Carmelite Chronicles The Reform of Albi

July 24, 2012

It is not surprising that an attempt at reforming the Order after the death of Blessed John Soreth should originate outside it.

Louis d’Amboise, reforming bishop of Albi, replaced the community of Albi with poor students from John Standonck’s Collège Montaigu in Paris. Cardinal George d’Amboise, like his brother, Louis, a dedicated promoter of reform, established the Congregation of Albi (1502).

Cardinal Georges D’Amboise

In 1503, the cardinal also undertook the reform of the studium of Paris in the Place Maubert through Louis de Lire, who emerges as the leader of the reform. The community elected the Fleming, James Dassoneville, as prior. The general chapter held in Piacenza the same year forbade De Lire to reform convents without authorization by the prior general. When he was unable to impose his authority during a visitation of Paris in 1503, the prior general excommunicated De Lire and Dassoneville and withdrew the faculty and students from the college, thus leaving the great house of studies to the reformers, a severe blow to the Order.

In the Mantuan Congregation, the reform met with a sympathetic reception. When Pope Leo X gave apostolic approval to the Congregation and absolved De Lire from censure (1513), Bl. Baptist not only did not object but warmly approved the pope’s decision.
The Reform of Albi produced many men of learning and virtue. Among the latter, one might mention John de Campo. Known as “the father of the reform,” he gave much edification by his life of prayer and patience in illness.

From The Mirror of Carmel by Joachim Smet, O. Carm.

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