philological point of view as monuments of the changes in the Breton language. A very competent judge, M. de la Villemarque, has given the following opinion: "Born in the French part of Brittany, father Maunoir was shocked by the rudeness of certain sounds in the Breton language. In order to soften them, he suppressed or modified certain signs necessary for preserving the primitive signification of the words, and for showing their etymology, derivation, and affinities. The expressions thus disfigured, of which he makes use in his works, prevailed in the 18th century, and he left an orthography without fixed principles or method, an orthography ad libitum, which has very properly been abandoned, since Le Pelletier has substituted the ancient Breton orthography in his Dictionnaire. See Boschet, Le Parfait Missionnaire, ou la vie du P. Julien Maunoir (Paris, 1697, 12mo); Lobineau, Vie des Saints,

etc., de Bretagne, v. 23-137; G. Leroux, Recueil des vertus et des miracles du P. Julien Maunoir (Quimper, 1716, 12mo); LaVillemarque, Essai sue l'Histoire de la Langue Bretonne, at the head of his edition of the Dict. Francais-Breton de Le Gonidec (St. Brieuc, 1847, 4to). — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, vol. 34, s.v.

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