Fr Benoît (Bernard) Montagnes, OP (1924-2018)

Fr Benoît (Bernard) Montagnes (1924-2018)

Born on the 17th of December 1924 in Toulouse, Bernard Montagnes joined the Order of Preachers in this same city seventy-five years ago at the age of 18. At the end of his novitiate, he made profession on the 18th of October 1944 and received the name, “Bro. Benedict”. He continued his studies at the House of Studies of the Province of Toulouse, Saint-Maximin, in Provence.

Ordained a priest on the 25th of March 1950, Fr Benedict was appointed as a philosophy lecturer the following year. He taught this subject, mainly metaphysics up until 1969 at Saint-Maximin and then at the faculty of Le Saulchoir where he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy in 1963. In 1970, he became a visiting professor at the University of Montreal (Canada). His thesis on La doctrine de l’analogie de l’être d’après saint Thomas, presented at Louvain in 1962 became a notable reference in this field of philosophical research for a long period.

With the closure of the canonical faculty of le Saulchoir, Fr Benedict was reassigned to his province of origin. Now assigned in Marseille and without the possibility of pursuing his research in philosophy, he developed interest in medieval archaeology. In 1977, he obtained in Aix a doctorate in Medieval Architecture in Provence. In the same period, he was invited to Rome to support the archivist of the Order. He moved to Santa Sabina in September 1976 and the Master of the Order appointed him as assistant archivist of the Order. He returned to Marseille in 1978. From 1985 to 1989, he was assigned to Santa Sabina again and this time, he worked in particular on the review; Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum (IHOP).

In 1989, Fr Benedict was assigned to the convent of Toulouse where he resided until his death on the 17th of February 2018. He held the position of Provincial Archivist until 2006 and was engaged in numerous studies concerning the history of the seventeenth century Dominican reformer, fr. Lacordaire and Blessed Hyacinthe-Marie Cormier. He was a member of the Archaeological Society of the South of France, the Committee of the Cahiers de Fanjeaux and several academic societies. Fr Benedict was honoured with the “Master in Sacred Theology” in 2010.

The name of Fr Montagnes remains particularly attached to the cause of the beatification of Fr. Marie-Joseph Lagrange to which he devoted himself since 1987. Thanks to the quality of his historical work, he became one of the best historians of the Order.

(21 February 2018)