20/07/2013

1AG - Archives of Fr. André Prévot (1840 - 1913)

P1030658In 2013 the Congregation recalls the life and person of Fr. André Prévot who died one hundred years ago in Bruggelet, Belgium at the age of 73. Shortly after his death, Fr. Dehon said of him: “It was Fr. Prévot who was the true spiritual and interior founder of our work; me, I was only the apparent founder.”


We remember Fr. Prévot as the indispensable co-worker of Fr. Dehon particularly in the first quarter century of the Congregation. FrP1030655. Prévot joined the Congregation in 1885 after the group of priest-victims around Mère Véronique collapsed with her death in 1882. It is after her death that Prévot follows her advice to contact Fr. Dehon. It took some convincing that Fr. Dehon’s work was similar In nature as Mère Véronique’s. But after a brief novitiate in 1885 Prévot pronounced his vows and almost immediately was appointed the novice director in Watersleyde, the Netherlands. He was to remain such until 1907. He had a great impact as novice director on the way the congregation developed and lived its spirituality.


This year to commemorate his life and his work a number of events are planned.


One event took place over the past six months in Rome. Until now the archives of André Prévot had remained – outside of two boxes – in the archives of the P1030649Postulator General. Nothing had happened to them since Fr. Raymakers arranged the records of the “Elenchus Scriptorum Servi Dei Andreae Prevot, SCJ” in 1958. Fr. Raymaker’s elenchus contains a listing of fifty various writings of Fr. Prévot and a list of fifteen of Prévot’s published books in French. In January Fr. Wayne Jenkins, the archivist of the USA Province came to help the General Administration organize the records of Fr. Prévot and to enter them into a data base.


Outside of the fifteen published writings, the archives of Fr. Prévot are contained in 28 wooden archival boxes. They are filled with his handwritten texts, the typed manuscripts, letters and various other writings. Among these texts there a great number of letters to various people, most of them in the context of spiritual direction. Like Fr. Dehon, Fr. Prévot was a prolific writer. The most memorable letters – outside of those written to Fr. Dehon - are those written to Claire Baume with whom Fr. Prévot kept a lively correspondence that over a period of twenty years added up to 3908 pages.


P1030654Fr. Wayne has patiently entered all these works – outside of the correspondence with Claire Baume – into an archival data base. It has truly been a labor of love. But it has not been without benefit: “I have gained a great insight into a person who has had such a great influence on the lived spirituality of the Congregation. I now have a greater appreciation of the German confreres who in the early part of the 20th century trekked to the Dakotas to begin there the work of the Congregation in the United States. All these men were trained by P. Prévot. They understood his ‘Love and Sacrifice.’”


It is hoped that also the works of Fr. Prévot, like those of Fr. Dehon, will be scanned and made available on our website for all who wish to become acquainted with him.


Two other studies have recently appeared on Fr. Prévot. One is by Fr. Guus Driedonkx who has gathered memories and stories of the life of Fr. Prévot in El Siervo de Dios P. Andrés Prévot (1840-1913) (Caminos Dehonianos 30 / 2003. The other is by Fr. Evaristo Matínrz de Alegría[J1] , who has written Le Bon Père André Prévot (Roma: Studia Dehoniana 57, 2012).