Gift of Fire


Missionary Priest

1848 - 1858 + The Waiting Years

In the ten years following his request for dispensation, Father Gillet was not idle. From New Orleans, he traveled to St. Louis in January 1849. In March he was in Philadelphia and in April back in Baltimore where he once again performed a chaplain's role for the Oblate Sisters of Providence. On Pentecost, he sang high Mass during the Bishops' 7th Provincial Council. From December 1849 until February 1852 he was pastor of Holy Family parish in Frenchtown, Ohio, Diocese of Cincinatti.

From September 1852 through February 1853, Father Louis ministered at St. Augustine in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Sometime during these years he appeared in Chicago, Illinois. In May of 1853, his letter to the Provincial was postmarked from Constableville, New York.

Father Gillet's exeat papers were signed on January 8, 1850, and supposedly sent on to him. As late as May 24, 1853, however, he wrote to the Baltimore Provincial to ask if the dispensation had been granted. There is no conclusive evidence as to exactly when he received word of the dispensation but his letter of 1853 is the last documentation of his presence in the United States.

Sometime in 1853, at age 40, Father Gillet returned to Europe because of failing health. From 1853 through 1857, during his recovery from illness, he moved among various churches, including Notre Dame in Paris, and parishes in Laon and Soissons, France. He was well known as an eloquent, effective preacher, "an orator entirely above the ordinary."


IHM Archives Staff (1992). Gift of Fire: Louis Florent Gillet -- 1813 - 1892: Christian, Redemptorist, Missionary, Cistercian. Monroe, MI: St. Mary Convent.

Copyright 1992 by Sisters of IHM, Monroe, MI. All rights reserved. Used with permission.