The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable André Soulas

Father André SoulasA contemporary of the Cure of Ars in southern France, the Venerable Andrew Soulas, also won the renown of perfect holiness. He was born at Viols-le-Fort near Montpellier on 25 February 1808. As a boy he was beloved by all for his modesty, and even at this period of his life he is said to have worked miracles. To the consternation of his mother he often donated his shoes, clothing, food, and so on, to the poor. When called to account, he said: “I can wear my older brother’s shoes, they do not suit him any more. A life of Saint Vincent de Paul, given to him by his pastor, afforded him inexpressible joy and aroused in him the desire of becoming an apostle of the poor. He began his studies at the parish house, but had to interrupt them because his parents were unable to provide for his support. Andrew then betook himself to the Blessed Virgin with tearful prayer. His prayers were heard.

In the seminary he distinguished himself by his notable gift of eloquence. In a sermon on hell he spoke so fervently that the president and students interrupted their meal to listen and were moved to tears. On this account the preparation of the children in the city for first communion was confided to him and his superiors occasionally employed him in giving sermons and religious instructions.

The chief characteristic of the life of this servant of God was magnanimity. Every noble trait he found in the lives of the saints he was bound to imitate. So when he was ordained in 1835, he desired to devote himself to the foreign missions. But his bishop, hoping great profit for his own diocese from the young priest, refused the permission. Soulas at first labored in Salvetat and Montpellier. Then he was sent to give missions to the people in the diocese of Montpellier. The result exceeded all expectations. Later his missionary activity extended over the whole south of France.

This external labor did not hinder his intimate intercourse with God. As a boy, he had delighted in prayer and always visited the church on his way home from school. His companions styled him “the saint.” As a priest he spent whole nights before the Tabernacle. At Holy Mass in particular his countenance glowed with devotion. Two priests had gone astray. He did penance for them and by his prayers obtained their conversion. His favorite saints throughout life were Saint John Francis Regis and Saint Aloysius. A Congregation of Sisters for the service of the sick and orphans owes its foundation to him. When the zealous missionary died, 4 May 1857, all Montpellier was stirred; and both great and small, noble and lowly, made haste to see his body. The streets through which the funeral procession was to pass were crowded for hours. The process of beatification already begun brings to light very numerous and remarkable miracles performed by the Venerable Soulas both during his life and after his death.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable André Soulas”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 February 2018. Web. 14 November 2018. <>