Montgaillard, Bernard De

Montgaillard, Bernard de also known as Petit Feuillant, a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic noted for his great talent in pulpit oratory, but especially for the part he bore in the Roman Catholic intrigues against the Huguenots, was born at Montgaillard, in the diocese of Toulouse, in 1563. He commenced as a Feuillant. or mendicant friar, in 1579, and began to preach immediately, though he had not studied divinity. He preached at Rieux, Rhodes, and Toulouse with so much success that they applied to him this passage in Holy Writ, "Happy is the womb which bare thee." He went to France at the time when Henry III drew the Feuillants thither, and so charmed the French court with his sermons that the king and queen-mother appointed him to preach upon several particular occasions. Here he acquired the reputation of the most eminent preacher that had been known in the memory of man — so great were his talents for the pulpit, especially in moving the passions and subduing the heart. He condemned himself to so austere a way of life among the Feuillants that the pope commanded him to quit that order, lest he should shorten his days by it. He behaved himself furiously in supporting the interest of the League, and bore a considerable part in the horrible crimes of that villainous combination. "The preachers," says Maimbourg (Hist. de la Ligue, 54, 3:295), "of whom the most noted were father Bernard de Montgaillard, surnamed the Petit Feuillant, and the famous Cordelier Feuardent, who preached in the parishes of Paris during the Christmas holidays, changed their sermons into invectives against the sacred person of the king," etc. Montgaillard is charged with having been instrumental in inflaming the rebellious elements of his day, and with having suborned an assassin to murder Henry IV. Montgaillard died in 1628. He was at that time abbe of Orval. Such a saint as Montgaillard, and one who had done such singular services to the holy Church must needs have possessed qualities above the usual standard, and therefore the writers of his life have not hesitated to assert that God performed great miracles both in his favor and by his means. See Bayle, Dict. Hist. s.v.; Genesis Biogr. Dict. s.v.

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