A middle child – the seventh of thirteen children, and raised as a pious child. Soldier at age 18, and fought in the war against the Huguenots. Joined the navy to fight in the siege of La Rochelle, but illness kept him from the fight. He lived for three years in Paris, France, devoted to poetry and painting and to wild and frivolous living. Back in his home town of Cavaillon, he took over the position of his late brother as canon of Salon, a position he wanted for its income and connections instead of its spiritual significance. One night while on his way to a masked ball, he passed a shrine where a small light was burning before an image of the Virgin Mary. He was suddenly overwhelmed by the memory that a friend, Antoinette Reveillade, had prayed fervently for his salvation. He realized that there was no way he could live a life offending God and then expect to be accepted in the end. There, on the road, he had a complete conversion.
Ordained in 1582. Canon in Avignon. He was profoundly affected reading a biography of Saint Charles Borromeo, and tried to take him as a model in all things, especially his devotion to catechesis. Worked as a catechist in Aix-in-Provence, France, an area in turmoil following the Religious Wars. Saint Francis de Sales called him “a star of the first magnitude in the firmament of Catechesis.” He founded the Ursulines of Province and the Fathers of Christian Doctrine (Doctrinarians). The Fathers were destroyed during the French Revolution, but an Italian branch, the Doctrinarian Fathers continues today with houses in Italy, France and Brazil.
- Easter Sunday, 15 April 1607 in Avignon, Vaucluse, France of natural causes
- interred in the church of Saint Mary in Monticelli in Rome, Italy
Blessed César de Bus, you who left us the admirable example of a life completely dedicated to God, you who were on fire with the desire to communicate the life of God to your brothers, intercede for us with the Lord now, so that the same fire may consume us and the same charity urge us. –Pope Paul VI during the beatification of Blessed Cesar
I was so beside myself and fired with such a longing to do something in imitation of him, that I would not give my eyes sleep or my days rest until I had given some beginning to this resolution of mine. – Blessed Cesar de Bus, writing about Saint Charles Borromeo
In the year of his birth at Cavaillon, the Christian world is in a crisis, one of the most serious crises in its history. A crisis that is not only a religious and doctrinal one, but also a crisis of civilization, with the afflux of new movements of thought, not all negative, but which confuse the mass of the faithful. Cesar de Bus came into the world in this troubled period when men are gradually opening up to culture, to the arts and to the reign of pleasure. He let himself be swept along, during adolescence and early manhood, to the life of ease for which his social status and his fortune marked him out, the superficial, careless life of a gifted being, brilliant in society, a poet when he liked, more sensitive to the appeal of pleasure in every form than to the demands of the Gospel. …After his conversion, the spiritual progress of the Blessed was not without its upsets, moments of discouragement, darkness and uncertainty. We have been struck, however, by what was to be, almost from the beginning, a characteristic of his whole life. Perhaps that is the secret of his constancy, or in any case, what always enabled him to overcome his difficulties and start off again with increased energy; we are referring to his “spirit of repentance.” Repentance is not an empty word for him. He carries it to its extreme consequences, for he has come back from afar! He must master the passion of which he was the slave in the past, a violent and perpetual battle against carnal temptations. He learns in this way to seek and love sacrifice, for sacrifice configures one with Christ Suffering and Victorious. To offer himself as a libation, to leave everything in God’s hand at the cost of the greatest renunciations, this seems to have been the leitmotif, the perpetual aim of his efforts. And when, at the end of his life, suffering and afflicted with blindness for 14 years, he is at last able to prepare for the supreme gift, he will realize how useful asceticism has been to master the old Adam. He will be ready to meet the Lord. His joy will be perfect. The aim of Father de Bus is to communicate Christian doctrine to the people. The idea is far from being new. From the beginning the first Christians were anxious to transmit, and transmit exactly, the essential part of what they had received. Collections gathering the most outstanding events and sayings in the midst of a pagan world and in view of the dangers of doctrinal deviation, to inculcate in catechumens and recall to disciples a “kerygma,” that is, a central core, a “summary of the faith” containing the essential elements, which can serve as a basis for developments adapted to circumstances and to the psychology of listeners. It is necessary to give a solid foundation to their faith, to support their affective and charitable attachment to the living God with a knowledge of the truths of faith that will correspond to this love. This is a period in which the world is in crisis, as formerly, and in which most values, even the most sacred ones, are rashly questioned in the name of freedom, so that many people have no longer any point of reference, in a period in which danger comes certainly not from an excess of dogmatism but rather from the dissolution of doctrine and the nebulousness of thought. It seems to Us that an additional effort should be courageously undertaken to give the Christian people, who are waiting for it more than is thought, a solid, exact catechetical base, easy to remember. We well understand that it is difficult today to adhere to the Faith, particularly for the young, a prey to so many uncertainites. They have the right at least to know precisely the message of Revelation, which is not the fruit of research, and to be the witnesses of a Church that lives by it. –Pope Paul VI during the beatification of Blessed Cesar
- “Blessed Cesar de Bus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 April 2015. Web. 10 October 2015. <>